A Daily Schedule – Using Your Time Wisely

From their very childhood, junior chessplayer live under the stress of chronic lack of time.

Many young players complain that they are almost always very busy, and haven’t got enough time for carrying out serious chess studying.

It is necessary to develop the skill of good time management, spend the time with maximum efficiency.

Such skill in a young talent determines, to a great extent, the rate at which chess strength grows.

Start your daily schedule, and you will be surprised of how many extra hours you will be able dedicate to your chess training.

 

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TALENT + WORK

The Greatest World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik considered the success in chess as a combination of 4 factors.
* Special Chess Talent
* Good Physical conditions (Health).
* Strong Character
* High working skills

To achieve success in modern chess requires being a universal style chessplayer, playing all stages of a game confidently, and mastering typical positions in various openings.

 

Such a training program takes several years of strenuous work under the guidance of a qualified and thoughtful coach. For instance, in order to play the ending confidently, it is necessary for a junior player to remember the right way to play thousand typical endgame positions, requiring something like two years of the most arduous study. 

First of all, a chessplayer must be able to work hard consistently. How many sparkling talents never made it to the top because of the absence of this skill?  

I always remind my pupils: Talent has one advantage  the right to work more than the others. A simple reasoning convinces you: Suppose a talented boy needs just ten minutes to master some chess material. A less talented player needs 20 minutes. If the talent will not spend these ten minutes and the other one will spend his 20 minutes, then who will be at an advantage?!

Only those children who are fanatically devoted to chess canbe expected to spend long hours at the chess board at home, reading chess books every day, and solving an enormous number of various tactic or dull endgame positions.  

Garry Kasparov once wrote: I perceived all too early that you have to pay for everything in your life. A talented child has just a single thing to pay  thats his childhood.  

Nobody has ever found any other formula for that of success: TALENT + HARD WORK!

 

Contributed by : A.Vaysman  Honored coach of Ukraine

 

 

Your Tournament Activity

Only a player and his coach know how many hours they spend training. To preclude exhaustion of the young chessplayer’s nervous system, it is essential to plan carefully all the time spent by the chess player. An approximate guide is shown below.

Pure “chess preparation” can be divided into three parts:

1. Preparation for the competition;
2. Play during the tournament;
3. Analysis of performance;

It is required to distinguish the current general preparation, which takes about a half of all time spent on chess, and is conducted every day, with preparation for a specific competition. If the remaining time is divided equally into the above three remaining parts, our annual balance for playing tournaments is about 55- 60 days. So we have reached the figure of 55-60 games per year that Botvinnik advised for competitive play. For a long time the planned workload of world champion Garry Kasparov was 55 games per year.

Despite the immeasurable acceleration of modern life and the advent of significant aids for playing chess  computers and advances in medical science that lead to the improvement of the human physical condition – the number of days in a year has not changed! Considering current realities, the number of games for a young chess player should not exceed 70-80 games annually.

It will let them preserve a healthy nervous system for many years.

How To Annotate Your Own Games?

While everyone prefers to learn from the mistakes of others, this is not very realistic when it comes to chess – Annotate Your Games!

A chessplayer’s strength is measured by his or her successes in tournaments. Sport has a single criterion – the result. Should we disagree with it, or bring in some other criteria, the very essence of sport is nullified. Comments such as this guy is more talented,but :

  • blundered in a time trouble
  • lost a won position
  • incredible error
  • accidentally, etc. 

are for the fans (and media ). No “incredible” events occur. If something happened it was possible! It is necessary to try and understand the cause of what happened. You must analyze your own games in greater detail to identify the types of mistakes you made and to find out in which situations you need to improve your decision making process.

From childhood one must get used to analyzing and annotating every game played. Analysis of games, conceptualization of their content, explanation, assessments, motivations behind moves played, threats and what caused them create a powerful incentive for a chessplayer’s growth! Analysis is necessary for rapid chess games as well.

I consider that rapid chess gives even more information about the merits and drawbacks of a chess player. When there is more time to think, these drawbacks can be concealed by longer thinking, whereas in rapid chess and in blitz games all the pros and cons reveal themselves more vividly. A. S. Nikitin, Garry Kasparov’s coach, wrote that the future world champion even annotated his blitz games. Timing is of great help in identifying weaknesses of a chessplayer. It assists in understanding and explaining the chess player’s drawbacks and their causes, and is particularly demonstrative as it rates the time required to make this or that decision.

After each tournament it is necessary to report on all games played by a player in the Chessbase special Database.

