By Leo Solal, Premier Chess Business Development Manager
Some recurring questions that I get in dialogues with people somewhat unfamiliar with chess are : “What do you like about chess ? What got you into teaching it ?”
Well first of all most of us need a job. Society doesn’t force us to be an active and positive member of our surroundings but I think that’s it’s for the best. On the other hand, chess to me and perhaps others too, is like a fun activity in which people go to war, and whoever is the most solid player is less likely to lose – “If your opponent offers you a draw, try to work out why he thinks he’s worse off.” – Nigel Short.
Actually knowing openings, endgames and being a good strategist will tip the balance in our favor as far as being declared winners. Some enjoy growing their musical or literacy culture, well I appreciate learning new chess tricks. And I undeniably like winning my games.
As a beginner we are taught the fundamentals. Some are plain and simple like how the King is the most valuable piece and if he ends up in check you either have to block, escape or capture the piece who’s attacking your King, and if none of the above are doable then you probably lost the game. But others are less obvious, such as developing your pieces before starting an attack or opening up the position if your opponent’s King is still in the center of the board. I was told by my coach in my youth than it’s when we lose that we must definitely have been taught something.
Memorization is a big part of nowadays chess upcoming talents’ working routine. Knowing and understanding 20+ moves of all the variations that we may get into is a huge asset when playing competitive chess. The player who is better prepared usually builds up a concrete time advantage that may turn out to be decisive and favor him/her in tense position where tactics play a major role. It is easier said than done but with regular and consistent work we can all remember a few lines and trick our opponents in a real game.
Eventually both players get to a position without a lot of pieces and it’s called the endgame. That is when experience and calculation take a sizable importance. Many endgames are drawn and knowing how to play certain specific positions can give you a few extra points, and in a tournament that sometime is the difference between 1st and 4th place. Since checkmate patterns are usually pretty scarce during that stage the King can become the centerpiece of your place -“In the middlegame, the king is merely an extra, but in the endgame, he is one of the star actors.” – Aron Nimzowitsch.