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peppe_l 42 ( +1 | -1 )
"Boring" positions Here is an interesting quote I found, by IM Jeremy Silman (known author of popular chess books like Reassess Your Chess):

"I see so many players that look at a positional middlegame or a subtle endgame and say, "Boring!" In my opinion, if you don't see intrigue and beauty in every logically created position then something is lacking in both your understanding of chess and/or in your mental makeup..."

Opinions?
javelin 18 ( +1 | -1 )
True I think the better you get, the less "Boring" positions you will encounter. Not because the positions that arise then are necessarily less boring, but you can see more in the same position ...
chessjunkie 40 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe I don't think you should immediately insult these people's mental makeup.
Javelin's right, the more you study chess, the more your 'board awareness' is heightened, and you know what to look for in "boring positions" I think some positions can be very boring. Mainline games are like that a lot. You see the board and you say "oh great, a neutral position again" frequently in mainline positions.
zdrak 118 ( +1 | -1 )
In a game between masters, in my opinion, boring positions cannot exist by definition. After all, any position in which there is STRUGGLE cannot be boring.

The only positions where there is no struggle are those that are completely won for one side, or completely drawn. But, in such positions, masters usually just resign or agree to a draw.

And yes, if you can see a mainline position and just skim over it and dismiss it as "boring" - then you just dont understand all its subtleties. No offense meant.

To illustrate my point, here are GM Speelman's comments to one of his games (Psakhis-Speelman, Moscow 1990)

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4

As any theory expert knows, this is one of the main lines of the French Tarrash. Nothing to see here, right ? Was played hundreds of times, right ? And here is what the GM had to say on this position:

"I started playing this variation about 10 years ago, and since then I always take a long think in this poisition. Should black play 10...a6 or 10...Be7 now ? Should he try to castle long or short ?"

End of quote.

As you can see, the high-level player's thinking differs greatly from the "oh great, a neutral position again" approach.
mettlesome 191 ( +1 | -1 )
Boring positions.... Two things to think about...

First, take one of these "boring postions" and try to draw with it against a good player or a strong computer program and you'll see just how many resources and suprises there are.....

Second, I agree with some of the above posts in that "boring" seems to mean that you see only one way of playing in a position, and that all you have to do is play the "normal" moves and everything is clear.....BUT remember that 70 or 80 years ago the greatest chess players suddenly started to rebel against "natural' and 'normal' moves (read anything my Richard Reti to see what I mean...) and to reappraise openings and ideas, Petrosian kind of did the same thing for the exchange sac, one of the better young chess players in france (a guy called Fressinet) often plays the philidor defence....
So "normal" and/or "boring" positions can hide a great deal, and I honestly think (at least in over the board play) that players are often willing to "go through the motions" in certain positions and aren't willing to 'dig down' for 'chessboard truth'.
I often see that the guys in my (real-life) team use only a third or half of the the time that they have on the clock......now I don't know about you, but if Kasparov needs to think for a long time, if players like Bronstain and Reshevsky often got into time trouble, that means that they were constantly searching for ideas and surprises. As Kasparov once said (at least I think it was him)....."spectacular sacrifices and surprising continuations aren't just sitting on the surface waiting for you to play them".

I also happen to think that the 'big guys" of chess could conceivably find certain postions completely lifeless and non-interesting because they have the technique to guarantee a draw, but personally I can only guarantee that I can LOSE virtually any position against really good opposition....

Mettlesome
peppe_l 167 ( +1 | -1 )
Javelin Please allow me to point out I merely posted an interesting quote I found, so I am not insulting anyone. One reason for posting this quote was because its a bit controversial, and actually, its mostly about players who are striving to become really good at chess (a group of people I dont belong to BTW). Of course, if someone wants to do anything to avoid endgames, slow positional struggles, balanced positions etc (often in the expense of giving opponent the advantage), thats fine - after all the most important thing is to enjoy playing! However, there is one thing that bugs me sometimes - chess players claiming certain positions are "universally" boring. Of course its ok to say "IMO this position is boring" or "to me this position is boring" etc...but many chess players mock others merely because they dislike everything that isnt 1) tactical melee 2) kingside attack. Is it even fair to complain about "lack of fight" after a 60-move battle between two Grandmasters? Or to say "nothing happened in the game" if both players thought the game was interesting and worth days of analysis? The problem is these are claims, not opinions, and it isnt good thing if ones claims are untrue. But, I repeat - IMO the quote I gave applies only to players who strive for maximum improvement as chess players. For the rest (me included), most important thing is simply to enjoy the game. Then again, if one hates all positions where there is no tactical melee or kingside attack, one doesnt enjoy games where such positions simply dont occur, one isnt enjoying the game as much as one might if...(you ppl continue from here!)
peppe_l 8 ( +1 | -1 )
Correction!!! This was to CHESSJUNKIE, not to JAVELIN!

