I always knew that chess is not a purely intellectual game, even though it looks like that: patterns, positions, variants, technical skills, etc. But there’s much more to that. There is a big emotional part that very often tends to be overlooked. If you have ever played online you know what I’m talking about. When you’re doing well you want to keep playing, you want to keep your winning streak, and increase your ranking. If you lose a game you want to “take revenge” and play another one. And then another one, until you break the losing streak. Sometimes I fall into that, but I do it carefully: as a rule of thumb, I never play two games in a row against the same player 😁. This helps me not to take things personally and to keep some emotional distance.[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 7) Emotional Thinking in Chess
A couple weeks ago Andrea recommended me the book ‘The Seven Deadly Chess Sins’, by Jonathan Rowson. It’s mostly about chess psychology. Here’s an except from the book description:
[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 6) Chess Psychology & Dvoretsky Endings
In this thought-provoking and entertaining book, Jonathan Rowson investigates, in his inimitable style, the main reasons why chess-players sometimes go horribly astray, focusing on the underlying psychological pitfalls: Thinking (unnecessary or erroneous); Blinking (missing opportunities; lack of resolution); Wanting (too much concern with the result of the game); Materialism (lack of attention to non-material factors); Egoism (insufficient awareness of the opponent and his ideas); Perfectionism (running short of time; trying too hard); Looseness (“losing the plot”; drifting; poor concentration).
One of the topics I find especially fascinating is how our self-identity influences our performance in different skills. In the case of chess, how does our self-image affect the way we play? Is it possible that our performance depends more or less on the identity we create as we train to get better?
The past week I had an interesting experience: when I set the ranking matching points lower than usual (to be matched with players of, say, -100 or -150 below me), I tended to play worse. And when I set it to -50 +150 or just +200 (or even +250), I tend to play better.[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 5) Self-image & Lichess Tactics
This week was atypical. Due to an emergency, I had to take care of a family member and wasn’t able to keep my one-hour sessions every day. Out of six days (the day I take my chess lesson I don’t do any practice), I practiced for an hour just one day. One other day I practiced 40 minutes, one day I did 10 minutes, and three days I didn’t practice at all. This week I didn’t feel like playing blitz, so I played just a handful of games. However, I did watch more advanced players through Lichess TV. On Lichess TV you can watch live games of the highest-rated people who are playing at the moment on the platform in each category (blitz, bullet, etc.).[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 4) Handling the Unexpected
During this week I started to focus more on a few endings. I noticed that I was getting good positions out of the opening and the middle game. The biggest difference in performance and many losses I had came from poor ending technique. I mean, my ending technique is not terrible, but there’s room for improvement. Even on fundamental stuff! So, I decided to work on this weakness focusing on pawn endings and rook endings. I think that will be plenty for the next two months.
At the beginning of each study session, I practiced a couple Puzzle Rush exercises on Chess.com. Basically, these are easier tactics intended to be answered very quickly (my usual pace is around 2 seconds per move). The goal is to be able to see easy tactics on the fly, which comes very handy in blitz games.[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 3) Puzzle Rush & Endings
It’s been already two weeks since I started studying chess. During this period my rating on Lichess went up and down but stayed pretty much the same (around 2190). I’m playing mostly 3+2 and 5+3 blitz games. I continued learning and studying every day for at least one hour a day. Some days I would go over for an extra 15 or 20 minutes. Also, the day I take lessons I don’t do any formal study. I’m applying the same principle I would when practicing piano and taking lessons (no practice on lesson day).
Even though my rating hovered around 2200, I noticed some slight changes in my game. After focusing hard to find good moves during my daily studies, that thinking mode started to bleed into the blitz sessions. Every day, at the beginning of each study session, I also did a series of tactic exercises arranged by theme: checkmate, discovered attack, discovered attack with check, double attack, absolute pin, skewer, discovered check, double-check, and tornado. I already knew all of these, but drilling them consistently was nice. Also, it was fun learning all the names in Italian: scacco matto, attacco di scoperta, attacco doppio, inchiodatura assoluta, infilata, scacco di scoperta, scacco doppio e tornado. 🤓[Read more…] about Chess in Italian (Week 2) Chess Expertise & Vocabulary