May 3, 2014, 5:55 PM |

The Chess Amateur Looks back

Chess has won me. I guess thats why im here and creating this blog. Thanks to hand me down chess books i learned alot about the game and the history of the great players (maybe not enough though). Chess books are very rare in our country, as sad experience to see that once when i was in San Diego my uncle bought me a chess book as a bday gift and only after 5 years did i see the same book sold in our countrys number one bookstore. My uncles used to buy books in the 70s thanks to GM Eugene Torre, chess in the philippines was booming. BUt many years passed and chess books become scarce and so does the chess drive of my uncles (may they rest in peace).So... i am left with books mostly during the 70s and 80's  a few 90s handed down to me (can you imagine being the only nephew in the family to love the game?). Yeah i enjoyed the  games and devoured the books but on a static and superficial level i guess, coz if i really was that serious then i could have been a titled player now (duh).
Honestly i didnt know Bobby Fischer until i played over his games and this changed my approach to the game. But before that it was Alekhines book 1908-1921 which was the first book i devoured and believed in every opening he made. (yeah before i became an e4 player i was a d4 player). I can still remember how i almost beat an 1950 player when i was still young  student at a park in Italy (i wont tell you where haha) in  an almost similar game with that of yates vs Alekhine 1911 or 12 of a siclian paulsen (yes before i also became a carokan player i was a sicilian paulsen fanatic player). But when i came back to the philippines to live  and continue school, i was dumbfounded when my d4 met the albin counter gambit and lost in a tourney in MCC (metropolitan chess club) darn!. those geezer looking dudes and even some of them who really stink, are really good (disguise eh), the game was so painful to take that i told myself , maybe Its time to open the chest of books rotting under the basement .In all honetsy, I was zero informed about the intricacies of the multitiude of openings (you bet the openings i know where those by Alekhines games in his books and they are soooooo old) and oooooooutdated by a millenium lol). I was thinking that chess was still the same like the good old alekhine days.  Dusty  and full of cobwebs i saw Schillers book on the ablin counter gambit published in the 90s. read em and didnt understand a thing until a coach in our school started teaching me how to properly read analysis in books and how to really play chess. It was there that i got hold of Fischer M60MG (do i need to type the meaning? duh?). It was this book that took me out of the Alekhine ideology of chess approach. I started to play the opening with zest. I may not know all of em but i sure can (but sometimes caught blindy) play at least second rate moves to carry on to the middle game. Chess became fun as i started playing over the books i have.

I studied the endgame ..there was Capablancas CHess Fundamentals, Averbachs essential chess endings, then i took on playing over tactics via  The Golden Treasury in chess. I thought i knew it all until i saw a book on Mikhail Tal by Cafferty and funny but it is true, i started playing chess to sacrifice no other intention but to give away everything and checkmate the opponent. It worked!. I was winning games and getting medals for school chess events even beating chess experts and candidate masters along the way but still couldnt match-up to the old geezers of luneta chess park and our nearby chess park players including  those stinking-drunk looking  guys in disguise at MCC. But at any rate i was learning...I started to learn from our coach and soon was playing totaly e4. And playing the Slav, Queens Gambit (lasker variation and orthodox), Sicilian najdorf!!!, Kings Indian and yes from time to time 1.b4!!!.. Tactics tactics tactics was all that i needed to first grasp according to my coach and then the middle game...tada.....thanks to Dr.Max Euwe excellent  books the middle game in chess series , i was able to grasp (as an amateur of course) the essence of the middle game. I guess i studied backwards...ending , opening, middle game in that order. I know this might turn out to be a below-the -belt remark but i think im entitled to my opinion when i say that , my chess approach went downward when i started reading and studying the book of Nimzovich: Chess Praxis, the praxis of my system (may he rest in peace). I became a cautious chess player. And since Nimzovitch was Petrosians idol, i studied his games too. This became a problem for me: no risk taking, no tactical shots, space maneuvering and cramped positions became more and more prevalent in my games that i was soon put on a defense white or black which costs me alot of missed triumphs (yeah lossing a game when a tactical shot is required by the position rather than passive propalactic moves). And up to now can still be seen in my games. Worse, i began burning bridges when i take the route to attack kinda like this "I have mate in two, but my opponent has mate in one" (whimsical huh?). Im not blaming them, coz i chose to study their games and books and in fairness to the old lions of chess Petrosian and Nimzovich, maybe their style didnt suit mine, or i was just oblivious and ignorant to what they are sharing to the chess world. (my loss then). I gave up on the Dutch Defense but held on to the Caro Kann thanks to Schiller,Lakdawala, the book Development of a Grandmaster by Mikey Adams and a games book collection of Bologan, the carokann remains in my arsenal win or lose. Now there is a question that i may face soon, Larsen once said "If you play the carokann when youre young, what are you going to play when youre old?
But now im heading back to square one, with my chess coach now living abroad and pursuing a job as an engineer,  i am now left on my own. Remembering what i was taught, studying the classics once again but on a selective characteristic, Capablanca Move by move by Lakdewala, Immortal games of Capablanca by Reinfeld, Why Lasker Matters by soltis, Morphy by Valeir Beim, M60MG, The life and Games of Mikhail Tal, Chess Fundamentals. And modern day books like From Amateur to IM by J. Hawkins, Diary of a Chess Queen (damn it! this lady is probably the most beautiful, charming and HOT woman chess player i have ever seen! a woman any man would marry in all churches all over the entire globe, and dont forget her great chess playing strength), Studying the Sebag-Kosteniuk dresden 2004 game i realized how bad i was at defending a difficult postion when i saw moves that very much differs to that of the brainy beauty queen. But in fairness i saw a good move which she didnt include in her analysis ....Rb4 after her opponent played Qb6 which would result in R v R+ B endgame win for black.(see? im studying not stalking lol).
 back to topic... Greatest 365 Puzzles by Csaba, Road to chess Improvement by dela Maza, from beginner to expert. Looking back to all of the time spent and things that happened...i guess i should have been on a better stage in my chess studies although very waaaaaay.....tooooo...faaaaaaaar from the chess summit. I wanna learn more to improve ( thats why im on the best chess site ever!!!) and soon share all of these to others. It doenst matter if i get a title or not, what matters is how fun my learning was and how it became part of my life. I believe each one of us has his/her own chess stories to tell, those that  are worth remembering that has made us to what we are now. The memories worthy to look back at.