Sunday, March 16, 2008

LifeChess - The importance of being daring.

LifeChess - The importance of being daring.

Being daring and being brave. This is a commonly acknowledged trait associated with male superiority. Witness the movie "Braveheart" starring Mel Gibson, whereupon strength isn't so much portrayed as being brave. Also commonly done is the game where little boys dare one upon another to do brave (often foolish) things to impress others. Yet it is important to distinguish between foolish and brilliance. It is not enough just to be brave. It is not enough just to dare to look in the face of danger and laugh. You must be selective and intelligent in which you choose the manner of displaying your bravery.

Anytime you want to engage in risky behavior, you want to be prepared. You don't want to risk all or nothing unless you have gone so far down that you have no other alternative. People sometimes forget that those daring people really do not take much risk. Yet, often times, it looks as if the people involved is nothing more than a group of daredevils. Nothing could be further from the truth! There is a good reason why plane jumpers carry a spare parachute. Why do mountain climbers has support groups? Cliff climbers carry all those ropes just to be safe. It is important to be daring yet safe. Life last longer that way.

Yet, people do not realize that. Often times, foolish people imitate the activities of the masters, never realizing that what the masters do is very difficult and dangerous. It is only upon hours of preparations and skill building that masters would engage a seemingly risky behavior, except that after all the preparations is all good and done, the danger of tight rope walking is less than that of driving drunk.

If safety is paramount, then why be daring at all? The answer to that, besides being fun, is that sometimes the reward is proportionally higher than a safe alternative. Risk is present in all life's endeavour and it is a fine balance we want to strike between risk and reward. Often, the greatest success goes to the most daring person, all else being equal. It is a desirable quality, then, to stand fast against adversity, to look at danger without fear, and to succeed with greatness, gumption, and gusto.

This also highlights the lesson of Follow Through. Once you set up a motion to take risky endeavour, don't have cold feet! Follow through the action no matter what the consequences! Sometimes, bravery isn't an option. Sometimes, you need to be brave, just to survive. So, prepare, focus, act, and follow through.

The following game was played over the internet. KingHal, playing White, was my opponent. It was late at night when tiredness rule and mistakes are made by both sides. Interestingly enough, when I ran the game with the computer, the computer agrees more with White indicating the soundness of his game. Yet, I won the game due to his blundering. It goes to show that without proper skills and preparation, being daring often equals being foolish. Better to learn that lesson in the comparative harmless environment of a chess board than that of broken bones on street.

White: KingHal
Black: Ramstrong
Date: 2007-10-18
Event: InstantChess - Internet play
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 b5 5. Bb3 (C70 Ruy Lopez - Morphy Defense)
5. ... h6 This is an extremely passive move. The idea is to prevent Ng5. With proper play, Black should not fear this move, but I don't think I can handle the complication arising from Ng5. This is a case of being safe means making a cowardly passive move.
6. O-O Bb7 7. c3 Bc5 This isn't a standard move, but the idea is sound. Both bishop are aiming at the king. Once the center is liquidated, Black has a dangerous attack. As White will need to liquidate the center to press on the attack, this is a good bet to make.
8. Re1 d6 9. d4 exd4 10. cxd4 Ba7 White's game is fine so far. Black is being pushed back defensively.
11. Nc3 Nge7 This is a defensive, developing move, but it is also one of my more cunning move. It looks like I'd castle kingside, when what I really want to do is castle queenside to nestle among my bishops and put the rooks on the opposing king. Again, once the kingside pawns are liquidated, I'd have a dangerous attack on my hand.
12. a3 Qd7 13. Be3 O-O-O The opening preparation is complete. We now enter the middlegame. Black has great attacking potential, yet White has a better game on the account of a more current pressing attack.
14. d5 Bxe3 15. Rxe3 Ne5 16. Nxe5 dxe5 White attacks! Black parries. Advantage: White.17. f3 White has an excellent pawn formation. As I've said, Black will need to liquidate the pawns if he wants to attack.

(Diagram 2kr3r/1bpqnpp1/p6p/1p1Pp3/4P3/PBN1RP2/1P4PP/R2Q2K1 b - - 0 17)

17. ... f5! This move is my kind of move. A daring pawn attack!
18. Kh1? g5! 19. Rc1 g4! While White wastes time dilly-dallying, Black is poised to destroy the pawn chain.
20. Rd3 gxf3 21. gxf3 fxe4 22. fx34 Rhg8 Once the pawn chain is destroyed, Black attacks fiercely. The game is now balanced on a razor sharp point. White is to attack Black, and Black is to attack White.
23. Rg3? This blunder costs White. White would have been okay with d6 attack. Despite all White's preparation, White cowers when he should be courageous. Black's following attack is seemingly effortless, but things could have been hairy for Black, had White been daring.
23. ... Rxg3 24. hxg3 Qh3+ 25. Kg1 Qxg3+ 26. Kf1 Rf8+ 27. Ke2 Rf2+ 28. Ke1 Qg1#

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