First Chess Lesson
Yesterday I had my first chess lesson with NM Dan Heisman. Overall I would say the lesson was interesting, if not a bit insightful. In general I was not expecting too much since it was only an hour, and I was certainly not disappointed. Overall I enjoyed it and found Dan pleasant to work with.
So what did we do? After discussing my goals (make expert), particular areas of focus (thought process and time management), and situation (I'm a working adult, etc.), we started off with a problem in which I was supposed to decide if the king and pawn position was a win, loss, or draw for either side . It was not too complicated and I had "unlimited" time to think about it (unlimited in that all the time I'm willing to pay for :-)...and I bungled it horribly. I was fairly surprised I messed it up, especially since I saw the major elements, etc. The really interesting thing was that it took me a looooong time time notice a few things about the position. The takeaway is that I really need to work on my board vision...just noticing basic things about positions like what pieces or pawns are hanging, etc.
We then started to go through my game vs. OJ this past Thursday (a terrible affair...I played horribly, survived a massive attack to emerge a rook ahead, allowed a perpetual check, and then decided to try out a stupid idea just to see if there was any possible winning resources in it...and I lost shortly thereafter). Unfortunately, one hour flies by and we only got partway through the game.
As a result of our first session I've decided to work some more on tactics and board vision. Tactics are easy (more CT-Art and other simple tactics...nothing too complicated, just working on recognizing basic tactics instantly, so I'll probably stick to level 10 and 20, maybe level 30), and doing the MDLM Chess Vision drills which I skipped the first time around. I also dug out my copy of Chess Mazes which is a fun way to work on board vision.
I figure I'll do 3 or 4 more lessons at a minimum and then decide if this is something I want to continue longer-term. Overall I'm relatively happy with the first lesson. Dan's and my schedules don't match up very well for the next couple of weeks so I won't be able to do lesson #2 until mid-December or so.
BTW There is a tournament in San Antonio the first weekend in December, so I'm trying to decide if I should make my tournament debut. It is a 4 game Swiss system, slow time control (30/90, SD/60) event, so it would be perfect to test the water and actually get a USCF rating. I'll probably enter the reserve ground (U1700) so I'm sure I'll get beat up by a bunch of grade-schoolers, but it will be fun and good experience nevertheless.