Where's My Philosopher's Stone?

Where's My Philosopher's Stone?

Aug 10, 2009, 3:50 PM |

I am reliably informed by a rather weasel-like opponent that what I write here is strictly for my eyes only and will not be privy to others who desire to improve their chess beyond a few grade points here and there. Whilst this is not the Philosopher's Stone, it does allow one to take stock; to assess where they are and decide what the next step is. Many chess players will say: 'come on, its easy - tactics, tactics, tactics', as if this will magically solve all one's needs as a chess player. Granted, lots of tactical skills is required - no doubt, but where are you as a chess player?

I believe I am about here. These, briefly, are the steps I feel I have travelled through on my chess journey:

  • knowing what the pieces can do singly and in combination; having 'sight' of the board.
  • some understanding of the centre and development.
  • tactics involving pins, discovered attacks, double attacks, forks, removing guards and overloads; some stock mating positions.
  • tactical and strategic ideas involving pawn structures, piece mobility, tempi and piece placements.
  • understanding that piece value can be subverted by other considerations such as safety of king, mobility, etc.

Now the Big Question:' How can I in a short while, appraise a position, coalescing all consideration of the preceding elements into a rational plan aimed at bringing the game to a favourable conclusion?

The great players of today and (yester-year) display this amazing quality of appraisal in bucket loads. (A cupful will do me!) This, for most chess players, is the Philosopher's Stone.

Where is my Philosopher's Stone!!

(Er...if the weasel-like opponent had mis-informed me and you have read this, please leave a note)