When Priorities and Desires Change.
Have you ever wanted something really bad and after some time, not so much?
When we were just children we had many small desires like buying a comic, a doll or a toy, and we nagged our parents really bad. As teenagers, we wanted to be highly popular and admired by all, an intensity that you may all still retrieve when you see your child doing the same or see your old school pics. Sure enough this desire to be popular, starts to ebb by the beginning of college years. So my thoughts started on what to do When Priorities and Desires Change. How to understand yourself ? How best to aim our desires in a positive direction and focus especially in the game we all love so much – Chess?
So yeah, our desires and their importance fade with time. For example, I am sure as teens, we day-dreamed about a fabulous looking partner. Then came the desire for passionate and intense partners. Even this disappears, albeit to muffled tones at times. Isn’t it a funny thing to talk about when we discuss the way our desires shift or diminish with time?
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When Priorities and Desires Change.
Desire may be hugely interpreted as the push and pull of hormones and that is a conception that many of us have been having for a long time. However in due course of time, people understand that their lives are defined by striving for excellence, when we see other successful people and wish we had done something worthwhile when there was still time. Not that we have any shortage of time now but then at age 30 or 40 the enthusiasm fades off for the majority of us.
Everything happens in auto pilot mode and we enter the cocoon of routine.
Additionally, there is another problem that we as chess players, face. We have always wanted to be skillful at many things. We climb up the rating ladder. And after working hard to achieve some chess expertise, we have something called ‘stagnation’ creeping in. We now stop engaging in the activities as such, and this makes me wonder if we would have loved the process as much equally, as if the success we found, was easier to attain. I am also guilty of such stagnations in my life and it takes a great effort to come out of it alone.
Does desire equals a love for the process, for the journey or the attainment of the goal?
With things we never had, it’s harder to find out whether the desire will reduce with time, but core desires are much akin to the desire for love and happiness than the desire to master a skill, which is less of the heart and more of the mind matter – controlled by conscious thinking.
When asked during an interview how he managed to reach the top as a professional Chess Grandmaster, Botvinnik replied with a single word, “Desire!”
All great success ultimately begins with just a small idea, a seed, so to speak, but what makes ideas become reality, is the fuel of human desire. Just an idea alone can give you a temporary feeling of inspiration, but a burning wanting desire is what gets you through all the perspiration necessary to overcome the numerous obstacles along the path.
One secret to overcome stagnation is Clarity – or – refinement of desires. This comes from contrasting experiences, so if you want more clarity, invite more of the new by embracing and accepting new experiences. This is especially crucial for people in their teens and 20s. Your brain learns a lot from experience. If you lack any new experience, then how can your brain know its most important calling? Of course it cannot — you need to train it more.
How are you supposed to discover your favorite hobbies if you do the equivalent of doing just one chore every day? How are you going to discover your favorite food(s) if you are eating the same diet, every single day?
So my suggestion to you when Priorities and Desires change is – do anything and everything if it’s totally new to you.
Like playing a blitz game if you have never played it before or playing a slow time control if you not done it earlier.
The benefit is that you’ll give your brain a lot of experiences to compare and contrast. This will help you choose and fix your tastes.
Then the desire to learn will be long lasting and new everyday, every time.
Rethink about the ambitions/goals you’ve set for yourself. (You have set goals, haven’t you? If not, then do set them first). Before fixing your priorities and goals answer the following and act accordingly:
- How committed are you to achieving these targets?
- Under what conditions would you call it quits?
- What if you could significantly increase your desire to achieve these targets?
- What if you wanted them so badly that you would never ever give up chasing those targets?
When you are truly 100% committed to attaining your targets/goals, you move from doubt to knowing for sure. If you want something really bad, then quitting is simply out of your mind.
You either discover a way or make your own path to reach there. You are ready to pay the price, whatever it takes to reach your destination.
Some hugely inspiring books that have motivated me on my path –
The author Kish Kumar is a trainer and Coach at Golden Chess Centre. He can be contacted via his Facebook page.
Note: The links in this page are affiliate links.
Learning from Chess Champions and World Chess Championships
Question from VM: I have a doubt regarding learning from Chess Champions and World Chess Championships. Reading all games from world champion is really time consuming process and also tough to understand without the help of annotations. Also many opening lines played before are dropped at high level due to suggested improvements by chess engines. Do you still recommend it? If so what is the order to read? Are there any sites that have world champions games annotated (or at least all world championship games games annotated). What learning process can we can follow (for 1800 player) – VM (Coach and player).
Answer: Whoa! That was a beautiful questionnaire raised by you VM! In fact if I understood you correctly, it has four questions embedded in it.
- Is it a recommended practice (even nowadays) to look at annotated games of World Chess Champions and Championship matches given the fact that many old points of analysis have taken a change with new lines overtaking the old ones?
- What is the order to read/look at World Chess Champions games?
- What learning process would one have to follow if he/she is around 1800 rated chess player?
- Are there any Websites that have these games with annotations?
Before I jump into my suggestions – keep in mind that more books have been written on Chess than all other sports and games combined!
And even though I have approximately 2000 to 3,000 chess books, some of my friends have far more than that! In fact, my collection is considered to be just average!
Okay… but why I am talking about this here?
Just to drive home a point that chess is not dogmatic and fixed – in parameters. There is so much diversity, that it is mind-boggling.
And since you asked from a 1800 rated player’s point of view I will suggest answers based on that point of view.
