Monday, July 21, 2008

Playing what the position will allow...

In 1988, through 1989, I played perhaps my best chess ever. I gave up my favorite openings, which were based on my early enthusiasm for Bobby Fischer, for a seriously classical approach inspired by the study of Tigran Petrosian's games. As white it was simply the Torre Attack and as black I relied on the Caro-Kann and the Queen's Gambit Declined to bore players to death. Simply put, there were many uncompromising players like Kamran Shirazi running around trying to inflict their will on the position and I no longer wanted a part of it.
Petrosian understood that rules within the position could not easily be broken and players who wished to throw the rules aside would soon find their position going with it. I was very lucky that many higher rated players, including Shirazi and Dzindzichashvili, would stick their necks out to try to beat me in equal/even positions and allow me to win. Unfortunately, players even with me or with lower ratings were harder to take care of - but my approach prevailed in earning the master title nearly 20 years ago.
Playing good, solid chess is far more important than any result. Thinking about results, rating points or even prizes will only serve to distract from the greater goal - putting forth your best possible game, reaching new tiers of strength, and earning respect as a good player.
-John MacArthur

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Simply moving the pieces, is NOT playing chess?!

Just yesterday, my brother-in-law Victor and I were discussing the problem of how chess can be taught. Although we hashed out many of the problems and used metaphors from other sports - I decided that some of the major concepts should be high-lighted and the less major at least outlined. Many, many people in the world know how to move the pieces - yet so few are actually good at playing chess. So why is this?

Two players before school hashing out a 5-min game when young Tristan, walking by to go to his classroom, stops to look. Tiger is an now advanced group student, but at this time he was just following in his older brothers footsteps.
Player A, on move after a series of exchanges has taken place, stops to consider her next move for 20 seconds or so...
Tristan, who can't contain himself, exclaims: "It's your turn, why aren't you moving!"

Knowing how to move the pieces doesn't realy mean you know HOW to play chess. An idea, good or bad, and the exchange of ideas with an opponent is the essence of chess.
-John MacArthur

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chess Dojo Blogging Day One!?

After testing and testing - I've (for the time being) decided to give one of the best internet services around the starring role as the chess Dojo Blog.

I'm hoping to give some assignments and have students blogging as well. Everyone's opinion counts and there will be little (but certain) censorship!!

Let's get this blog under way.