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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

Learning Chess Theory is Hard

Perhaps one of the insights I realized recently is that I don’t like chess theory, much less trying to learn them. When I started to learn specific openings on Chessable, like the Sicilian Defense or the Scandinavian Defense, I found that there were just too many variations to consider.

I can’t memorize all of them especially when certain positions look very similar to each other and you don’t know what move to do because several moves seem good. Usually, it’s about the timing or the move order and I really just couldn’t be bothered.

Don’t be rigid with openings

I think this is the best thing I took away from people like Magnus Carlsen who don’t pay too much attention to the openings. Maybe Magnus is a special case and so he doesn’t really need to study openings. But I think it still applies especially if you’re just going up against random opponents. Elite tournaments are a bit different in that they can study each other’s games and prepare against a certain person.

Still, simply keeping chess principles in mind like taking space in the center, king safety, and development would give you a solid position to work on in the middle game.

Middle game is about creativity

In terms of the middle game, usually after move 10, this is where you would depart from established opening theory, if you have studied and memorized for a specific opening preparation. This is when positional play and coming up with a good strategy would help you find the best path to success.

One of the problems I encounter when I reach the middle game phase of the game is that I get stuck. You can’t formulate a plan because of certain factors. Sometimes, symmetrical positions throw you off. You can’t pinpoint any weaknesses and you don’t really have any concrete way to move forward. These don’t always happen though since there will come a point when imbalances occur.

Imbalances are certain nuances in the position that give one person an edge over the other. You can say these can be called positional advantages. Look at the pawn structure, the activity of the minor pieces, the knights vs. bishops, and other elements that might tip the scales in favor of one plan. These imbalances do not mean that the other side has a clear win rather you can use them as pivots to develop a good plan. They don’t determine who wins or loses at the end of the day but they can give you an idea how to move forward.

Endgame needs the most technique

When I say learning chess theory is hard, I mostly mean trying to drill endgame positions in your head. I haven’t done that but I have seen several endgames and there are just so many techniques that you have to keep in mind. There’s no way around them. They are the most fundamental, the basic, the essential skill and knowledge that you need to master in order to improve in chess.

This is when you need deep calculation. Give up on trying to calculate 10 or even 20 moves in the middle game, much less in the opening. Save all the energy up for the endgame because it requires concentration and tact. You need to be precise. To make it easier, they have given names for various positions like the Lucena or the Philidor position in the endgame.

Though it is quite simple since most of the time, you are only dealing with the kings and a pawn or two. But it depends on where the pawn and the king are placed. This is where techniques like triangulation and opposition come in, and if you want to win or survive most games, then you better fully grasp these concepts.

Most of the time, when both sides have minimal mistakes or with almost perfect play in the opening and middle game, it will come down to the endgame. You can’t expect to rely on tricks up your sleeve in the endgame because there is not enough material to set up any traps or tricks.

Fortunately, there are books and resources out there that could help with endgame training. Many people suggest Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual as a good starting point. So if you want to clinch a lot of your games, work on your endgame technique.

Practice and play

At the end of the day, the best way to learn and acquire all this knowledge and experience is to play. Play against people who are stronger than you and can help you spot mistakes or improvements on your game. Maybe you can ask a coach, chess teacher, or the strongest player in your local club. There are resources online that you could check out as well. Chessable is a good resource, you should try it.

For me, at least, I don’t want to spend so much time trying to learn chess theory. You could probably do so especially if you have a coach or teacher to help you. I find that trying out new things on my own helps me to develop creativity and critical thinking in chess. Although it would be a lot faster if someone more experienced would help out.


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