Question # 1: Is it a recommended practice (even nowadays) to look at annotated games of World Chess Champions and Championship matches given the fact that many old points of analysis have taken a change with new lines overtaking the old ones?
Answer: Depends on your objective. First off, a few basic facts so that you and I are on the same platform of understanding.
At at 1800 Fide Rating you will be pretty decent tactically and also have a decent idea of strategy in action as far as your repertoire is concerned. So if your interest in World Champions is merely for documentation purpose then by all means go through their games in chronological order – or – as per your favorite players list.
Opening lines may change but middlegame/endgame ideas and tactical themes will never change.
You said – “Reading all games from world champion is a really time consuming process and also tough to understand without the help of annotations”.
It’s crucial for all chess players to find something that they like, that they are passionate about, and that, they truly enjoy learning and playing Chess and try to become better at that, every single day.
That is how you attain your goals, and so when you choose to look at World Champions for inspiration it is a commendable decision. It may be difficult and time consuming. But it is worth every second when you see the results coming.
So, find your passion, set your goal and make good, healthy choices along the path like learning from Chess Champions and World Chess Championships, and you will find success following you like a shadow.
The way to learn from un-annotated game(s) will be outlined in a later article.
But if you have access to a good source of annotated games such as
My Great Predecessors By Garry Kasparov
Zurich 1953 by Bronstein
Zurich 1953 by Najdorf
then it is easy to understand the advanced strategy of these high level games.
You said – “Also many opening lines played before are dropped at high level due to suggested improvements by chess engines”.
Let’s worry about the high ground when we get there and let’s not worry about the Engines’ suggestions – that can happen when we are beyond 2300.
The Engines may be very strong tactically – they can find the best move in a messy position but they cannot explain why it is a good move!
If you were to blindly follow only the top theory then you will be deeply disappointed when you play against a club player. Because you will be at a loss on what to do in case your opponent deviates from the main lines which is what usually happens in the below 2200 rating ranges.
Coming to Engines suggesting improvements, those suggestions will work well for them not for us humans who cannot play like an engine every time.
So use the Engines with great deliberation – better still to avoid them studiously and leave that to the trainer.
If however your purpose is learning from Chess Champions and World Chess Championships and brush up your thinking abilities in Chess, then why study just just World Champions?
Why not learn from a 25oo rated Grandmaster’s games or a 2300 International Master?
In fact you will be motivated when you are able to solve positions or guess their moves since theoretically you are playing far above your level of understanding. And gain much needed confidence that is essential for chess players.
You will see that even Grandmasters are human and are liable to make mistakes.
So the answer to your first question is a broad yes, with a caveat. That means, to look at only champions’ game may actually deprive you of much needed practice which you strongly need as your opponents may not be GMs or IMs too.
So look for the learning wherever you find it. Don’t restrict yourself to just the cream. After all the GMs have all been there through that path and learnt it the hard way. So you may not be an exception. Of course I am not suggesting you look at games played by players lesser than 1800 or even 2000. I would suggest as a general rule of thumb to look from 2200 upwards.
You can learn from almost every game and everyone above your rating level. But that does not mean that greater the difference the more you can learn! There is a limit to everyone’s grasping power and you need to go step by step.
This way you will be pulling yourself up from a length of 400-500 elo and that will be your GYM Stretching exercise regimen for successful chess muscles.
Question # 2 – What is the order I would suggest to look at World Champion games?
Answer: Very simply put, in the exact chronological order that they were champions. Once more I would suggest looking at the bigger picture, by looking at the top 10 players of every WCC era. It will provide you will all the necessary fodder in your chess training regimen. Prepare a dossier of interesting positions or points of analysis and that will be your ready-reckoner before your next tournament.
For example if you start with Steinitz then also look at (not necessarily in the same order as below).
- Emanuel Lasker
- Mikhail Chigorin
- Harry Pillsbury
- Siegbert Tarrasch
- Wilhelm Steinitz
- Paul Morphy
- Joseph Blackburn
- Louis Paulsen
- Adolf Anderssen
- Johannes Zukertort
The reason I suggest looking at the same chronological sequence of champions is because you will then understand the evolution of Chess thinking, that actually simulates a chess player’s evolution from an amateur to a Master. In those days there was no technical help in the form of computers but trust me, when you look at their games you will wonder how deep they could play.
Question # 3 – What learning process would one have to follow if he/she is around 1800 rated chess player?
Answer: I would suggest that first of all any learning must be consistent. No huge gaps in the schedule and no jumping between books. You can read as many books at a time as you want, but remember to finish them. As far as the learning process is concerned the answer is huge so it warrants a separate article by itself.
Question #4 – Are there any Websites that have these games with annotations?
Answer: The immediate one that comes to my mind is www.pgnmentor.com. You have all the players games listed and you can use a firefox addon like Down them all or Flashgot which helps in downloading all the files from a page automatically.
However to get annotated games you may have to try www.chessgames.com
Bottomline: You can learn from almost every game and everyone. Play against people from all different levels at different time controls from all around the world. It’s when you go beyond the 2300 stratosphere that you will have to change the training schedule and syllabus.
Let me know if you have any further questions about learning from Chess Champions and World Chess Championships or any other points that are unclear! I will try my best to answer you in coming articles.
Some of the books I have enjoyed personally are listed below.
If you like some light reading then why not try – Roman’s series of books?