Thank you, Dan Heisman!

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Returning home from winning my first ever national championship (albeit in my low class, but still), this was one of the thoughts of joy that passed through my head: Thank you, Dan Heisman!

If you are a decent, low rated player who can not understand why you keep losing to players you consider at your own level but rated a lot higher than yourself, my tip is to read and understand the concept Mr. Heisman's putting across in his Novice Nook columns.

Grasping that concept, particulary practicing real chess (or safe chess, maybe), made me win eight out of ten matches, drawing the other two - putting me 1,5 points ahead of the rest.

I have always, always blundered, and still do in blitz games. This was a rapid play tournament (25 min + 10 sec/move), and my thoughts ahead of each game was not to remember the 9th move of the Napoleon version of the Vienna defence (no idea if that opening exists, its a feeble joke) - but this:

1. What are all the things the move of my opponent does?

2. Can he check, capture or make a threath now?

3. Can he check, capture or make a threath on his next move?

4. Can I check, capture or make a threath?

5. What else can I do?

6. What is my best move?

7. Is there a better move?

8. Is my best move insane?

Like a mantra, this was my version of Mr. Heisman's Real Chess concept. I managed to stay loyal to it for almost all of my games, missing a couple of times (one win changed to a draw and one win was hanging in the balance thanks to my mistakes). And the rating performance was 1498, while I have been around 1250 the last year. I did not play particulary brilliant, it was solid, real chess - and an incredible amount of fun!

So, to all others who suffer from brain damage (as I do), there is hope! You CAN teach your brain to look for loose pieces, count properly the number of attackers and defenders etc.