Thursday, April 28, 2005
I really need to have this habit. I played a game at FICS yesterday, and I already have a won game. But then I got too caught up with my plans, that I overlooked a sneaky trap by my opponent. He got back into the game, instead of swimming with the fishes (I saw The Godfather last night). I can't wait to finish all these training programs I got lined up. Maybe after that I can tackle Dvoretsky's book. They say he place very heavy emphasis on prophylactic thinking. So now there is yet another book I have placed on my wish list. Maybe I can finish them all by 2010. Now, it might be asked, why not just read "My system". But you know, I do not want instructional books. I prefer to use workbooks. One with oodles of exercises. I think solving problmes myself gives me greater understanding than just reading something.

Computer programmer
Based on the comments on the last post, and some other blogs, I noticed that a *lot*
of the knights, and the friends are computer programmers. This might only be a supposition, but the alledged programmers are: Nezha, Don, Fussy, Fatboy, Psalcido, Scitcat, Fraktal. (I might have missed someone, if so please give me a line). Anyway, maybe there is something common with learning algorithms and chess? Are programmers inherently attracted to things needing problem solving skills? Is it in the genes common to people who work with binary logic? Ah, the great mysteries of life.

Circle 4:
I am at problem 216. 500++ more problems to go before completion. Right now I review the problems I missed from time-to-time. And in the case of certain problems, I find new lines that busts the solution. This has caused circle 4 to drag on longer than usual.

Circle Alternative
There had already been a lot of proposals regarding the optimum way to go about this cirle. But as for me, if I were to do it over again, I'd split the problems by 500, and do two separate circles program. With a month gap in between to work on strategy/position/endgame or something. Its just takes too long completing the 1000 problems straight away. Sometimes one needs to step away a moment and reflect on the past.

The miami heat won - yes!

p.s. II
I saw The Godfather for the third time. Each time I see it, my appreciation for this film goes deeper. This might just be the greatest movie on earth. Marlon Brando's performance here is very, vey good. The guttural voice, the slow heavy movements, The habit of pointing a finger during talking. I've seen a few tough guys before and believe me, he has that part down cold. Michael's evolution to the hard new Don, Santino's death, the pacing, the dialogs, everything is perfect. Some movies make you wanna walk-out the first 5-minutes. This pulls you in for the whole three hours. My favorite line ,apart from "I'm gonna make an offer he can't refuse", was Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day - accept this justice as a gift on my daughter's wedding day

Yeah, attaching strings to people never looked so good.
posted by Nezha at 8:26 PM | Permalink | 10 comments
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Read a book yesterday titled "Old Man's War". Sort of a sci-fi story. The dialogs was funny that I didnt notice three hours have gone by. So I dropped the book, and immediately after, tried do the exercises. My eyes suddenly sent this searing hot pain into my brain. Pain, pain, pain! Could'nt do anything after that except to lie down and whimper like a dog. Even now I have a hard time opening my eyes. Which means, I am two days delayed now. If Mr Delamaza ever hear this, he'd order me to drop like a log, and give him 50 for failing to keep the schedule (Plus, another 50 for using eyestrain as a pathetic excuse).

Work, Work, Work
You know, all I ever do, and more so now than before is to work on my game. But Sometimes, in rare moments of clarity, I'd stop and wonder "Why am I doing this?". I mean, its not like I want to be a chess professional. I dont even entertain any hope of getting a title (except maybe the the-guy-neglecting-his-job-to-work-on-chessproblems title). Chess is just a very good pastime. But the way it goes, real life is the pastime, and chess is the real life. It is ironic that in attempts to master chess, it has gained a mastery over me. Good grief!

His numbers are mindboggling. Consistent 100% percent throughout. And this without rechunking or spaced-repetitions, or any of the devices that the rest of us use. Man! I think someone who scores like that can be nuclear scientists. Where do I say "Were not worthy"?

