Mind is much more powerful than you think

Mind is much more powerful than you think

Your mind is much more powerful than you thinkYour mind is much more powerful than you think – It works the way it wants till you wake up.

Mind is the magical wand that fulfills all your desires. You will be amazed at the potential of your mind. Its ability to absorb, analyze and use any such information at the appropriate times, is what makes it effective in completing a complex task.

So is it that simple to just train the mind and achieve success? Maybe it is the secret… ?

Nothing could be further than the truth. Or rather the complete truth.

Mind is much more powerful than you think

The fact is that our brain is intrinsically lazy and mechanically wants to shut out hard work. So anytime you want to do any thing that involves the brain you tend to yawn and feel sleepy.

It is the mind’s way of telling you – ” Hey dude! I think we can take a small nap instead of doing this boring stuff.” And you feel that you are tired and ought to sleep instead of doing that work at that time.

However try this small experiment and see what happens. Start doing something that is not demanding for your mind (to work) – like watching a good movie or listening to music. You will see that you are back to the normal alertness that you are accustomed to daily.

So the trick is to make the mind believe that your work is interesting instead of tedious/boring. And that can be only brought about by approaching all such work in a passionate way.

Here are some tips that will stop that ‘yawn’:

1. See through the noise.

This means that whenever your mind wants to sleep think if you are really sleepy or is the mind playing any trick. Even though the topic is interesting for you (that is why you are reading this article in the first place), you are unable to stay focused  and this implies you don’t find the study interesting. Instead go for a more interactive way to deal with the topic like listening to a video about that topic or in the case of Chess, trying doing some online play for a few minutes.

2. Feeling drowsy after having food? 

Your mind is much more powerful than you think

Eat dry fruits daily for better energy levels the whole day.

If you are experiencing such a problem, try to rest for 15 minutes soon after lunch/dinner. That will not just help you rejuvenate your mind, but will also prevent any time loss. Try to optimize your food in such a way that it does not lead to drowsiness such as:

  • Avoid excessive fat and carbohydrate content and choose something that will keep you active for the duration that you want to study.
  • Do not overeat under any circumstances. Large meals can cause severe drowsiness, as your body takes blood energy from your brain and other functions to engage in digesting your food in the stomach. It’s a delicate balance. Eat less, not enough energy to keep your brain effective; eat more, get all sluggishness, digesting that food.
  • More of salads and fruit slices to provide micro-nutrients. Especially the dry fruits that are healthy like walnut, almonds, figs etc.
  • Sprouts are good too but in the breakfast time.

3. Choose that subject that interests you more.

That will also help you save some time so that you can study the less interesting subjects when you are really active and can manage long hours without getting sleepy. A boring subject will only make you yawn more. And in that case you need to see if the mind is really feeling sleepy or if it is playing any tricks on you.

4. Exercise can also affect how you feel.

If you can exercise regularly, then this can help you maintain energy levels naturally, but again, watch your eating as you may have a large meal because exercising makes you feel hungry, but you are using up more energy to digest it, and this may lead to a sleepy lazy feeling. The trick is in making small bursts of food eating and satisfying your hunger pangs in moderation.

5. Sleep well.

Quality sleep is more important. If you do get enough sleep, but you don’t get good quality sleep then this will also make you sleepy during the day. The reasons for lack of quality sleep are

  • A small amount of light in the room.
  • You are watching TV or computer just before going to bed.
  • You are eating too close to bedtime.
  • You are thinking about too many things so your brain is keeping you semi-conscious thinking about many things.
  • You are overweight / have a genetic predisposition to snoring.

Mind is much more powerful than you thinkResearch has found that sleep and wakefulness are not two different states. They have a gradual overlap, and if you are feeling sleepy in the daytime, then your brain is wanting to go into ‘self repair’ mode job that it undertakes at night. It is hinting you to give it the time to do so, and if it isn’t allowed to repair it may fail through one of a number of  chronic conditions that are piling up.


