What separates a good player from a great player? What are some qualities that the Grandmasters possess? How do we develop specific qualities? I will try to answer these questions briefly with the help of some classical examples in this article.
1. Patience If you want to win a game, you need to be ready to work hard for it. Sometimes, it could mean a long game and you will have to maintain your composure and be patient. Slow drilling requires constant alertness and one slip could be enough for your opponent to get back into the game. Let’s have a look at how World Champion Capablanca demonstrated great technique and patience:
How to develop? Study the games of masters – Karpov, Petrosian, Magnus Carlsen. After studying a few games consciously, you will start noticing the change in your own games.
2. Creativity Chess is also a game of creative pursuit. A creative player usually senses the moment and uses his imagination to come up with interesting ideas. In my personal list of creative chess champions, Tony Miles comes very close to the top.
In this position, he plays :
36.Qe4! offering the exchange of queens. After 36…Qa1:
He plays 37.Nh1!
There is another example of Tony miles shown to me in a group camp by Lanka Ravi in 2008 that made a deep impact on me:
Here, he played Rac8!?
It is obvious to assume that black is intending to play c7-c5. But, that’s not the case. Here, Miles is playing the player, provoking him to play b4.
And after 19.b4
He played 19…Rxf3
20.gxf3 Rf8 21.Kg2 Qf7 22.Qd3 and here is the point:
Black plays 22…Nc4! The defect of b3-b4 is felt here.
How to develop? Study the games of Morozevich, Steinitz, Mamyedarov, Miles. Creative Chess by Amatzia Avni is a good book that introduces unique concepts.
A few months back, I came across a dialogue by Dr.Cal Lightman in the ‘Lie to Me’ TV series:
Martin Walker: Good chess players think five moves ahead Dr. Cal Lightman: Great chess players think one move ahead. But, it’s the right move.
Indeed! It is not about how far you can think, it is about calculating right
Here is an example that illustrates the importance of the seventh rank through accurate moves by Capablanca:
How to develop? Solving studies could help you in developing accuracy. Practice will make you perfect!
Lasker is one name that comes to my mind when I think of resourcefulness. He has a record of saving many worse positions. His resourcefulness has earned him a lot of points and titles.
Here, Lasker went wrong with 26.g3? missing black’s Qh3!
I wish to share an extract from my game where I managed to save a crucial half point that paved way for Tamilnadu Open State Championship Title in 2013. Lasker’s games did influence my decisions:
How to develop? In the recent times, Karjakin is known to have defended quite well. His games against Carlsen are worth studying. Read books on defence and counterattack.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the various qualities that are essential for you to become better at chess!