Anyway, here is a rundown of the rating scale, and where a DLM adept stand where he to pursue a career outside of chess

100 - Nuclear Physycists, GM's, Fussylizard
90 - Chemical Engineers, IM's
80 - Medical Doctors, NM's
70 - Computer Programmers, Nezha
30 - Pro-wrestler, Stephen Dorff, Talia Shire, Keanu Reeves
2 - My Boss (Sometimes)
1 - My pet dog, Some Lawyers
0 - Phytoplanktons, Politicians,

Okay have to go now, the eyes are acting up again.. arrrgggggg!!! paaaaiiiiinnnnn!
posted by Nezha at 1:27 AM | Permalink | 4 comments
Monday, April 25, 2005
The Battle Is Decided Before It's Begun
I played three 45/10 games on FICS last night. I figured I need at least one or two days a week of playing time. I played against a 1750, 1560 and 1670 player in succession. A curious thing entered my mind when I was playing the games. That is to say, In the first ten moves, I already knew the probable outcome of the match. It still early in the middle-game no exchange yet, but somehow, I just "felt" their strenght. I felt the game is already decided, we just dont know it yet(Hence the title of today's blog). To explain further, Lets compare the moves of my three opponents. The 1750 guy consistently made deadly threats, I was under-pressure all
the time. He saw refutations on my moves, and generally forced me to react to his. Ultimately, on move 20, I was down a piece. The 1550 guy on the other hand, made moves that I thought are pointless. I was able to develop easily, and was not in trouble most of the game. The 1670 guy, now this one I think is near my strenght. Until the endgame, the position remained balanced. I parried his tactical shots, just like he parried mine.

A Trap
Now, whats the score? did I went 1.5/3 (A win, a loss, and a draw). Well this should be the case, and this is what I felt during those games. Except that, at some point in all these games, a time would come when I just knew what the opponent wanted. And I knew it a couple of moves before it happened. So in each case, I wasted a ton of clock time trying to find a refutation. And I did find them. Another name for them maybe simple traps, and one that the enemy should not fall into normally, but I think that somehow they got blinded. Why? because everything went according to what they saw. I let them play their variation. I mean, for at least two moves, everything was going according to their plan, and when they lowered the sword, when they played the main point of the combination, the "trap" took into effect and
boom - I won just like that.

A Lesson
In other wods, I went 3-0. But I don't consider my game to be satisfactory. Relying on traps is very risky (The 1750 guy really outplayed me). On the otherhand, the games serves as a lesson to me too. I does not mean that if the game is going according to the variation I saw, it does not mean it is good for me. I should double check whether there is a "sting" in the tail. This may save a couple of points in the future.

Although, of course I don't usually take my own advice (Of course).
posted by Nezha at 9:04 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Many thanks to the people who dropped me line. Kilgore was particularly helpful, he even offered to go thru one of my games => (Though I am much embarassed totake that much of his time) I will try to summarize the most important advices here.

1. Practical Play:
All the knigths who are currently in circles 3 above, have reported significant pattern recognition speed and search depth improvement. But in OTB play, it is another matter. This new found power is not automatically transferable in a game setting. Mr. DLM himself have had to create an eight-step thinking process to be able to use his tactical prowess.

But the only way to figure out how to synthesize this new muscles would be to actually play lots of games. This is suppose to give us an intimate relationship with the board. Now I am already a married man, so I dont want no other relationship. But in this case, it cannot be helped.

2. Catalog of mistakes:
The idea here is that we make a particular mistake over and over again. For example, susceptability to pins, wasting time, etc. This mistakes are always present in our games. And, most of the times, we do not even know they are there. We will be doing this mistakes up to eternity. Not unless we try to eradicate them. So we should analyze our games with the express intent of rooting them out. The more we eliminate, the stronger we get.

3. A simple list
Most players I've talked to recommended using a simple list when making a move.Nothing complicated, just maybe two or three steps so it does affect the creativity. The content of this list is up to the player. Each one should find his own.

Some other thoughts

1. Eureka!!!
I had an eureka! After thinking about my recent loses, and wondering why combinations doesnt seem to appear in my games regularly, and then reading posts, and discussions and reviewing my books of the old masters, I came to the conclusion that There is a correct way to play chess. There really is a law, a rule governing how we should conduct a game. I mean, there is in the position something which will tell us if an attack, or a combination, or something exists, without going into exact details of calculation

I can appreciate this much more now. I mean you cant just go tactical in every situation. My losses attest to this fact. And this text below stopped being fancy words and started making so much more sense:

"...If Steinitz continually took pains to discover combinations, the success or failure of his diligent search could not be explained by him as due to chance. Hence, he concluded that some characteristic, a quality of the given position, must exist ... that would indicate the success or the failure of the search before it was actually undertaken. (...)

