"...a Chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Adolf Anderssen Project

I think one of my most glaring weaknesses in chess is a lack of attacking ability.  I think in some ways this is quite crucial because I believe attacking to be one of the most fundamental skills in chess aside from making safe moves.  I think this because really it's the point of many other skills.  That is many times, the value of accumulating other advantages is that it should give you a good attack.  However, if you aren't skillful at attacking then those advantages will go to waste.  Think of the dictum that when you have the advantage you not only have the opportunity but also the obligation to attack.

I also am interested in studying chess through historical games.  However, to study Kasparov's games is for me quite futile unless I have a thorough commentary.  On the other hand, to study the early players is more reasonable.  I would like to proceed gradually through chess history.  Right now combining this with the above.  I have decided to make a study of Adolf Anderssen's games as something that seems appropriate and comprehensible to me at my current level.  The hope being that I will learn to attack better by studying examples.

One point I want to make is just that I don't intend to limit myself to masters of attacking play.  Rather, I will try to proceed with the development of the game as much as possible.  So I look forward to studying Steinitz for example when I get there, and on.

Another thing I would like to do is to memorize some famous games.  I think having the games stored in memory is an interesting idea.  For one it gives practice with visualization.  I also think holding such models in the mind is productive for our brains to digest ideas.  So I will try to memorize the "Immortal" and the "Evergreen" games.

So far in the last couple of days I have studied about 10 Anderssen games.  Some more carefully than others.  My goal would be to go through and annotate them as much as possible, examining moves I don't understand and trying to bring out the tactical ideas that I am able to see.  I am sure that I will miss plenty of things.  However, I think these games are easily comprehensible enough that I will still be rewarded.

Of course, I have a very long history of coming up with exactly these kinds of great projects and then failing to follow through but let's see what happens.


  1. It certainly sounds like an interesting project. One suggestion might be to make at least one blog post a week on the results. When training or working on a long-term goal, having an objective, external component helps keep yourself honest and engaged.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree with you. I was thinking about including posts to the blog as part of it but haven't quite decided how. I think I was leaning toward maybe annotating a game a day and posting it. We'll see how it goes.

  3. I was looking at your last game and i read here that you want to get better in attack. Here some suggestions:

    If you want to attack then you need to get a good share of the center. An opposit center pawn in your own half of the board is almost never good!
    You need to create more pressure = you attack more pieces than your opponent. You may try the attack training of chessgym.net and compare the number of attacked pieces at both sides to get a feeling for that.
    In general you have better attacking chances if you pieces are closer to your opponents side , a knight at g1 puts preassure to nothning but at e5 he makes a lot of pressure ( f7,d7,...)
    Usually you need a local superiority of the material ( you have more pieces at one side of the board than your opponent ) and that should usually be at the side where you have more space.

    So look: where you have more space, maneuver your pieces there and put push them close to your opponents side..