Friday, August 10, 2007

Better than a fork in your nose!

One of the best parts of my vacation was playing chess from time to time with my son.   There was nothing better than sitting outside prior to the blistering heat, enjoying a cup of stove-top coffee and enjoying a game of chess.

And I learned some stuff that I think is relevant to the folks here on the list.

I am going to talk about openings last...

He was quite tenacious in all of the games.  There was a belief that there would be a solution in many of the positions of the game al he had to do was try and find them.   He came up with some stunning finds.   He beat me twice because of this.  I was not playing at my best to win, and the quality of his finds were quite, quite good.    I started paying a bit more attention as to what had been going on, and he was doing all the things that he was supposed to do.  He kept the pieces on the board, he kept creating pressure with every move.  He strived for complexity rather than simplicity.   

My game following this involved my queen and rook zinging all over the board in an attempt to simplify and forcing the trading of pieces, or forcing him to reduce the tension.   I was finally successful, but was quite impressed by the quality of his play. 

End game play was also very good, if not hugely technical.  But good tactical play and vision served him.  He is at least 1 class (about two to three hundred points higher) better than he was.  About 1 class more, and he can say that he plays chess well enough to have a competitive place on most scholastic teams.  Not first board surely, but all the nerdy goodness than comes from team play.   All and all a pretty good summer I think.

Finally, openings.  We have spent zero time on openings except the fried liver attack in the two knights.  We simply had to play through these, because he was taught and played the two knights, and they were  taught and played the fried liver attack.  But that was it.

He plays the Reti System as white (1. Nf3), because of what he learned in Yasser's book when he started, but dislikes the similar system as black (he really dislikes going a against a big pawn center 1.e4 2.d4), and pretty much tends to play e5 as black and reacts to whites play.  But this is what is most interesting.   He has HORRIBLE tactical vision in the openings, and often falls for tricks and traps, whether pre-learned (fried liver), or seen over the board.  He doesn't have this problem in near the same degree in the middle or end game.

In the discussions of templating, tactics training etc, that you will find on many of the knights errant pages as of late, this is one of the things that I discovered.   Almost no tactical training lessons are based on starting positions.   And all of us adults probably have enough time on the board or done enough "openings" trainings, that we have some basic templates and tableau imprinted on the brain.  The lack of these positions in tactical trainers means that the templates are simply not there.   So I would posit, that for some part of a player's training, learning openings is vital and useful, even if openings are not important per se to class play.  Because, it is the only way to template the positions for de La Maza (tactical) reasons.  Now to try and figure that one out.  It would be nice if there was a circle based on early position tactical issues.


Blue Devil Knight said...

That picture. Damn.

likesforests said...

"Almost no tactical training lessons are based on starting positions....It would be nice if there was a circle based on early position tactical issues."

A circle made by another would be incomplete--after all, an opening tactics circle will be most effective if its based on your openings.

It's easy to generate such using a tool like Chessbase or SCID--just search out the games won or lost in 20 moves and you'll find a ton of traps to avoid (or spring!). Since I began training against the same, I've rarely lost in the opening.

Glad to hear you found quality time to spend with your son and that his chess prowess is growing. :)

CT said...

I remember a chapter on Chess Tactics explained about Using the Side of the Board During the Opening.

It can be found within the Double-attack section.