Monday, April 11, 2005

I have my doubts about opening preparation

I played a tournament at the Marshall Chess Club this weekend and did OK (lost to IM Jay Bonin, beat an Expert and a A-player). If my visualization training is doing anything, the games don't show it. The discouraging thing about my play is not how badly I play when I lose, it's how badly I play when I _win_. Anyway, I'll post the games this week sometime.

The point I want to bring up here is: I decided at the board to play the Dutch Defense against Bonin in round one, and played it again in the next round against an Expert. I got decent positions out of the opening both times, and went 1-1 with a performance rating around 2250. That's better than I usually do with Black with my normal opening (Pirc and King's Indian). Yeah, it's only two games, but still.

This was first time in about 20 years I played the Dutch. I used to play it a lot that, so the types of position that arose were familiar to me, but my entire "preparation" for playing it now was glancing at a few variations of some anti-Dutch lines (2.Nc3, 2.Bg5, and 2.e4) in Williams' _Play the Classical Dutch_ and the new Everyman _Starting Out_ book on the Dutch while standing in a bookstore last week. Total "preparation" time: less than a half hour.

Hello, I too had been trying to do blindfold chess to in hopes that it improves my visualization ability. I had'nt seen much improvement from it also. And seeing your post, makes me wonder if can help me really, or is it just a waste of time.
As unhappy as I am with the quality of my play, this was the best performance rating I've had in an event since 1990. Results count.

Since blindfold visualization is directly related to the ability to analyze at the board, blindfold practice ought to pay off in the long run; just as de la Maza training ought to pay off because pattern recognition is vital to tactical vision at the board.

I think you have to give these things time to work. If you're out of shape and start a jogging program, you don't give up after a month because you're not running five-minute miles yet; instead, you notice that you're not quite as winded after jogging around the block: that's progress.

Finally, I clearly have to improve my visualization, and I can't think of another way of doing it, so I couldn't even switch programs if I wanted to. I'm about a quarter of the way through Chernev's _1000 Best Short Games of Chess_; we'll see how I'm doing when I finish.
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