Well, two weeks have pased since my first personal ACIS post, and finally a progress report; so far I have made it through through p. 34 of Silman's How to Reassess Your Chess (3d. ed.)--the introductory material, the "basic endgames" and the first substantive chapter, "Thinking Techniques." While I was pretty familiar with the pawn and rook+pawn endings which are the bulk of the endgame chapters, it did me good to study it again, plus, I did pick up one valuable shortcut that somehow I had never explicitly seen (or it hadn't registered), that when the kings are far apart and you're trying to get the "distant opposition," as Silman states, move the king to a square or rectangle in which each corner is the same color. While I had an idea of what the "distant opposition" is, this simple mnenomic will now be with me forever! Here is the example:
White needs to go Kb2 to keep the distant opposition. Even though Kc1 stays on the same color square as Black's king, it loses the opposition--note that the "corner" colors are different.
Besides this nugget, the best thing about the first chapters was getting back into really looking deeply into a few positions, getting back into the groove of taking apart a chess position in great detail.
It struck that Silman's book might have been titled My System after Nimzovich's, except that Silman assumes a certain level of familiarity with positional concepts like space, and doesn't go through what Nimzovich called "The Elements" first. Reassess Your Chess is not for the true beginner, and I think it is telling that in the introduction Silman gives the example of an adult player who has made it to Expert (2000 Elo), but is stuck there, as who the book is aimed at.
Some Cool Links
Speaking of My System, Temposchlucker has posted his take, My System Redux. His understanding and admiration have grown.
My friend and fierce opponent Vernon Young, who I managed to edge out for 2008 Reno Class B Champion, has started an intriguing, stimulating and eclectic blog about chess and other things at Vernon R Young's Blog. You will note that since my two victories against him in that tournament he has shot ahead about 180 rating points. And he makes chess videos! Very cool, Vernon.
Blunderprone has yet another outstanding tournament series, Lone Pine 1975. Look, Jeremy Silman! Also, Part II is must read!
Thanks to these outstanding bloggers, and all the rest who post entertaining and valuable material as a labor of love.
And now, LET US ROCK!