Left a wrong name to the title box, sorry! :-)))
chessjunkie 91 ( +1 | -1 )
zdrak I can agree with the purist perspective of your definition of a boring position makes it non-existant. However, I don't ascribe to that perspective (as, like many purist things, it ignores reality), and have a right to my say: Therefore I will shrug off the "I'm right and you're wrong" foolishness of zdrak's post.

The translation of my previous post, for those who may have misinterpreted it:
Mainlines don't create a "boring reaction" because there's no interesting content. They have a "boring reaction" because they're often 1: predictable 2: balanced 3:cliche, to different degrees.

Sure the mainline path has it's merits, but I'm far from fascinated by it the hundredth time someone plays, say, Ruy Lopez against me. What happens afterwords, in light of the mixed advantages one recieves at the end of mainline is a completely different thing. That's where the fun begins.

All of you who insist on being 'high level thinkers' of life can go admire a ball point pen.
chessjunkie 63 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe It's ok, I agree with you in principle. I just wanted you to become aware of a subtle implication of your statement :P

If you become more sensitive to what you're saying, you can avoid misunderstanding and misinterpretation. I didn't really think you meant to imply anyone was "lacking in mental makeup" a.k.a. "stupid".

I agree with you, the deeper understanding of chess you have, the clearer positions become. Ultimately, there should be a clear path to take in any position.
Still, many commentators today label a position "unclear". These people do require a deeper perspective of chess to understand the position (but not more mental makeup) :P
ordinary_man 73 ( +1 | -1 )
I used to think of some games as boring especially where the queens were traded early on, or when lots of pieces are traded in the opening resulting in an immediate endgame. But now that my undrestanding of the game has developed, I know that sometimes it can be advantageous to go into an early endgame, and the positional strategy is fascinating in early endgames (many pieces still on the board). Also in very solid, dead-even positions it is amazing what kind of minor imbalances one can find if he looks hard enough. While two Gm's may agree on an early draw in these positions, I find that if they are played out by amateurs, the draw result is hardly ever seen, usually a mistake decides the game, even in very drawish positions.
zdrak 75 ( +1 | -1 )
chessjunkie wrote:

"They have a "boring reaction" because they're often 1: predictable 2: balanced 3:cliche"

Nope, I believe they are neither.

1. Predictable: only if you want them to be. In almost any position, interesting ideas can be found. A desire to search for those ideas is however needed - plus a will to work hard. Of course if you just skim through the mainline moves without SEARCHING, then you cannot be expected to FIND anything. Many players do search - and find!

2. Balanced: no, those positions are full with little (or big!) imbalances. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 - white gave up the two bishops but has a better pawn structure. Balanced position? I think not!

3. Cliche: again, only if you want them to be.
zdrak 40 ( +1 | -1 )
To summorize, I believer that those positions have a "boring reaction" simply because you don't understand them and are eager to get down to the part which you DO understand - ie. "I take the knight, he takes back, I move pawn attacking the rook, he moves the rook back ..."

Nothing personal against you - I also don't understand a lot of intricate strategic points. But at least I understand that I don't understand....
dozer 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Whether it really signifies anything but I like when someone plays Ruy Lopez against me, coz I like to play it too! I think beautiful positions arise from many main lines.

Kind Regards,
Dozer
peppe_l 39 ( +1 | -1 )
Chessjunkie "It's ok, I agree with you in principle. I just wanted you to become aware of a subtle implication of your statement :P

If you become more sensitive to what you're saying, you can avoid misunderstanding and misinterpretation."

