Looking Beyond the Tip of Your Nose

A this moment a video has gone viral about a martial arts student not being able to break a board and with a coach saying something that went viral. I didn’t look into it because so much of everything viral is what they call “click bait.” Anything to grab your attention in and among stuff being advertised.

Apparently the kid was hitting the board and it wouldn’t break. My Dad told me a long time ago that the achievement of boxers was to look “beyond” the point of impact and if you struck there it would KO the guy on the receiving end. It works. My son Nate succeeded in this and he was not on the receiving end of any videos that went viral for achievement (but in this case it was ‘failure’) or anything else.

It’s the same in chess. Many of us know this from first hand experience. We have a key position and we “believe” we are at a critical junction. We try and try to draw a conclusion which will reap a victory and instead of a loss. If we could only look ONE move further! Often it was the ability to do this that favored Fischer over his opponents. It was practiced experience along with a whiff of curiosity.

I am working on a “secret” project right now which is theoretically being designed to improve your play whether in tournaments, matches, or games with club players. Just doing this ONE thing can make a huge difference. I am not sure when it will be ready, but my target date is October.

It happened in a club game with my antagonist John. There was an intersection of views. In one direction on the h-file a long think produced a win. The same long think in another direction produced a probable loss (nothing is absolutely guaranteed in these cases). I finally made the decision to not go through with my piece sacrifice. After the game, at home, probably using an engine, the conclusion was that I had made the correct decision. The sacrifice would fail. However, there was a time limit! A limited goal.

Have I ever just GONE FOR IT?

Yes I have. And that was wrong too. One thing I have noted by working on my latest catalog is this: a little memorization is necessary. Books are necessary (even Magnus knows this and he reads old chess history books too, this is is why HE is the current world champion and not some radical putz. He is Mr. Do It All.) He just doesn’t do it all at once.

The famous mathematician Gauss was vexed for 7 or more years trying to decide whether a sign should be “plus or minus.” When he made the decision he knew without a doubt what the right answer would be. The easy answer is not really much of an answer. On the other hand, sometimes we have a leap of faith and see how it all works out.


There are a lot of VERY fine chess books out there these days, better than ever before, and many of them published by New in Chess. The sophistication of the writing is so much better. The editors are not perfect but in most cases they are better too. Our next catalog of New in Chess books will be available soon and will be included in your subscription to CHESS SECRETS. $20 for the rest of the year. Contact Bob at info@chessbutler.com for extra info and look beyond the tip of your nose.

Take care.

Bob & Jack


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