Coming soon… The Mind of a Grandmaster!

The immortal question concerning how a chess Grandmaster thinks is perhaps one of the most interesting topics of conversation, even among non-chessplayers.  In the coming issue of "The 65th Square," we will peer inside the mind of one particular Grandmaster… the ever-popular GM Maurice Ashley.

In his most polished and articulate style, GM Ashley discusses  the GM mystique, preparation, decision-making, and provide some useful advice. The article will contain more than 30 minutes of the audio interview conducted by
Daaim Shabazz.

The Mind. Copyright © 1998, Carol Barnes.


"Well, I think that becoming a Grandmaster just takes a lot of practice and a lot work, and over time as you practice and practice, you hone the same skills over and over again until there's an explosion. There may not an explosion, it may be just be a leap. The leap is not mathematical… it's far more intuitive, it's far more personal. It just happens, and suddenly you start to see."

"GMs are much simpler than you think. I think it's the simplicity that gives them the strength."

"The truth is more important that the principles. I think a lot of players are guided by principles… two Bishops are good, Rook on an open file, doubled pawns are bad, don't leave the King in the center. I think a big difference between Grandmasters and lower-rated players is that those principles are only guidelines… they're not the truth. They may help you to get  to the truth, but a lot of times they can stand in your way of understanding the truth… Joel Lautier said to me long ago… Russians Grandmasters consider initiative more important than anything else. Initiative dictates the flow of the game. That may mean having what seems to be a poor pawn structure, giving up the two bishops, or any host of things… you have to find the move that speaks to the position."

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 7 September 2002