Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Agony and the Ecstasy

One of the difficulties I have in teaching my son how to play the game, is that I don't have a good enough sense of the absurd. I can't teach him unsound openings, because well they are unsound. And if I can't teach him, then how is he going to get those all to precious wins. How will he learn to beat them?

There is clearly a category of books that are missing. Andrew Martin has a wonderful style for presenting not just the moves of an opening, but the underlying themes and goals of an opening and the tricks and traps along the way. In a very clear spoon fed fashion. The spoon fed stuff, is not bad. It gives you the leg up to truly understand a position. Not to have a bunch of moves thrust at you.

OTB, what this gives you is a set of candidate moves that tend better to be correct. Because you have been shown the goals. Your queen is thematically here, as well as you knights here, and if your opponent threatens to do this, here is how to best reply.

I have learned more about openings in the few hours I have watched him, than at any other time. It truly is brilliant.

But he is a freakin' IM teaching people how to do the right thing. I want him to teach me the Traxler, the Fried Liver and the Elephant Gambit. Give me 12 hours of DVD time on this, and I will be able to instruct my son, we will be able to take on others. Every time I try the fried liver he beats me. I just feel like I am a piece down. I don't have the killer instinct to make these gambits work, or I can't see it. Ah well...

More later!


Blue Devil Knight said...

Do you have Euwe's 'Master vs amateur', which goes over bad moves and explains why they are so bad, in the context of patzer versus master games: it's a 'how does a great player spank a weak player' manual.

The follow up is similar, its sequel is called 'Road to chess mastery' and it is masters versus reasonably good club players (and the, the third in the trilogy is 'master versus master.').

One thing I don't like about his books is that they tend to be a bit too focused on the openings.

Black should win with the Fried liver: it is a bad opening for white. In practice, it is fun for white, but if black keeps his cool he can ultimately take out white.

takchess said...

I agree with bdk about the book as being very helpful. I disagree with him about the Fried Liver as being good for black. It is about even with in my book by Jude Acer says with white having to win the game again. an improvement is the Lolli which is a modified fried liver. But as in most openings the better player/better prepared tends to win. If as black you have never played against it you will get thrown around a little. If at some point you/your son want to play these types of opening and you are on . I would be glad to play whatever elephant, traxler or fried liver. I play as takchess

hisbestfriend said...

Your posts about the Traxler and other wild openings have been an inspiration, as well as the fact of his previous losses have been to 3 players, all playing 4. Ng5 and the entire reaction to this.

All of this has been kinda central to a bunch of the odd postings by me. We, maybe just I, are at an odd inflection point. Blogging about it, I think helps bring up several points in the process.

Blue Devils book comment, brings up some interesting points as well even without meaning it of course.

I am going to see what I can do to get a copy of the book, as I think it has some valuable insight, but I am trying to avoid that path somewhat. I think a reasonable man, once let down the path of bookbuying, can never return, except with an entire library in hand.

Not to say that there isn't a reason to get a book. Just avoiding it at first blush.

Blue Devil Knight said...

There is clearly a category of books that are missing.

Hey, wait. I thought you just said you didn't want to buy any books. :P

Euwe's books are the only I know of which address that niche.