Whaaaat! you mean I just figured out this now? That after reading all those books about planning and positional play, I just only grasped this concept. Sadly, yes. But you see, this habit of not accepting anything as gospel truth is too deeply engrained in me. You see, I am a computer programmer, and one of the things programmers do, is question the validity of things. I have no choice but to be this way because I got burned by customers doing something like this - "Really, this program wont crash? But what if I do this...(put various horrible noises resulting from crash here)".

So now, if a grandmaster tells me that I should open my games using e4, I'd probably switch to d4 instead. Then after loosing 1000x times in d4, will I go "say, maybe I should use e4 instead?"

2. Mr. Heisman
A few suggested that I read his articles. I already did last year. In fact I may have killed a few trees printing them over and over again.I even mailed him once. Did you know that he actually answered my questions? Wow! he was very nice too. I wanted to take lessons from him but - I cant afford his $65 fee. It's too steep for me. But it seems to me if someone can afford his price tag, then go ahead and do it. And if I somehow found gold in my backyard, then I'll hire him as the knights personnal coach and mentor.

3. Circle 4
I am now in the middle of circle 4. This past week, I've managed to solve 120 problems. About 20 per day. So this circle will probably take 6 more weeks, Yikes!!Yeah3x! This circle is supposed to last only 8days. But I just can't do it captain. As I've said, I've already forgotten the solutions to the earliest problems. Now, I dont think I can manage to solve them faster, but I do think my sove ratio is higher. I am nearly getting everything right (but not just within 30seconds). Makes we wish I had fuzzy's "zen" too, if you know what I mean?

4. Judgment and Planning in Chess by Max. Euwe
I have been reviewing this book now. The most striking thing about the games contained here, is that it follows a pattern like this
  • 1. Get a positional advantage (Like a Queenside pawn majority)
  • 2. Trade down material
  • 3. Activate king and march it into center
  • 4. Use positional advantage to win after a long protracted maneuver.
    And the games are all from positional maestros, Botvinnik, Reschevsky, etc. No Tal games here. A lot of times, euwe would also say - "White takes it calmly" or "The correct defensive move must be found (In the middle of an attack)". Clearly, there is a lot of patience required in a good game of chess. I am re-learning the things that I have forgotten this past five months due to the tactical study. The circles take up the bulk of my study time of course, but I've scaled back somewhat to re-acquiant myself with my the dark-side of the force.

    5. Flashback:
    Hey, who else played streetfighter when they were younger? Back in the 90's (Ohhh, am I really that old?) I use to waste all my allowance playing this game. After two years, and a pair of glasses later, I have become a certified "master". I can beat bison with my eyes closed. I've mastered all the characters (even Cammy). My favorite was Ken, and Dhalsim. Now, what does this have to do with chess? Nothing, just wanna waste your time some more reading my blog. hehe! (peace)
    posted by Nezha at 12:08 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
    Friday, April 22, 2005
    A Question
    I've e-mailed this same question to Kilgore and Tempo, but then I suddenly realized that maybe it would be better to blog this so the entire group can maybe give its input.

    The question is, I feel that my calculation depth and speed have considerably improved since doing the program. But this is when looking at puzzles. During live OTB play, I can't seem to search as deep or as quick. When I analyzed my loses, I remember that I:
  • 1. Generated too few candidate moves, and
  • 2. Calculated too shallowly.
    At first I thought it was just because I was too tired then to calculate effectively, but when I tried solving puzzles when I was exhausted from work, and coudnt even stand from sleepiness, I managed to solve 20 problems before passing out. So I could not attribute this all to tiredness . But, why can't I do it OTB in my play? Whats wrong? I mean, I try to play slowly to give my brain ample time to calculate, but this "blindness" still persists. I can't see. Does this improve overtime? Can I do exercises apart from the circles that will cure this desease. Or is this just a natural thing in a chessplayer's progression to mastery(ahem)?

