May 29, 2007

How To Set A Goal

Once again, this sounds like a silly title. What could be so difficult about setting a goal? Surely the challenging part is achieving it.

Aha. Firstly, setting a proper goal is a trickier process than it seems. Secondly, setting a proper goal is very important because a properly-set goal will automatically become much easier to achieve.

The key is clarity. You need to be very clear when you set a goal. The clearer your goal is, the more achievable it will be. Because you will know exactly what you need to do next, to bring you closer to your goal. No shooting in the dark, no beating around the bushes, no getting lost in the woods.

Setting a clear goal can be a fine art, as I will illustrate.

In my previous post, many readers listed their goals. But few defined their goals in an optimal way. Many of their so-called goals were in fact wishes, hopes, daydreams, personal philosophies or statements of principle. All of which do have their value. But they're not goals.

Let's take Henry Leong's comment as an example. He wrote: "Good health, sufficient money, good spouse & a happy family."

All of these are worthy aspirations. But none of these have been crystallised into clear, concrete objectives. None of these are goals. A goal is a goal, only when you can identify at least some concrete steps that you can take, to get there. And a goal is a goal, only if you will actually know it, when you get there.

But take "sufficient money", for instance. How much is sufficient? $10,000? $100,000? $1,000,000? More? What must the money be sufficient for, exactly? And by when?

In all likelihood, Henry hasn't thought these questions through (most people haven't). But if Henry hasn't thought them through, then his goal will be very difficult to achieve. He will just be shooting in the dark. Unfortunately, a goal like "have sufficient money" is not helpful in helping Henry find out how much he should save each month; how much he should invest; and in what; how he can reduce his expenditure, and by how much; and so on.

And because Henry doesn't have a clear idea of what he needs to do, he will probably end up doing nothing very much at all.

"Good health" is also too vague to be effective. As you go about your daily life, remembering that your goal is "good health" will have some beneficial effects. It may occasionally remind you to do or not do certain health-related things, like avoid that second helping of sweet dessert. But a goal like "good health" really isn't specific enough to significantly redirect your everyday behaviour into health-enhancing directions.

The more specific you are in defining your health goals, the better. Watch how we can progressively get more and more specific with defining a health goal.

1. "My goal is good health". [Too vague]

2. "My goal is to exercise regularly." [Better, but still vague. How regular is regular?]

3. "Exercise three times a week." [An improvement, but how will you exercise? And for how long?]

4. "Jog for at least 20 minutes, three times a week." [Very good].

5. "Jog for at least 20 minutes, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening." [Even better].

From a vague, fairly useless statement "My goal is good health", we have reached a much more concrete, definite position. We have taken an ambigious aspiration and converted into a specific thing to be done, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening.

Now Henry will remember that every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, he should leave his office punctually so that he can get home before it's late. When he gets home, he'll remember that today is not a day when he can just plonk himself on the sofa and watch TV. No, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he needs to put on his running shoes and go jogging. Furthermore he will remember to wear his stopwatch and check that he jogs for at least 20 minutes before he stops.

Because Henry now has a much clearer idea of what he wants to do to get "good health", he's actually going to be able to do it.

Some goals are much less definable in concrete terms, than others. Take "happy family", for instance. You know who your "family" is, but you can't measure happiness the same way that you could measure the distance that you jog, or the time that you take to jog that distance. Nevertheless, it will still be possible, and it is very important, to devise some metrics, around a goal like "happy family". The metrics are important, because in the end, you must be able to identify some concrete actions you're going to take.

For example, you may decide that "quality time" is important for "family happiness". So you may decide that every weekend, the family should spend at least half a day doing something together. Now you are in the position to make concrete weekly plans.

This weekend, for example, you may plan to take the kids to the zoo. Next weekend, you may plan to take them swimming. The following weekend, you may plan to take them to visit Auntie May and have a family dinner together. And so on. Do something, every weekend, for half a day.

And after a year, you'll look back and you'll probably realise that the family was indeed happy, and did regularly spend quality time together. Much more so than many other families, and much more so than if you had merely aspired to a "happy family", but never designed any real goals towards that.


So .... how many of you folks still think you have a goal?

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't dig all that self-help stuff, but hey, cool pic of Kasparov. Do you play chess?

Anonymous said...

Useful tip there. I was reading the goals in the last post and wondering why some of them sound so wishful.

Heh. Some of your readers are funny people.

Anonymous said...

Oh, goodness. Late to the party, as usual, with the usual excuses of work. Just been catching up on Mr Wang's last seven front page items, and the usual comments. I feel I just have to contribute here.

