Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Slow Blade Penetrates the Shield

The title is a little nod to any Sci Fi fans who might happen to be reading...

One of the problems that I have traditionally had when it comes to chess improvement is that I wanted to learn everything "yesterday."

Very rarely would I ever approach anything with patience.  My games?  Rushed attacks that often proved fruitless.  Studying?  I would go from book to book without hardly reading anything and I certainly wouldn't bother to actually play through any of the annotations.

The result?  Well, I did improve, but only as a result of the fact that I played a lot.  I certainly wasn't able to identify any weaknesses and work on them.

Then in 1992 I stopped playing altogether.  Nothing.  Nada.  Perhaps I played five casual games in the next 19 years.

When I came back to chess in the beginning of 2011 I started out by repeating those same behaviors.  I bought 100 books and read practically none. 

Then...something changed.

I realized that I don't have to try to gain 100 points overnight.  I realized that I don't have to play through 20 annotated games a day to get better.  In fact, I realized that trying to do so was counterproductive.

So now I focus on playing through 2-5 games per day at most.  Usually it's 2-3.  Yes, that means that it will take me a couple of years to play through the 2,000 or so games that I feel I need to.  But that's OK.  If it takes time it takes time.  As long as progress is being made I am fine with that.'

I also learned not to spend more than 30 minutes a day max working on tactics.  I had read something by IM David Pruess that said that you won't remember the patterns if you work on tactics too much.  I believe that.

So the past few days I've been making sure to stay in the groove.  Work those tactics.  Play though some games.  Work on openings by selecting which games to play through.  etc.

I leave you with this game that I discovered this morning...Aitken-Reshevsky Stockholm 1937.  I love how on move 27 Reshevsky immediately returns the sacrificed material to even the game rather than to suffer a difficult defense.

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