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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Know Thyself.

Pin It It is important to know the positive and negative features of your opponent, but it is no less important to know the same about yourself. That is why Alekhine put it first on his list. You will not find much help in this from asking other people. Only a severely self-critical outllok will help a player to assess his strong and weak points and so further the process of improving his play.

During the process of improvement, a player may well find that one aspect of his play stands still while other aspects are going forward. To combat this tendency of lopsided improvement I recommend a periodic check-up.

The check-up should consist of analysing of all the games you have played since tha last such examination and in particular the games you lost must be examined with a fine tooth-comb. Every move must be studied scrupulously, mistakes criticised and conclusions drawn.

Every aspect of the game should be examined at this time; how you play opening, your endgame technique, your mastery of middle game play.

Drawing general conclusions about your main weaknesses can provide a great stimulus to further growth. There was a time when Botvinnik himself admitted to play sharp complicated positions. 'Here my old fault of a lack of tactical vision showed itself,' he wrote in the notes to a game, yet this was at a time when he was already Soviety champion!

By hard work he managed to eradicate this fault and his games subsequently contained the most tricky and complicated combinations. In the same way Bronstein had to work hard at improving his play in the endgame.

You also have to know your own strong and weak points from the point of view of tournament play. How do you react to losses; how do you hehave after you have committed an inaccuracy or blunder? Do you go red, turn pale or can you remain poker-faced? You must not let your opponent know how you feel.

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