So take heed and follow these steps and see your chess pursuits showing positive growth. The changes will be reinforcing and keep persevering till you maintain this process automatically. Truly the Mind is much more powerful than you think


*** Empire Chess is offering a huge discount on digital and hard copies! Make sure you get the deals while they last.

Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis

Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis

Dvoretsky's latest book on the art of prophylaxisThere is always a dearth of quality chess material for training once you climb up the ELO ladder. When my students join they are raw beginners but later I find it difficult to set them challenging tasks as they slowly master the techniques. And therefore I keep looking out for new avenues for training them with. Today I have a reason to be thrilled. I have seen Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis that seems to have come after a long hiatus. Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis is something that most of chess books have been lacking and that is Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources: Developing Preventive Thinking which is by the way the title of Dvoretsky’s new book. 

Victor Kortchnoi once said with great insight If you do not check what your opponent is doing, you will end up complaining about bad luck after every game.

So understanding your opponent’s next move could be or what agenda he is trying to accomplish, is one of the most important core skills required climb up the ELO ladder. It is what makes a difference between a good chess player and a strong chess master.

The reason why many students stagnate is because they are aware of most of the direct methods of attack and will thrive in many a tactical melee, but give them a position where they are at the receiving end of the opponents’ blows, or where the tactics are not yet present on the board, they will be all at sea.


What is special about Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis ?

What is prophylaxis in chess?

I have a 1200 player who attacks ferociously with tactical claws that will tear any ripe position apart. One day when we played a game that was steered into positional waters, he was stuck for 2 hours in getting the best move! I had to reset the clock many times as he was floundering for a move and in exasperation he asked me (after having reset the clock for the 4th time) – “What is the move I must play here, Master?” – to which all I could say was “I think your best move is to resign as I myself do not know how you are going to disentangle from your mess”.

That is the power of prophylactic thinking for you.*

Dvoretsky is known for advocating the art of prophylaxis as a key to mastery in the higher levels of chess playing arena. To put it in his own words (Secrets of positional play), Prophylaxis or prophylactic thinking is “the habit of constantly asking yourself what the opponent wants to do, what he would play if it were him to move, the ability to find an answer to this question and to take account of it in the process of coming to a decision.”

Coming to the book under review – Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources is a collection of problems with underlying theme of prophylaxis. 

Dvoretsky is very famous for his classical books that are considered as must-read for those beyond 2000 ELO upto 2400 ELO. In this book, Dvoretsky embarks on a classical but neglected training on this theme, with high-quality training material for independent analysis. 


Contents of the book – on the subtle art of prophylaxis

Each chapter has a introductory theoretical section followed by plenty of exercises, from easy to difficult. Each chapter begins with a small explanation on the chapter’s theme, and this is followed by positions for solving with their solutions.

This book consists of four chapters, all dealing with identifying what your opponent’s next move or moves could be. They are:

  1. Pay Attention to Your Opponent’s Resources (180 problems).
  2. The Process of Elimination (106 problems).
  3. Traps (36 problems)
  4. Prophylactic Thinking (154 problems)

To summarize –

The best part is that among the approximately 500 exercises, there are opening, middlegame and endgame positions. This provides you with challenges in searching for a move and calculating variations as per the given pointers, that will help you at any stage of the game, be it the opening or the middlegame or the Endgame scenario.

The crux of the book is the solutions offered for the training position which are very detailed, as is typically expected of Dvoretsky’s work. Throughout the book, the author guides us by leading us through the schematic thinking for a solution in each position, to show how a player can come to the right choice of move at the board.


Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources is a must buy as it comes from the master himself. I suggest going through this book with your student if you are a Coach or Trainer – this will open up a few hidden insights in his/her chess brain.

*I keep harping on positional play many times and prophylaxis is my main forte while playing with some upstart students, as it is a complex concept. And whenever they start watering in the mouth with an upcoming tactical warfare and an impending win over me, I pull the plug, and play positionally to get the grip back. That way I enjoy the looks on their face when they hit a wall. This actually makes them understand that tactics has to coupled with positional concepts for chess mastery.

Order Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis from the Bookdepository if you are in the UK.

