Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chess Around the Net

Playing chess in Iraq.

Chess and drugs? ... this would be a good picture for a caption contest over at the Boylston CC blog.

"Hip Hop, Chess and Martial Arts Finally Unite in Real Time"

An MBA program that requires a chess class ... very cool. Susan Polgar posted this on her blog today too.

For those of us here in the Dallas area ... UTD starts its ChessFest today.

The Eve of the Battle ... very cool picture of chess pieces making plans.

The Renaissance Festival including Combat Chess.

Latest Winter OCL Game

I won ... but there is plenty of room for improvement.

I thought I did some pretty good thinking during the game, but Fritz didn't agree ... suprise, suprise!

As for the thought process ... I think I did a pretty good job. I find it very difficult to find all the candidate moves and apply the 3-ply to each one given the amount of time for each game. In a 60 15 game with an average of 40 moves in these games, I have about one minute and forty-five seconds per move to come up with a list of candidate moves, find my opponent's best reply and then my best reply for each move and then decide which one of all those candidate moves is best (if there are lines that are equal). That is difficult for me. Sometimes when I'm looking at a new tactical problem in CT-ART where I know there is a solution, I take upwards to 2 or 3 minutes. And now I have to make a move in less than 2 minutes where there is no definite solution in most cases ... difficult indeed.

The way I see it is I simply need to practice my thought process more and more to become efficient. I also need to keep up with the tactical training so I can spot tactics quickly.

As for this game, I realized (again) that I am not as safty-minded as I think I am. My smoke and mirrors are what saved me this game. Even with the smoke and mirrors, I missed a tactic.

On 16. ... Qh4, I intended to simply have a chance at getting a rook back. But Fritz disagreed with my line of thinking. Fritz suggests 17. Bxf8 Be6 18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. Be7 Qxe7 20. Qxg4 Bxe1 21. Rxe1 and White is up a knight ... that is where I missed my safety analysis.

Instead, my opponent moved 17. h3. I take the rook (17. ... Bxe1 18. Kg1) and this is where I missed the tactic that would have secured the game for me much earlier.

I moved 18. ... Bg3 I wanted to just get out of there up couple of pawns (which is what happened). But Fritz suggests 18. ... Bf2+. I went on to analyze this with 19. Kh1 Be3 20. Qg3 Nf2+ 21. Kh2 Qxg3+ 22. Bxg3 Nxd1 23. Nxd1 Bd4 and Black is up a rook.

I finished the game with about 5 minutes on my clock ... the game went to 44 moves. This is the biggest dilemma I face ... I want to be careful and not blunder and so I feel like I really need to check and double-check and sometimes triple-check my moves and my opponents replies ... all this takes lots of time and I think I'm using too much time ... it's so nerve-racking.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

7 Circles are tough? What about this?

Running across the Sahara Desert in 111 days ... the equivalent of running 2 marathons a day for 111 days.

The Circles now seem so easy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thought Process

It seems like every Knight Errant or chlogger (chess-blogger) has written about the need to come up with a thought process or the need to improve his or her thought process. Today is the day for me to post about my need to improve my thought process.

My streak of OCL losses is proof perfect that I need to improve in this area.

I just finished reading Heisman's Novice Nook entitled A Generic Thought Process for the hundreth time. I swear my head's made of wood because whenever I learn something, it usually takes several repetitions before the concept enters my thick skull. I'm hoping this time it'll stick for good.

For my own reference, I'm posting the generic steps. From there, I need to practice, practice, practice this process until it enters my subconcious.

For non-check scenarios, this is what I need to go through:
  1. 1. Is there a sequence of moves that leads to a mate? If not, proceed to the next step.
  2. 2. How did his move change the situation? What are his threats?
  3. 3. Begin list of candidate moves.
      A. Meet opponent's threats

      B. Carry out my threats

      C. Create new threats that cannot be met or that improve my position

      D. Improve my piece activity

      E. Improve my position

    This is where the famous quote applies ... if you find a move, find a better one.

  4. 4. For each candidate move, do the 3-ply ... my move, his move and my move
  5. 5. Decide on the best candidate move, do a sanity check and move.
            In the article, Dan says, "during the game give your best effort every move; you might as well just resign if you are losing and don't want to try any more." He then mentioned the Theory of Infinite Resistance which basically means make life as tough as possible for you opponent, even if he is winning, because you never know what will actually happen.

            This will be my standard.

                          Sunday, February 18, 2007

                          Take Your Time!

                          Here is where I lost it ... mentally and gamewise. I had been expecting the exchange but when it came to it, I, like the mediocre idiot I am, took the pawn with my bishop, thus exposing my queen and rook to attack.

                          I simply resigned at this point.

                          Average at its best.

                          Tuesday, February 13, 2007

                          Chess Around the Net

                          Over the last few evenings of doing tactics and playing chess, I noticed that I do really well at the beginning ... I'm confident, sure, determined. And then as the tactics roll by, I begin to mentally break down. I notice my thinking isn't so clear.

                          Today I read an interesting article about the "hardcore sport" of chess. One participant in a recent high school chess tournament said the following,

                          "You know that feeling you get after you run for a really long time, and you're just so tired and can't even stand? That's how I feel after a meet like this, except it's my mind and my head. I have to do so much thinking."

                          I think just as in physical sports, we have to build up our endurance ... our mental endurance in chess.

                          Here is a post with some pictures of the "Charlemagne" Chess set ... very interesting.

                          Wow ... what an entry!

                          Cast-iron chess clock.

                          Monday, February 12, 2007

                          One Year Later

                          Three Years Later

                          Last year at this time, I discovered my long lost blog (this one). I had ventured into blogging for the first time in February of 2004 when I was getting started in applying to MBA school. I had fogotton about this blog until last year. I brought it back to life and used it to track my progress in MBA school. Now that I've graduated, this blog is (almost) wholly focused on chess.

                          I'll continue to post interesting articles and tid-bits on chess as well as musings about the games I play. Right now, most of my chess time is consumed with tactics. You can track this quest over at my tactics blog ... sirrockyrook.blogspot.com.


                          I worked on tactics last night for an hour and a half. Then I logged on to FICS and played a handful of blitz games. I lost a won game and then drew another won game. It's interesting ... I can spot my mistakes the second after I make a bad move! In a matter of two seconds, I can go from winning to losing. All I need to do is to run a mental blunder check before I make my move in blitz games ... I normally do this in my long games. But in blitz I fail to run that quick blunder-check before I move. Anyway, I finally won a game and got back about half of the points I lost.


                          The Winter OCL is in full swing. I sat out week 1 and our team has a bye in week 2. So next week I'll play.

                          Good luck to the rest of About Tal!