“What Say You?” The 1 Minute Challenge (65)

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer
Bruce Lee

A quick reminder how it works:

  • Have a look at the position for 1 minute (watch the clock)
  • Think about the choices in front of you and pick the one you feel it is right
  • Verify it in your mind the best you can
  • Compare it with the solution

I have been watching the Tata Steel Chess Masters from afar. The decided games make majority of the headlines, and sometimes the mistakes causing them are a head scratcher. It is easy to kibitz from the sidelines; that is an axiom in any sport. Still some of the decision making by the top players in the World is hard to explain. One way to look at it is understanding they are human too; with all the experience and preparation they have, we could pick better moves. Below are a couple of examples; what would you choose to play?
Carlsen vs. Rapport

Gukesh vs. So

Carlsen vs. Rapport
We are only at move 19 and a number of things have happened. First of all the opening has been Petroff Defence where both players chose not to exchanges their queens along the e-file. Secondly Magnus managed to play Ke1-f2, a decision that for most of us is like waving a red cape in front of a bull. Richard could not resist and sacrificed a piece to open up the position. In the above position he had to decide how to continue.

Gukesh vs. So
Black is hinting at attacking the castle. The tension is in the center and White must decide if to exchange Nf4, or continue pressuring there. Personally I would have exchanged the knight. Instead White chose to continue its pressure in the center. What transpired is that White’s pieces never got in sync. Black’s winning line that followed looks pretty simple.

What better ending then asking a cheeky question: would have the players benefitted from practicing our 1 minute challenge on a regular basis? Hope you do it.

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app:
I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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