My voice is changing
I think chess puberty has set in.
I am no longer playing like a frightened chipmunk, but more like an overeager teenager desperate for some action. Speculative attacks that crash and burn, opening the positions up like a madman, positional principles be damned (what's a weak square on h6 if your opponent is a queen down?!). It is fun. I am no longer petrified that I will misanalyze a position or miss an obvious tactic. I am playing with the assumption that I am better at tactics and calculation than my opponent, making the position crazy complicated, and seeing what happens. I don't even care that this assumption is often wrong: playing this way will force me to get better at tactics and calculation.
This is what chess is supposed to be about. This is how I will learn when attacks are premature and when they are called for: try out some attacks and see what works, and build up that experience which will lead to the ability to seize the initiative and attack when the position calls for it.
What has changed? I think it is partly reading Chandler's How to beat your dad at chess. It is like a recipe book for developing devastating attacks on the opponent's king. The textual explanations there, coupled with seeing nearly all of the motifs from that book in CTB, has turned a lightbulb on in my head: these little 1-3 move sequences in CTB are part of a larger game, one in which someone took a risk and went in for the kill. Or, if that is not in fact what happened, if in fact the positions from the book emerged from boring positional struggles in which the evaluation was 0.0 for 60 moves, I don't care. I need to learn how to crank open my opponents' defenses like a sardine can and commit regicide.
As part of this new awakening, I am changing my game plans. I am still working on the Circles, but I am going to play 3-6 blitz games a day, analyze them in Fritz, and keep a record of the tactical motifs I am missing, the opening mistakes I am making (including frequency of opening seen as well as win-loss-tie stats). I am sick of long games. I want to loosen up for a while, DK-Transform style, and just go for broke. Yes, blitz games will screw up my thought process for a while. But they will also teach me real-game tactical motifs, opening principles, and give me experience. I started this game 2 years ago and have focused so much on cautious, careful play in slow games that I have missed out on a world of crazy fun chess.
Here is one blitz game from last night. Afterwards I Fritzed it to look for dramatic evaluation fluctuations, looked at my opening book, noted the error I made, and moved on. It took about 5 minutes.
My coach, incidentally, has been telling me almost every time we meet: you are good. You just need to play more, build up experience with chess. Play blitz. While all the books say to play slow games, my coach knows me personally and I'm paying him big bucks to help me. I should listen to him and see where it goes. He has said I need to play more recklessly, like a scholastic player would. Yeehaaa, I'm full of testosterone! I'm not going totally mad: I'm not gonna play the Scandinavian or anything like that, or go for scholar's mate in every game. I'm gonna stick with my openings and follow principles as much as possible. But if it looks like I might have an attack, but I can't calculate it out to N moves to see if it will work, I'm gonna go for it. This will build up that intuition and experience you guys are always talking about.
Tonight I played 3 games. One win, one draw, one loss. Three funs.
Incidentally, if you look at people's ratings at ICC, everyone's standard rating is about 200 points higher than their blitz rating. My blitz rating is about 400 points lower. What will happen if I increase my blitz performance? I take blitz to be an indicator of tactical prowess, opening knowledge, and ability to think and perform under pressure. I need to learn all of those things more than anything right now. Daily education in practical tactical motifs that I miss in real games is one component of my tactical training that I haven't been getting.
We'll see if I like this pace and style.
Post edited by DK-transform. It was only ten words long initially, and he made me pad it.