Yes I have been slack when it comes to updating my blogs, I will admit it. :)
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy with chess, or not reading the other Knights' blogs.(Congratulations to J'Adoube, BDK, and Temposchlucker on their recent tournament participation!) Over the past few months I have been working on learning the openings with the method I mentioned way back in “Minimalist Openings or the “Sketch Pad Approach” “.
Initially it was painful, but I imagine anytime you attempt to change horses’ midstream you are bound to get wet.
Some of the minor setbacks included:
A) Complete negligence as to what my opponent’s pieces were attacking. (Don’t worry BDK mental faux pas occur at every level.) This is mainly because of what I feel chiefly to be a lack of pattern recognition involving the new structures, I repeatedly caught myself focusing/daydreaming more on my piece placement than what my opponent’s possibilities held. Normally I woke up from my nap after my opponent slapped me upside the head with a move I didn’t even consider once!
B) Encountering a sense of “What in the heck is my main objective in this position?” This usually appeared when my opponent played something outside my limited knowledge of a given opening. (I imagine this will continue for quite sometime)
C) Finding that I had a crack, crevice, hole, and on occasion a canyon in my repertoire. (But this is why I chose to approach opening study in this manner, “to find the weaknesses in my preparation”, and fix them.
On the upside:
A) I learned and continue to learn more about each of my openings chosen.
B) Transpositions are my friend! Being able to force pawn structures and more importantly plans into an arena I already understand is so nice.
C) Losing is only temporary, and you can quickly erase it by reviewing and turning it into a lesson.
D) If you “listen” to the opening it will reveal the plans that can and should be played. I struggled with this at first by attempting to force my will on the position. A better analogy would be certain notes and chord structures usually sound harmonious when they are played within the framework of a particular key. Trying to fit in notes that don’t belong to the “family” either by error or over-indulgence (i.e. look at how fast I can play) usually leave the listener with a sour taste.” Finding the plans gets easier each time I review, this is where one should study and memorize master games! Chessbase makes reviewing master games that apply to your own openings so easy it is ridiculous. While I appreciate the “classics” and do learn something new with every game reviewed. I feel like the “nugget of wisdom” learned is something that gets stored away in my toolbox for later use. Though I will be the first to admit if I ever happen to encounter one of those “nugget positions” I happily attempt to apply the learned idea. Sometimes without thinking it through to see if really applies. Hence my comment to Patrick about working to eliminate that particular flaw in my play. (BTW Patrick, the Buckley book arrived and it is awesome! Thank you so much!)
Another interesting milestone is I finally managed to break 2000 with my ICC “standard” rating which seems to be related to playing a bunch and keeping everything fresh. Plus I am forced to learn more about endings, as a lot of my games are won or lost from an equal middlegame. So endgame study has been providing an almost instantaneous return on the time invested while actually being fun. It would appear that Predrag’s comment about learning chess is like flying an airplane and one has to balance one’s approach much in the same manner a pilot keeps readjusting his wings to keep the plane level and on course.
Anyway I hope all my fellow Knights are doing well!
I still owe J'adoube a mini MDLM story, I haven't forgotten. (It's actually more of a side note than a story)