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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Odds and Ends

I've had some various distractions and troubles keeping me from the kind of training I would optimally like to do, but on the other hand, I have been doing chess stuff every day, so it's not too bad.

For a time we were in Europe.  In Budapest I got this nice hand-carved wooden chess set which I am pretty happy with.

Lately, I've been playing over the games from the Zurich 1953.  I am using both Bronstein's book and Najdorf's which is quite interesting as the commentaries rarely overlap and so you get two different views of each game.  I also think that going over the games twice myself really gives me more of a chance to see things and ask questions about the game.  These games don't really fit in with the attacking chess ideas that I have been studying but they are quite interesting and I am enjoying the experience quite a bit.

As far as the attacking chess goes I am wanting to get back to that as a focus of my study.  Not to the exclusion of all else but maybe as the primary focus of my study time.  On the other hand, I still think training in the form of tactics and mate puzzles are the best for me right now.  But, I don't want to kill my enjoyment of the game.  I do enjoy tactics puzzles and mates but if that's all I am doing I will tend to get a bit bored.  I like to learn about other aspects of the game.

Another thing is I've been viewing chesslecture.com lectures and can quite recommend them.  In particular I have watched some Valeri Lilov videos on attacking chess, and Jesse Kraai videos as well as reading his chess novel "Lisa".  (I recommend it, and enjoyed reading it, but it's not super amazing, just pretty good).  One thing he emphasizes is doing the mate in 2 problems from Laszlo Polgar's massive work.  Not every day but fairly often I do an hour's worth of these.  I think this goes along with the attacking chess theme because you need to be able to finish the job :)

Another thing I am trying to do is work some more endgame study into my routine.  Another thing Jesse Kraai recommended was learning the Bishop plus Knight vs Lone King checkmate.  I spent some time working on it yesterday, reading the relevant sections in "Pandolfini's Endgame Course" and the brief write up in Dvoretsky, then I spent a good while trying to practice against the computer.  The results were not good.  I will have to spend some more time learning this.  If anyone knows a good tutorial on this it would be appreciated.  I know chess.com has a video on this topic but I am no longer a paying member.  Other than that, I am trying to do some of the problems from Polgar's "Chess Endgames" book which is pretty cool and starts pretty simply so the problems aren't too challenging at the beginning.

On the playing front, I got a new regular partner to play with.  I also want to step up my playing and get more games in.  Of course I mean long time control.  Right now I am in three tourneys on chess.com for slow time control games. That's a good source, but still not really as much as I would optimally like to play.

I also started back to taking lessons from Rabren an IM on ICC whose rates are quite reasonable.  I like his method which is primarily to analyze my games with me.  The only negative is that I feel some pressure to play enough high quality games to provide material for the lessons.  The main problem with this is that even with long time controls a lot of the games are decided by blunders of either my opponent or me which most of the time ruins the game for serious analysis.


  1. There is a third book about the turnament Z├╝rich 53 from max Euwe : Schach-Elite im Kampf ( http://www.amazon.de/Schach-Elite-im-Kampf-Max-Euwe/dp/B0000BN6O8 ) but it is in German
    If you want to see chessvideos: look at youtube there are millions
    for example here : https://www.youtube.com/user/STLChessClub/videos

  2. I believe Stahlberg also wrote a tournament book.

    My German is not great. I can work through many of the German language game commentaries in the chessbase megabase but I'm not sure how I would do with a tournament book. It's probably worth a try sometime since it's kind of a two for one proposition. I get to work on both my language skills and my chess skills.