    I am very much interested in hearing your thoughts. Drop a comment(or two) if your not too busy.

    posted by Nezha at 6:08 AM | Permalink | 7 comments
    Wednesday, April 20, 2005
    Games Analysis
    I analyzed one of my loses from the tournament last night. More than once I was surprised by the consistency of the bad moves I played. The moves are hideous, the kinds of mistakes begginers make. I wasted time in the opening, allowed two-move cheap shots by the opponent, and generally played like I can't wait to lose. It is as if, I've forgotten all the previous training I did. Now, why is that!? Maybe it's tournament pressure that caused such massive meltdowns? I know I dont play like that in casual games, or even in FICS. Its really puzzling. I hope I'm not developing into a choker now. Sort of like the guy who gives advices on how to get girls, but can't find a date himself.

    Now, this game analysis is very enlightening, but hurtful to the psyche. For me,
    Its painfull to have to remember the losses. And being confronted by it, move-by-painful-move is agonizing. Thats why I can only analyze one game last night. Maybe this is the reason why, despite the recorded benefits of doing this, some players don't practice it.

    I'll try to analyze another game tonight, hopefully I will not repeat the same mistakes the next tournament (I am scouring the newspaper to find one. I am itching to find redemption)
    posted by Nezha at 8:51 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
    Tuesday, April 19, 2005
    Hyper-Accelerated Circle
    I decided to go to circle four of chapters 1-13. Partly due to CD's theory of learning, and partly because I want to finish the circle before the two new books I ordered arrives. I am reserving the last chapter 16": Conjunction of tactical method" as a sort of test chapter. After completing the seven circles, I should be able to solve half of the problems in chapter 16 or otherwise I should have to add more circles to hammer the patterns down.

    But, I have alredy forgotten the solutions to half of the problems. I find that I am re-calculating the variations. Its faster now, but not in a way that I can do it in under a minute. I dont know how fuzzylizard does it but last night, I managed to solve only about 30 problems in 3 hours. So that's about 6 mins per problem. Huh!? the other knights reported hundreds of problems per day. Am I missing something here?

    Two Books
    Before I lauched the circles program way back in december, I had three new books I just ordered. The art of attack, Tals games, and Storming the barricades. Them books cost me $70 dollars. Havent opened any of them yet too, but I dont think they would help me yet in my current state of development.

    Based on recent events, I think my main weakness now lies in calculation and positional play. So I ordered two new books to try and remedy it. "Excelling at chess calculation" and "Simple Chess" by Stean. The excelling book I would use as a workbook to boost my calculating strenght, and the simple chess, along with a review of judgement and planning by euwe should remedy my positional deficiencies.

    The circles should end by may, so I should be able to study this two books extensively by june. After that, I will restart the 7-circles again, using the same materials to really burn them in my brain.

    And then I'll go back to the tournament and them beat them kids into oozing puddles of dirt. "Fools I'll destroy them all, ahahahahaha!!!".
    posted by Nezha at 9:47 PM | Permalink | 7 comments
    Monday, April 18, 2005
    Its looks awkward
    and unsusual that a grown-up man, married and with two kids can get all worked up because of a chess game. It may seem cliche if I say this, but the losses made me feel this nagging pain in my heart. It almost feels like when I was a teenager being dumped by a girl. Even now, two days after I still feel dejected. So I played at FICS last night and won two games from two 1560 players. I feel much better, and I think I can tell the story now of what happened

    1. Game 1: Nezha-Indonesean guy 1-0

    The game was a pirc-ulmann defense. The guy seemed to know his theory too, since at analysis he told me all sorts of things about the opening. "This is a wasted move here, etc.. etc..". Result 1-0. My first victory, and what I thought was a nice way to start a tournament (Ahh, If only I had known)
    Total Time: Nezha 22Min IndoGuy 25 (Flag Falls)

    2. Game 2: 13yrOld-Nezha 0-1

    The second game, I was pitted against a kid. Now this kid was a previous tournament winner, so I cant take him lightly. It was an english against a KID. We reached a good middlegame, then a QR vs QR endgame with equal number of pawns. But he was three-two advantage in the king-side , while I had three-two advantage in the queen-side. I pressed for the win, overextended myself and lost on time when he generated multiple threats.

    I lost this game but this was the most satisfying because I learned a lot about chess here. The most important thing was when during analysis, another player showed me a way to properly play the position. It involved using my queen-side pawn majority (QPM) to pressure the queeside. The cartoon lightbulb figuratively went on in my mind. You see, the QPM is chapter two of "judgement and planning" by Max Euwe. A book that I have read twice from cover-to-cover. But only now, when I missed using it in my own game, and somebody showed me the technique, did I felt I trully understood the Idea.

