Saturday, March 24, 2007

Talk Exercises

Here is a useful training technique you can do with your chess partner as suggested by Jacob Aagaard in his great book Excelling At Chess.

Using a position from a master game, talk about the position in general terms to try and find the correct plan of action. Ask questions about the pieces and the pawn structure, open files and diagonals, outposts for knights, etc. It is important to vocalize these thoughts as, in general, we listen to ourselves much more than someone else (no surprise there, eh?).

A good methodology is to start with comparing the pieces. Select a piece from each army by deciding which ones will be likely traded for each other and compare them objectively. Is the bishop 'good', 'bad', or 'active'? Does the Knight have potential good outposts? Which files are likely to be opened and can any Rooks take advantage of them? Continue on to discuss plans of action, ideal squares for the pieces, which is your worst piece and how to improve it (as Aagaard says, this is the 'Russian Chess Secret'...they talk to their pieces...), and only then move on to discussing concrete action.
Vocalizing these ideas will build the foundation of your intuition in chess.

Good Luck and Good Training!


Aliyah said...

Congratulations on your lossless performance against >1900 players at the Eastern Class this month. Care to comment on how your training contributed to this impressive result?

Good blog, by the way.

Mark said...


I have posted my comments in another blog entry.