Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Travails of an overly creative chess player (part 1)

Since we now have this website, I feel I might as well take advantage of it to give everyone a good laugh about how incompetent most of the games I play are. This has the dual benefits of showing people that you can get to quite a reasonable grade whilst still really having no clue what you are doing or why, and of reassuring them that however bad some of your moves or games might have been, I have played something much worse.

I can also use it as a platform to illustrate some of the important rules of playing chess that I have discovered over the years, which I feel have been somewhat neglected by the usually cited reference texts. The first three of these would be:
  1. It is more important to play an interesting move than a good one. Some people are of the opinion that the way to get pleasure out of chess is to play well and win games. I have always found the look of confusion on your opponents face when you turn down the obviously strong move in favour of a more complicated and harder to assess one to be worth far more than any amount of grading points or match wins.
  2. When you have the chance to sacrifice material; always sacrifice first and work out if it is sound afterwards. This means that when it turns out that it doesn't and you are just losing, you have the maximum possible amount of time to try and find a way to draw the terribly bad endgame you have managed to trap yourself in.
  3. When your opponent sacrifices material, you should always take it and try desperately to cling on to it, irrespective of the consequences. If he has been sufficiently generous as to offer it to you, it seems morally wrong and somewhat impolite to decline.
In order to help illustrate the value of these maxims, I present a game I played yesterday in the semi-finals of the Leamington individual tournament. I adopted the sensible strategy for this game of getting a decent position out of the opening, then horribly misplaying the position until I was much worse, then waiting for my opponent to blunder and allow me to win. I think we can all agree this is how chess should be played. If anyone can improve on my slightly sketchy analysis, and show how the game should have been played, that would obviously be appreciated.


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