Friday, April 11, 2014

"How To Judge a Chess Position"

Stumbled on this video today.  I really liked it - I need to find more videos like these.

His advice:
1. count the pieces
2. compare the kind positions
3. compare the pawn structures
4. compare the relative piece activity of the players
5. work out if there are any threats
6. make an assessment, look for moves


Monday, April 07, 2014

The Immortal Game by David Shenk

Maybe it was late December or early January when I started The Immortal Game.  I've been nibbling at it over the past 3 months and I finally finished it last weekend.

Because I nibbled over 3 months, I don't have a whole lot of specific recall.  Rather, I just remember that it was a good book that took a 10,000 foot view of chess over a millennium and a half.

The book goes back and forth between recounting history and the evolution of chess and the immortal game.

I learned how chess moved east to west and how the game had such an impact on culture and society.  I learned of the different eras of chess and how the game was developed and viewed over hundreds of years.

The book flows very well.  It was not boring; either from a chess player perspective or a non-chess player perspective.

I'm not going to get much into reviewing this - there are lots of reviews available.  But if you're looking for a good, broad historical chess book, this would be a good start.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

ROCKY ROOK Blog 10 Years Old

Wow; on February 3, 2004 I started rockyrook.blogspot.com

Ten years ago I was a bright-eyed college grad who had been working full-time for 3 years.  In 2001, I started working for a big company who promised me that I would have a long career with them - that I could have multiple positions and jobs over the course of my career without having to change companies.  This appealed to me because at the time, the common career path was to either start working for a ".com" company or work for one of the consulting firms.  You would put in 60-80 hours a week and then after you get burned out, you could find a more stable and sustainable job someplace.  This wasn't too appealing, so I decided to go with a stable career path with the big company.

Then, 9/11 happened, the ".com" bubble burst and the economy took a hit.  The big company who had told me they had not had lay-offs and would not have lay-offs were suddenly laying people off.  In late 2003 I had two options: 1) go down a heavy technical path with lots of tech certifications with the long-term view that I would have to keep those certifications current or 2) go get an MBA and take the management track with the big company or some other company.  By January 2004, I had decided to take the MBA path.

During the course of investigating what it takes to get into a good b-school, I found that there were various blogs out there that had a wealth of information.  I decided I would blog about my own MBA journey and thus this blog began.  I published two posts in 2004 and then didn't return to the blog until 2006 (read this post); and ever since, I've been a somewhat regular poster.

Now, in 2014, I'm still with the big company; I've been promoted several times - the MBA did help with those promotions.  And because of those promotions, life gets busy; thus I've not been blogging as much.

But, I'm still playing chess; doing lots of tactics at chesstempo.  I love chess.com and the app on my Android - spending lots of time between those two sites.

I still need to get started on the chess books reading list.  I've been nibbling at The Immortal Game, but I need to just finish it already and post a book review and then move on to the rest of the list.

Anyway - here's to another 10 years of chess blogging.

Friday, January 31, 2014

It felt good to be in the zone on chesstempo

The last time I got 20 in a row correct was November 11, 2013.  I finally did it again on January 31 - in that streak I had jumped 10 points over problems (2 1800 problems and 1 1700 problem) - that's a very rare event for me.

Bishop to King 7, Checkmate

Here's a little something to get your weekend started:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rook Attacks Peace Dove

My chosen on-line handle is RockyRook.

The 'Rocky' comes from two parts:
1 - I grew up near the Rocky Mountains and often went camping in various sub-ranges of the Rockies in the Wallowa, Nez Perce and Payette national forests.
2 - my favorite movie is Rocky

The 'Rook' comes from two parts as well:
1 - obviously, the rook in chess
2 - I love the rook bird, also known as a crow or raven - it's just cool!  Although, rooks, ravens and crows are technically different, people often interchange the names for the birds.

Today, I was reading the news and was fascinated to see this story: Birds Attack Peace Doves Freed from Pope's Window.  A seagull and a rook attacked the two doves that were freed from the window.  Below are some pictures that were taken of the event.




Friday, January 24, 2014

Chess in Movies

This is really cool - some person has found many, many instances of chess games being played in movies and TV shows.  They have re-created the position/game and then noted the context as well as the inaccuracies of the position/game.

Chess in the Movies
Chess in the Movies Part 2

post script: this is my 500th post on this blog!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Deadly Chess Part 2

I imagine it's been all around the chess world, but I still want to document it here.  Over the last few years (going back to November 2008), I've been documenting chess violence.  Today, I read on chess.com a story coming out of Ireland about a murder after a game of chess went awry.  The murder was quite gruesome - the murderer tried to eat the victim's heart!

