Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Opening Approach (Part 1)

JavaManIssa left the following comment to my last post.

"How are you going through the opening book? It's not good to memorize lines, understanding key ideas behind openings is what should be done. In the end not only will you have memorized the mainlines (without trying..) you'd also be able to go out of the book and still be fine! :)"

While I appreciate his concern I guess I should clarify my approach to opening study.

I never have once planned on or believed that “memorizing lines” is the key to successful chess, chess doesn’t work this way. What opening preparation does if approached correctly is give you insight into why moves are played. Study enough openings and you will come to the same realization I had.
{Even now J’adoube is paying good money to learn what I told him for free. [grin]
1) Screw CT-Art and start studying mating patterns.
2) Chess playing is about piece activity.
Seriously Jim I was really glad to read that Dan was stressing those points, it made me feel like I wasn’t off the mark with my own approach to gaining the most benefit in my training. Especially since I was one of the first Knighted de la Mazan’s to scrap the “sacred” approach. }

What I do believe is that opening preparation will solidify my understanding of developing with a plan. It will provide me with a frame work of moves that I can play without hesitation until my opponent branches into unfamiliar territory. Thereby saving precious time on my clock that can be used in other areas, I would rather enter into an equal middle game position, but with more time than my opponent any day.
Ideally chess should flow seamlessly from one phase to the next. Before I can say I have “learned” an opening, I have to understand the themes involved. What are the key squares, which minor pieces thrive in this pawn structure, any long term weaknesses and strengths, is maintaining pressure critical to my or my opponent’s success? What long term plan was used successfully in the past? Why was it successful?
I'm not saying I can do all of those things yet, but it is something I'm working toward.
End of Part 1.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Internet Jones

Glad to report that everything is intact after a recent visit from the lovely Hurricane Ophelia.
The area was very fortunate to have escaped with just lots of wind, rain, and relatively light damage.

I did have my internet knocked out until today from a chance meeting of a wayward pecan tree and a 20,000 volt power line. Minor stuff in the grand scheme of things.

Still slogging through the opening repertoire book.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fall Cleaning

Went through my links and moved some folks to the M.I.A. spot due to either 404 or inactivity.
Added a few new players to the list of Knights Errant, Smith-Morra, Phorku, and DutchDefence, Welcome to family, and have fun!
I even played around with some font and color settings trying to make things easier to see. The color changes will probably continue to happen until I find a nice even balance.

My opening training is paying off in unexpected ways. Even in openings that I haven't studied I'm beginning to find myself reaching favorable positions on a more frequent basis. I seem to have lost that tendency to saddle myself with structural weaknesses and inactive pieces. At the club this past Thursday I would even go as far as saying that I played my best "positional" games ever.
There weren't any tactical fireworks, because my opponent tried his best to play openings that are about as exciting as watching paint dry, which is his usual approach during our games. He tries to keep things as quiet as possible and I normally try to drag him into the deep end of the tactics pool. I'm always joking with him telling him that he would rather push a pawn than mate someone. Typically I try to blow things apart, but this time I decided to give him all the rope he wanted. I allowed him to over extend his position, all the while maneuvering my pieces into locations that allowed me create multiple attack points simply by shifting threats until his pieces literally tripped over each other. As soon as they stumbled I would pounce and win a key pawn and grind him off the board. Honestly it was as satisfying if not more so than crushing someone tactically.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Slogging along

Not much to report, still working on my opening repertoire. I should complete it around the year 2055 at the rate I'm going.
I guess I'm going to have to create a schedule and stick to it. 45 minutes a day or something.
I need some cheese for my whine. :)