Saturday, February 27, 2010


The big guys, "strong masters," Purdy calls them... they all think about chess pretty much the same way. They focus on isolated d-pawns rather than fear them, they think about King safety and the pawns in front of their King. They are always on the look out for combinations. They know that tactics take precedence over strategy (weak squares, hanging pawns, etc.)

I've been watching Nigel Davies (pronounced Davis) on French Defense Strategy, proofreading the manuscript for the next Purdy book, dipping into the Lars Bo Hansen books, etc., and more etc. They all think pretty much alike. Club players are all over the map.

As I say in the review of Davies DVD for The Chess Reports, when you know a lot of the basics, like the stronger players do, they have to risk more to beat you. In risk comes chances. When a 2100 has fallen to his floor of 1900 he sometimes forgets what propelled him to 2100. When he re-establishes that (by, for example, looking over his games when he was a 2100), his skill level once again starts to rise.

How can you be more focused? In my case, and I am sure many others, it happens when you force yourself to do something. Force yourself, self-discipline, goal setting. I've been doing more of that WITHOUT the New Year's Resolution bit because you can start NOW instead of tomorrow. Tomorrow means lack of focus. Jeremy Silman told me once the biggest weakness he has noticed in the performance of average players was "their lack of focus."

I'm amazed at what I am learning--stuff I should've already known. And if none of that helps you much, try one more thing (besides improving your health), "take your time" when thinking.

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