Someone posed a question on my blog asking, “What is equality anyway?” On one hand, it’s an easy question: if the game is equal, then that’s equality. If both sides have the same material, the same pieces, no weaknesses, same development, then that’s equality. That’s obvious, but chess is a deep game, and many positions are far from simple … and yet GMs will still claim that the game is equal.
In this post, I want to discuss some ideas behind equality. There are quite theoretical, so I don’t expect it to radically change your play, but you might understand chess better afterwards. First, though, I want to discuss the basic strategic ideas behind the chess game. Continue reading
If there’s a silver lining to being sick, it would be sick days. That is, days where you do absolutely nothing, just sit back and relax and let the healing magic of lethargy take over. That’s what I did this weekend. Well, most of the weekend.
I got sick sometime last week. You can read about the progression here, in a terrible, rambling post written while under fever. The short, more coherent version: first I had much less energy, then I had a light fever, then a full fever. Fun. It peaked Friday … the day I had the longest day at work. Lucky me.
When you’re a kid, you just stay home. Us stupid adults still drag ourselves to work.
In my efforts to become a better person, I constantly set new goals. I want to be stronger, smarter, faster, fitter; I want to learn new skills and get better at the skills I currently have. That makes sense. Who doesn’t want to get better? The hard part is putting enough time in to get better.
This isn’t even my busiest week.
You have to put enough time in. You have to. There’s no other way to get better. Time is a universal currency. You get 168 hours a week … and often you look back and think, gee, I only spent one hour working on a particular skill all week. That’s not a good ratio. True, you can’t spend all those hours on one thing, but you can spend more than one, right?
Even worse, sometimes you get really busy doing other things. Important things, certainly, but other things. Then you look at the calendar one day and realize you haven’t practiced anything in nearly three weeks. Where did all that time go? It just vanished. That’s not a good way to spend a universal currency.
And that’s exactly why, after some trial and error, I’ve come to what I call ‘my structured day.’ Continue reading
In the past week I’ve written at length about the Myers-Briggs personality test. First I covered the test itself, and then I looked more at perceiving versus judging, the area I like the least about the MBTI. It seems extremely strange to me, and I cannot understand the distinction between the two.
Wait, there’s a difference? And can’t I keep a map inside my toolbox? This doesn’t appear especially thought out.
They say that judgers are more organized, realistic, task-focused, scheduled and consistent, whereas perceivers are scattered, theorists, goal-orientated, spontaneous and work more in bursts. The two seem to be at odds with each, and I guess they are … but I also don’t see it at all. This distinction seems to suggest that someone will (generally? always?) prefer the one over the other, but that doesn’t make sense to me at all.
These two lists are not one-size-fits all. Sometimes you need organized structure, and sometimes you need spontaneous creativity. It isn’t a choice of either/or. It’s a choice of both/and. Continue reading
The other day I wrote about the Myers-Briggs Types, detailing my thoughts and reservations about the whole idea. I also revealed my own type, which is, surprise, INT. I like that, because it stands for intelligent, so clearly it must be the best type.
“Uh, but aren’t you missing the final letter, the J or the P, judging or perceiving?”
Excellent observation, but no, I’m not. For one, my J and P test out exactly the same, a perfect split, and this has happened on every test I’ve done, from simple Internet quizes to the full-blown MBTI done during school. My J and P are completely equal, and that makes sense to me, because I don’t see a difference between the two … or why they are opposed.
J.P. also happen to be my initials, so saying I’m both J and P is correct on multiple levels.
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