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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Interview with New National Master Abby Marshall

Abby Marshall


From my Chess Examiner site:

Following the conclusion of the recent U.S. Chess School session in St. Louis, Abby Marshall was kind enough to share some of her thoughts from the chess camp:

Goldberg: What were some of the more important things you learned from the camp?

Abby: Kaidanov emphasized that it’s difficult to play good moves when you are focusing on the result, especially with that half point lead because “draw” is always on your mind. He advised choosing a specific aspect to focus on to counteract that focus on results. It can be on time management, calculating deeply, trading, pawn structure, candidate moves, anything to do with good chess moves. We also talked about women’s chess. One of the funny things I learned was if someone is acting really condescending to you, like when you’re analyzing the game afterward and the guy is acting like he was winning the whole game when you actually crushed him easily and are being nice to go over the game, a good strategy is not to argue with him, but agree with everything. Secretly you are making fun of him for being so wrong. You sometimes have to pick your battles. We also did exercises on intuition and prophylaxis, topics I’ve never studied deeply before.

Goldberg: Gregory Kaidanov mentioned that it will be very difficult to really absorb everything presented that week immediately - it will take time to do so. Has the chess camp altered how you plan to approach your chess in coming months? Anything in particular you feel you need to work on to reach even greater heights?

Abby: I need to work on openings. Kaidanov said that when you make a big rating jump, normally openings lag behind. Mine have lagged behind for years. Also, Greg (Shahade) talked about how important it was to review the opening right after you play a blitz game.

Goldberg: At this camp, you were the highest rated of all the participants, by a large margin. Did this prove to be a problem at all?

Abby: No, not at all. I was really impressed by Darrian and Rochelle, who had lots of great suggestions that I hadn’t considered or hadn’t found as quickly. The lessons were complex and open ended enough that everyone had something to add.

Goldberg: It appeared to me that all the girls seemed to get along nicely, both at the camp sessions and at the recreational activities away from the club. Is this an accurate read on things? Were you especially close with any of them prior to this camp?

Abby: Yeah, we all got along really well. A lot of us knew each other before the camp, so that helped. I’ve known Linda and Darrian for a couple of years.

Goldberg: How were the accommodations at the hotel? Were things handled okay by Greg and by the chess club to take care of everyone pretty well?

Abby: Yeah, it was all great.

Goldberg: Any comments on the private session at the end with Kaidanov?

Abby: We talked about openings and strengths and weaknesses.

Goldberg: How were Kaidanov and Shahade as instructors?

Abby: They are the best. I felt that they really respected everyone’s chess.

Goldberg: Any other thoughts you care to add?

Abby: I hope Greg organizes a similar camp in the future, maybe for the many many younger girls who are ridiculously good.

For more information, see the extensive U.S. Chess School 10th session reports at the Chess Examiner site. I have also profiled Abby in my September 2009 Scholastic Chess column at ChessCafe.

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