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April 28, 2012

Sat. Nite Chess Thread 04-28-2012 [OregonMuse]

Welcome back once again to the legendary Saturday Nite
AoSHQ Chess Thread

From last week's thread:

OMG.

You guys were serious.

There really is going to be a weekly chess thread.

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at April 21, 2012 08:23 PM (piMMO)

Heh. I'm thinking of making this the new motto of the Sat. Nite Chess Thread.

Also from last week's thread, a suggestion:

How about appending the weekly thread with some elementary chess stuff for the uninitiated? Knight forks and der like.

Or explain what you're supposed to be doing in the first few moves. I've never understood what one should be doing tactically. Most people like me just stagger the pawns but we're not sure what to do after that.

Posted by: weft cut-loop at April 21, 2012 08:32 PM (ebPtk)

A couple of things: I doubt that I'll be getting very much into instruction on specific aspects of playing chess, i.e knight forks and such. My pitiful little chess thread simply does not compare to the wealth of material on these subjects that can be found on many actual chess sites.

But, I do have some advice on the second question, regarding what you should be doing in the first few moves. "OK, what do I do now?" can be a vexing question. And actually, I think this is one of the hardest things to teach a beginner, and I'm not sure how to do it in a procedural, step-by-step fashion.

So I will answer by analogy: If you go to an art museum, particularly one where there are famous paintings, you will often see people with sketchbooks or maybe even small paint sets copying one of the works on display. These are art students and they're trying to learn about their craft by copying the masters. I'm not an artist myself, but I'd guess they're learning about things such as color, light, texture, brush stroke technique, and other aspects of painting by doing this, and then that they can use what they've learned in their own painting efforts.

I think little kids learn how to speak in the same way. There's no systematic instruction for toddlers, they just hang out with older people, listen, and pick up what they can. It's not always right, and sometimes hilariously wrong, but they eventually get the hang of it, just by soaking it all in.

This can be a slow process.

So in chess, I recommend a similar approach, that is, study and play through the master games. And I don't mean one or two or 10, but many, many, many. Play through them over and over again. Watch what they do, and then do what they do in your own games. Try to understand the annotations, but don't feel discouraged if you don't. If it's not clear, then just move on. At this beginning stage, a lot of chess can be soaked up by osmosis and you want to provide every opportunity for this to happen

So find a collection of master games, old, new, whatever, it doesn't matter. I myself would recommend the older games, because I subscribe to former world champion Max Euwe's theory that one's personal development of chess understanding recapitulates in miniature how chess developed and progressed historically. So I think you'd be better off looking at the older games first.

And for this purpose, I don't think there's any better book than this one. It's one of the classic books, thankfully updated to algebraic notation. Again, don't worry if you don't understand the explanations of why this or that move is good. Quantity is more important than quality. This won't always be true, but for now it is.

Here's another fine old book of master games. There's enough to keep you busy here for a long time. I was surprised how expensive this one is, in fact I would say it is way overpriced, so if you want something cheaper, I would recommend this one.

I was able to go on Amazon today and purchase a used (but supposedly in very good condition) copy of the overpriced $30 book for around $2.50, so this may be a good alternative if you're a cheap bastard like I am.

This week's famous chess game, sent in by a moron (thanks!) is Ivanchuk v Yusupov from their 1991 Candidates QF match. It's another crazy-ass slugfest

You can play through it yourself here

Thanks to those of you who have sent me tips for this thread. They may be sent to me at

OregonMuse
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