I came across this amusing quote on the internet from Axel Smith’s book “Pump Up Your Rating”:
“In Lund we have an expression for a player who never improves: a mummy. It is not said in a negative sense; the mummy enjoys chess. The romanticizing of the expression has even gone so far that The Mummy (SK Mumien) is the name of a chess club! Many mummies actually see themselves as quite ambitious players. This could be a typical chess diary of a mummy:
Monday: Playing blitz for two hours on the internet.
Tuesday: Watching live games from a super-tournament for the whole evening, while checking the games with an engine.
Wednesday: Warming up with some blitz games, before watching a DVD.
Thursday: Planning to prepare for the weekend’s game by reading a chess book, but running out of time after reading chess news on the internet.
Friday: Reading a book about great players from the past. Looking at the diagrams, but concentrating mostly on the great stories in the text. The book is read in bed, thirty minutes before falling asleep.
Saturday: Losing a tight game in the league, and afterwards claiming that a single mistake decided the game. Checking the game quickly with an engine.
Sunday: No chess; impossible to be motivated after such an unfair loss!
Our mummy spends a lot of time on chess, but he won’t improve much.
The key to learning a foreign language is to try to speak it. Without any doubt, it’s also good to listen, but it’s when sentences are first formulated that improvement really starts.
It is the same in chess, and active learning is my hobbyhorse as a coach. This means questioning statements in books (maybe I should have mentioned that earlier!), forming your own opinions, and using training methods that activate your brain.
With only some small changes, our mummy can come alive!”
Hmmm. I think I may be a mummy. I bought half a dozen middlegame strategy and endgame books when I joined the Nomads yet nearly 2 years later they remain largely unread. And partly that is down to work and family commitments but also it is easier to watch a DVD at the end of a day or play some blitz than study chess. But this pandemic is not going away so the “new normal” might as well include some chess study. Anyone else got that book on their shelf they always meant to study? Can we help each other to improve? Now is the time. I turn 57 next week, can I be a better player at 60?
In this article Ken Norbury looks at the Reverse Polish/Orang Utan.
Forking Good Game
This game is somewhat flawed and has more to do with psychology than `best move chess` From the beginning Black is intent upon drawing his opponent into a fist fight where crude and nasty tactics have a fair chance of success. Keen observers may recognise certain similarities to the obscure lines in the Greco Counter Gambit (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 f5 3Bc4 b5) where White can get into trouble quickly, even when making natural looking moves. Once committed to this kind of counter attack there is no turning back. Black has to find new ways of applying pressure and causing chaos and confusion, whilst always looking to justify and benefit from his early seemingly recklessness play. In this Reversed Orang Utan it should come as no surprise that there are elements of provocation and devilment in which false move can cost the game for either side.
Black is technically on the back foot in the initial stages but takes advantage of some inaccuracies that allow him to regain material and threaten checkmate.
Orang Utan clambers over Stonewall
Towards the end both players overlook the possibility and consequence of White checking with his Black Bishop rather than pulling his other Bishop back to d1. Although this ruins the spectacle and delight of Blacks second Knight sacrifice on d4 in the game it should not detract from the ingenuity of the play as a similar idea would have worked with the Knight moving instead to b4 as Whites pawn structure then would prevent the check.
Black throughout has chosen to engage in direct attack as White seemed to be want to hide safely behind the Stonewall Pawn Formation, and needed to be shaken out of his comfort zone. White wrongly goes out his way to swap Queens perhaps in the belief that this would lessen the impact of Blacks attack. Once the Rooks get a foothold on the seventh Black has some psychological sway as the aggressor. Even if the second Knight had gone, White although technically up by one and a half according to the computer, might still have found difficulty in co-ordinating his pieces.
There are many lessons to be learned from encounters such as this, not least that attitude intent and ambition although not necessarily tangible can have huge determinative effect on the direction and results of games. Had White had a little more self-belief he could have mustered a better defence but needed to do something other than swap hold and stodge.
As it turns out the choice of the Reverse Polish paid dividends as it signalled the fact that Black was not content with a normal game and was willing to use imagination to surprise and defeat his opponent.
Once again Norbury plays over a dozen consecutive pawn moves, before bothering to touch a piece. His sloppy style of play delivers the results in a decidedly imperfect game, that is instructive nonetheless.
This is what Ecclesall player Ken Norbury has been up to lately. Building on the lunacy first explored in “the Shuffleduck,” Ken sets out to prove that for the first dozen or so moves at least, the moving of pieces can be entirely avoided. Instead Ken seeks to push pawns only, in the manner of a beginner scarcely aware of the rules. Welcome to Ken’s “Nine Pawn Game”.
Detailed analysis of this game has yet to be done. Any thoughts or criticisms are more than welcome.