The Amateur Eye – Nothing Doing?

In the mind of the beginner: Nothing Doing is the drive to say: I got to do something.  Doing something just to do it is not the right answer.  You got to have some sense of the whole position.  You examine the pawn structure.  As I have noted in many of the games, the endgames often produce pawn islands. Good or bad for the position? The answer is that the side having fewer pawn islands has a pawn power edge.  Are there any open files possible?  That is where your Rooks (Castles) go or perhaps to support a pawn advance.  Files will not be opened without pawn attacks on the board striking into the enemy and force exchanges or blockading which in either case can give a space edge. If you examine the games I show, you notice the players eye the whole board structure. For example, World Champion Magnus Carlson’s play often show his planning concepts described herein.  Another player I admired greatly including the greats of years past was Petrosian before and as World Champion.  Many great players came up through an apprenticeship toward mastery of the game.  That fact should be a stimulus for youngsters learning the game.  You start with the basics and then build on theories known seemingly for ever among the chess giants of the world.  Children now have the benefits of great books of past champions, coaching, computers, and greater opportunities to compete either for practice or tournaments.

I am often asked what players’ games had the greatest influence on my own play and interest.  That goes hand in hand, the idea of interest to study and learn from the great players of the past. That always finds interest at the top.  I want to enjoy the play of the old times, players, tournaments and their arrangements for tournaments and matches.

In being up-to-date, I try to examine the art of chess, writings, and how the modern age of computers has made analysis and commentary more thorough.  For me, personally, I look at computer analysis as tiring.  I really don’t care about 10-20 moves analysis of which some is junky boring and having nothing to do with the actual play on the board between players in play time.  I had my own way to prepare for tournaments which often rested from studying the games of Rubinstein, Marshall, Capablanca, Alekhine, Lasker, Smyslov, Botvinnik, Reshevsky, Petrosian, Tal, Fischer, Spassky, Bronstein.  In my youth I was interested in chess history of the Staunton and Morphy era players.

On Staunton, I believe him to be badly abused by American authors. Read my columns on the Staunton and Morphy era.  Another player who was attacked by Horowitz of Chess Review was Alexander Alekhine due to his European life as World Champion and having to survive in the Nazi propaganda era.




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