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Chances will come – they always do

January 25th, 2018 9 comments

I was playing tennis Monday with three friends. Two good players and a great talent, the 12-year-old son of one of them. He is a small kid, but easily has the best forehand of us all. His downside is that when he makes a mistake, he is not letting go of them easily. We played together and were up 5-4 and 15-0 in the second set. The kid’s serve. After a bit back and forth, he hit his forehand straight in the net. These things happen. He did what many kids with ambition do, shout at themselves and with their body show frustration. Basically, they have watched too much tennis on TV and have not fully realised there is no camera, and no one cares…

I kept saying to him, something I have learned from chess and which applies to almost all of sports. Chances will come. The question is if you will be ready for them. He generally wasn’t and we lost. He is young and will quickly learn, I hope. I will partner with him in the league and keep saying this to him every time he misbehaves.

In chess we have a much smaller margin for error. When Federer makes his biggest mistake ever, he is down 15-0. When I blunder a piece, I usually resign. I am not Magnus Carlsen after all. But still, when you look at grandmaster games, you will see that things almost always go wrong. Chances arise out of nothing. Those that instinctively knows this and are ready for the moment do better than those who do not.

I will show a few examples, but literally, this is 80-90% of all grandmaster games.

Read more…

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The element of surprise

January 21st, 2018 45 comments

We have had a nice debate between the blog readers about various lines and how to approach playing for a win for Black deep in the comments section of the looking into 2018 post. I doubt everyone makes it to comment #297, so I will make my own little point here as an independent post.

Our main strategy is to be honest with our readers, and one of these aspects include debating things freely and without thinking if it is in line with people’s perception of our company. We propose main lines in our repertoire books, because you do not want to continuously play something that is bad and because you do not need to read a full book to play something dodgy once with the element of surprise.

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A little training game to solve a common problem

January 8th, 2018 4 comments

Here is an idea for players who have a tendency to give up on solving (Critical Moment thinking – view it like a math problem, you cannot guess, you have to work it out) and just make a move. I did this with Sam Shankland over the holidays and we found it quite entertaining. (Especially in the beginning, before he tired out entirely!)

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Jacob in India

December 15th, 2017 3 comments

Jacob is on a coaching trip in India, and ChessBase India have published an article by our friend Sagar Shah with many photos, including the one below. You can click on the image to get a bigger view.

 

 

 

Question from QC Reader

November 22nd, 2017 23 comments

Hi all,

I will continue my tradition of answering questions put in private on the blog, without giving the source of the question to cause no embarrassment. I do this because I know that a lot of people will find the question and answer interesting. Read more…

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The best chess trainer in the World?

October 23rd, 2017 26 comments

A potential student of mine has made an application and named me as the best chess trainer in the World. While I am perfectly suited for what he needs, probably the best suited trainer alive, I could not help feeling slightly repulsed by the idea. Obviously, the best trainer is Mark Dvoretsky, I was thinking, which led to very unhappy thoughts. I will go to Moscow to participate in a rapid tournament for his 70th birthday in December, but sadly Mark will not be there…

How do you define who is the best trainer? Read more…

Training Seminar in Edinburgh with GM Jacob Aagaard 6-8 Oct

August 28th, 2017 7 comments

Training Seminar in Edinburgh with Grandmaster and FIDE Senior Trainer Jacob Aagaard 6-8 October

On the first weekend of October there will be a three-day training seminar with Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard in Edinburgh Chess Club. The training weekend is organised in collaboration with Chess Scotland, offering free participation to the members of the national team participating in the European Team Championship in Crete in November.

The themes will be changing from day to day, with a focus on positional play, calculation and endgame technique. The sessions will be evenly balanced between lecturing and practical application.

The place of the training seminar is Edinburgh Chess Club, 1 Alva Street, in the centre of Edinburgh.

The timings are:

Friday 6th October         7pm – 10pm

Saturday 7th October      1pm – 5.30pm

Sunday 8th October        11am – 3.30pm

The cost of participation is £75. Please register by emailing ECCseminar2017@qualitychess.co.uk.

 

 

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Making a solving collective

August 21st, 2017 17 comments

One thing that many people struggle with is solving puzzles on their own. It requires some discipline to get started and distractions can get you diverted. It is popular to meet up with friends and solve together. It makes it social and a bit competitive. But for most people, this is not an option. Their friends are far away and local players might have no ambition or be unsuitable for other reasons.

The idea I came up with years ago that worked really well, was to have group training on PlayChess (or it could be many other servers or even Whatsapp on your phone).

The way to do it is that one person has gathered positions in advance, preferably from a Quality Chess book of course, but other good exercise books have been published (I have been told).

He presents the first problem to the group.

When you have a solution, you say so.

When only one person is left, he gets an extra minute to find the solution, while the others prepare their solutions (but don’t press return).

When time’s up everyone gives their solutions.

Correct solutions get one point, mistakes get no points. The group decides if the solution is correct in disputes.

Next problem.

After a fixed amount of time, you have a winner.

This worked for a long time with a group I set up. I supplied them with the exercises, but since then these have been published in many books, so there are no excuses…

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