Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Chess Lesson

My friend Kyle is a Chess master. Kyle's supreme knowledge of the opening theories, skillful handling of difficult positions, and ever present tactical alertness make him a deadly opponent; I have never played anyone as good as he is. Sometimes when we play a game, I feel as if I am not just fighting another chess player, but Chess itself.

One day I asked him for some guidance, and this is what he said:

A healthy, "connected" position is the basis of all things.

Play in harmony with the position. Seek strategic guidance from the pawn structure (e.g. pawn targets, strong squares, spatial advantage in a sector of the board); think of how your plans may change if the pawn structure changes.

Think of how you can generate play/how play will "flow" from your position. Think of the same about your opponent's position. Have an idea of what your next few moves will be (call it an "operation" or "miniplan") if your opponent does nothing to distract you.

Before you move, try to take into account all of your opponent's possible replies that contain an immediate threat. Make a "prediction" of his most likely reply or replies, and how you will probably respond.

Look for multi-purpose moves (e.g. a way to deal with an opponent's threat which also furthers your own play, rather than being purely defensive).

Lose yourself in the game and enjoy the battle of ideas.

As far as Chess advice goes, I would be hard-pressed to find a better one.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Also sounds like a great plan for making life decisions!