|Posted by Paul Anderson on July 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM|
Game Of The Week
A dangerous heresy is circulating! I wanted to warn the chess playing public about a malicious doctrine that is infecting the Colorado chess scene. It is as deadly as the plague, and it has ruined the minds of every chess player who has fallen under its spell.
Be warned! Do not be lured in by its siren’s song. It has the appearance of wisdom, but it only serves to retard the strategic planning center of the brain. And don’t think you are invincible. It is coming for you. Its agents are wolves in sheep clothing. You must stand firm, and you will be rewarded with a crown of rating points!
Tim the Tactician is advocating a “Never Resign” philosophy. While he is not the first chess player to do so, he has become an internet marketing guru who has grown his Tactics Time website (http://tacticstime.com/) from 3 subscribers to over 7,000 followers in about a year, using high pressure tactics like pop-up ads. Now he is using this forum and his endless supply of positive affirmations to turn the adult chess playing population into mindless zombies who refuse to concede defeat no matter how grim the circumstances. He wants all middle-aged, middle-class, chess players to blindly play on like one of his automated, follower-generating computer programs.
If I had to compare Tim to one of the characters in Monty Python And The Holy Grail, the obvious choice would be Tim The Enchanter. However, that character has no relevance to the point I am trying to make. So, I will use the Black Knight instead. He is the classic example of the Tim Brennan philosophy “Never Resign.” When King Arthur cuts off his left arm, he replies, “Tis but a scratch.” Since the Black Knight still has one arm left to hold his sword, he fights on. King Arthur quickly removes the Knight’s right arm, to which the Knight responds, “I’ve had worse.” Undaunted, the Knight begins to kick King Arthur. After severing one leg, the Knight exclaims, “It's just a flesh wound!” Finally, King Arthur is forced to remove the final limb, to which the Knight offers, “All right, we'll call it a draw.”
While this humorous example is entertaining to watch in the comfort of your family room, it is far less entertaining to watch played out over the chess board. Especially if you are King Arthur being forced to fight a long, slow pointless battle with no benefit to you other than maybe learning not to blunder out of boredom.
Resignation is one of the toughest skills to learn as a chess player. Not only does it require the player to analyze the position, but also the opponent, the time, and yourself. The player must count the cost for each of these items. The player must evaluate the material disadvantage and the possibility of overcoming this deficit.
“Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.”
Luke 14:31-32 (KJV)
Once the position has been scrutinized, it is time to assess the opponent. If your plan to play on is to hope for a blunder, then the higher the rating of your opponent the less likely that is going to happen. Of course, time pressure can effect your opponent. If your opponent is under one minute on his clock, blunders are far more likely. In addition, very little time left on the clock means that you won’t be wasting much of the opponent’s time.
However, the hardest part of resigning is admitting failure. Sometimes chess players would rather flag or get mated than have to admit they lost. This takes humility, and lots of chess players are not willing to learn the spiritual lessons of chess. One does not want to resign out of anger, which would be a lack of self-control. But also, one does not want to play on out of pride, which would be a lack of meekness.
Learn from the example of a wise young maiden. I was really impressed with Katie after our June Panera game (http://cschess.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/17001394-nothing-is-over-). It was not because of her play, but rather it was because of her resignation. I have played a lot of scholastic kids who have been taught to “Never Resign” and was expecting a long, slow death for Katie after she fell behind two pawns. However, she graciously shook my hand and went on to use her time more wisely.
One could argue that Katie has not learned to think but rather that she has just memorized a different mantra: Two pawns are winning. If that were the case, then she would resign anytime she got down two pawns. While I considered that possibility, it only took six months to realize that was not the case. Here is an example from our next game where she also fell behind two pawns but chose to play on.
Again I have gained a two pawn advantage. However, we are much further into the game and the time is a factor now. This time she decided to play on. It was a good decision, despite the fact that I still won the game, as the time pressure caused both of us to miss good moves.
So, the decision to resign was right, and the decision to not resign was right. The important part is learning how to make that decision.
The “Never Resign” philosophy is quick and easy. It requires no learning. Sure, it may work a small percentage of the time. One may even get an upset over a higher-rated player because of it or finish higher in the standings to take home some prize winnings.
However, all glory is fleeting. Rating points will be lost again, and prize money will be spent. Nothing truly valuable has been gained. Yet it comes with a cost. It keeps the chess player in a state of suspended development never being able to admit his mistakes and grow from them.
This is why I say, “Tim Brennan must be stopped!” He must resign from this current philosophy and concede it is flawed. He must be stopped from creating an army of Black Knights who cannot and will not ever admit defeat. While he has been a long time member of Colorado Springs Chess News, it is with a heavy heart that I recommend Tim be dismembered. Should Tim show true repentance, turn from his ways, and learn how to resign, then he can be remembered as part of Colorado Springs Chess News.
Wise Beyond Her Years
[Event "December Panera"]
[White "Wise, Katie"]
[Black "Anderson, Paul"]
1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. g3 Bf5 4. Bg2 e6 5. O-O Bc5+
6. Kh1 Nf6 7. d3 Ng4 8. Qe1 Ne3 9. Bxe3 Bxe3 10. c3 Bc5 11. e4 dxe4 12. dxe4
Bg4 13. Nbd2 Qd3 14. Nb3 Bb6 15. Rd1 Qe3 16. Nbd4 Qxe1 17. Rdxe1 Nxd4 18. Nxd4
O-O-O 19. h3 e5 20. hxg4 exd4 21. cxd4 Rxd4 22. Bf3 Rd2 23. Re2 Rhd8 24. b4
Rxe2 25. Bxe2 Rd2 26. Bc4 f6 27. Rf3 Rd4 28. Bd3 Rxb4 29. e5 h6 30. e6 Kd8 31.
g5 Ke7 32. gxh6 gxh6 33. Bf5 Rd4 34. Kg2 Rd2+ 35. Kh3 Bd4 36. Rb3 b6 37. Rb1
Rxa2 38. Rh1 Ra3 39. Rh2 a5 40. Kg4 Re3 41. Rxh6 Bc5 42. Rh7+ Kd6 43. Rd7+ Kc6
44. Rf7 a4 45. Rxf6 Be7 46. Rh6 Re1 47. Kf3 a3 48. Rh2 b5 49. g4 Bd6 50. Be4+
Kc5 51. Rc2+ Kb4 52. f5 Rg1 53. f6 Rg3+ 54. Kf2 Rxg4 55. Bf3 Rh4 56. Re2 Rh2+
57. Bg2 Rh6 58. e7 Rxf6+ 59. Ke1 Bxe7 60. Rxe7 a2 0-1
This Week In Chess
On July 17th, the Colorado Springs Chess Club held a Swiss event. The participants played in a Quick-rated, Swiss tournament (3SS, G20). Isaac Martinez went unbeaten to claim the top spot. Here are the results:
3.0 Isaac Martinez
2.0 Paul Anderson
2.0 Mark McGough
2.0 Gunnar Andersen
2.0 Joe Pahk
2.0 Peter Grigg
2.0 William Malone
1.5 Buck Buchanan
1.5 Anthea Carson
1.0 Mike Madsen
1.0 Daniel Herman
1.0 Eugin Pahk
0.0 Sara Herman
0.0 Shirley Herman