Hello Again Chess Friends,

The Clarendon Chess Association extends a very special thanks to the reigning National Chess Champion, National Master
Shane Matthews for taking the time to journey to Clarendon to impart some of the chess knowledge that he has garnered over the past 20 years to chess players in Clarendon. A summary of some of the key elements of Shane's lecture follows.

National Champion Shane Matthews (blue shirt) demonstrates finer points of the royal game. Photo Jamaican Chess Federation.

Shane started with a brief introduction of himself, during which he pointed to regular practice, including competing regularly in tournaments as one of the keys to his success over the past 20 years. Before going into the main lecture on the Middle Game, Matthews spoke on the Opening. He indicated that in the early days of his chess career, he did a lot of his opening analysis over the board, which he felt actually helped with his Middle Game play. He pointed out that in the opening, what was important was (not necessarily to play the well-known openings, but) to identify which opening best suits your own style of play. He explained that one of the key differences between the Opening and other parts of the game was the level of preciseness.

In the opening, the options are fewer in terms of moves, as opposed to the Middle Game where the move options increase as the pawns and the pieces are moved from the first and second ranks. He identified basic and rapid development and control of the center as key in the opening. In his lecture on the Middle Game, Matthews focused for the most part on three key features, analysis, identifying a plan and tactical play.

The group was taken through rigorous exercises that brought out some of the key weaknesses that had to be worked on. One of the main weaknesses identified was inadequate depth of analysis. As a result, improving analysis will be the focus of the next few workshops scheduled to take place as part of the Clarendon Chess Development Program.

Because of the numerous questions that arose out of the day's activities and the thoroughness of each analysis exercise, Matthews was not able to finish all he had to impart. He has agreed to come back on a date to be announced. Thanks Again Shane!


Peter Myers
Clarendon Chess Association

Posted by The Chess Drum: 25 January 2004