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  1. #1
    CC FIDE Master
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    stupidest chess advice

    What is the stupidest chess advice that a player of master level has written down?

    My entry is:

    "Pawn takes pawn is never a fair exchange".

    The culprit? William Hartson in "better chess".

    I mean, what about the excahnge of pawns to get into the Queen's Gambit exchange variation for a start, and the minority attack that it offers the positionally adroit white player? Not to mention the panov attack, once thought to be a refutation of the caro kann, and the excahnges in the benoni.

    Hartson is a complete, total and utter idiot to concoct the sort of trash as above. But I am sure that someone can better his idiocy...I shudder to think.


  2. #2
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    Hartson is a complete, total and utter idiot to concoct the sort of trash as above. But I am sure that someone can better his idiocy
    Yes, you just did.

    In fact you have done it numerous times on this board.
    The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.
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  3. #3
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    so that's your true colours?

    I made a perfectly reasonable comment. I borrowed the book today from my library. I have it in my hand right now: ISBN 978 0 340 92731 1

    Hartson's stupidity. qouted by me, is on page 32.

    So there now, I have supported myself with evidence.

    Today, out of interest, I looked up Bill Gletsos' chess rating, or tried to. I couldn't find one. But in any case, it will be safe to say that if I play you in correspondence chess I will smash you; I am holding my own in the Vic champs against far stronger players than your good self.

    So my current conclusion until Bill proves otherwise: he is an unrated player.

  4. #4
    CC International Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    Today, out of interest, I looked up Bill Gletsos' chess rating, or tried to. I couldn't find one. But in any case, it will be safe to say that if I play you in correspondence chess I will smash you; I am holding my own in the Vic champs against far stronger players than your good self.

    So my current conclusion until Bill proves otherwise: he is an unrated player.
    So I guess Hartston could refute you by comparing his rating to yours then.

    ETA- his name is Hartston, not Hartson
    Last edited by Aaron Guthrie; 05-05-2007 at 08:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    So my current conclusion until Bill proves otherwise: he is an unrated player.
    I don't suppose it occurred to you to try the master list before posting that?

    Maybe to support your claim about Hartston you should explain the context of his comment. I don't have the book and certainly can't tell what Hartston meant from the quote alone - maybe you should give some of the surrounding text as well?
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 06-05-2007 at 04:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    One obvious possible intention is that PxP always involves pawns on different files. This is a consequence of the mechanics of their capture and means that the exchange is never "equal". Whether it is fair or not is a matter for more discussion.

    Note I don;t have the book either so I'm doinga good deal of guessing frmo he short quote provided above.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  7. #7
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    Today, out of interest, I looked up Bill Gletsos' chess rating, or tried to. I couldn't find one.
    That just shows your total ineptness.

    I am listed on the ACF ratings page in the March 2007 active list and of course am listed there also on the ACF master file.

    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    So my current conclusion until Bill proves otherwise: he is an unrated player.
    You are just so utterly clueless.
    Last edited by Bill Gletsos; 05-05-2007 at 09:27 PM.
    The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.
    Mos Eisley spaceport The toolbox. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  8. #8
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    I made a perfectly reasonable comment. I borrowed the book today from my library. I have it in my hand right now: ISBN 978 0 340 92731 1

    Hartson's stupidity. qouted by me, is on page 32.
    More likely is that the significance of his quote just escaped your comprehension.
    The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.
    Mos Eisley spaceport The toolbox. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  9. #9
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    From the CCLA rating list on their website:
    Thornton A.J. 1582
    The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.
    Mos Eisley spaceport The toolbox. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  10. #10
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Gletsos
    That just shows your total ineptness.
    I agree. If you'd only been on the master list it would have been vaguely excusable but not being able to find it on the active list is remarkably incompetent.

  11. #11
    CC Grandmaster Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    Hartson's stupidity. qouted by me, is on page 32.
    Hartston is a quite sound teacher and master-level player. So please excuse me if I take his word over yours.

