Friday, November 23, 2012

Rapid Chess Improvement or Cheating?

Someone once asked the Buddha:

'Oh Lord.  Do you think the soul is eternal or temporal?'  The response is very wise:

'Of what use are these questions?'  Work on your own salvation'.

First, I have read through most, if not all of the referenced links or looked at the blogs mentioned in my first post, Four-Hundred points in 4,000 days.  I read them the moment I go the hat tip weeks ago.  I even then recently received an email from a truly beloved chess friend, a very strong one who said he USED to respect de la Mazla's work, as an example of great effort, but had serious questions, if not great reservations now.  I can respect that also.

Here is my position.  There is merit in these blogs.  Many smart persons, with work of real worth.  If I had the time or inclination, or is it more like the energy, right now, to link to them, I would.  You can find them in recent comments to posts here.  Thank you.  But its Thanksgiving night, I just got back from work on a most special American holiday, and I am pooped, tired.  And CT Art is tiled below my browser below me now, and this is just a break in hard work.  The best kind, when your eyes are drooping.  Like the burn running up a very steep hill, when you can barely breath yet get that last bit of work out in.  Build it within you.

Double Click to Enlarge Image

I do not believe he cheated.  I have also read through many, a great many comments on his book at Amazon--there must be sixty or more of them, some very astute in perception.

So many (and this is not in any way to disparage my esteemed fellow bloggers here, I respect every single one of you)--there wish to bash RCI.  But Rapid Che... need not be a perfect plan, or sustain bold claims for greatness to have value.  Like those books, Learn a Language in Ten Days, or the Diet Audio tapes or video classes, Loose Fifty Pounds in Fifty Days, or Flat Abs (abdomen) in six weeks--six pack abs.

What matters is doing the work.  You want to gain 125 points?  Do it.  You want to take Four Hundred Weeks, not four hundred days (less than eight years), its OK.  Do it.

I am willing to bet many in those reviews either did not do all the work, or hard enough, or fast enough to get the full compression.  But even then, I feel no need to judge or compare.

Do the work.  I do not believe de la Mazla was all about money.  Did he sell a book?  Yes.  Just as others have.  Don't feel it has value (I never bought it), then instead just read the wonderful two articles at Chess Cafe, Parts I and Parts II here, then skim the book standing in a bookstore without buying, get started, then read the Chess Cafe articles again.  Don't agree?  Ok.  Form a plan.  Take action.  Do it.

Me?  I have done my spreadsheets, and done my calculations of time and energy, mixed rate of speed with quality, and am doing the work.  Too slow?  It takes too long.  Too fast?  You miss the calculation time.  Too tedious?  It can ruin chess as a game.  Too easy?  Superficial.

Cheater?  Who cares.  Don't cheat yourself.

Now, I have a more to say, a lot more to say on this.  I drafted Part II of my own comments six weeks ago more or less simultaneous to Part I, and went to publish, but Google ate my revisions.  Even then, do I blame them?  No.  I have been blogging here since 2005.  I know many a trick, and take great care not to loose work.  But guess what--sometimes I goof.

I have ways I take exception to his work, others could not agree more, but whatever it is, I do not doubt he did the work, and he is one smart fuc_ker.  His Doctoral Thesis at MIT shows as much, his current professional life is not exactly stupid either.  That is rate of improvment cannot be duplicated except by one in five thousand, an aspiring Life Master.  Well, OK.  You do the work, attain one-quarter as much in four times the elapsed time, and take what you can.

Me?  I love to study more than play.  Far, far more.  And if this was not such a provocative way to study, nee, a very very provocative discussion, so many would not be so riled by it all.  Get to work and just try it.


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