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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why Chess is like Martial Arts II

Here is another aspect to chess culture that is like martial arts. The evaluative side. 'Which is the best system' debate. These often crop up.

At the moment the best PR in the martial art world goes to cage fighting systems. See the Straightblast Gym  and Matt Thornton for the 'delivery systems' that draw upon Thai boxing and Brazilian ju-Jitsu for these. Anything else is seen as probably less reliable, according to this orthodoxy. 'Look to the results' in professional fights, is the basis of this debate. 

This debate is similar to chess :

I play this line called the Alekhine Defence. It lets white chase black's knight to the edge to create an asymmetric unbalanced position.

On another forum someone commented on the same system:

'Playing the Alekhine is like driving a Ferrari without the speed. You're doing way more work than the others and you aren't really doing much better with it. It's tricky in that you put yourself in awkward situations to imbalance things. Anyway I'm sure anyone under master can use it. The real question is whether it's even worth it...'.


This type of insight hurts, as you put investment into this and it could be in vain. Is the solution to try harder and make these positions work for you. In other-words play from these sub-optimal positions as Black and work it .... work it .... work it .... until you are expert?

Or just find positions that are equal in the first place, and then work from that platform, via an orthodox chess defence in the first place. (I do admit to being drawn to Petrov's Defence).

Yet at armature level reading the board is hard. I played white today vs Alekhine's Defence and still I came unstuck - AND I know this system as Black! The shapes are not normal and keeping tabs on the ideal placement of pieces chasing the theoretical advantage in an irrational context of a time-pressured game is not easy. This has happened a few times. I want to avoid the system I know which is 'bad', as I cannot cope with it ?! 

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