 

Spend 10-15 minutes after each game writing brief notes, including thoughts, variations and assessments that were going through his mind during the play, and compare these with the results of subsequent calm analysis.

 

The five critical goals that you are trying to accomplish in your deep analyze are: Checking your Opening preparation. The opening part should end with a brief theoretical reference pointing out the best variations for continuing the struggle and with an “exemplary” game of this variation played by grandmasters.

 

Discovering the turning points and assessing your decisions making at those points. Particular attention should be drawn to the phase when the game passes from the opening to the middlegame, and it is worthwhile showing the extent to which the middlegame events correlate with opening structure logic.

 

Finding and classifying your own mistakes and other problems (Tactical, strategic, while attacking, defending etc, psychological problems etc); Develop your analyzing skills by uncovering new ideas and better moves, which could have happened if they were played.

 

The comments of each game should be finalized with an assessment of one’s own play and conclusions (reasons for win or loss, including non-chess factors; what to do in order to avoid these).

Showing your game to the coach for reviewing your analyses.

 

Such work on the annotations should last for 4-5 hours. At a higher level, it is useful to annotate other players games, though it is more complicated due to a difficulty of understanding motives behind moves without observing the playing process directly.

 

Contributed by : A.Vaysman  Honored coach of Ukraine

 

The ‘Parents’ Role in Chess Development

It is clear that chess talent is a gift of God, but nevertheless the role of a young chess-player’s parents is rather significant.

First of all, it is most important to identify a child’s abilities as soon as possible and create the conditions for their realization. In fact, chess abilities become obvious right after a child is shown the moves of the pieces and explained in the most primitive form the basic rules of chess strategy. It usually comes about at the age of 5-6, sometimes even earlier. So the parents should take steps to develop their children’s abilities as soon as possible. The tempo of chess life becomes faster and faster and makes us start as early as possible. World Champion Boris Spassky had his first class at 11, which was a great achievement in his day. Nowadays the Chinese chess-player Bu Xiangzhi became a grandmaster at 13 and Sergey Karjakin at 12!

There has been a lot of discussion as to the problem of whether chess is a sport or not. Former President of IOC Julio Samaranch even arranged for a special poll to be conducted, the results of which helped chess to be finally included in the Olympic family.

Chess players themselves have never doubted that chess is sport. Of course you can hardly achieve real success in sport if your parents haven’t given you strong health. Obviously good health is what everyone needs. But no considerable progress can be made without it in chess, as the game requires both physical and psychological tenacity throughout the whole tournament. This problem is particularly acute nowadays, when a round’s duration reaches 5-7 hours, and sometimes one has to play two games a day even at rather big tournaments, such as Capella la Grande (France). But some chess-players, including my pupils, spend hours and hours on their end games. That’s why I always ask my pupils “to run in the morning regularly and frequent a swimming pool no less than twice a week”. This is one of the components of their individual work. Running and swimming are the kinds of sports which suit chess-players best!

It is most important that the child should have a strong nervous system which the parents must take care of. The most significant thing here is the psychological climate, which is created by the child’s closest relatives in the first place. If the parents trust their child, understand his ambitions and desires, they imbue the unsophisticated young chess-player’s soul with confidence. Surely this adds to making the child’s nervous system stronger.

I would like to give you an example. One day a talented chess-player who had just finished the 8-th grade at school decided to come to me from his city where there were poor conditions for studying chess seriously. The “mother’s darling” had to live all alone in an alien city, manage the household and go to a new school. I asked him more than once how it had happened that his parents let him live all alone at such an early age. It was not until he had become a strong grandmaster that he told me his mother’s words: “No one has a right to kill a dream”. A mother like that deserves a lot of praise and thanks! Would many mothers do the same? And would that boy have become a bright grandmaster, if she had acted in a different way? Much to my regret, there are other examples to the contrary.

 Contributed by : A.Vaysman  Honored coach of Ukraine

The Essence of Talent

There are a lot of ways people get to know chess. I remember having seen my father’s sophisticated chess pieces and getting acquainted with an interesting game which looked like a war between two armies. Very soon I understood that the army led by the more experienced commander won the game, and it was not at all easy to gain that experience! But I wanted to gain it, and understanding nothing at that time, I made my first step to join the society of people who had united to discover the secrets of the GAME. One can join and abandon the society at one’s own free will, but in all my life I have not seen a person who abandoned it VOLUNTARILY FOR GOOD.

What one needs to win chess combats?
First of all, one must have the gift of God – the particular “talent for chess”. The talent might differ from person to person, but unless it is there, one will never achieve much in chess. In this case neither the fanaticism in studying the obscure positions, nor the participation in numerous tournaments will help. The talent can only be developed. No coach can give it even to the most diligent and hard-working trainee.

