Sunday 13 February 2022

How to improve

 100 Chess Maxims (by C.D. Locock) has a number of interesting pieces of advice for new (and experienced) players. The issue I have was published prior to 1933 (based on the note by the original owner on the inside cover, and a clipping from the Daily Telegraph dated July 24 1933, which came with the book)

Last last set of tips are headed "How to improve" and contain the following advice 

95. Play, if possible, with players rather better than yourself. Write down your games and play them over afterwards, preferably with your opponent, and try to find out how your play could have been improved. Play consultation games when you get the chance.

96. Play through the games (beginning with 1.e4) in the newspapers, taking the winning side and trying to guess every move made. You should take on the average, a minute or two for each move. When you can guess 60 per cent of the moves actually made, you will be well on the road to improvement.

97. When receiving odds always play an attacking game. If the odds are large, play P-Q4 early, even if it loses a pawn. It will often pay you to sacrifice a piece for two pawns in order to break up the opponent's position.

98. Especially when you have a winning game, remember the proverb, "More haste, less speed." Missing the best move will often necessitate dozens more. Having found what seems the best move, look for a better.

99. Don't "hover." It hinders your own view of the board, and is not fair to your opponent. Accustom yourself to playing "touch and move," since in match games this is compulsory.

100. Always know at every stage of the game exactly how much you are ahead or behind in material. You will improve more quickly by resigning a lost game and starting another, than by going on till you are mated.

Of the various pieces of advice, I do like 96, although very few players actually read games from newspapers. 97 is well out of date, although 99 is actually quite timely, as I warned a player for doing this at Street Chess on Saturday. But if I had to pick one, then it would be No. 100, especially the 2nd sentence. 

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