There are two ways a chess game can be decided in the opening. Someone might fall for a trap and lose instantly. That’s perhaps what most people think about when they consider winning in the opening. The other possibility is that one side gains some sort of advantage, perhaps material but usually positional, and then uses that to win the game.
This second possibility is much, much more common at the grandmaster level. There, the tiniest sliver of an advantage may be nursed into a won game. For us amateurs, that’s usually not the case. It’s not uncommon to have an advantage turn into a disadvantage within three moves, sometimes even less … something I know all too well…
However, in amateur games, sometimes you can gain such a huge positional advantage that the game really is over. Obviously this implies that your opponent has made some type of mistake. It will be most obvious if we look at some of my examples. Continue reading →
Teaching has many rewards, to be sure, but it also has many challenges. Many, many challenges. Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus rolling a rock up the hill. I have taught many things over the years, from writing and tutoring to chess and personal fitness. I’m currently a martial arts instructor, which has perhaps the greatest challenges of them all.
This isn’t me. This would be Funakoshi, perhaps the greatest teacher of modern karate.
I might have 20 students in a class. There are several instructors with me, so in the end I may be responsible for five students. Ages can range from 6 to 60 in the family class. Among those five students, one might be super serious, ready for a challenge; another struggles with even the most basic movements; one might need to heavily review all the basics, and another might have ADHD and need continual new stimulus to stay engaged. Five students, potentially five very different needs, and I need to somehow reach them all.
Wow, how do I do this? Typing that out, I just realized how tough my job is. I should get a raise. Continue reading →
I am about the most laid-back person there is. Few things truly gets me. I generally remain calm no matter what happens. I wasn’t always like this. During public school, for instance, I was calm about some things and incredibly tense about others. The more I matured the less tense I got.
This is apparently a tense person. At least, that’s what showed up when I google image searched.
We could go even further I imagine. The less schooling I did the more relaxed I became. School had an incredible ability to draw out some of the worst in me. My insomnia, for example, often ebbed and flowed with my school workload. Some people purposely put off sleep, pulling all-nighters to finish a project the day before it’s due. This is a conscious choice. I never made this choice; I simply couldn’t fall asleep. Continue reading →