The Josh Waitzkin academy

I’ve been getting more into chess since I’ve had a roommate. He’s a pretty good player and has a good number of books on the subject. We both got Chessmaster Tenth edition and I’ve liked going through its “Josh Waitzkin’s Chessmaster Academy.” Josh Waitzkin was the subject of the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, which I saw a couple months ago (with my roommate). I liked the scene where the chess coach goes, “let me make this easier on you,” and clears the board with his arm, knocking all the chess pieces to the ground. Man, what if I did that in real life! At the dinner table: “Let me make this easier on you!” Food goes flying. At the office: “Let me make this easier on you!”  A 600 page manuscript goes flying out the window. OK, maybe that’s not such a good idea. What’s cool about the Josh Waitzkin academy is how he talks about chess in his annotated games. There seems to be a lot of drama: fianchettoed bishops which slice through the board, rooks and queens which serve as a battering ram on open files. Sometimes there’s a lot of tension that builds up on a square and you have to maintain that tension. Sometime you have to make the quiet move, waiting to see what his opponent does to take up the space he left behind. He talks about setting up outposts for the bishop and knight, about not rushing in even though you have a winning game, about making these small prophylactic moves. He mentions that sometimes you get in these deep endgame calculations of what may or may not happen, but needing to return to the surface and just play chess. Anyway, it’s all really neat to me.

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