Do chessplayers think?

The late Simon Webb had a wonderful idea a while ago, to record chessplayers of different strengths for 10 minutes while they considered a chess position.  He published them in Barry Wood's old CHESS magazine in the 1970s, and I've used them before with groups.  We tried this last week; I gave them all this position:

Fridrik Olafsson
Svetozar Gligoric

Los Angeles (1)

No. 1

Position for analysis from Simon Webb

A Thinking Process

I often think, only a correspondence player has the luxury of adopting a genuinely consistent thinking process. The rest of us have to contend with the clock, our emotions, our laziness...

I have struggled with this issue all my life, it seems. There has to be something which balances the thorough with the realistic.

For juniors, I have been playing around with a THINking scheme, which was really driven by the need to correct some common errors; it goes:

Joe, Harry and Jay: in praise of a second pair of eyes

To improve, you need to become an expert, not about chess, but about your chess.  You need to know what there is to be good at, and what you are good at, and what you are not good at yet.

Practice helps.  Books, databases, analysis software and especially going over your own games also help.  I always type my games into a computer and I always wince to see what tactics I've missed.  I also enjoy some of the computer's suggestions about alternative moves: sometimes they're real crackers, even if there's nothing in it by way of winning a piece or pawn.

Elements of a chess profile

So, last week we launched the summer coaching sessions.  I explained the idea of the profile, and went on to ask everyone to complete the 3+3 exercise described below:
  • Three things I do well (or try to do well)
  • Three things I do badly (or want to do better)

The items were written onto coloured sticky notes, and I arranged thinto rough groups on a table.  Doubtless other arrangements were equally legitimate.  The idea was for everyone

Coaching for Adults

I'll be running some more coaching sessions over the summer, which might mean a poke around on the website.

When we first started running coaching sessions in the early 1990s, the set-up was a bit different.  We had lots of handouts on paper, we had a separate room to go and be noisy in, and there wasn't an awful lot of help available.

Over a decade on, where are we?

Well, one thing that is going to be the same is the self-help feel of the sessions.  I'm not that good a player to pose as an expert and

Coaching for Juniors

[all] 13th May 2007. Coaching 2007 Part 1: Juniors

My congratulations to my esteemed friend and occasional team-mate Mark Abbott, who put on another ten points to his grade last year.nbsp; When we played last year in the summer, I discovered he had played about 70 match and tournament games over the season, while I barely played 20.nbsp; It's a harsh realisation, but I think I'm never going to improve while playing so little.nbsp; But I did have a better tournament [this year at East Devon]... Though if I had had a worse one, I think I might have

Book review: Danger in chess - Avni

[This review first appeared in KingPin]

Danger in Chess: How to avoid making blunders

Amatzia Avni (121pp, Cadogan Chess, 1994) [[sterling]]9.99
ISBN 1-85744-057-9

  This is a great little book, from an Israeli psychologist and chess-player, on a subject that must be on every chess-player's list of New Year Resolutions: I will not overlook pieces en prise, I will not miss a mate in two... Avni takes a brisk


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