Wednesday, December 07, 2022 10:17

Archive for October, 2009

There’s always someone better….

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

It was a cold and rainy night n the city…. How cliche! But it’s true. That didn’t stop me getting by our local chess cafe. And getting beat.

Here’s the thing. I’m very beatable as a player. Just about anyone who pays any attention at the club where I play at least has a shot at me. All of the other “serious” players at the club can beat me.

It can get discouraging sometimes. Why do I go down to the club, if I expect that I will lose far more than I win? Well, before that question can be answered there are a couple of realities to face.

First, unless your name is Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand, or Vesselin Topalov there are times you will lose games. (In fact, even Kasparov, Anand, and Topalov lose games.) In short, there is always somebody who knows more than you do about chess. If winning every game is all you care about, chess will not be for you.

Another revelation to new club players: There are players younger than you who know a whole lot more about chess than you do. And when I say, “younger,” I mean third graders, junior high school students, and high schoolers. If having an 8-year-old beat you at chess is too much to bear, you probably won’t like club play very well.

So why do it? Why spend evenings playing? I would propose two main reasons.

The first: You can learn.

Earlier tonight I had a game against one of the club regulars. I got schooled, as usual. But “schooled” also implies learning. Bob employed a “Sicilian Defense” against me. The Sicilian is a very common opening when a player leads with their King’s Pawn (1. e4.) And at this point I still always play 1. e4 as white. Instead of directly challenging my pawn, Black plays the Queen Bishop’s pawn. (1. …c5)

The Basic Sicilian

It’s a reasonably complex opening in all it’s variations. Wikipedia notes its popularity, “One sixth (17%) of all games between grandmasters, and one-quarter (25%) of the games in the Chess Informant database, begin with the Sicilian. Almost one-quarter of all games use the Sicilian Defence.” (Here’s the link to Wikipedia’s article on the Sicilian..)

Now, I knew that I could play either knight to c3 or knight to f3 here. I chose knight to f3 (2. Nf3) and knew a pawn exchange would occur on d4. Confused? It’s OK, because now you know almost everything that I knew about the Sicilian.

Bob and I kept playing quite awhile more. (The silly thing was… I didn’t record the moves of the game. Argh! I usually do!!!)

So we played out the game. Around move 7 the position was something like this:
The Yugoslav variation of the Sicilian, after 7. ...0-0

In the midpoint I was completely out of my strategic depth. I lost quite handily, and Bob in fact corrected one move I made that would have allowed mate in 1. Bob made a remark about the Yugoslav variation. One of the few other things I knew was that the Yugoslav was one of the variations of the Sicilian.

So I came home and looked up the Yugoslav on Wikipedia. I learned that even though I was out of my “opening preparation” at move 4, I was actually playing the “book opening” through at least move 11 or so. Bob also helpfully pointed out a move that he had expected me to roll out (and I chose a worse alternative.)

The thing is…. I know a lot more about the Yugoslav (and Sicilian Openings) than I did four hours ago. And this was just a little bit of casual study – not at all intensive.

I can learn. That’s reason one.

Reason two? Well, I got to see Rob, Dennis, Joe, Chris, Bob, George, and of course Colley (and Colley’s kids Jason, Sarah, and Levi, and lots of others I haven’t named…. ;) ) It’s fun seeing the guys (and women) at the club, and talking with some of them! To me, that’s more important than the games I lost or the (very valuable!) information that Bob communicated to me.

Whether it is learning more about chess, or having a bit of social time with a bunch of other adults and kids… whether novice beginner, woodpusher (my level,) or near Expert player… whether it’s raining or snowing outside… Chess is fun!

Ultimately, that’s the reason one learns, plays, and continues to play the game. :)

Another test post

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

This is simple enough, and Dennis Monokroussos may have inspired me to turn this into a chess blog.  :D

The thing is, as I mentioned earlier, I’m a patzer.  So one can’t expect GM, IM, FM, or even Class-A analysis.  ;)

The main point to this post is not to post a puzzle, but to simply see if I can readily upload an image diagram directly from the WordPress control/Add New Post page.

Chess Tactics for Students, John A. Bain, Diagram 248And adding a diagram is just that simple…  From ChessBase copy image into Microsoft Paint and a Paste, a Save, and then use the Upload/Insert button and follow the easy steps to upload the image and then insert it into the Blog.  Wow!

(For those curious, this is a diagram from John Bain’s, “Chess Tactics for Students.”  Can’t see the underline button quickly… ;)  It’s Diagram 248 (IIRC,) a simple Skewer.  But remember, if this becomes a blog, it’s going to focus on the simple.  :D

First Chess Post – Test

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

So here is a post about my chess life.

The reality is that my skill level is that of a woodpusher trying to be a patzer (and is sometimes successful!)  I find if I’m at all tired, I make the most elementary of mistakes.  Yet, if I’m on my game and really have the energy to concentrate, I can play very well.

A couple of my most memorable games, a win and a loss, can be found here.