On keeping with the theme of how to succeed, I highly recommend this video to Mr Wang and his readers:
Streaming Flash Video
Download MP4 (requires QuickTime to view)

This talk was given to the audience at TED, an organization that annually gathers thinkers and doers around the world to “exchange ideas of incalculable value”.

It’s short – only 3 minutes – but it covers the essentials, including important areas that seem a little lacking in our cultural mindset. Also, this must be the best 3-minute presentation I have ever seen. (Those of you who regularly give presentations should take notes while watching.)

There is a topic for every interest at TED. I encourage all who crave insightful viewpoints into the various facets of our world situation to sample archives of the TED conferences at http://www.ted.com/

Anonymous said...

Basically, it is all about being measurable. It's the same with job appraisal. At the beginning of the year, boss and subordinate should meet and negotiate and set measurable goals to be achieved by the employeen, and have these documented in a HR form. At the end of the year, if employee achieves the goals, he remains exmployed. If he exceeds the goals, he is promoted or given a big fat bonus. If he fails to meet the goal, he is sacked. A vauge goal such as "good customer service" is not mesurable. But "less than X complaint by customers" can be measured.

Measurable! Measurable! Measurable!

Have I summarised your idea accurately? :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 4.29am - no that is not what Mr Wang said, although what you say is also important.

Ballista said...

My goal is to be happy. Haha, before Mr Wang you get on my case, remember that we all know things which in larger amount might make us more inclined to be happy - but we don't know exactly how much will do that. Yet I'm no hedonist who wants to try everything; I shall try for lesser goals first.

1. Monthly disposable income sufficient to buy 1000 bowls of noodles from the nearest palatable stall (don't worry I will check them all out first).

2. Housing for which I owe nothing.

3. A job that I like. (Well, not so quantifiable, but I love my job, so I have exceeded the target.)

The problem is, I always think I'm happy now that I'm convinced I've achieved these goals. So was being happy ever a goal?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Ballista, I will blog my thoughts on happiness in a future post.

Mr Wang Says So said...

People tend to avoid setting specific goals because they don't like failure.

Eg if Henry says "My goal is good health", he avoids failure because this statement is vague. As long as Hentry doesn't contract a serious illness, we can't say that he's failed.

But if he says, "My goal is to jog three times a week for 20 minutes, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday", then if he fails, he will know that he has failed.

The drawback of vagueness is that of course, you will not know what you're supposed to be doing and you're unlikely to take any real action.

Thus we see that the root problem is our fear of failure.

Which I will blog about in a future post.

Henry Leong said...

Mr Wang,

Generally speaking I am referring the elements of happiness.

A person can be successful but not happy and vice versa. A person might not be consider successful but happy.

Mike Tyson might be consider successful as he able to earn $300 millions but unhappy. See the way he spent his money, he might be trying to buy money with it.

Happiness had eluded Princess Diana, with all her glamour.

Freddie Mercury, with all his talents and success, died of Aids, at 39 gave away all his money, $50 millions to charities.

I do set specific goal, at this juncture I am quite happy with what I have.

Thanks for your reply.
http://henryleongblog.blogspot.com/

Wendy said...

so what mr wang is saying is that you have to be clear about your goals, its like your annual performance assessment where your goals have to be

S: specific
M: measurable
A: attainable
R: relevant
T: time limited

this way, you can say i plan to retire by 40 with an amount of SGD$1 million, in this way u have set a goals

Mr Wang Says So said...

Yeah, I used to play. Wanna play?

1. d4

Mr Wang Says So said...

I don't like the SMART system actually. I think it works well enough in a work context, but it isn't flexible enough if you're thinking of a more comprehensive approach to the rest of your life. More on that, in a future post.

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Mr. Wang,

Good posting. To many bloggers are writing about local politics, to write about self improvement in the local context that specifically targets your readers is a very good move.

To address the issue of flexibility of goals, we can borrow from a series of skills and competencies of professional futurists. ( You know, folks who are hired to tell the future in large firms and the government service. )

The SMART framework can easily retain its flexibility if people see their own lives like the way leaders look at their businesses and countries.

What political, social, economic and personal changes will render a goal irrelevant or induce the creation of a new goal.

The skillset which can be developed are rarely taught within our education system these days. Systems thinking, scenario planning and basic Aristotelian logic.

Regards

Spike said...

I would like to add one more point to goal setting and that's to understand the motivations driving you to set the goal.