 



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Chess Openings – how to study – for beginners

Chess Openings – how to study – for beginners

Chess Openings - how to study - for beginnersQuestion: Hi Coach @GoldenChess! I’m a newbie in the chess scene and am from Madipakkam (near Nanganallur) in Chennai. I have a problem and that is – Chess Openings – how to study – for beginners especially. The doubt is: should I study all the major openings and if so which ones do I have to study as priority?

To be more specific, my concern is – I am very familiar about the Sicilian but after 1. e4 if my opponents do not play any Sicilian line but takes me into an unknown territory that I can’t manage, what must I do ?

Do I have to study all the openings in this case ?

Last week somebody advised me that I have to study the openings that fit my playing style. What is your take on this?

Thanks for all you tips! – Aadhithya (age 15)


 

Hi Aadhithya – First of all, I guess that your question is basically about building your White repertoire. In the long run, if you are serious about improving your chess, the answer is – yes! Hard work does pay. For example – you may start with 1.d4 and play the Colle system – or the Sicilian Grand Prix with 1.e4 as white. But there is every possibility that you will soon feel bored with that opening.

Also, after a few games, your opponents will start coming up with new tricks and ideas. To deal with that, you have to work harder… and smarter.

But – and that is a big ‘but’ – more than that, knowing key tactical ideas and motifs, and basic endgame positions helps a lot.

Being new to the chess scene doesn’t demand a lot of opening theory knowledge so spend less time on openings but don’t avoid it completely.

While studying Chess openings, pick up a nice annotated games collection that covers opening principles along the way, such as Chernev’s Logical Chess: Move by Move or a lighter reading like Understanding the Chess Openings


Chess Openings – how to study – for beginners (or how not to study!)

Chess Openings - how to study - for beginnersWhat openings you choose is up to you, and depends on your goals in chess and your personal tastes. So if you are already rated 1800 or thereabouts, you can pick theoretical lines to build your repertoire and polish it everyday.

However if you are lower rated – you said you are a newbie so I assume you are a post-beginner – then you need to only understand and remember the major lines in a selective set of openings and more importantly, improve your middlegame understanding.

Try completing the combination books selected from this link from Amazon.

Note however that you will not have a ‘style‘ of play until you have a quite decent understanding of the game by which I mean 2200 elo rating.

Until then you don’t have a style – what you have is a collection of responses and weaknesses.


Chess Openings - how to study - for beginnersSo in summary

  • Study only the important openings that you will play and encounter and choose the 4 or 5 common variations of that opening, to begin with by reading books by the great Grandmaster of the past (I have listed some suggestions below).
  • Play them regularly with friends or at online chess playing sites such as Chesscube.com, Chess.com,  ICC or Playchess (ChessBase).
  • Try playing with chess software like Lucas Chess (read a good review here)
  • Don’t hesitate to change openings if you feel you are not enjoying it.
  • Don’t waste your time on off-beat openings that are not important, you are not a master yet and
  • I suggest to really master tactics by doing them daily on a real chess board rather than openings for your age and level because you will lose mainly by tactics and not because of the minimal advantage that was gained by that uncommon variation.

Book Suggestions: I suggest you to get a few books that are a collection of GM games annotated by the Grandmaster himself and go through them with your coach or another player who is stronger than you.

An example list:

My Chess Career – Jose Raul Capablanca (for Intermediates)
Alexander Alekhine’s Best Games – Alexander Alekhine (For Intermediates – constant revision)
One Hundred Selected Games – Mikhail Botvinnik (For advanced intermediates)
Smyslov’s 125 Selected Games – Vassily Smyslov (For Intermediates)
The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal (For advanced intermediates)
My 60 Memorable Games – Bobby Fischer (For advanced intermediates)
Bent Larsen´s Best Games – Bent Larsen (For Intermediates and constant revision)
I Play Against Pieces – Svetozar Gligoric (For advanced intermediates)

 

I have avoided providing the latest Grandmaster’s book list as the above list of older books gives a good understanding of an opening’s evolution. These books will discuss about the opening plans and ideas and that will be a good foothold to begin with. I hope I have answered your question on Chess Openings – how to study – for beginners


Once a grasp of these ideas are absorbed in place, we can then continue our learning with the later day Grandmaster’s books such as those by Shirov, Anand, Gelfand, Karpov and Kasparov.


