Continual surprise by those who view this Blog.
I don’t have actual numbers of visits, etc. and maybe Word Press provides this information somewhere (I think they used to but I can’t find out where to go for the details with the “new” system they are using.)
The surprise is in phone calls, person to person, but, people ARE reading this Blog. For sure.
As you might know, I have two ways of reaching you and soon I hope to have a mini-website.
Email sales letters is one way to reach you, and this Blog is the other.
READ ON DOWN!
Your editor (me) is sure there are plenty of chess blogs around but I hope it is OK with you that concentration of effort is what I think is important about chess. Here are TWO points today:
1. What is important to become a very good chess player, or maybe only, a better chess player than you currently are?
In my experience it is TACTICS. Not openings (although that can be a big help). But a combinational outbreak of EXECUTION. Then sometimes the experience of playing well in the ENDGAME is important to finish off what tactics started.
Let me demur for a second:
Several years ago, when I was running the Gentleman’s Chess Club two things happened: one was an investigation by Col. Kevin Hyde. While I don’t recall all the details now, it had something to do with figuring out the progression of themes from a set position that he discovered on a website run by Tim Krabbe. Lots of oddities and curiosities. It held everyone’s interest.
The second was that I would present a game from somewhere. I don’t know how I found these games but they were of a particular interest. I discovered the subject from my own lecture and noticed it ran through subsequent lectures.
WHAT WAS IT?
Glad you asked. Maybe it should have been obvious but I hadn’t quite thought of it THIS way before.
We all know the AIM of chess is checkmate. I used to say about Fischer’s games that he would go after the other guy’s King. The only thing stopping him was obstacles put in his way by his adversary and that he might be required to win a pawn, or reformulate his position to make a better stab at it in the ensuing moves,
But all the while Fischer was after the other’s guy’s King.
Similarly in these chosen games. Often, as early as move 10 there were traces in the position of the antagonist looking for a checkmate. A couple moves later the pursuer was still playing for checkmate. I would then announce to the audience, “Do you see that GM X seems to have one thought in mind, to capture the other guy’s King? We are in the beginning of the game and GM X is going after him like a banshee.”
Certainly not everyone played this way… I can’t say what their purpose was in playing chess but the game under review had an aggressor who had one thing in mind… taking out his opponent. And the game would proceed with the opponent trying to stop GM X by any good means possible. At last, maybe a few moves later or 20 moves later, he would cave.
It was fascinating because the side we were invested in was cajoling, reinterpreting, working feverishly to finish the event. And the other side, likewise, was working toward creating a stalwart defense to make sure it didn’t happen and that maybe, somehow, he could turn the tables.
At any rate, that’s what I noticed. In a way it seemed to be a blur to my audience, but then they would finally start stepping up their own analysis, and “What if?” It was definitely COOL and beyond. These fine folks were captivated and chess became alive.
I would like to write a book this way and to show people why sometimes the BEST part of a game is IN the NOTES! When I was publishing Chess Reports and SCORE I noticed some of the most captivating moments were in the NOTES, the parts many skip over. Even myself.
A couple years ago I was publicizing a set of 4 books written by GM Lars Bo Hansen. I thought these were among the best books on chess for these times. I didn’t sell too many sets because: a. It was about a $80-100 investment and chess players, in general, are notoriously cheap. I do have a small collection of those men who are NOT!
b. Lazy. It’s easier to go to a tournament with no preparation, play average chess, and come home telling friends that the event was no big deal.
Foreigners from Asia and other places flocked to GM Maurice Ashley’s MILLION DOLLAR OPEN last year, prepared in spades, to take some money back home. I expect more will do so this year (early Oct.) as I know of at least one GM who might do so though he didn’t last year. The forerunners proved that with the right kind of backing (the female!) it is more than possible, it is can become an actuality.
Very few things become real and valuable if you are cheap and lazy. Did you meet your wife by being cheap and lazy. Doubtful.
Many believe (and I have played them) that to play good chess all you need is a board, men, and a clock (+ maybe a scorepad). That’s not true. You need some knowledge. Fishing is on TV, tennis and golf are on TV, and when you watch this stuff (using your valuable time) you become better at what you enjoy, at least for a little while. I learned, briefly, how to hit a golf ball MUCH better (in terms of driving!) and farther when I actually watched a video by a woman golfer that my Dad had loaned me. I could still be whacking a ball like that now and still not knowing the “secret” to better driving but that video, at that time, saved me many agonizing hours of “hit and miss.” But, so many, even from 100 years ago, don’t want to spend money on improvement but would drive a couple of hours to a “red carpet” event to see Kim Kardashian’s big balloon-butt!
What I did with Bo Hansen’s books, esp. the first one, was to play through ALL the games, main lines only. Did not play through most of the notes (occasionally I would get side-tracked). Good game choices. Interesting.
THEN I went through the book AGAIN and this time, played through the NOTES–I did even better! Now, what have I done since then? In all honesty, not as much and it caused much mental suffering! But I know where to go at least.
I MENTIONED TWO THINGS TODAY
Recently I picked up Andy Soltis’ book Soviet Chess 1917-1991. As I was browsing (leafing) through this book once more, my eyes fell on a couple paragraphs about the Chess Czar Nikolai Krylenko. This $75 book (we have it at a much more favorable price, $56.25) deserves to be read by all chess aficionados is full of gems such as this:
“Spectators stood on chairs to catch a glimpse of Capablanca, Emanuel Lasker and other stars. Clocks were started at 3:30 p.m. the next day in the Fountain Room of the House of Soviets, in what later became the restaurant of the Metropol Hotel.
“Tickets went on sale each morning but disappeared, despite their high cost, within an hour.”
Wouldn’t that be great to pull off something like this at the Morphy Chess Festival V this fall? Sold out way in advance! The details will be “lit” in a later blog. Once again, people have told me they are coming, though their ticket hasn’t been picked up yet, but for a change, I actually BELIEVE them!
Stay tuned to: bobthechesser.wordpress.com
or phone: 563-271-6657
P.S.: My writing was briefly interrupted by a call from a nice Southern Gentleman from Florida. He told me he saw my ad in CHESS LIFE and wanted some more details. Mailing them out today! The word is getting around.