Chess Training

James Stripes and Temposchlucker have been on a roll lately, with this blogging theme, and I wanted to offer my own take.

I am trying to analyze positions here and there from a blindfold perspective. I too missed Temposchulker’s easy problem, though rated 1900 because so many missed it. I started out that problem with …BxNa5, and then …Be5 because queen is pinned to pawn. But when I set up the position in my head (which does take a long time for me, since I am somewhat of a baby at this blindfold stuff), then the answer is much quicker to find.

Blindfold, a person is forced to know which squares are open and which squares are closed, and not just rely on temperamental, transitory, visual sight of the board.

TS makes one key assertion which I can’t agree with, but fully understand. He says that their is no time during a game to examine your conscience (fully). While this may be true, it’s not at the heart of chess either.

MDLM, IMHO, was successful because of the speed of tactical analysis of his system. He basically made his brain think like a chess computer more or less, and us being his “human” opponents were due to make a tactical mistake somewhere along the line.

Actually, I agree with James that he had mostly stronger players to play against, no lack of stronger opponents, and he kept to his quick tactics regimen. MDLM was really outcome oriented (which means rating-points and prize-money, rather than merely for the enjoyment of studying past masters, etc). Before these “big” prize-money tournaments, you saw how he studied hundreds if not thousands of tactics in a single day (most tactics are more than one move long, so he is also practising his analysis at that rate of speed too). This would be like going to work tomorrow and doing 500%+ more than you would have normally gotten done during that one day of work. And a chess tournament is not your day job, so you only need to keep that up for one or more days. Over the course of a 4 or 5 day tournament, this sort of masochistic practice regimen would have probably clobbered any normal mortal who would be making tired mistakes from Round 2 onwards.

Anyway, I think blindfold and this “memorizing games” suggestion are closely related. It forces one to think about where the pieces are placed on each move. I think that blindfold chess is closer to the “G*d part” of the brain. When visually looking at the board, it’s like a Rorsarcht test, you throw mud at the canvas and see what sticks.” When looking at a position blindfold, you are forced to know where the pieces are and which squares are being controlled. Which squares are being controlled becomes much more of a physical reality when playing blindfold than when one is merely looking at the board and trying to randomly apply their past patterns to the board.

I used to think that because someone became a Master, they could play blindfold. Now, I think it’s more likely that because they can play blindfold that they become a Master. Note that even MDLM didn’t become anything more than a fledgling Expert who quit after his peak result (ratings usually go down after playing “normal” club games after a sort of highly tactically prepped super-tournament result such as he had). MDLM’s rating was very performance driven, as ratings usually are, but not usually to this extreme. Who could normally practice a couple thousand tactics before a tournament, even if they didn’t have a life?

I couldn’t even post anything to TS’s blog because I couldn’t get past his verification procedure. I don’t post to TommyG’s blog for same reason, it won’t let me usually, so it became too much of a hassle to get something posted that usually I couldn’t get to have it posted. It’s insanity if you want my opinion. I let anyone post to his blog, including spam.

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7 thoughts on “Chess Training

  1. Hey LinuxGuy,

    I still always have to put an email and name to post at your blog as well. I am not sure what the difference is. You can just use your wordpress ID at my blog right?

  2. In order to memorize a game, I find it easiest to play through it in my head (i.e. blindfold). So for instance, without reference to a board or other help, here is the game score of my last OTB game (I have White):

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.c3 a6 5.Ba4 d6 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bg5 f6 8.Be3 Nh6 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.h3 Nf7 12.Qxd7+ Qxd7 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nd2 Bh6 15.Bxh6 Nxh6 16.Nc4 Rad8 17.O-O-O+ Ke6 18.Kc2 Nf7 19.Ne3 Nd6 20.f3 Rd7 21.Rd3 Rhd8 22.Rhd1 c6 23.b3 Ke7 24.R1d2 Ke6 25.Rd1 f5 26.exf5 gxf5 27.g4 f4 28.Nf5 Nxf5 29.exf5+ Ke7 30.Rxd7+ Rxd7 31.Rxd7+ Kxd7 32.Kd3 Ke7 33.h4 Kf6 34.Ke4 h5 35.b4! b6 36.c4 a5 37.bxa5 bxa5 38.c5 1-0

    I often remember all or part of OTB games for a few hours or a few days. I played this game the last Sunday of February. Its instructive ending led me to use it in teaching the following weeks, and I committed it to memory. Sometimes while showing it to others, I leave out Black’s 22nd move and my own 23rd, only to discover after the rook exchange that something is wrong in the position.

    A few years ago I sometimes played blindfold chess with one player while playing two other games with the board in front of me. I found it much easier in a quiet room and with a blank chessboard to look at.

  3. In order to memorize a game, I find it easiest to play through it in my head (i.e. blindfold). So for instance, without reference to a board or other help, here is the game score of my last OTB game (I have White):

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.c3 a6 5.Ba4 d6 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bg5 f6 8.Be3 Nh6 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.h3 Nf7 12.Qxd7+ Qxd7 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Nd2 Bh6 15.Bxh6 Nxh6 16.Nc4 Rad8 17.O-O-O+ Ke6 18.Kc2 Nf7 19.Ne3 Nd6 20.f3 Rd7 21.Rd3 Rhd8 22.Rhd1 c6 23.b3 Ke7 24.R1d2 Ke6 25.Rd1 f5 26.exf5 gxf5 27.g4 f4 28.Nf5 Nxf5 29.exf5+ Ke7 30.Rxd7+ Rxd7 31.Rxd7+ Kxd7 32.Kd3 Ke7 33.h4 Kf6 34.Ke4 h5 35.b4! b6 36.c4 a5 37.bxa5 bxa5 38.c5 1-0

    I often remember all or part of OTB games for a few hours or a few days. I played this game the last Sunday of February. Its instructive ending led me to use it in teaching the following weeks, and I committed it to memory. Sometimes while showing it to others, I leave out Black’s 22nd move and my own 23rd, only to discover after the rook exchange that something is wrong in the position.

    A few years ago I sometimes played blindfold chess with one player while playing two other games with the board in front of me. I found it much easier in a quiet room and with a blank chessboard to look at.

  4. Sorry about the second post. If you can delete it, please do so.

    When I comment on chess blogs, I like my name to link to my own chess blog. WordPress does not let me do that because my email account is associated with a WordPress account, while my blog is hosted by Blogger. I’m not wild about linking to my Facebook account with comments, but would be happy if such posts linked to my Chess Skills Blog Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chess-Skills-Blog/164107180340044

    It seems that I have some words to add to the difficulty of posting comments.

  5. Thanks for all these comments! I’ll have to reply more later, but blindfold during the game helps, I think that’s the next level, being able to analyse like that during the game. It’s helping me to look deeper during the game. I was trying to memorize the moves (not the order so much) only to help improve my blindfold understanding of the position.

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