In addition to this list, there are older annotated tournaments with analysed games in book format that are classics such as:

Alekhine’s New York 1924,

Bronstein – Zurich 1953 Najdorf’s Zurich 1953 The Hague-Moscow 1948: Match / Tournament for the World Chess Championship

These above 4 suggestions are only for helpful additional reading and are not absolutely necessary if you are not very inclined for self study.

Why is self study important?


If you like videos you may try Roman Dzindihashvili’s collection in this regard. He is one author who works wonders for ‘beginners’ understanding.


Additionally, I would request you to share some of your OTB (On the Board) games  or online games to make this discussion more meaningful.


 

Do drop in at Golden Chess Centre at Nanganallur (Chennai) and we will see how to guide you in your self study.For others who have found my suggestions useful why not visit my Facebook page and follow it by liking it so that you can be notified for more such articles like this?


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Power of the common Pawn – Chennai (Tiger) Express

Power of the common Pawn – Chennai (Tiger) Express

Power of the common Pawn – Chennai (Tiger) Express

 

Power of the common PawnThis was one brilliant game of technique played by Vishy Anand, that shows how positional understanding is the foundation of all tactics. Its not often you get to see a game that literally keeps you mesmerized. There was some inefficiency by Wesley So but that does not take the credit away from Anand. A champion has to be brave and this is what Anand demonstrated – he showed the Power of the common Pawn today in Shamkir 2015.

The 2nd Vugar Gashimov Memorial took place in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Shamkir from 17th to 26th April 2015. The participating players were: Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Viswanathan Anand, Anish Giri, Wesley So, Vladimir Kramnik, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Adams Michael and Mamedov Rauf.

Magnus Carlsen won the 2nd Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir, Azerhaijan with 7/9 a point clear of Viswanathan Anand.  However Vishy produced some of his best games here and notable is this one as told earlier.

Carlsen finished a point ahead of Viswanathan Anand who had an interesting event. Anand was also impressive as he remained undefeated, though he also had ample chances to win against his arch nemesis Carlsen in the first round.

We can learn how chess is played from up-there. The perspectives are sure to raise your understanding and your elo too. A game that I liked a lot is shown below.

A brutal technical win over Wesley So by the Chennai Tiger Vishy Anand. It was all about endgame finesse and understanding. And the Power of the common man, er… the common pawn.