I wasnt saying ANYTHING, I was quoting IM Jeremy Silman. Therefore it wasnt MY statement at all and IMO I DID make it clear enough those words werent mine (pls go back to first post of the thread).


chessjunkie 26 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe "In my opinion, if you don't see intrigue and beauty in every logically created position then something is lacking in both your understanding of chess and/or in your mental makeup..."

So anyone who is at anytime bored with any position in chess is "lacking in mental makeup"?
chessjunkie 85 ( +1 | -1 )
zdrak Predictable: yes, there are many moves to make, but not *every* move is a good move.

Balanced: Nobody plays a line to an end intending to give their opponent an advantage. I'll refer you to the quote "What happens afterwords, in light of the mixed advantages one recieves at the end of mainline is a completely different thing." to reiterate the point you support about there being mixed imbalances.

Cliche: Cliche is cliche, I don't want them to be, they sometimes are.

"Nothing personal against you - I also don't understand a lot of intricate strategic points. But at least I understand that I don't understand.... "
??? Where is this coming from :P

By admitting sometimes I'm bored I've already admitted my "board awareness" isn't tremendous.
If you're implying i'm bored because I don't understand that I don't understand, I'll put your mind to ease.

Comment on the topic freely, but try to reign in your imagination a bit.
dozer 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Chessjunkie Just to clarify:

The quote by Silman is about "logically created positions", not about any positions!! Anyone would be bored if the opponent would just patch the pieces chaotically with no sense at all for you to pick.

Kind Regards
Dozer



peppe_l 235 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes Dozer is correct. I also assume clearly drawn positions can be boring to anyone (like K+R vs K+R heheh), even though - naturally - drawn final position doesnt tell was the game as a whole boring or not. Actually, even many drawn final positions are both logical and beautiful, for example endgames where seemingly hopeless position was saved by a brilliant play and a result is position that looks like won for the stronger side, but because of a brilliant defensive idea - its a draw!

I have been observing some GM games via internet and I can remember few games where the weaker side saved a draw in a brilliant way. To my surprise, many observors began complaining "noooo, its another boring draw" (after an interesting 60-move battle of course) etc, completely neglecting the brilliant idea that allowed weaker side to escape from almost certain loss. Now I assume THIS is what Silman meant, although - like I already pointed out - "something is lacking in both your understanding of chess and/or in your mental makeup" was mostly about chess players who are trying to improve their play more or less seriously. My personal opinion is this applies ONLY to such players (and luckily Im not one of them, so Silman cant blame me if I find some mechanical kingside attack games a bit boring heheh) :-)

Chessjunkie

"So anyone who is at anytime bored with any position in chess is "lacking in mental makeup"?

Like Dozer already pointed out, the quote says:

"if you don't see intrigue and beauty in ***_every logically created position_*** then something is lacking in both your understanding of chess and/or in your mental makeup..."

Next, you are asking me about "anyone (who is at anytime bored etc...)"...and if you go back to my earlier post, it says:

"One reason for posting this quote was because its a bit controversial, and actually, its mostly about players ***_who are striving to become really good at chess_***"

...Answering to your question, yes?

Considering the fact that you already critisized me for the lack of sensitivity etc, based on words that werent even mine, Im asking you to read my posts more carefully. I realize my English isnt good and my writing style is propably boring, but its a bit unfair to critisize before reading, dont you agree?
mettlesome 36 ( +1 | -1 )
Hey peppe-l Don't worry, your original post was perfectly clear, and it was perfectly clear that you were quoting Silman and NOT expressing your own opinion.

I agree it's a shame that people are harrassing YOU about it and not Silman.

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for starting an interesting discussion....(that's kind of degenerated into a mud fight.....I must admit....;-)

Mettlesome
zdrak 53 ( +1 | -1 )
Alrightie then, so we all agree that:

- Boredom, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder

- When a person perceives a chess position as "boring", it usually means one of the following:
a. The position is completely won for one side (or completely drawn) in such a way that it doesn't merit any examination.
b. The person in question doesn't understand the position, nor wishes to enhance his understaning.

- Some may call case (b) "lacking in mental makeup" - but that's just a choice of words ... my choice of words to describe the same issue would be different...
peppe_l 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Mettlesome Thanks for your support! Yes I hope people who feel Silman has choosed wrong words will simply contact him and ask is it really necessary to be so rude to the potential buyers of his books :-)