The Beauty of chess


Nimzovitch thought it was a good idea :)


That is a very good move!


I don't think anyone is arguing that you should make a move that you see a clear refutation of. My understanding of the OP's situation was that it looked like the attack was shaky, especially assuming that the opponent made the best response the OP could see, but not that it was a clear mistake. There's a difference between being riskier (because you are creating a weakness that you know, structurally, is bad without getting any clear compensation) and definitively making your position worse (because you are, say, hanging a piece in the hopes that the opponent misses the refutation you see).

Yes, technically the game has complete information. It is so complicated, though, that each player's understanding of the position is different. You can't simply calculate an unstoppable strategy, and you can't wait around until your opponent does something that hands you one, especially as white. That doesn't mean you make blunders, but it does mean that you will be more successful (and have more fun) if you are willing to take a chance on something that looks promising, even if you don't see a clear path to an advantage.



could not say it better, thanks!

improves your position

that is the hard part. Is this move better than that move. Sometimes it is very fuzzy, and then you start to build a story or storyboard in your head about what's going on.

In a recent game Short - Carlsen, Nigel Short addmitted that he had no clue what was going on in the game (he was joking). But sometimes you can't build a clear story... a really beautiful game.


Perhaps I misunderstood, since I was under the impression that the OP was hoping his opponent didn't know what he knew. But even if you take a risk by sacrificing material in order to improve position, you should assume that your opponent understands your motivation. In the end it may turn out to be a brilliant move or it may prove disastrous, but either way you have to assume that both of you currently have the same conception of the game, including the risks you both face. It's impossible to plan well otherwise.


I'm part of the MTV Generation and even if I did have the time, I do not have the patience. My best friend does play in a similar league at his work and refined the strategy I should play with, but I just don't got the patience to sit there and think "if I move here, then he can move there, then I can move over there..." and so on.
Yes I have played with the clock, but then my lack of experience overwhelms me.


Armand, trying playing with a clock and blitz rules. Games will be over in ten minutes or less, so you will gain experience very quickly. Even faster if you use an online matching system, since there's almost always someone, somewhere, at the same level as you.

The feeling is similar to playing an RTS online, with your favorite opening taking the place of build orders and tactical play instead of micro.


I abandoned chess the day I realised that there were these thousands of openings and to play a decent game I needed to know them. I put the board away and lost my enthusiasm and have never played since.


I thought the same, but you need to know these openings only if you want to get a pro. On the 5th board of a B-Team, opening theory is not that big of a deal... :-) because your opponent does not know them, too... if you have a solid understanding of chess, that's enough to get things going...


Yeah, but by not learning them I denied myself the route to improvement and it all felt pretty pointless after that. Chess is just too well known and understood for me.


I used to play on a national championship team back in high school. Compared to everyone else on my team, I majorly sucked. However, it was fun to hang out with like-minded geeks and even though they'd routinely throttle my @$$, we had fun. I knew some basic openings - Sicilian (I enjoyed Dragon), Queen's gambit, a few Indian variants, fried liver, etc., but that was pretty much just academic. If there was someone I was expecting to face, I would try to learn their preferences and keep in mind proper counters but that was about it. I didn't have an encyclopedic knowledge, nor did I need it. What was perhaps the most entertaining were the theory discussions we'd strike up - imagine a bunch of RPG players talking about the best spells to cast or debating which is the coolest weapon set and then shift the actual game to chess.

I didn't play very much after high school. I clobbered a brother in law and an old friend, and stomped a few people in a little campus competition during college years. My son got into it for a short while, and his teacher was thrilled to find out who I was (well, more to the point where I came from) and hoped I would help him out, and I did for a time. However, my son's interests shifted and therefore so did mine. He's getting back into it now and who knows how far it will go, but it's a wonderful game.


there is a nice app for the iphone :

Chess With Friends. You play by "email", so you can have a couple of games going at the same time...

Chess Elite is the same but with player stats

my handle is brof! let's go...


I've been playing chess regularly for a few years - I picked up the habit from playing a few 10 minute blitz games, which incidentally seems to be a good way of practicing openings.

A recent league game, notably my first win in a rated game against a 1600+ strength player (I'm about 1470):

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d6 6. Nbd2 Nbd7 7. Qe2 Re8
  2. h4 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Nxe5 Rxe5 11. Ne4 Bf5 12. Nxf6+ Bxf6 13. Bxf5
    Rxf5 14. g4 Rc5 15. f4 Kg7 16. O-O-O Bxb2+ 17. Kxb2 f6 18. Qd3 fxg5 19.
    hxg5 Qe8 20. Qd4+ Kg8 21. Rxh7 Rxc2+ 22. Ka1 Rxa2+ 23. Kxa2 Qe6+ 24. Ka1
    Kxh7 25. Rh1+ Kg8 26. Qh8+ Kf7 27. Rh7#
    {White mates} 1-0

A simple game viewer:
Click "import pgn" and copy and paste in the game notation you want to view.


Quitch, you don't need to learn thousands to openings to enjoy chess. You can go pretty far by knowing a handful: just one for White, and two or three more for Black to counter each of the broad types of attack. If you can compete in Dawn of War with random factions, then you can handle chess openings. It's true that there are thousands of choices, but feel free to choose the one that sounds coolest - one of my friends has played the Grunfeld for years only because of its umlaut. Eventually, you'll want to learn the one that just beat you...


Here's an interesting article about the current state of computer chess and the development of modern chess players, from Kasparov's point of view. (via RPS)


I knew some people who "cheated" in such games by feeding moves into one of those old CM progs. Annoying.


That's a great article.


Not Star Wars-y enough.


Nowdays it's understood that beginners shouldn't waste their time on openings. Read a book on general opening principles ("Knights before bishops! Move every piece only once!" etc.) and then concentrate on the stuff which actually wins games. Latest trend seems to be lots of tactics, so that you actually know how to win when your opponent blunders. Add a book about basic positional concepts (bad bishops, open lines, doubled pawn, etc.) and one newbie book about endgames (just enough to understand why "the rook belongs behind the passed pawn (in attack and defense)").

So tactics should be pushed and opening, middlegame and endgame made "good enough" to know the basics and avoid (and identify!) beginner mistakes.

A key point behind this is that games below a certain barrier, say 2000 Elo points, are almost exclusively decided by tactical blunders and big positional errors. Games below that level are seldomly won because A has the deeper concept than B, they are won because A had a decent plan and B failed to find the available adequate defense, got into an uphill struggle, had to solve difficult problems with every move and then simply cracked and made a winning tactic possible for one move. Here the tactics training comes into play. ;)

More understanding comes when you analyse your own games and look up in a book or DB how the concepts you've had on the board are really played, and try to figure out how the concrete situation should objectively be evaluated.
So more implementation and less theory. This has the advantage that the stuff you look up later tends to stick better because you are already convinced you'll get a chance to make use of it. Of course pure tactics can only bring you so far, but 1700-1800 are pretty nice for the next push.

The game posted above by baruk is a good example. The opening was relatively harmless but with ideas and a slight initiative by white. Then black missed the point to get rid of the pin on the bishop, panicked and used a tactical "solution" (16.- Bxb2+ ?) which backfired on him. In a difficult position he made a 2nd mistake (19.- Qe8 ??) by allowing white to smash a rook into his kingside. White used his chance without hesitation.


1470? This game was much better than 1470. :)
After the opening I would have thought 1500-1600. Unambitious but healthy and with ideas. The last part of the game (after 0-0-0) was very strong though. Many 1800 players wouldn't have played it so precisely. Really an excellent game for a 1470.