[Event “Vugar Gashimov Mem 2015”]
[Site “Shamkir AZE”]
[Date “2015.04.21”]
[Round “5.2”]
[White “Anand, Viswanathan”]
[Black “So, Wesley”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C77”]
[WhiteElo “2791”]
[BlackElo “2788”]
[Annotator “Kish”]
[PlyCount “89”]
[EventDate “2015.04.17”]
[SourceDate “2015.02.07”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. Nc3
d6 9. a3 Nb8 10. Ng5 $5 Nc6 {[%csl Gd4,Rg5][%cal Rc6d4,Gf3g5,Yd4f3] Taking
advantage of teh fact that the Knight on f3 is missing in action albiet
temporarily.} 11. Ba2 Nd4 12. Ne2 {Exchanging the Opponent’s active piece.}
Nxe2+ 13. Qxe2 h6 {The courage of a chess player. A very intuitional sacrifice
(that happens only when you look at the position from a bird’s eye view) and
one that is purely positional rather than tactical. Wonder what the engines
must be thinking about this move. It is what I call a human-like move!} 14. f4
$5 hxg5 (14… exf4 {seems to be an idea for another day. However I think
Anand must have simply moved back the Knight to f3.} 15. Nxf7 (15. Bxf4 hxg5
16. Bxg5 $19 {Seems to be bad for White.}) (15. Nh3 $13 Bxh3 16. gxh3) 15…
Rxf7 16. Bxf7+ Kxf7 17. Bxf4 {Nothing tangible for White again. So there seems
to be a lot of ways where Black could have kept White subdued}) 15. fxg5 {
Pawns on the 5th rank and beyond, are powerful and work almost like a piece in
terms of strength. That is what makes a player stand out when he can
understand the fluid nature of how the power-balance can shift subtly.} Ng4 $6
{What is that Knight doing?} 16. g6 {There goes the battering Ram! This pawn
is on steroids and seems unstoppable! That is the ‘Power of the common pawn’.}
Bg5 $5 (16… Nh6 $5) 17. h3 $1 {At first sight this looks like a move that is
kicking the Knight. Look deeply and you will see that the h-pawn is raring to
join its friend on g6! This li’l fella is planning for the future!} (17. Bxf7+
Rxf7 18. gxf7+ Kf8 {gets nothing for White!}) 17… Bxc1 18. Raxc1 Nh6 19. Qh5
$1 {The Queen comes in for the kill. A menacing move that takes adv of the
power of White’s active pieces.} Be6 20. Bxe6 fxe6 21. g4 {There is that pawn
rush to attck and soften Black’s fortress. Poor Black is helpless even though
he is a piece up.} c6 $6 {Anand thought this was a mistake during the press
conference as I guess it is not doing anything about the impending aftermath.}
22. Rxf8+ Qxf8 23. Rf1 Qe7 24. g5 Rf8 25. gxh6 Rxf1+ 26. Kxf1 Qf8+ 27. Ke2 $1 {
No more checks!} gxh6 {Subtle pawn play by White. Conversion from this
position is an entire game altogether. It is here that Anand had to shift
gears and play delicate strokes. No mad rushing here.} 28. Qg4 Qf6 29. h4 d5
30. h5 d4 31. b4 $1 {Bringing the point home. This requires finesse on the
part of the White player.} Kg7 32. Qf3 Qe7 33. Kd1 Kg8 34. Qf2 Kg7 35. c3 dxc3
36. Kc2 Qc7 37. Qc5 Kg8 38. Qe3 a5 39. Qh3 axb4 40. Qxe6+ Kf8 41. axb4 Qa7 42.
Kxc3 Qa3+ 43. Kc2 Qa4+ 44. Qb3 Qa7 45. d4 1-0

 

Never under-estimate the Power of the common Pawn !


Further Reading –


Kish Kumar is a passionate Chess player and coach at Golden Chess Centre and loves teaching the various aspects of Chess. When not involved with Chess he is busy life-coaching! Connect with him here 🙂

Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess – hacking your chess brain.

Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess – hacking your chess brain.

Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess – hacking your chess brain. Why esoteric? Because it was not known publicly till now. And why hacking? Because we are using action instead of passive knowledge. And why are using this book to hack our chess training? Read more…


For whom is this article useful: For aspiring chess players with a penchant to learn new techniques. Not for the beginners and children below 7 years. Also for coaches who believe in trying new techniques.

Why only Chess Informant books: Any good book will do but my experience with the Informant was first-hand so I can speak with confidence and honesty. Also I believe that they have an edge as they have only the fresh and latest games for every quarter publication.

What will you gain: You will save a lot of time. You will hack your learning technique to climb faster in the ELO ladder. These may not have been mentioned in any book, atleast none that I know of.


So let’s get started with the esoteric art of learning chess

 

Chess Informant - the Esoteric Art of Chess Training

If you are here reading my blog post, you are a chess player on the path of improvement (atleast not a non-chess player, since all chess, players like to learn to improve their game). In addition, if you have been in the chess field for some time, you must have come to know or heard about the word ‘Informant’ or ‘Informator’ in the Chess book scene. Chances are you might have even glanced at the book in a tournament stall and either took a few minutes to go through it by flipping a few pages, or looked at the pictures and thought that it was a niche book for a thoroughbred professional – who was up there in the 2500 rating range which you were/are not. You might have even thought of quitting chess, if this was what you were going to be taught when you became stronger.

How wrong and misinformed you could be, (or I was…) !?

However, I won’t blame you for this. That is the initial impression that I had too, when I saw it, some 18 years ago. So I must start with a revelation here.