Man Stabbed to Death 'Over Chess Dispute'
Dublin researcher, 39, 'stabbed to death following row over a late-night chess match'
Man 'stabbed to death over game of chess' in Ireland
Chess player stabbed to death 'after late night row with opponent over move spiralled out of control'
Man fatally beaten and stabbed in chess match row
Man held in Dublin over 'ritualistic chess killing'

Friday, January 03, 2014

2014 Chess Goals / Book List

1. solve 20 tactics a day at ChessTempo (blitz mode); 7600 problems for the year.
2. play at least 52 games a year (chess.com; guess the move at chesstempo)
3. read all the un-read chess books I own and try to learn something from them.

Here's the list of books which I own, but have not read (or completed reading)
- Reassess Your Chess (3rd & 4th editions - Silman)
- The Amateur's Mind (Silman)
- Chess: the Art of Logical Thinking (McDonald)
- Improve Your Opening Play (Ward)
- Manual of Chess (Lasker)
- GM Secrets: Endings (Soltis)
- GM Secrets: Openings (Soltis)
- The Immortal Game (Shenk)

Just as a reference, here's a list of books I own and have read


Thursday, January 02, 2014

2013 ChessTempo Stats

With regards to tactics and ChessTempo, my 2013 goal was to do 20 problems (blitz mode) per day.  At 365 days in a year, that works out to 7300 problems.  I did 7560 problems.  Granted I was scrambling to get a few more in on January 1st and 2nd, but it wasn't a marathon session.

Compared to 2012, my overall accuracy improved.  My average monthly accuracy average in 2012 was 77.55%; while my 2013 average monthly accuracy was 81.89%.  The highlight of the year in the accuracy category was hitting 85.00% correct in October (578 correct out of  680 attempted).  My overall accuracy percentage began 2013 at 72.15% and I finished the year with 74.43%

As far as ratings go - it's always up and down.  I try to look at the trends; and the trends say my rating is steadily declining.  For example, in 2012, I hit a max rating of 1752.6 and my highest monthly median rating was 1721.9.  In 2013, the highest I could hit was around 1748, while the best monthly median was only 1710.  2013 also saw me hitting a new low in blitz rating at 1633 (1637 was the lowest I hit in 2012).  In December, my max was only 1699 with the median at 1679.

So, in summary, it looks like I'm taking a bit more time (improvement in accuracy), at the expense of my rating.

For 2014 - my goal is to attempt 7600 problems; keep improving my accuracy, but also see if I can stem the decline in ratings.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chess-boxing: Lewis vs. Klitschko

After reading this article, in which Lennox Lewis discusses how similar chess is to boxing, I decided that if ever there were a chess boxing match-up between Lewis and one of the Klitschko brothers, I'd pay to watch that per-per-view fight.

Can you imagine how big a boost chess-boxing would get if that fight were arranged?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

redditviz: chess

after reading this article on wired.com, i went to the redditviz website and searched for chess.  the top related sub-reddits that were related to the chess reddit were:
- allthingsprotoss
- cheatatmathhomework
- Cubers
- day9
- excel

it's an interesting website.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Midnight Underwater Speed Chess

first came this: http://blog.xkcd.com/2008/05/19/friday-night/

then came this: a board and set that will sit on the bottom of a pool.


anyone up to play a game?

via reddit/r/chess

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Chess Movies to Watch (or have watched)

With some free time coming around in the next few weeks, I thought I'd list out all the chess movies I know of.  As I watch them, I'll update this post with a link to my review of the movie.

Did I miss any other movies?

Searching for Bobby Fischer (4.5 / 5 stars)
Bobby Fischer Against the World (i watched this about a year ago, but plan to watch this again)
Queen to Play (3.6 / 5 stars)
Computer Chess (2.7 / 5 stars ... my review)
Checkmate (have not seen; heard it's not that great)
Brooklyn Castle (queued up on netflix)
Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine (queued up on netflix)
The Chess Players (Shatranj Ke Khilari) (need to find a copy of this somewhere)

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Need a Christmas Present Idea? - Try Ice Chess

came across this neat idea while reading a reddit post.

thinkgeek sells ice tray molds for chess pieces (link).  currently the item is out of stock and won't be back in stock until March!  Must be pretty popular!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Good Summary Article on Chess Improvement

How to Get Good at Chess, Fast is a pretty good article that summarizes quite well all the things you need to do be be a good chess player.

- he defines "good" as 90th percentile of the player pool you are involved in
- play lots, do tactics, analyze your games
- one really good point he made about chess psychology: "don't ever be afraid of your opponent" and "fight as hard as you can until the game is over"  He says if you follow these two psychology rules, you can add 100 points to your rating.

Again, nothing new here other than it was a really good summary article about chess improvement.