Have you ever played in a tournament and come to a critical position where you spent (i.e., “wasted”) a lot of time on the position in front of you but you didn’t know what to do? i heard the commentators at the Sinquefield Cup mention this several times. Nakamura was one. Carlsen might’ve been another. Maybe there were others.

See? No matter what crap older chess books used to put out about openings you don’t have to memorize, those writers were delusional. They knew the “main lines” of a number of openings so well that that didn’t count (to them) as memorization. But when they were up against “newish” systems they tended to avoid discussing them. C.J.S. Purdy was an exception. He enjoyed new ideas.

There are things you should know and KNOW cold. However I knew a master who knew lines so “cold” that once in a while he would “invert” a set of moves in the Sicilian and go down in flames. What’s the hurry? To save a few extra seconds on the clock?


My therapists for treating my splintered left arm gave me a series of exercises to perform at home after practice sessions in the PT rooms. Here’s the instructions:

DO this set of exercises (7 of them) and repeat each one 15 times. DO this every day! My average expended time was 10-15 minutes per session. That’s for this week. So far I have only managed to do 4 per day. This day, being Friday I will do 5! I said that yesterday and the day before too! By the time 10 p.m. rolled around, I was beat, so I gave myself the “slack factor” with the promise to do better tomorrow. I am ahead of schedule this Friday!

I noticed several things in my routines. They became less aggravating to do was one. Another was certain exercises seemed to be working. And, a third one could be, “that didn’t take long at all!”

Am not going to tell you that I looked forward to doing the next set but will say that I wasn’t afraid of its impending “return” either.

While I sat there this morning I forced myself to get something “chess constructive” out of my time in jail! Actually, it came to me quickly: I was doing these physical exercises so that I could begin using my left arm again! And that meant the use of my left hand too. I wasn’t required to bring my body back to normal it just seemed like the sensible thing to do. Anti-lazy but no doubt something that devoured time.


It’s quite plausible to believe that most of you are able bodied but your chess could use some premium fixing. You bought all those books and DVDs but always have promoted the theme of “I don’t have time!” My therapists were incredulous when I told them I didn’t have a TV. Then they opened up and told me how little they watched it, their husbands would switch the TV on as soon as they got home from work, etc.  BULL-ONEY!

I also realize people have jobs but am also aware of lost time at work due to smart phones and such. I can’t think of one reason I need a smart phone since I have a non-powerful flip phone! None.

So I am well aware that you might have a lot of things you need to do everyday, me too. Why not chisel 15 minutes out, about the same time every day. Solve chess puzzles, begin learning a new (or your current) opening. Master knight and bishop mates against a lone king.

Over a year your “learning” will be 365x more than it is right now and you will have squandered only 91 hours out of a whole year of 8,760 hours, 1 percent. I am inclined to produce such a book as a Daily Progress Reminder is the fastest way to succeed. Darn near painless and I strongly expect your brain will improve. You won’t have to explain your success unless you choose to.

You are now out of all but the lamest of excuses.



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