My actual chess improvement started only after I had included the informant in my regular chess discussions and coaching classes, some 15 years ago – when I was aspiring to come to terms with not just the opening stages of the game, but almost everything that was problematic: my repertoire, my Strategy, my tactical skills and my endgames.

On hindsight, I am wondering why I did not look at this book when I started seriously researching about innovative chess training!

Here are my suggestions – Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess :

Chess Informant - Art of Esoteric Chess Training 1. People learn from mistakes and smart people learn from others’ mistakes.

Don’t make the same mistake as I did. Therefore, if you are a 1200 – 1500 player, I suggest you to look at these informant books with your trainer, in a way that suits your playing strength as outlined below.
I will be detailing my experiences with these informants and if you follow me you may be able to save some time and remove some misconceptions in the way.

Chess Informant - the esoteric art of learning chess2. Myth – Too many variations and diagrams that look like a PhD thesis submission.

First, take a deep breath. And do as I say.

Look at the diagrams one by one. Now look at the move printed below it. Usually this move would be given a symbol of either a ‘!!’ or a ‘!’ or in rare cases a ‘!?’. That is where the fun starts. Go to a real chessboard and stick up the position as you see it in the diagram. DO NOT worry about the game or annotations for now. Fire your brain’s neurons and understand why that move was considered GM class. This is where a good coach comes in.

Warning: When I first did so, I made the mistake of looking at the diagrams and then blindly looked at the continuation given in the book. And I thought that was enough. I was partially right – since I was initially learning at a rapid pace. Then when I hit a wall I came back and chewed the positions again, this time slowly.

Chess Informant esoteric training3. The secret on how to really juice up the esoteric chess knowledge from such diagrams:

They will measure your understanding over a period of time. I found that these diagrams were there for a purpose, but not all the explanations given in the book will help you.

It depends on your chess understanding or rating range.

In fact, there are no verbal explanations; only moves and these moves only skimmed the surface of the chess ocean. They were/are like a guidepost for the reader – to help him when he re-visited the book, after a period of time. In my case, I remember I found one strange fact EVERY single time I revisited the diagram:

I was able to see NEW layers of Chess wisdom each time I saw these diagrams.

The secret was that I got to see a new facet of chess knowledge every time I saw these diagrams. It was as though, whenever I added knowledge to my brain my eyes were endowed with special vision lenses. I could see a new layer of hitherto hidden information portrayed in these diagrams, whenever my brain absorbed stuff and my knowledge increased.

Words will not be able to describe this phenomenon, but you will understand where I am coming from, when you sit down and do as I did. In your case, I suggest a revisit after 2-4 months. You will notice that the diagrams speak a new language after such hiatus.

 

Chess Informant - the esoteric art of chess learning4. Listen to the book and the positions, at first. Each position is a story by itself.

Now when you do read the moves succeeding the diagram you will notice that they do not always mention what you discovered on your second sitting or third sitting. At best, they will tell you what is obvious initially, atleast for an approximately 1900 + rated player to see. And that, is because if they catered to all rating ranges then they would miss the quality of analysis.

learning5. One size cannot fit all. It is up to us to choose what we want from the ocean of chess treasure.

In other words if you are a 2000 ELO player reading these Informants you will not see the diagrams similar to the way a 1500 rated player sees. To explain it further – If you are rated say 1500, just ask a 1200 player what he sees in any diagram. Almost invariably, he will say something that is elementary for you.

************************************************************************************

If you are stagnating in chess I suggest you to read my previous article – Secrets of Positional Chess

And if you need a dose of motivation for chess training – Separating the wood from the trees.

************************************************************************************

Bottomline:

If you are interested in shoring up some hidden techniques, practice the Chess Informant – the esoteric art of learning chess method.

And dig deep.

Any informant will do; for that matter, the more recent ones are better for many other purposes that will be outlined in the later articles. It depends on your chess understanding or rating range. Whatever be your strength or class you will get something of value.

The trick is to innovate your learning. So – hack your learning process with the Informant.

Order your copy of Chess Informant 126 here
Order your copy of Chess Informant 125 here
Order your copy of Chess Informant 124 here.
Order your copy of Chess Informant 123 here.
Order your copy of Chess Informant 122 here.


