Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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My Life as a Chess Opening

The first ten or twenty moves in a chess game are called the chess opening. These patterns and strategies have, over time, developed a literature and a mystique all their own. I own numerous monographs on the chess opening.

The opening one plays says something about the person playing the opening. The person who assays the Sicilian Defense believes the best defense is a stout offense, and is often willing to endure a pawn storm to prove it. The person who plays the French Defense, by contrast, will defend until the straw on the camel's back is nearly broken, and then the camel will stamp the opponent out. A player of Bird's Opening will use an odd flank structure to secure a chance at an attack on the opposing king, while the Colle System player seems to be playing innocuously, until a bishop is sacrificed in a clear blue sky and suddenly mate is announced. The Bird Defense to the Ruy Lopez, by contrast, replies to what is perhaps the most key opening sequence in the entire game with a whimsical hop of a knight in seemingly haphazard fashion. The Alekhine Defense is nothing but knight hopping, the chess equivalent of "you couldn't catch me if you tried". The Caro-Kann Defense player uses a formation so sound that the angels study it for use in tournaments in Heaven.

Although I am a reasonably good weekend player, ranked in the "B" classes, I have always found that my own style is more difficult to define with positive adjectives. I tend to thrive in unorthodox, cramped, somewhat boring interlocked positions. Usually, when I win, it is because I have grabbed a pawn early and hung on for dear life. Someplace in that mix of extreme avoidance of risk, willingness to play a cramped position, and affinity for odd looking positions I might learn something about myself, but I am too busy staring at the board to figure out just what it is that I might learn.

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