Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Only Chess Forum

Only Chess Forum

  1. 14 Sep '10 18:29
    Capablanca famously boasted that he did not read chess books, flunked out of college and devoted his time to chess and although he did not play many serious tournaments during the next few years, when he entered them, he was among the worlds best players.

    Fischer famously absorbed everything he could get his hands, upon, Russian magazines, anything, he is famously quoted saying that he 'just got good'.

    Kasparov lost the first five games of his first world championship match at the first attempt, when he returned, he was a stronger player,

    Indeed what had happened to these great chess players, was that they had absorbed and stored ideas subliminally, simply looking at positions, analysing, evaluating. What does this mean for chess noobs like you and I?

    Every diagram is a friend!
  2. 14 Sep '10 18:58
    Yes of course, the brain maps and stores the game all the time, without us really knowing.
  3. 14 Sep '10 19:38
    Originally posted by hintjul
    Yes of course, the brain maps and stores the game all the time, without us really knowing.
    then there is no correct way of thinking? and books like How to think in chess, or How to think like a grandmaster are pants with the exception of the diagrams which may afford us an opportunity to evaluate..
  4. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    14 Sep '10 20:39
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    then there is no correct way of thinking? and books like How to think in chess, or How to think like a grandmaster are pants with the exception of the diagrams which may afford us an opportunity to evaluate..
    mostly, yes. muscle memory is where it's at. drill, drill, drill and drill.
  5. 14 Sep '10 21:06
    Or Capablanca, Fisher and Kasparov might have been gifted chess players from the outset.
  6. 14 Sep '10 21:54
    Originally posted by wormwood
    mostly, yes. muscle memory is where it's at. drill, drill, drill and drill.
    its really interesting, let me relate to you wormwood a little anecdote about present world champion Vishy Anand.

    Andrew Soltis writes,

    Anand became serious about chess the same time he was serious about tennis. he took early morning lessons att a tennis training camp. but the lessons consisted of drills. Just drills. No games. It was theory without practice. He hated it.

    ''it drove me nuts that at 5:30 in the morning i couldn't even play tennis', Anand said in a recent interview. 'I liked the chess scene simply because i got to play as much as i wanted'.

    The point is of course that it seems to me that what really sounds down when we get to practice these drills in real games. Its all very well talking of the merits or otherwise of an isolated queen pawn, but unless we experience it in play, it remains pure theory, on the other hand, it hard to argue against practising tactics or N+B mates because they have so many good tangible benefits.
  7. 14 Sep '10 22:07
    Originally posted by SmittyTime
    Or Capablanca, Fisher and Kasparov might have been gifted chess players from the outset.
    yes that may have been the case, however i don't even think there is a definition of chess talent, and its certainly not genetic as no world champion to date has produced a 'talented', off spring.

    Of course the Polgar sisters are famous for all being good at chess and i don't suspect its just a coincidence that by the time Susan was nine her father had amassed a library of over 500 chess books and cut out diagrams from newspapers and magazines so that his collection of chess positions encompassed 200,000 entries. Its certainly no coincidence that the sisters developed a finely honed instinct for finding the positionally correct move though. 🙂
  8. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    15 Sep '10 01:06 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    yes that may have been the case, however i don't even think there is a definition of chess talent, and its certainly not genetic as no world champion to date has produced a 'talented', off spring.

    Of course the Polgar sisters are famous for all being good at chess and i don't suspect its just a coincidence that by the time Susan was nine her fa ...[text shortened]... ters developed a finely honed instinct for finding the positionally correct move though. 🙂
    they also drilled the polgar bricks. as well as everything else. 🙂


    I think anand was talking about motivation, not being against practice itself. I have no doubt that he did his legwork, just like fischer & capablanca. and even if the myth of capa not having a learning curve gets told a billion times, it's still just hogwash. of course he trained like everybody else. miracles don't exist, the knowledge and routines don't just magically appear in one's neural net. the connections and related neural reorganization must be laborously forced into it by a heavy and long term training regime. just like all other complex skills. the master cellist didn't become a master without countless hours of drilling, the best guitar/bass players do daily finger exercises, the opera divas drill scales.

