I think about chess all the time. Who knew right?! As a teacher, how can I help players understand the chess learning, becoming, experience process? Amidst all the garbage they hear, read, and download, how do I help them discover the real shortcuts to chess success? If any of these statements don’t immediately make you snicker, you are going to get good at chess as slowly as everyone else. “I can get all the experience I need from playing, I don’t need to study.” “You’re going to have to lose a lot of games along the way?” “If you keep playing you’ll get better.” ” I want my child playing people their own age” ” The open section is going to be too hard for them.” “Writing my game down is too distracting and time consuming” “If my opponent doesn’t play the moves I studied then it’s a waste of time.”
It’s a shame that todays players, coaches, and parents are not taking advantage of the sage advice that Grandamasters have been giving for almost a century. When you ask a stronger player a question, they give you a task that will reveal the answer you seek. When you begin to seriously analyze your own games, you will start getting answers to questions you hadn’t even thought of… all the time!! When something that you’ve done causes you to know the answers to things that haven’t happened to you yet, that is a benefit of experience. There’s no such thing as the benefit of imagination causing you to know something?!
Everything is chess! A quote from Peyton Manning may help bring the point home. Peyton Manning is talking about how he learns and gets ready for football games by watching tapes of games. I quote, “When you can control the rewind button, you can go in there and you watch—first, you better watch your mechanics. Watch what you’re doing. Is your drop good? How’s your throw? OK, now rewind it again. Now you better watch your receivers. OK, looks like Demaryius Thomas ran a good route here. Not sure what Julius Thomas was doing here. Then you better rewind it again and watch what the defense is doing. So, there’s time in that deal. You have to know what they were doing so you can help them. So that has helped me. When I go in and watch it with the coach, I’m watching it for the third, fourth, fifth time. That’s when you start learning”
When did Peyton Manning get meaningful experience? While he was playing the game, when he watched the game by himself, when he watched the game with the coach?
How many times do you rewind and check your games after you play them? Do you get stronger or maybe just a different player to go over your games and analysis? If you aren’t looking at your games or someone else’s in the openings that you play, are you really learning anything from what you play? Do you know where all of your games are? When was the last time you looked at your games. In chess, there are tapes for everything you want to get experience with. The most important tapes you’ll ever watch have you in them.