Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Would You Rather? - my answers

1. Would you rather see chess combined (in some way) with soccer or with basketball?

Soccer? Chess players need to get out more to exercise. Well, at least I need to!

2. Would you rather play chess at noon or at midnight?

If this question was asked five or ten years ago, I may have chosen midnight, since I used to focus better when it was dark out. However, now that I'm older, I don't have much energy past midnight, so I'd rather play chess at noon.

3. Would you rather get an extra hour on your chess clock in a standard weekend game (not the active 30 min. or short time control games) or an extra pawn? Assume your opponent is not granted the same benefit.

As long as the time control isn't too short (like in blitz/active), it's usually not a critical factor for me in chess. Why? It's the way my brain works - I tend to work towards deadlines. If I'm given more time, I change priorities and get a bit relaxed about some things (for instance, I get up to eat or walk around more, meaning some of my clock time isn't used very efficiently in terms of focusing on the game). If I have less time, I use it more efficiently for one or two tasks, and forget about other things (for instance, I stay at the board and wait until later to eat/walk). On the other hand, an extra pawn can make a huge difference, especially with many of my games going into the late middlegame or endgame.

4. Would you rather pay $100 for one 'amazing' chess book or $20 each for five 'okay' chess books of similar size to the 'amazing' book?

I do admire quality, so I would consider going for the 'amazing one' if it contains original ideas by a respectable author. However, in general, I would choose the five 'okay' books. One reason is I like some variety to compare different perspectives and change things up every now and then. Second, I find it difficult to drop $100 on one book. Lastly, I don't use all the content in most books anyway. I use them to get ideas, and then expand on my own or with a coach.

5. Would you rather go to a 5-week chess training camp (half-day, five times per week) with an instructor of choice or get 5 weeks of private lessons (say, a couple of hours, once or twice per week) with an instructor of choice? Assume the instructor only teaches in groups at the camp, but individually in private.

In my current situation, a private instructor would be much more convenient. With private instruction, lessons are tailor-made for the individual student instead of generalized. Anyone who has spoken with chess experts/masters can understand that needs are different as you progress, and you rely more on direct study in certain areas, rather than touching on a little of everything. On the other hand, if you are just starting out with chess (especially kids), group camps provide amazing support & motivation, as well as a general view into a variety of topics you need to get going. It really depends on your personality and experience.

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