Using "Staying healthy" as example, I think we do not get out of bed one day and decide suddenly that we want to be healthy. The thought probably came about because of something we read, see or heard. These could be life-changing events like turning 40 yrs old or witnessing a 35yr old man collapsing from a heart attack, etc.

Therefore, understanding the drivers behind the goal can help you determine in clearer terms the specific activities you need to perform in order to stay healthy (and not suffer a heart attack), eg adopting a active lifestyle by exercising regular, eating sensibly, going for a checkup once a year, etc.

Here's a good example on one of the most popular goals: "I want to retire before 40 years old". Just shows that you don't have to be rich to meet this goal - discipline, some tweaking to your existing lifestyle, and a little creativity can actually get you there.

SPiNSuGaR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SPiNSuGaR said...

Hi Mr Wang, As you said, and I paraphrase, it's hard to achieve goals that weren't even set properly to begin with. I find that all too often, people fail not because their goals are all that unrealistic, but because their goals are, as you said, too vague.

I'm no exception.. and after 7 years of hitting walls (n-not literally..), destructive relationships and failures, I finally sat down and thought my goals through a weeks ago. What a coincidence that you've written about this too! :)

Anonymous said...

I would like to add a sentence I read somewhere...

"what's the point of being the richest man in the graveyard?"

Death is the great equaliser however you define your success

Mr Wang Says So said...

That depends on your belief of what death is about.

As a consequence of my own beliefs, I have no fear of death. Dying is the scary part for me, as it will often involve suffering.

Anonymous said...

Ok, let's play!

1.d4 Nf6

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4

I don't even have a chess set anymore, I'm playing blind.

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5

"I don't even have a chess set anymore, I'm playing blind."

I can only go blind for the initial moves.

Your reply's rather quick, btw. Not working but studying, huh?

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4

I always felt that for Black, this line 5 ... a5 is too dependent on White not finding the right moves. It's a nice & subtle positional finesse, but the question is whether Black can afford the loss of time in development.

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6

You are right... It's not the best move. I didn't expect you to be so well-versed in this (or any) opening. (Actually, I'm new at this opening myself.) Thought I was playing with an amateur, if not even a beginner. Well, I've been proven wrong. You've obviously played on a competitive level before, right? In any case, I realise that I will not be able to match up to your skill level, but I'll just try my level best to continue the game.

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3

I'm rusty - I haven't touched a chess piece for years now, but yeah I used to play competitively. I quit after graduating, but used to play for NUS.

In those days, the NUS team was like a de facto national chess team, you know? People like IM Hsu Li Yang, IM Terry Toh, FM Jeremy Lim used to be my team-mates (depending on which year you're talking about).

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7

Thanks for telling me. Now I know how far way out of league I am. Chuckles. You may be rusty, but your memory of the game is still intact, I can see. You must have admired Kasparov since you used his photo? Too bad he's retired now. Used to study (play through lar, actually) his games during his championship matches with Karpov during my school days.

Mr Wang Says So said...

Mmm. I think my memory fails me right about here. I suspect 9.e4 is right around here, but 9. b7 also looks interesting.

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7

Yeah Kasparov was pretty awesome. I read that he's now playing a more dangerous kind of strategy game - gone into Russian politics, LOL.

Anonymous said...

FM Jeremy Lim? Don't you mean either IM or GM?

Li Yang... that name rings a bell. He could be my first ever opponent in a competitive game in sec school. I freaked out within the first few moves and resigned. He was in RI then. During those days, it was just seniors giving tips to juniors in my school. No coaching or any fancy stuff. Looking back, even before the game, my senior already basically realised I would lose. I already believed I would lose before I started the game. No wonder I resigned so quickly. It's an interesting incident to me, looking back.

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8

I think you're leading in advantage either way. Yeah, did you know he literally got hit in the head (with a chess-set or something) after his decision to go into this new game?

He's definitely into dangerous waters, as it's rumoured that his new-sworn enemy even goes to the extent of poisoning his opponent when it's expedient.

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4

In fact Li Yang was a bit of a late developer. He used to be overshadowed by his contemporary Ong Chong Ghee. The thing about Li Yang is that he just kept improving year after year, while others stagnated.

Of course, Chong Ghee is a more entertaining player. The difference between Li Yang and Chong Ghee is the difference between Karpov/Kasparov. Li Yang is quiet and subtle; Chong Ghee is full of fireworks and sacrifices. But Li Yang is the guy who does better at top-level play (like, in international competitions overseas).

Is Jeremy IM now? Back then he was FM. He comes from a chessplaying family; all his brothers also played competitively.

I dunno who are Singapore's top players now. I guess there must be many new faces (new to me, I mean).