    When teaching a young child how to play chess, you might teach them that a pawn is worth 1 point, a knight or bishop 3 points, and so on. This is a very useful approximation and helps stop them making stupid exchanges (e.g. rook for bishop) where there is no compensation.

    But we have (all?) grown up a little since our childhood, and whilst the useful approximation of assigning points to pieces is still a helpful tool for quick calculation, what's far more important is to understand relative strength based on the positional demands of the board.

    No piece or pawn is "equal" to any other piece or pawn on the board ... they are all different and ought to be treated as such. Often one is able to swap one for another, but its important to get your head around the fact that each time you do, there are trade-offs.

    Master level players understand these trade-offs much better than ordinary club-level players like me. I too have played games against guys rated 500+ points above me ... invariably (!), even when I am able to hold my own tactically through a middle game, they almost always end up in the endgame with a positional advantage that is sufficient to force a win. I've seen this over and over. That's why I am now spending heaps of time trying to get my head around various positional themes. Take the following game as an example, which I am part way through ... I'm playing White:

    PGN Viewer
     

    I am two pawns down ... but I think I am probably winning, because Black's structure is all over the shop and I should be able to pick up his pawns and generate an attack on his king fairly easily from here. In particular, note my 7th move ( a positional pawn sac), and note the difference between Black's white-square bishop (blocked in my its own pawns) and mine (zeroing in on f7).

    If you think pieces are of equal value, then I challenge you to take off those bishops and then play the position from there and see how much harder it is for White to make progress.

    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    But in any case, it will be safe to say that if I play you in correspondence chess I will smash you; I am holding my own in the Vic champs against far stronger players than your good self.
    How far through the games are you? I expect you'll find, as I do, that even in correspondence play, they are thinking far more deeply than you are about all sorts of factors such as piece activity, pawn structures, control or space, and so on ... so lets see for how long you can hold your own eh? As I said above, its easier in the middlegame than in the endgame.
    “As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.” -- C.S.Lewis

  12. #12
    CC International Master WhiteElephant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qpawn
    "Pawn takes pawn is never a fair exchange".

    The culprit? William Hartson in "better chess".

    I mean, what about the excahnge of pawns to get into the Queen's Gambit exchange variation for a start, and the minority attack that it offers the positionally adroit white player? Not to mention the panov attack, once thought to be a refutation of the caro kann, and the excahnges in the benoni.
    LOL! I think your examples actually support Hartston's assertion.

  13. #13
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Another point is that pawns are worth more to the player who is trying to win. There are plenty of examples where an ending is very nearly won, but the defender can just hang on for a draw. Then you add a couple of pawns on the other side of the board, say on a4 & a5 when the original position was all on the kingside, and the win is trivial.

  14. #14
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    A beginner mistake might be to assume that a pawn exchange, as it is pawn for pawn, point for point, will keep the position equal (or whatever it was). But the pawn exchange will change the nature of the position. Without context I guess this is what Hartston was trying to point out.

  15. #15
    CC FIDE Master
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    ratings and trends

    Yes, I am 1582 in postchess. BUT we get to the issue of trends; I have gone up 100 points in about 6 months. Hence I clearly began with a rating that was inaccurate. Quite frankly, I would put the standard of my play at about 1900 to 2000 in CC; I am not quite at master level but I am not that far off it. I know what I need to do to get there. Clearly I am not going to reveal that here.

    I a very thoughtful correspondence p-layer. I write down all my thoughts, plans etc and take into account short, medium and long-term factors. I aim to understand chess at all times; I am not an opening novelty factory that sets out to bamboozle the opponent with the 23rd move of the King's gambit, unlike some other correspondence players we could mention

    By the way Hartston has a history of silliness. He once dismisssed the Dutch defence in a sentence as being a disaster, in a book on openings he wrote in the 80s.

    Everyone on this thread apart from Rincewind should be ashamed of themselves. You all represent the culture of puerile, adolescent nastiness that has led to me becoming a correspondence player only.

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