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Updated: Oct 7



I ran across this quote recently, and it really spoke to me:


As one of the world's foremost patzers, I suspect if there was a title "World Champion of Chess Errors," I would have likely earned this title in my teens and successfully defended it each subsequent year into the present day.


Johannes Hermann Zukertort was a European chess master during the 19th century.  His primary occupation was that of a physician and he served with distinction in the medical corps of the German army during the Franco-Prussian war. 

He started playing chess around the age of 19, which is much older than most of today's chess prodigies start learning the game.  Zukertort's great chess achievement was winning The London Chess Tournament of 1883. 


Unfortunately, he was destined to become rather ill and suffered from rheumatism, coronary artery disease, and kidney disease.  He would die at the young age of 45 from a stroke; while playing chess, no less.  


One of the many reasons that chess fascinates me is that the best move is always in front of you.  Generally speaking, guys like me can't see them. 


Yet...  I watched a 60-minutes interview with Magnus Carlsen recently and he was asked how he knows what the right move is.  His answer?  "I just know."  Incredible.


So how do I plan to address my error tendency?  Well, for years I've been thinking on and off about trying a chess coach.  I've never done this.  And since we are in the middle of a pandemic and I'm working from home, what a great time to give this a try. 


And now I'm going to do it!


So tomorrow I meet with my coach virtually.  I am very much looking forward to this and don't really know what to expect.  But my hope is that he can better assist me in getting my learning on the right track.  


I look forward to sharing what I study and discover on this eternal struggle against the error.




Tonight I actually hit a personal milestone. I noticed a real difference in my games today.

Don't get me wrong; I'm still ranked in the 800s. No serious chess player would look at my recent games and be impressed, I can assure you. My games still show blunders, mistakes, inaccuracies, and the like. But the key difference was the way I felt about my Chess game today.


For the first time in my life, I was playing a game where I felt like I was being truly strategic.  I was actively looking for pins, skewers, and forks. For the first time ever, I intentionally set up a discovered check which cost my opponent his queen.


Even better, for the first time ever, I saw my checkmate three moves ahead. And it worked.

When I first started working with my coach I described myself as someone who has, for decades, been moving my pieces around the board and hoping something good happens. There was essentially no strategy.


While I have so incredibly far to go in my journey, the feeling I got after checkmating my opponent today is why we all place chess in the first place: to create a game that is a work of art. While my art is in no way a Picasso, it is at least a step up from the finger-painting that I was doing yesterday.


So in sum, today I made meager progress. Working with my coach who helps me analyze my games has been seriously helpful. So yes, today my games were different.  And I look forward to the games tomorrow brings.


Do you remember a time you first realized you were becoming a better player?  If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Updated: Oct 7



So how did the Fried Liver Attack get its name? I did a web search and found some interesting clues.


Despite it having a name that sounds rather contemporary, this particular attack has been around for centuries. The earliest known game with this attack was played in 1606.

The name itself is derived from the name that the Italians gave this attack: the "Fegatello attack." The Italian translation of the word fegatello is literally "liver."


According to Wikipedia and numerous other chess sites, there is an Italian idiom that translates "dead as a piece of liver." However, I could not find any evidence that such an idiom exists in Italian. (Do you know something more about this? If so add it in the comments below!)


So, if you want to sound posh to your patzer friends, then call this attack the Fegatello attack. If you live in the Southern United States like me you will likely just continue to serve up a heaping-helping of Fried Liver. Mmmm.


Enjoy.

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