What are you good at?
David K specifically asked: “do you have a chess goal? and i don’t mean a number, but seeking a state or beauty of to uphold or to renew or discover, etc?”
A state of beauty to uphold or renew or discover. Man, that’s beautiful. Actually, I am not totally opposed to ELO as a measure of skill, and hold the naked ambition of hitting 2200 before the engine seizes. However, what I really wish is that I could STOP PLAYING BAD MOVES. Not the short-sighted tactical mistakes – that’s part of life. And I accept that I’m not going to rediscover my long-lost ability to just blow people off the board tactically.
I mean I wanna stop playing the moves that are just totally out of whack with the demands of the position at hand. Having finally slogged back over 2100 (after 7 years’ effort), I immediately play like a total bonehead and get deservingly crushed by Jesse Nicholas, who is younger than my car.
Greg K (no relation to David K) asked what I believe to be a similar question at USATE this year: “what are you good at?”
(As it turns out, here’s something he’s good at: if you show him a random position, he can usually tell you a good move pretty much at a glance. Alas, I cannot. Dang him.)
I DON’T think that the point is to try to play into positions where you are comfortable. To me, that’s the ultimate form of giving up. That’s how you maximize your parole at the expense of your langue. (I.e. you stop trying to deepen your knowledge of the game and simply try to stop making silly errors.)
Instead, identifying your strengths is about enjoying what you’ve learned (an element of chess achievement that shouldn’t be underappreciated) and identifying where you should spend your study time and what you should be doing in blitz chess. To beat a dead horse, I think improvement can only occur when you intentionally avoid positions that are familiar and comfortable.
I have been playing really classical stuff in online blitz. d4 d5 and e4 e5 (which as an aside goes into Scotch/Goring lines probably 70% of the time – amazing how many A/Expert level players are avoiding the Ruy as white). Wow, I am astonishingly tone-deaf in these positions. But if I only played what I’m good at, how would I get better?