Wills Chess Blog
Adventures in chess in Cambridgeshire

The eternal question

Category: By Will
As DK transform states "as for your blog, you must be a very good chess player so, juxtaposed with what you 'say' (show) is what you do not say (do not show).

i wonder who you are, and what it is that you think about. what challenges you face, programs you are running (ending improvment, opening prep, tactical regimins, etc), and

what efforts you thirst for or wish you could structure but have NOT gotten to yet.

in short, however enigmatic, what sort of person you are and how you think and what concerns you."

I wanted a blog to reflect who I am at the time I was doing it. For the first few months I wanted a medium to post games to "detach" them from me emotionally to allow an objective analysis. Lately I have been musing over what I really want to say that is not said in a game score, the feeling and process behind the development of myself as a player and, in some ways, a person through this journey.

Chess has had a curious effect on me when I started wasting hours at Uni during my PhD, it caught my attention through a peer enviroment where everything was competitive. How many papers, reactions and others milestones each had achieved. It has stuck with me into work where, in all honestly, it has changed something in my belief system. I always assumed that the talent of the person dictated there potential upside in any activity but chess is forcing me to re-evaluate this premise.

Watching the interview with FM Alex Dunne on youtube and reading Weteschnik's tactics book has lead me to believe that if you are able to exert enough effort then a great deal is possible in chess and life. Dunne in particular was a USCF expert for 20 years then made progress to an FM later in life. So why can I not emulate him?

Often ridiculed is de la Maza's Rapid chess improvement, his system seems like a slow torture which, though it worked for him, is a difficult path to follow with an uncertain outcome. But maybe, just maybe, the message is not the method but the idea; if you work hard and strive to reduce error then you will improve. I have toyed with the seven circles and do tactics in "mini-circles" but I don't think this is the key to improvement. The where and how of improvement is critical analysis of the why and how of chess.

For example, see the following position;

What are the prequisites for a smothered mate? a missing pawn on f2, a Queen and Knight able to attack f2 and a rook not on the f file plus two pawns. When you consider the fundamental points then these are easier to find, doing hundreds of puzzles may add these but only by considering them fully and holistically can they be fully stored and utlised.

As for the rest I will slowly discuss these but for now I leave a thought. Am I a good player? Maybe not but can I be one? If you work in a sensible and structured fashion the why not.

6 comments so far.

  1. transformation 17 March 2009 at 20:17
    dear will, i am truly heartwarmingly touched that you should not only mention me, but acknowledge me. thank you.

    this is a beginning.

    my question was is, other than someone obviously inteligent, focused, thoughtful, and kind, what sort of person are you?

    how do you study, what do you study, and concretely what is your struggle?

    what do you want more of? less of?

    what do you do well? not well?

    sources of sharing are endless.

    but you are not only a chess player, but a being, who sees sunsets, feels lust, fear, anger, sorrow, delight.

    what is the theraputic matrix?

    persons in therapy, in a fog, so the therapist asks them:

    'mad, glad, sad, affraid, pick one!'

    or as dr. james gustavson wrote in his book, self delight in a harsh world (MD, head of brief vs. long psychotherapy dept at Mad Wisconson):

    'life has three elements pretty much found everywhere:

    'delaying, subservience, and overpowering'

    we are really talking existentialism instead of phenomenoloy or structuralism, humannism versus technology, intregative studies over chaos theory and complex adaptive systems.


    love dk
  2. likesforests 18 March 2009 at 00:01
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  3. likesforests 18 March 2009 at 02:30
    I thought for a moment this was Drunknknite's blog--you both have the same layout and colors. Most FIDE players believe an average player without any particular talent will end up somewhere between 2000 and 2300. So our chances of becoming an expert are very good. An FM? I don't know. I hope to one day make NM. :)
  4. Will 18 March 2009 at 18:23
    Well, I would advise anyone to listen to Alex Dunne on youtube. The guy was an expert for 20 years then improved to FM. It shows what is possible with directed and consistent work, with some talent.

    Until you immerse yourself fully into something you will never know and be much the worse for it.
  5. likesforests 18 March 2009 at 21:29
    "Well, I would advise anyone to listen to Alex Dunne on youtube."

    I expect good tournament results this weekend--I will definitely tune in after a depressing one for encouragement. ;)

    "with some talent."

    That's the million dollar question. All three of us want it. Do we have the talent? And if not, are we stubborn enough that we'll get there anyway? ;)
  6. Will 19 March 2009 at 10:10
    @ LF

    Watch the video, definately worth the 4 minutes you will spend looking at it. If I was better at HTML I'd post it here but as I am not I can't.

    Regarding "talent"; I think there are many talents that go into being a good chess player. Maybe no one has all of them in equal measure and some obviously have more than others.
    A good memory, defintately. Alot of drive and determination, again definately. Wanting to win everygame? Yes. If you have these then it is possible, the evidence is out there. You can take a scientific approach, artistic approach or pragmatic one but in the end should reach FM. This is no beyond the limits of reason in any field given time and application and the above charateristics. Making and IM may be out of reach but I don't see that 2200-2300 FIDE is beyond the realms of possibility.

Something to say?