I am sure most of you are looking for signs that you are now good players. You have read the columns from the beginning, followed all tips, downloaded all materials including chess applications and probably played one or two over the board tournaments.
Chances are you have a pile of newbies you have beaten with that mate-in-three scholar’s mate move. When you sleep, all your dreams, wildest, happen on a checkered board. You probably feel you are ready to represent your village team, even your country and continent in major tournaments. You are itching to tick all the boxes of a seasoned and established chess player.
Here are seven signs that qualify you to join the best players’ cohort.
- You have a playing style
We all have preferences in life; preference that define who we are and how we respond to certain things. In chess playing style refers to how you carry out your strategies in the board and the type of game you play. Good players have well defined styles and preference.
Some are natural risk takers, their chess is open and violent, they throw everything at you from pawns, bishops, rooks to queens and a king as well the whole table and chair. Some are quiet players, quite boring and silent – they are longer thinkers who prefer cramped and quired games.
- You have a minimum of one repertoire
You should have at least one tried and tested opening repertoire. Obviously, your opening repertoire choice should be aligned to your playing style and playing tone. You should be able to nit about five moves in your opening without moving a single brain muscle and there should be one for when you are playing white and black.
- You have a solid plan
We have had a “what was I going to do in here moment” in our daily lives. The story of entering a bedroom to completely forget the reason you had actually made a trip there. Some people are guilty entering a chess board and forgetting without a plan or forgetting their plan. Good players know their plan from the first move; in fact, the first move is a start of the execution of their plan.
- You know all phases of the game and what to do in those
The game has three phases, and all require certain behaviours and discipline. Players who know all the three and what to do and actual do in those three phases are good players. You should be able to tell the transitions as and when they occur and to quickly switch and implement all tactics and strategies needed.
- You know what to do when there is nothing to do
Chess can be sternly boring when there is nothing to do, when there is no immediate danger or immediate threat and attack. Most of rookies lose the game here. They get stuck and end up making uncalculated moves in desperation. Good players are much aware of the phase and know the law of positional play and implement it well in the quiet times.
- They know basic tactics
Certain tactics present themselves on a board during exchanges of blows. Seasoned players know almost all basic tactics such as mirrors, forks, undiscovered checks and so on. They are able to set up their pieces in such a way that they drive and influence the tactics and don’t depend on their miraculous occurrences on the board.
- They know how to finish the game
Some players end up losing won games while others draw those lost. Seasoned players have a special eye and talent of recognising patterns on a chess board and are able to take advantage that and finish the game either. They also know how to force draws in lost games and carve wins in balanced games. Ticking at least five of these will get you on a players’ list of your school/village chess team.