Week #53 - Begining of a second year in chess study.

Sep 26, 2013, 4:27 PM |

This week, I had the pleasure of playing some games against a chess.com friend at a local chess café. I have already posted the analysis of these games. The establishment is excellent, as it offers food and refreshments (including beer, which is not the best companion of the chess player but that takes little away from the fact that it is a divine nectar), and, most important of all, has a quiet and friendly atmosphere. You can bring your own chess board or use theirs, and you can also rent a chess clock if you don't own one. On top of that it is about 5 minutes from my work and 10 minutes from my apartment. Truly, Café Pi is a real gem in the city of Montreal.

At the same time, I continued to drop my number of correspondance games. I mostly resigned by playing like a donkey. What this means is that I was already fed up of those games being there every day and causing mental fatigue from the sheer amount of calculation and involvement I had in them (and frustration from sometimes playing moves in inferior states of mind, resulting in ruining some fantastic efforts). So I became less involved and that led to many catastrophic losses.  My rating, after a historic high of 1901, has now plummeted to 1849.

However I was not that concerned at all with this expected result, because I want to keep only a few games on there and from now on, they will be unrated with a 14 day time control so I can just play them whenever I want with no consequences at all for either myself or my opponent. This is in agreement with my "new year's resolutions" from last week, when I decided to play less games, study more and focus on live chess games when I do engage in battle.

I look forward to resuming my encounters with Ron and Julian, two of Attila Turzo's students with whom I play live games and perform post-mortem analysis in order to mutually improve. This coming Monday I will play Julian. After that I will face Ron on the following Monday, and the next week I will return to the chess café to play more over-the-board chess which I believe I am already addicted to.

I continued to study My System this week. I finished the main theory on positional play and I now only have left to read the postscript on The history of the revolution in chess from 1911-1914. This book was a great read I would recommend it to any aspiring chess player as an essential work. Now that I have read this and Silman's How to Re-assess your Chess, 4th edition, I think I have a semi-decent positional foundation for an idiotic monkey/human.

My coach however made a very interesting suggestion, that is, to keep the books handy and to revise the appropriate chapters when I feel that I made a mistake in a crucial moment in a game, and that this mistake is thematic - whether it be in an IQP position, inferior minor piece, blockading, etc. This is a great idea. My coach correctly observed that I, and many other amateurs, have a tendancy to read chess books like novels.

However, they should be considered references. A chess master, like a lawyer, simply needs to have a well-garnished library of chess books to which he can refer to in a special case of need. Well, perhaps this is not true of everyone, but I am relatively stupid and I have probably forgotten abouty 80% of the material I read in those two books already. And I finished reading one of them today!

Next week, I will read the postscript in My System and if I have some spare time, resume working on openings, endgames and tactical puzzles by doing a little bit of each during each week of study. In particular I am starting to enjoy endgame study more and more. I am convinced improvement in endgames leads to vast amounts of general improvement at chess.

Now, a final resolution for the new year which I will implement is that when I am at home and I have nothing to do, instead of playing a few blitz games, I will instead study or, if I have one hour or more, play a G30+0 game or something such. That way, I do not waste my time on playing blitz games, which are not very useful learning tools, except maybe for showing you what your flawed psychological reflexes are.