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101 Posts. Contradictions.

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What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence” Wittgenstein.

I have been writing in this blog for many months. Now I am in a stand-still because I have fallen in a curious state: I think I cannot write about Chess. 

Firstly, I am not a professional OTB player. I’m , simply, a CC one. Secondly, perhaps I could tell my own experiences, but nothing more. Even top professional GMs have problems with trying to write about the game.

I suppose Chess is so vast a world that it cannot be taught. It can only be learnt. In my writings I have tried to show that CC and OTB Chess are very different, and this implies different ways of training and studying Chess. (One single fact: for an OTB player memorizing opening lines is vital. Not for a CC player, who has databases to look up during the game. So, as time has been passing by, I tend to think perhaps wrongly- that I hardly know opening lines… (or am I being too self-critical?). In any case , CC players can vary their opening repertoires as much as they desire because they do not need to commit to their memories tons of opening variations. 

The present state of Chess theory is overwhelming. It is nearly impossible to know everything about several different lines. Only professional players can try to keep  all the Najdorf lines, all the Ruy Lopez and another system as Black against 1.d4 in their minds. In CC this problem is relative: you play the opening with your databases, so in the same tournament you could be playing two Najdorf, two Spanish , two Italian, one QGA, three Nimzoindian one Benoni and two Queen’s Indian openings/defences without fearing to forget / change moves or not knowing entire subvariations… And in another tournament perhaps at the same time, you decide to play the English as White and the Grünfeld as Black…In a sense the challenge is (to me ) absolutely attractive. CC is the continuation of the eternal game but with other means at our disposal.

I don’t know if possible CC players reading this blog agree with  this (of course you may  be the type of CC  player  with a fixed opening repertoire  . Then your situation is a bit different. But I guess most average CC players like changing the openings they use for the sake of exploring new alternatives, play different positions -more aggressive/more strategical, etc- because they have everything and everything updated in their databases.) To put it in a nutshell: you don’t need to memorize opening lines to play CC now.

As for the CC players’ approach (I’m thinking of the ICCF), today nobody plays for fun (and this is great, in my opinion). Nobody spends time and money to play in the ICCF simply for fun, for making new friends and so on. People are out for blood. They play to win because victories give you rating points and the possibility of reaching norms. The use of computers have turned CC into an extremely specialised matter. The ICCF outstanding webserver have nearly finished with the old practice of postcards + stamps (the costs have been drastically reduced and everything is under control with no possibilities of moves going astray in the post, expensive registered letters, misunderstandings, etc.). So people play out their games till a result is nearly unavoidable.

These days I have also been thinking about the players who have most influenced me. A trip down memory lane. This has led me to try to understand how I play Chess and which my most important defects are.

When I began to study Chess my first books/influences were Karpov, Nimzowitsch, Petrosian, Reti and Botvinnik. So I was influenced by strategical/positional players rather than by tactical ones. (Everybody says you must start learning tactics, combinations, etc. I began the other way round: by trying to understand Petrosian’s and Karpov’s positional games, Nimzowitsch elaborated -sometimes tangled- expressions…) Curiously enough, this has had a consequence affecting my character: that chessic influences have affected my life outside Chess. I tend to analyse, see or understand everything from a sort of strategical point of view, trying to solve all the matters in life in a strategically planned way (forgive me but it is easier to understand it than to express the idea with words. I hope you understand what I mean).

And here I am: re-reading Chess books, thinking about how to improve my play and in a terrible contradiction. After all, who am I to write about Chess? The Internet is full of Chess blogs written by GMs. You can buy those wonderful books by M. Dvoretsky, J. Nunn, J. Rowson, J Aagaard, A. Soltis, J. Timman, etc. 

This blog began to be written in February 2012. When I am writing these words (end of  August 2014 )it has  had well over 6,300 visits. I am very grateful to all the people who have spent their time having a look at it. 

Now, you may like to solve these 3-movers: 

Otto Fuss

Otto Fuss . Mate in 3 moves

Galitzky

A.W. Galitzky. Mate in 3 moves.

QChess.

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Written by QChess

August 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

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