Up on a Soapbox

I learned something playing 15 min/ 10 sec inc on chessdotcom (incidentally, here is the last game I played, flashy finish – taking the Rf6 loses – but I missed a lot too  French Winnawerhttp://www.chessvideos.tv/chess-game-replayer.php?id=110902).  I learned that at a higher level, chess is not really a game as much as an analysis apparatus.  Slow-chess on this site really emphasizes analysis. and endgames, and patience; playing my chess-nemesis Paul A. also achieves this condition.

Chess in the USA is sold as a game, like a blitz battle in the park, luring in kids.  At a higher level, chess is less about a game and more about analysis and decision-making, like some business adventure.  When you play a lot of Class C players and below, you sometimes get that good feeling, like after eating a ding-dong, but you immediately realize it’s empty calories (or worse).  Against lower-rated players, I’ve won “on the board” a lot, and thought that’s what chess was.  Chess is rarely about winning “on the board” for titled players, instead it’s about winning the battle of analysis.  Usually, if the position is within +- 1 on the board, the result will usually side with the player performing the better analysis, not with the player who had the <+1 advantage.  However, in both cases, chess is fun, and that is the part that everyone gets right!  🙂

This video on calculation is awesome!


Here is a blindfold calculation exercise:  http://www.thechessdrum.net/chessacademy/CA_VisionBlindfold2.html

I got 12 of 15 right, even though it said I got only 10.

I got #8 wrong, saw the right answer (knew that move, actually, as a tactical pattern), but thought there was a mate in 1.  Upon realizing I got it wrong I “noticed” that there is a pawn in the way.

I breezed through 11-13 and got #11 wrong because I hurriedly thought it was the Kalishnikov the way I play it, without c4, and so forgot about that pawn.  I got #11 wrong because I mixed up the colors/color to move from the “diagram”, and had thought it was suspiciously too easy at first (actually, it’s even a tricky problem).

This was a better result than I was expecting, as I was able to solve blindfolded, my errors came down to forgetting about a pawn twice, and mixing up the colors/direction in an endgame diagram, which is sometimes easy to do when looking at an endgame diagram visually.  Remembering where pawns are is usually the most important thing you get better at with blindfold practice, so I’d say my result makes perfect sense to me.


2 thoughts on “Up on a Soapbox

  1. Rf6 was good.
    Yes, this video makes it much more “accessible”, I read first about Kotov’s Tree of Analysis 40 years ago, but it always looked complicated to me.

  2. Yes, something like this is mostly for practice.

    The most important thing in chess is holding a tenable position. I’m going through Mikhail Tal’s Life and Games right now, and I noticed that he gets at least a roughly equal position before going in for his sacs. Like maybe he plays a sac that could be close to -1, but OTB it seems he thought it would work, and he’s not doing the sac til like move 18, so it’s more a matter of style. The position is usually so complicated that he outplays everyone in the complications because that’s his strength and style.

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