How I came to play chess (Part 2)

May 24, 2015, 3:22 AM |

On the whole six year olds "back in the day" were a lot more hardy than they are today.  We had no computers, no 24 hour childrens tv channels, no mobile phones,  indeed at that age in the 1970's to use the house phone (if you were lucky enough to have one) was a privalege not often afforded.  

Instead we had to often amuse ourselves, use our imagination, or simply read a book if we got bored.  I know six sounds young nowadays but when I got that chess set (described in part 1) my natural curiosity drove me to figure out what this strange game was. 

I read the rules,  played myself, read the rules again, played myself. Read the rules again, played myself and so on.  

One day mum and I went to the library.  As I looked at the books, I found there was a whole section on the game I had in my bedroom :)  So I borrowed some books... Not Kids books, but whole master games... I particularly remember one by (or at least the games of) Mikhail Botvinnik,  not because of its content.  But Mikhail was a funny way of spelling Michael. 

I spent hours with a chess set and those books.  Somehow I had figured out notation (with the help of the diagrams I think)  Occasionally I would get to something I didnt understand

0-0 ... thats not a square... oh well that must mean miss a move

0-0-0 well if you miss a move for 0-0 what the hell is this... 

but eventually it all game together and I played through the games in many books. 

I hadn't even played a human opponent,  yet these books became the beginning of my downfall !!!

You see,  though I played through them, I had no chess coaching and no mentor,  I played blindly through the books.  I got to know some patterns,  I got to know some openings (parrot fashion)... But I never got an understanding of why the moves were played.  They just were.  

Which brings me to the reason for this blog...