Sunday, February 24, 2013

Competitive Chess Training Part 8 - Semi-Professional to Professional

Last article, we discussed the difference between an advanced player and a semi-professional player. We have come to see that the main differences among the many levels of players are based heavily on not so much what they are doing, but the various dimensions that a said player can look at a given position from. Now we are going to look a far more abstract separation of skill levels.

The most important thing we can establish before entertaining any discussion of a professional play is a clear definition. Many people will have different definitions as to what a professional player is. These definitions are often influenced by the particular field, goals, and any other specific criteria. I tend to use one universal collection of criteria. The criteria is that professionals possess the ability to perform a task that services a demand and with a declaration of such in occupation. In other words not only are they skilled, their skill is more than a casual interest.

Now that we're all settled in lets get to the meat and potatoes of our topic.

The semi-professional is often mistaken with a professional because for the most part the ability and skill sets are almost on par. So, if that's the case then why is there even a difference? Well, there are 2 things professionals generally possess as indicated by the very definition. The first is a unique or uncommon skill (not talent) that they can leverage to succeed their goal. The ability to adapt to a situation.

If you have read Jeremy Silman's work then you are aware of the philosophy that if a person possesses a certain imbalance then they must make use of it. Making use of a very distinct advantage is the easiest way to stay ahead of competition. This is not specific to chess. Businesses survive because they can provide a needed service that other companies cannot match. The advantage may be minimal or abstract, but if it is properly nourished it can provide an un-matchable leverage.

Adaptation is something that trends with experience and discipline. The importance of adaption is the more visible difference between the 2 player calibers.  Generally speaking the professional will win more games because of his ability to adapt. Game 1 will often be close. However the following games will favor the professional as he can for lack of a better term... download and predict his opponents as well as the situation off of a few previous encounters, and very quickly. Hence, professionals will frequently adapt to his bracket to meet his goal. Like the company with the unique service, in order to actually stay in business longer than a year one has to adapt and modify their service so it satisfies its consumers. When they want the unique features as well as their ideal requests (ie. interface, compatibility etc. ) the company has to be able to deliver. That's where money and professionalism meets.

The reason why I emphasis these 2 factors is because in almost any professional will require these 2 at some point. Lacking in one of the 2 areas will result into an eventual breakdown. This doesn't stop at  performance. Public Relation, attitude, mental longevity will benefit from these motifs as well.  Fortunately like anything else you can practice these motifs in anything you do. Practice adapting to a situation, and practice cultivating your unique expertise. It will take a vast amount of time and training but the reward is of course well worth it.

Big Fish Games

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Competitive Chess Training Part 7 - Advanced to Semi-Professional

Last article I discussed one of the more abstract and often disputed concept of the difference between an amateur and advanced player. As it turns out, the difference between the 2 simply comes down to move intention. Okay, simple enough... so what about the difference between a "advanced" player and the proclaimed "semi-professional"? Well, quite simply the idea is the same but lets examine the 2 players specifically.

The advanced player can look at a given move and dissect it's purpose for something else. Take moving furniture for example. To the "amateur", it's a good idea to move the table in front of the couch because it allows you to place your drinks and food on the table while watching the TV in front of you. Not necessarily bad thinking, but there's obviously more to table placement... believe it or not.

An advance table mover is aware of a few more thoughts of the table placement. How much room is available for people to walk around it? How high is the table compared to the couch (if it's too tall it may be better placed somewhere else in the room)? What kind of table design is it?

Well... that can be a lot to think about. There are obviously more I can go into detail about. So with that understood, what kind of thoughts goes into a semi-professional? Well, lets examine our examples a little more closely.

The kinda of thoughts an advanced mover put to play were multiple tangible and intangible ideas that lived within a specific period of time. But what if a couple years later the furniture needs to be replaced or moved again? as you can see this is going from the 3 dimensional view to a 4 dimensional view (time). An advanced decision suits a very specific and particular instance at an in-depth level. The semi-professional decision nurtures over time. It's suited for long-term existence. If something has to change... it should have minimal impact on the entirety of the room. 

I use the furniture moving as an example because it's something most people can relate to and it involves similar ideas of moving chess pieces. A knight being on a particular square can suit a particular situation as well as serve a long term purpose. 

Hopefully, this example was an eye-opener. Like anything it will take lots of practicing and time so keep at it. Happy chessings!

Big Fish Games

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Then and now

Before for me chess was Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Bobby Fischer and Mikhail Tal. Throw in Botvinnik Petrosion Korchnoi and Spassky you have my Ideal top 8.

Today chess for me is Ron Lavengald, Magnus Carleson, and ... well myself :]

In all seriousness Lavengald and Carleson really do reminisce me of the chess I grew up. Hopefully in a few years to come I'll be amongst them. I really am going all out and as of lately I am definitely improving.

Big Fish Games

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Competitive Chess Training Part 6 - Amateur to Advanced

I previously discussed the many tiers of a player's development. This tier list can be applied to almost any game or sport, but I've specifically tailor-made it for chess. Now that we have an outline, I'll take some time to break down some of the gaps to help you find a solution to which stage you may be struggling to develop in.

When many people hear the term amateur they consider it code-word for "bad player" who is incapable of performing at any sort of admirable performance. While this applies to some players who remain un-crafty for the entirety of their career, it's not an accurate definition. An amateur is someone who lacks an expertise, or polished skill set in a particular trade. Amateurs will remain amateur's as long as they indulge purely for the fun. Not passion... but fun.

So what's an advanced player?
Advanced players are those who combine abstract concepts to technical motifs. In other words... they make decisions to advance their specific position. The first true milestone of a soon-to-be expert class player. Advanced players are not always great players as a whole, however they have the foundation required to outperform a large portion of players as well as compete with those at the top of the game (with at least some remote hope).

It's always exciting to watch an advanced competitor play a professional because the advanced player will make good moves despite being completely outclassed. Very admirable! Sometimes even more exciting than semi pro vs pros though the odds say other -wise.

What does it take to make the jump from being an amateur to being an advanced player?

1. One has to study the basics and master them. They must surrender to the fact that they are fundamentally broken... and that's okay as long as they intend to make a change.
2. When one performs, they must play as every move they make is a critical decision.Eliminate impulsive choices unless they serve a specific purpose.
3. They must accept that they will lose a lot before practical improvement can occur. It may take a few months to several years depending on time, intuition and resources.
4. They must have faith in their decision and take calculated risks. Worst case scenario is you loose a game as a hero.

Of course, advanced players will require a certain amount of experience and significant amount of training in order to develop such abilities. However, it's important to remember that ANYONE willing to put the effort in can reach such a player tier. Once you recognize what understand what an amateur and Advanced player is you will find the gap to be rather obvious.

Big Fish Games

Sunday, February 3, 2013

3 things

3 thing that makes a pro professional

1. They can adapt.
2. They produce what others cannot easily.
3. They produce something of value.

I cant live to be a professional alone. It's more valuable to make a difference. To make a difference you must strive to do what isn't possible. If you succeed you will be a hero and if you fail you will be a legend. Either way... you will have lived life to the true fullest and will be remembered for who you are and what you believe in.

Keeping it short and simple for the superbowl

Big Fish Games