Old Age and Treachery

We’ve all heard the above phrase, which by now is a well-established part of popular culture. There is even a song by this title, with lyrics by Willie Nelson  By the way, I also rather liked this one about the Old Sidewinders (Swindlers with poisonous fangs)

Willie Nelson (Photo by Larry Philpot, www.soundstagephotography.com)

Willie Nelson (Photo by Larry Philpot, www.soundstagephotography.com)

The full phrase goes either “Old age and treachery always overcomes youth and skill,” or the equivalent “Old Age and Treachery beats youth and skill every time.” I didn’t use that full phrase here because, well, it just isn’t true! Not always; not every single time. But often enough.

I read an interesting article by this title in Psychology Today. I’d recommend it to all you geezers out there. The basic idea is that, as we grow older, we can’t do some things as well as we used to – but there are other things that we do better; mostly things having to do with knowledge and experience, as opposed to brute force calculation and motor movements requiring youthful dexterity and speed (e.g. bullet chess). You might say that is pretty much obvious, but have you yet applied this idea systematically to your chess? When you plan your opening repertoire and game strategy in the broadest sense, do you consciously avoid the things you do less well in favor of the things that you now do better? If so, then you’re well on the way to what I’ll call “treachery in action!”

Here’s is a recent example: