I am currently playing chess with a friend who is known as an astute businessman. My instinct tells me he’s good. I think my process of becoming a good player will be this: get my ass handed to me regularly as I read about the game.
Another friend, Howard, is a great player. Twenty-five times, he defeated me before I finally managed a win. Another time I almost defeated him, only to make the wrong move and accidentally end the game in a stalemate. Howard is the kind who likes to make a game interesting: he’ll sacrifice his queen after taking out your queen. It’s like two fighters throwing down their weapons and deciding on bare knuckle.
Another friend I played against told me I’m too predictable. All three of my sons can play, and one of them said I have a huge penchant for castling as soon as possible.
Tigran Petrosian and Vladimir Kramnik were/are known for their impenetrable defenses. Garry Kasparov is known for his aggressive offense. Bobby Fischer was so brilliant that sometimes he’d deliberately make a terrible move (in chess analysis, it’s known as ?! or ??!) as if to say, “I can make what would be a fatal move for a mortal player and STILL win the match!”
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