Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pestaño: Developing good chess habits

Thursday, October 16, 2014

FOR TODAY, I originally planned to write about the details of the Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas, where Wesley So got the biggest prize ever won by a Pinoy player in a single tournament. However, it is in every newspaper and websites and by now every Tom, Dick and Harry knows that Wesley won $100,000 and is now in the world’s top 10.
I have been playing chess for more than six decades now and know the most common mistakes by a player and how to overcome them. Here they are.
Don’t play too fast unless you are playing a blitz game. Use your time wisely and don’t be impatient. Develop your pieces early and avoid moving them multiple times.
Don’t neglect to castle.
Don’t give up in controlling the center and never underestimate its importance. Avoid premature attacks and don’t expect that you can win the game in the opening. Do not rely on inferior moves by your opponent.
Avoid making idle threats and useless checks. Develop your position first before grabbing the pawns offered. This is usually a trap.
Don’t attack with only one piece. Make sure that your other pieces can join as early as possible. Do not exchange pawns and pieces unless the position calls for it.
Do not create weaknesses in your position (knight forks, weak pawns, exposed king and
holes in your structure).
Do not lose material carelessly and always ask yourself “Is this move, safe?” Do not be mentally lazy and always calculate several moves in advance. Always be alert of your opponent’s defensive moves. He can counterattack any time.
Don’t be misled that you can overcome an early material advantage. Develop the habit of always searching for the best possible move. Always analyze each position accurately and completely. After every check and capture--on both sides--look for all possible consequences.
Don’t be passive. Counterattack when threatened. Do not be too involved in your own plans and ignore or underestimate your opponent’s threats. Play the position on the board rather than your opponent.
Do not underestimate the value of pawns such as “passed” and “weak” pawns and holes in your pawn structure.
Always be aware of the values of open files, diagonals, and rooks in the seventh rank. Break pins early and watch out for knight forks. Don’t be too willing in trading queens.
When your opponent makes a sacrifice, analyze the consequences. Also, always look for ways to make sacrifices yourself.
You should always protect and create passed pawns in the endgame and use your king aggressively.
Do not be intimidated by strong players by playing cautiously and do not be over-confident against weak players by playing carelessly. Do not play for a win at all costs if the game is a draw. Do not resign prematurely and be careful of stalemates against losing opponents.
Always review all games, lost or won, and remember studying is the best option to improve your game,
Kiddie. There will be a Kiddie Interschool team tournament this weekend at Robinsons Cybergate for five-player teams. The champion team will get P6,000 plus trophy, the second placer gets P4,000 and the third placer gets P3,000.
The sponsor is Cebu Chess Masters and Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca).
The top three board finishers will also win cash prizes and medals. There will also be a prize for the top female participant. This tournament is open to kiddies 14 years and under who are elementary students. Time control is 25 minutes plus 5-second increment.
Registration is now open and interested players may contact Eduard dela Torre at 09328622010 or Cebu Chess Masters at 2668966.

No comments: