Desmond Allen, PhD

My Blog's Objective
I lay no claim to any of the theories or strategies set forth in this work.  This is not a disclaimer as to the veracity of these theories but a bold disclaimer as to any notion that I have formulated them; for they have been long established by numerous renowned chess theorists and grandmasters.  If I must claim anything it is merely that of organization and presentation; and my meager attempt at a graphical depiction of the multiple complex dynamics transpiring between the elements as the game moves forward.  Thus, for my part, I have merely collated and attempted to present these elements in a learner-friendly format designed to instruct the average player up to master level. 

Play beyond master level possesses a certain and requisite creative genius.  That is to say: despite the mastery of theory—a truly necessary enterprise in and of itself—the complicated nature of executing this theory in advanced chess is such that without an intuitive brilliance for the game one is necessarily limited to a certain level.  This is especially true in competitive play wherein players also face the challenge of the clock.  The clock makes innovation all the more important, because each original move causes the competitor to spend valuable time in analysis.  This causes pressure and pressure can lead to mistakes.  So then, at top levels of play the mastery of theory is requisite, but so too are a certain creative genius and a competitive temperament that thrives under pressure.

The advanced, sophisticated nature of today’s competition is far more intense than it used to be; and tomorrow’s game will be even more so.  The simple mastery of chess theory, or even the more difficult proper execution of this theory, is simply not enough.  The well-published and easily accessible proven-lines-of-play (resolved by both man and machine) for nearly countless variations of the most likely positions, makes attaining and retaining top competitive status in the modern world of chess a most demanding occupation.  To stay ahead or even abreast of their peers modern competitive players must learn and retain a dreadful amount of material—continuously studying their competitors’ games, mastering both established and innovative lines of play. 

Then too, like any grueling competition, chess at its highest level is very much a matter of determination and focus.  It takes—if I may reference Mickey’s explanation to Rocky—“the eye of the tiger”.  Such was the case with the renowned grandmasters facing the young Bobby Fischer after his unprecedented winning streak in which he had beaten grandmasters Mark Tiamanov, Brent Larsen and Tigran Petrosian on his march to defeating Boris Spassky for the 1971 World Championship.  As this drama unfolded a German chess expert commented that, “No master has such a terrific will to win.  At the board he radiates danger and even the strongest opponents tend to freeze, like rabbits, when they smell a panther.  Even his weaknesses are dangerous.  As White, his opening is predictable—you can make plans against it—but so strong that your plans almost never work.  In middlegame his precision and inventions are fabulous, and in the endgame you simply cannot beat him.”  (Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess).

That I no longer have the energy or the passion, “the eye of the tiger”, to use what I have learned with the requisite intensity to compete in today’s world does not negate my ability as a trained educator to teach.  As the adage goes “those who can, do; those who cannot, teach”; thus, as a trained researcher and educator with a respectable knowledge of chess, what I bring to the table are succinct, cohesive, learner-friendly lessons that are based upon the teachings of the great master theorists of the game.  These lessons are designed for those players who lie somewhere between beginner and master.  Play beyond master level possesses a certain and requisite creative genius.  That is to say: despite the mastery of theory—a truly necessary enterprise in and of itself—the complicated nature of executing this theory in advanced chess is such that without an intuitive brilliance for the game one is necessarily limited to a certain level.  This is especially true in competitive play wherein players also face the challenge of the clock.  The clock makes innovation all the more important, because each original move causes the competitor to spend valuable time in analysis.  This causes pressure and pressure can lead to mistakes.  So then, at top levels of play the mastery of theory is requisite, but so too are a certain creative genius and a competitive temperament that thrives under pressure.