Friday, February 6, 2009

Chess For Tigers

Last night I played a Class C player in the club championship qualifier. I had a few jitters about an upset, especially because the week before, just such an upset had occurred. Alekhine said "During a chess competition, a chess master should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk." The late Simon Webb devoted a chapter in "Chess For Tigers" to "How to catch Rabbits".

"Do you know how Tigers catch Rabbits? Do they rush after them and tear them limb from limb? Or do they stalk them through the bush before finally creeping up on them when their resistance is low? The trouble with the first method is that even Rabbits have sharp teeth and when cornered can be surprisingly ferocious. So a sensible Tiger takes no chances - he patiently stalks his Rabbit, and when the poor thing makes a bolt for freedom, he pounces and kills it swiftly and easily."

Webb goes on to basically recommend the Keep It Simple Stupid method of chess plus waiting for your weaker opponent to make a couple mistakes. For the most part it worked for me in this game, but there were still several good moves that I missed.

Plus, I struggled with several of Blue Devil Knight's coach's rules, namely #1, #2, #4, and #5. But it was fun to watch the woodpile imbalance grow. As a contrast, Drunknknite sought complications by violating #3. I wish I could play like a swashbuckler.

I'm afraid I have come to the admission that my style is quite boring and tame. I'm a mostly toothless tiger these days. But I'm trying to play sharper openings to get the Eye of the Tiger back.


Eric Shoemaker said...

Hi Ernie, I love that, "It was fun to watch the imbalance in the wood pile grow." That's too funny.

I recommend going over to meeting the King Pawn as Black! There's a lot of good tactical stuff there and once you get to know it well, your opponents cannot escape to a more quiet game very easily. They do have the Ruy Lopez though, which is a burden.


Eric Shoemaker said...

Hi Ernie, I ran across a statistic that the Sicilian Defense scores 27% in practice, which is well above most of the other defenses in the Semi-Open game such as the Caro-Kann Defense (an old favorite of mine), the French Defense, Alekhine's Defense, and the others, which are not as popular.

If you meet the King Pawn, you can't get close to that percentage against the Ruy Lopez unless you play risky and adopt the Jaenisch Gambit (also known as the Schliemann Defense), which also scores 27% in practice, but is far more risky than one of the Sicilian Defenses. Statistics are really cool!

So if I want, 'want' being the key word, if I 'want' that number 27% in my game, then my choice is the Sicilian Defense or the Jaenisch Gambit. Otherwise, I should forget about having that number as I will only be disappointed in the end analysis if I play something else.