If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or any experience to share, I am always willing to hear them. My email is ‘chessgolden’ at the rate of Gmail dot com.


*****Empire Chess is offering a huge discount on digital and hard copies! Make sure you get the deals while they last.


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Secrets of Positional Chess Training – 1

Secrets of Positional Chess Training – 1

Secrets of Positional Chess Training – 1

 

secrets of positional chess training

In this series of posts I will be discussing about the secrets of positional chess training and why you must care for it as much as tactics and endgames. For those of you who have not read my article – An excellent positional sacrifice, I strongly recommend you to read it before proceeding further. 

How to increase positional chess knowledge?

if you are below 1600 FIDE rating, I would suggest focusing solely on tactics, tactics and tactics, and everything I’m about to say is not applicable until you’ve improved more.

So, if you’re over 1600, and mostly satisfied with your tactics, but too often you end up having no clue what to play next. Then what?

Now you need to know about about the imbalances in chess – how they affect your game, and how to take advantage of them by manipulating the factors.

This means learning about endgames, as having the favorable positional advantages will usually help converting into a favorable endgame.

This is a lengthy topic, far too large to explain in one article; fortunately, there are good books and resources out there. The best books for learning the basics of both of endgames and the middlegame are by Jeremy Silman.

Harvesting the positional weaknesses present in the opponent’s position requires deep strategic understanding.

What is Strategic Chess Understanding?

This strategic understanding comprises of two elements:

  1. Awareness of positional factors such as effective piece placements, quality of pawn structure and safety of the King
  2. Generation of ideas or plans to make use of these factors.

Foundation of positional chess training

Here, the first step is to build a base of understanding. That is where the part of a coach comes in and also a good criteria how a good coach can be identified. The base of understanding has to be built from the basics of endgames.

Start with

Pawn Structures

King and pawn endings,

Rook endings

Minor piece endings

Queen endings

and then the meat of the middle game, which comprises of

Chess dynamics.


Secrets of positional chess training – Combination of hard and smart work

When we talk of Chess dynamics, thematic attacks and configurations are what an aspiring player needs to be given.

I am referring to an aspiring player who has mastered the basic tactical motifs like pin, skewer, fork etc.

At this stage he is like a aspiring chef who has just learnt the magic of making a tasty recipe; his true test would come when he is able to juggle with the resources present in the refrigerator, that too with a sudden unexpected onset of guests to his home.

Here confidence also plays a vital role in bridging the gap between rote-knowledge and skill-knowledge. The trick here is to convert rote-knowledge into skill based on repetition and familiarity, by constant practical applications.

Merely knowing how to bake a cake doesn’t make one a good baker. Doing it properly when time demands makes one an expert; similarly in chess winning consistently and properly, makes one a GM.

In later articles I will be expanding on many techniques to accentuate this bridging of knowledge. So I request you to follow me on regular basis.

Pillars of positional chess training

The next step is to build familiarity by constant revision and repetition of information. This is the most hallowed part of chess training regimen.

It is here where many people stumble, fall or stop altogether. Some players skip this entire process due to wrong assumptions and false guidance. I cannot stress enough the importance of this revision process and there are many ways it can be done.

For example, take the case of tabiya’s, when we first learn a new plan of attacking the castled king or mating the the uncastled king we tend to look at a few model games. The trick is not only about remembering this plan but also being able to execute when favorable configurations arise on the board.

And doing so also requires a confidence which needs to be built slowly over time.

Ready for the test drive?

The final stage is executing a move taking into consideration the above discussed factors under test conditions such as time pressure situations or high-stake scenario. This is the true test of chess understanding.

Obviously, the initial routines are difficult and test our dedication. And this is what separates the masters from the amateurs.

⇒ Keeping yourself motivated – Separating the wood from the trees!

Part 2 of this article will discuss in detail the various aspects of Positional Chess and related glossary.


The Author Kish Kumar is a coach at Golden Chess Centre and is passionate about teaching Chess to beginners, intermediate level and advanced players.

 


 

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