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1

Did a google on Li Yang. He had quite a spectacular game with John Nunn in '92. At least he got a chance to play with such a famous personality.

Oh... What I meant was I just can't figure out what FM stands for. Federation Master?

IM- International Master
GM- Grandmaster
FM- ??

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1

Yeah I remember that. A King's Indian, Li Yang playing White, and got killed in slightly over 20 moves, right?

Yeah, FM is Federation Master. Maybe they don't have that title anymore, after all that politicking between FIDE and that other what's-it's-name chess association.

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7

Yes. To LY's credit, he didn't take the "free" B Queen which would have led to him being mated. Contrary to what I would have done.

No, they still have the FM title. But yes, I even seem to recall the chess community in Singapore polarising into 2 groups during my time. Think they still meet in 2 separate places.

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5

I think this should work .... I've dug out a little pocket chess set to work this out - it's too complicated to play in my head any further.

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3 Qxf4

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3 Qxf4
16. Qb5+

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3 Qxf4
16. Qb5+ Nd7

How are people able to play blind chess? I once had a class-mate who was able to beat me evn though he was blinded and I had a chess set right before me.

Is it a skill that can be acquired, or comes with practiced familiarity, or in-born, i.e. it's due to the person having high IQ? Any idea?

Mr Wang Says So said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3 Qxf4
16. Qb5+ Nd7
17. Qc6

It's acquirable with practice. Actually, whenever you play chess and try to calculate the variations ahead without moving the pieces, you're already playing blind chess.

See, I'm in office now, and I don't have a chessboard. But I can tell you that I'm threatening 18.Qc8+ Rxb8 19.bxc8/Q mate.

To stop 18.Qxc8+, I think you have no choice but to play 17...Kd8. Alternatively, you could try 17...Qe3+ 18.Kd1 but after 18 ...Qd3+ 19.Nd2, you've basically run out of checks (and the knight on d2 also guards the f1 rook) . So instead of 17...Qe3+, I think you might prefer trying to keep your queen on the b8-h2 diagonal, where it still guards your b8 rook and watches the critical square c7. And so instead you'll just play 17...Kd8 straightaway.

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3 Qxf4
16. Qb5+ Nd7
17. Qc6 Kd8

Ever though of being a chess coach?

Mr Wang Says So said...

I used to coach the NUS girls' team.

Now let's look at this current position. I can't see any immediate "forcing" line to win. However, your kingside rook + bishop still haven't gotten out; your d7 knight is pinned, and your b8 rook is tied down to watching my b7 pawn.

Effectively, you have only one piece in active play (your Queen), and on its own, it won't be able to effectively threaten my king AND guard your own at the same time.

So the key now is to overload and harass your queen, and if that works, your position ought to collapse.

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3 Qxf4
16. Qb5+ Nd7
17. Qc6 Kd8
18. Nb5

This stops your Queen from moving to the c7 and d6 squares. My subsequent ideas could be g3 to chase your queen off the diagonal; or d6 to stop your queen from guarding b8,c7 or d6. Another possible idea would be Rf2, so that I can meet Qe3+ with Re2.

Anonymous said...

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 b5
4. cb5 a6
5. b6 a5
6. Nc3 Ba6
7. f4 d6
8. Nf3 Nbd7
9. b7 Rb8
10. e4 Bf1
11. Rxf1 Qc7
12. e5 dxe5
13. fxe5 Nxe5
14. Bf4 Nd3+
15. Qxd3 Qxf4
16. Qb5+ Nd7
17. Qc6 Kd8
18. Nb5 resign

There's no way to defend without significant loss of material.

Thanks for playing and your comments. If you ever want to give chess lessons let me know, yeah?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Thanks for the game.

I looked at this opening before, and I think that if White can find 7. f4, Black is in serious trouble.

The 5 ... a5 line really relies on White not finding the optimal moves. If White plays "natural" moves instead of 7.f4, then Black should be able to equalise easily.

In our actual game, I don't think you made any outright mistakes. Maybe you can think about whether there's a better 11th move for you, but seriously 11.... Qc7 looks quite sensible, just not adequate in the end.

By the way, I first learned about 7.f4 when I got crushed by Junior Tay (I was playing Black) in a friendly game. I lost more or less in the same way you did. Junior Tay is a former national player.

Anonymous said...

I still think move 5 was the turning point.

At first I thought Junior Tay is a small boy. LOL. Not surprising that you lost to him in this opening, cos' I think he's even written a book on it!! Think it's called Master of the Dark Squares. You can check it out on the net.