But chess is a wise and grateful game. Those who used to play it seriously, even for a short period of time, and then gave it up, nevertheless generated the skills that came in handy in real life. Once a prominent coach told me about a conversation he had had with a “new Russian” (there is a modern term now which is used to allude to the Russian businessmen who have quickly come into money), his pupil’s father. After a few lessons, when the coach was convinced that the boy would not become a good chess-player, he told the father about it. The answer was: “But I don’t want him to become a strong grandmaster! I want my son to learn to think logically, predict and take into account his partners’ possible steps, take his own decisions and put them into effect”. The father wanted to prepare his son for the life in the world of business by means of chess learning! The businessman understood what the people, who had worked in the field of chess for quite a long time, felt: he understood that chess was a model of life! I always tell my pupils that if the unearthly origin of life is proved, the unearthly origin of chess will be proved, too.

So what is talent for chess? And what is talent in general? Here I can’t help recalling an episode which happened in this country’s communist past. I was walking along the central street of Kiev, the capital of Soviet Ukraine, and in one shop window I saw a book by the great Jewish writer Sholom Aleikhem. The fact that the book appeared in the Ukraine during the time of the highest efflorescence of anti-Semitism was quite unexpected, and taking it in my hands, I started reading the preface written by the great Ukrainian writer Ostap Vishnya. The preface only covered two pages, but I could not find anything about either the contents or the author of the book. Ostap Visnya tackled the problem of talent, significance and necessity of hard work for a talented person. There was only one paragraph left, which consisted of just two sentences. The first one ran as follows: “So what is talent? It is such a thing that unless you have it, you haven’t got it!” To my mind, this is the most correct definition of talent. We’ll get round to the second sentence of the preface a bit later.

Though it is impossible to say what chess talent really is, this talent is quite obvious for a coach. A talented child digests chess knowledge much quicker and uses it more effectively. The child is quick to single out the main things in a coach’s explanations or in the books, and identifies the moments when this or that chess rule or skill can be applied. Usually talented children can quickly learn to play without having a chessboard before their eyes. They are quick to make moves and figure out the possible lines, they are good at “blitz” and at playing games with reduced time control. There is “a rule of thumb” among chess coaches: “blitz is the indicator of talent”. I would like to stress, that it is an indicator of talent but not of strength of a chess-player, as talent is necessary but not enough for what is called the strength of a chess-player. A grandmaster at the age of 12 played at such a rate that, trying to teach him to play slower and more seriously, I suggested that he should write down in a note book the moves he considered before making a move on the chess-board. The “sly” boy managed to put down seven (!!) variants of moves for about a minute, making an eighth on the chess-board. So – “unless you have it, you haven’t got it!”

One should distinguish between chess talent and a good ability to memorize. Many children are quick to memorize a vast quantity of chess lines, especially the ones they like, but not many of them are capable of putting into practice what they have memorized. That’s what the talent is needed for. It is possible to develop and improve any kind of memory, including the memory for chess lines, by means of special exercises. The main thing is one’s will, tenacity and time.

Contributed by : A.Vaysman  Honored coach of Ukraine

Developing Ambition And Objectivity.

Chess has also helped me to understand that without an objective evaluation of a position, it is impossible to achieve good results not only in chess but in your life as well. Undoubtedly chess has a very important pedagogic value. It develops memory, logic and fantasy. It improves our reactions, attention and capacity for work in our lives. It also helps us develop a deep respect for our opponents. – Boris Alterman

It is impossible to expect great success in chess without ambition. It is ambition that, more often than not, is the main drive urging a junior sportsman on to work at chess. It is equally important that such ambition does not become excessive and turn into vanity or self-admiration.

A very talented boy was achieving excellent results. At 13 he became under-16 champion, and at 14 he won a silver medal in the under-18 championship. Still, the quality of his play caused me to criticize him. Regretfully the talented young man used to answer most of my remarks with: “Still. I won!”

 I had to explain patiently that he would not be able to claim great triumphs in the future. The crisis came after the following argument. “If a thousand men play badly, then somebody will still be first, and somebody else will be last. However, it does not mean that the winner will be playing any better. That is how you are winning!”.

The boy fell to thinking, and soon he became noticeably more objective in assessing his victories. More serious results were achieved. The skill of objectivity helps to avoid many hurtful defeats, caused by an overestimation of the position. It will be of use in real life as well.

Contributed by : A.Vaysman  Honored coach of Ukraine