    even having a perfect memory doesn't really help. the autistically inclined memory monsters do not dominate the top levels of chess. it's not enough to recall every position you ever saw.

    that said, of course playing itself is also a form of drilling. but you can bet your nuts on that every 'carlsen' of the world has done a LOT of work on technical matters. it has not been just fun & games.

    of kasparov we know he's a workaholic. the soviets in general approached chess as a scientific discipline, not a pass-time. there was no fooling around in a soviet chess academy. larry christiansen went through his reinfeld sacs until the book wore physically out. fischer obsessed about it until he went nuts. every single one of those guys has obsessed about training on the level that none of us has even touched. and that's why they got good. they had the mental toughness of working through all of it.
  9. 15 Sep '10 02:17
    Originally posted by wormwood
    they also drilled the polgar bricks. as well as everything else. 🙂


    I think anand was talking about motivation, not being against practice itself. I have no doubt that he did his legwork, just like fischer & capablanca. and even if the myth of capa not having a learning curve gets told a billion times, it's still just hogwash. of course he trained like ...[text shortened]... that's why they got good. they had the mental toughness of working through all of it.
    it was said by some close to fisher that they thought he was autistic...There is a story of him giving a friend a chess book telling him a page and he could tell you the moves(I think he may have even been able to tell you a specific move from a speciic page but I don't remember that part 100 percent)
  10. 15 Sep '10 02:35
    Originally posted by erikido
    it was said by some close to fisher that they thought he was autistic...There is a story of him giving a friend a chess book telling him a page and he could tell you the moves(I think he may have even been able to tell you a specific move from a speciic page but I don't remember that part 100 percent)
    The book was Spassky's Greatest Games. It was before the WCC '72. Apparently Fischer knew all 100 games by heart. And not just the moves, but the year, tournament, opponent, etc. Guy was a machine.
  11. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    15 Sep '10 03:00 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by erikido
    it was said by some close to fisher that they thought he was autistic...There is a story of him giving a friend a chess book telling him a page and he could tell you the moves(I think he may have even been able to tell you a specific move from a speciic page but I don't remember that part 100 percent)
    that's easily doable. at some point I memorized all the games in chernev's logical chess move by move. it didn't even take that long. then I used to play them in my head, lying in bed and not being able to sleep.

    only vague ideas about them now, after years, but I bet I could get it all back with little effort. possibly never forgetting them again.

    I bet there are people here who can produce hundreds or even thousands of games from over the years (as could've fischer & the rest of the big boys). especially the ones who have been coaching others. someone like greenpawn has probably a ridiculous mental collection of morphy games etc...
  12. 15 Sep '10 06:14
    Originally posted by wormwood
    that's easily doable. at some point I memorized all the games in chernev's logical chess move by move. it didn't even take that long. then I used to play them in my head, lying in bed and not being able to sleep.

    only vague ideas about them now, after years, but I bet I could get it all back with little effort. possibly never forgetting them again.

    I ...[text shortened]... s. someone like greenpawn has probably a ridiculous mental collection of morphy games etc...
    Not just memorizing the games or moves. But, say page 32 he would know the players and game.. I don't think it is that unthinkable to memorize games. But, just pick a page and know the game that takes a monstrous memory
  13. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    15 Sep '10 15:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by erikido
    But, just pick a page and know the game that takes a monstrous memory
    no it doesn't. if you keep referring to games in the same book for a while, you'll soon remember the page number.
  14. Standard member Talisman
    Time traveller.
    15 Sep '10 16:27 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by wormwood
    mostly, yes. muscle memory is where it's at. drill, drill, drill and drill.
    Enlighten me Wormwoood. When you say drill are you simply referring to going over tactics puzzles de la maza style or something else?
  15. Subscriber Proper Knob
    Cornovii
    15 Sep '10 17:19 / 1 edit
    This thread reminds me of the famous Thomas Edison quote -

    'Genius is 1% genius and 99% perspiration'.