Things have moved on apace since I last updated this blog and I have entered the Week 2 Afternoon Open Championship, for which no official chess rating is necessary, although Stewart Reuben, the organizer, kindly offered to play a few games when I arrive in Torquay to assess my level if I wanted to enter one of the other competitions.
I think the Week 2 Afternoon Open will be just fine since this will be my first experience of a championship and I also want to enjoy my evenings and have time to recover the next morning (so the Morning Open would defintiely cramp my style).
It turned out that the “other mindgames” that are advertised as taking place in during the Championships referred to previous championships and that no shogi or mahjong events had been scheduled for the 2013 Championship, so I offered to run a couple of events on behalf of Japanese-Games-Shop.com and I am pleased to report that the offer was accepted.
I shall host a Shogi training event on the evening of Monday 5th August and make the shogi sets available for anybody who wants to play on the following three evenings.
Then, from Tuesday evening, I am hoping to host three consecutive evenings of Riichi mahjong, assuming there is enough interest.
No sooner had I signed up for the Week Two Afternoon Open Championship than I was on Amazon.com ordering chess books! I’m a fan of Jeremy Silman‘s teaching method so ordered the 4th edition of his magnum opus, How To Reassess Your Chess and, mindful of Bobby Fischer’s focus on endgame problems, I also scooped up Silman’s Complete Endgame Course. In The Amateur Mind, Silman recommends several books, of which How To Open A Chess Game sounded the most useful for me, so into the basket it went.
As you can see (above) the parcel arrived a few days ago and I have started working through How To Open A Chess Game and How To Reassess Your Chess.
How To Open A Chess Game is an exciting book (if you like chess) in which each of seven International Grandmasters explains in a separate chapter how he approaches the opening. I have read the first chapter, by Larry Evans, which is full of good sense, but I note that Silman is critical of “good sense” when players use it as a substitute for good analysis of the actual situation on the board in front of them right now:
It is really correct to mindlessly develop our pieces, only to discover that we often stand badly when everything is out?
(The Amateur Mind, p. 230)
The answer to that question is, “No,” not once some favourable imbalances have been created, around which we should do our utmost to organize the rest of our game…
Well yes, quite, but I will be hard enough put not to collapse my game around a couple of egregious blunders, or turn into a zombie player who moves without thinking only to wake up and notice that a dreadful faux pas has been committed and only then begin to PLAY…
Over the next few weeks I hope to get through all three books, play through the examples, take notes, play a game or two on my Tablet and also play a few games against other players online. Meeting actual players face-to-face over the board is a rarity at present, and a major disadvantage as the competition approaches. Thank goodness for Dr M, who I meet twice a month, and God bless Old Ardle, possibly the world’s slowest and most pessimistic player, which is not to say that his Eeyore-like approach to the game, his distraction techniques and drip-drip psychological warfare never succeed in delivering a victory or two into his hands – if a game is ever to finish -, and which therefore offers us some form of useful training.
However, my real aim in participating in the championships is to PLAY chess with experienced players and see how they dismantle my game, such as it is. I am not quite sure how the competition has been arranged, but there are five rounds over five afternoons and, so far, ten players. If I could accumulate 1 1/2 points, id est three draws, or one win and one draw, I would be more than happy. Actually, I am already more than happy, merely to be playing, so I guess one win and a draw would leave me ecstatic. 🙂