Dec 23, 2009

Chess Improvement: Why There?

I've been haunted a bit lately by thinking of a Nigel Short comment in, I believe, a recent New In Chess article. I do not recall the particulars (which may be symptomatic of my affliction), but he was essentially responding to a flurry of moves in an opening variation. His comment was to the effect "stop, stop, if I don't know why the pieces go where they go, I won't remember the moves." I cannot tell you how much time I've spent racing through thousands of variations over the years. Have to many variations, so little time. Today, I remember the smallest fraction of those variations. I believe if measured, it would be substantially less than 1% of the total. One of my resolutions for the new year will be to radically change my opening study, with an eye toward understanding why a piece goes where it goes. When facing the French, I sometimes put the knight on c3, sometimes on d2, and sometimes I just play the bishop to d3. I have reasons for these choices, but when explained out loud, they are simply too vague. I'll do better in the new year.

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