It is good to be reminded, from time to time, that “improvement” is more than just raising one’s grading. I presume everyone reading this plays chess because they enjoy it. Of course, we all like winning chess games, but understand that we are going to lose some, as well.
Beyond the fight in the competitive arena, chess has many other areas that I find fascinating, including the history of the game and its players, problems and studies and the unusual and sometimes bizarre “human interest” stories that come out when people interact with each other.
I’ll write about the historical part in a future post. For today, I point you to a treasure trove of fascinating games, positions and personalities, Tim Krabbé’s Chess Curiosities. If you’ve never had the opportunity to expand your chess horizons beyond the intricacies of the Semi-Slav and how to win rook endings, Chess Curiosities will provide hours, indeed, days, of enjoyment.
Now every thing there is not for every body; I don’t get too excited by the position that contains 53 consecutive checks, though I admire the thought and effort that went into it. But even for those “practical” players who disdain certain types of studies and problems, there is a wealth of the strange, the surprising and the beautiful.
Some examples: A Tragedy in Elista wherein two strong masters play a 127-move marathon with the result-changing mistakes coming thick and fast; The Ultimate Blunder (Resigning in Winning Positions); and A Love Story With a Diagram.
For those who just want to see serious chess moves there are the wonderful and often almost unbelievable “110 Greatest Moves Ever Played” (start with 110-100 here and work you way up).
While no. 1, played by Spassky, indeed required a “leap of imagination” beyond the ordinary. my personal favorite is no. 8, played by Kholmov against Bronstein at Kiev 1964 (USSR Ch.). White to move and flabbergast:
The rest of the game is here, but do NOT peek until you have found and calculated the implications of the strongest move for White!
There is so much more at Chess Curiousities. It is a joy, and along the way you will find improvement material as well!