    A second minor thing here was the realities of tournament chess. Going for the point everytime is not a good idea. Sometimes, the position dicates that I just be happy with a draw. Trying to get something more would just cost me the game.
    Total Time: Kid 20 Nezha 25min(Flag Falls)

    3. Game 3: Nezha-OldGuy 0-1

    I played e4 and I was hoping to play the KG, but he played the french. Pfft, whimp => But it seems as though he memorized that opening as he blittzed thru that phase, and still got an advantage. I was under-pressure the whole time and came under a mating attack. Total Time Nezha 20min OldGuy: 15min

    4. Game 4: Nezha-Teenager 0-1

    Now this was a critical game, I've already lost two in a row, and losing here would be crushing to my ego. It was another french. Whats wrong with these people. Why cant they answer e4-e5 so I can play the KG? Ok, I got to a good middle game, but made some inaccurate moves in a level position and promptly lost.

    Lesson learned: I was forcing the issue too much. There was nothing to do in that position and I tried to generate something, anything. I should just have made a waiting move and tried to see if he would commit a mistake.
    Total Time Nezha 20min Teenager: 15min

    So I lost this game, and as result, I played the next two games passively and lost to two kids in short pants. Ohh, How I hate those kids.

    But now, here is a summary of the lessons. I paid dearly for these, so I better make sure I darn well remember them

    1. The Queenside pawn majority - I should review the technique in handling this. Euwe clearly explains what pieces are needed, the correct positions, etc. so I should be able to use this next time.
    2. The Draw - I want to always win, but sometimes a draw is all I can expect. Petrosian would have nodded approvingly somewhere.
    3. Forcing Issue - In a level position, with interlocking pawn structures, My violent attempts to sieze the initiative failed. I would try to use consolidating moves next time.
    3. Opening - You cant wing an opening in a G/25 tournament.
    4. Training Games - I need to play as many slow games as I can. Tactical exercises are no substitute for this (If only I go to work 4 hours a day).

    Thanks to the guys who gave me advices on my last post.
    posted by Nezha at 11:22 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
    Sunday, April 17, 2005
    Well, the tournament is finished. And I scored a whopping - 1/6, yikes. I am such in a funk right now. I can't even open my tactics book. I see people laughing at me. 700 problems? hah! you can do tactics exercises, but you can't win a chess game. nyah3x. I don't know, its really, really messing with me. Ahh, maybe I should just quit and go on an eating binge. Awww, geez!
    posted by Nezha at 6:16 PM | Permalink | 5 comments
    Thursday, April 14, 2005
    The lone figure
    A lone figure stands by a window. He is staring upward in the sky, like one of the supplicants in the old abbey from town. He had been here for a long time, and would be here for still more, but..

    "You have visited your knights?"

    A womans voice, broke the old man's reverie. Silently, and with great slowness, he turned his head towards its source. Ah, of course, it was his queen. Who else would have dared go near him in a time like this?

    "You have visited your knights!" she said again, but this time, it was not a question. With a sigh, he noded, and wearily said "It is an old tradition of our family. Before a battle, my fathers used to talk with their knights, just as I have now talked with mine". Slowly he moved aways from the window, and nearer the black chair in the left corner of the room. He saw red ants crawling below. This fact irritated him almost as much as this conversation with the queen right now.

    "It is a losing tradition as I remember" she said as he tiredly seated himself. Even here, his posture is straight. It would not do well to forget proper manners, he's a king afterall.

    "You do not know that, we might yet prevail!!" he is getting angry now. Why is the queen opening wounds, and in a time like this? "We have done 700 training exercises, Completed three circles of the hidden knowledge. My Knights are ready, and the Bishops have given their benediction on the army. Even if we perish we are assured of entrance to Ellesium"

    The queen only looks at him. Calmly taking his impotent rage. He regretted at once the things that he said. All this subtle questions, all this reminders of his past preparations. She wants something from him. But... what?

    "What do you want!" he finally asked as he slumped back in the chair. All forms of propriety gone.

    "You know you cannot win. Not against them. The only way to win is if you make a blood sacrifice

    He waved his hand dismissively, he knew all the arguments. But to win in such a time, to ask such a large favor, would require a sacrifice in corresponding value. Preferably, the one thing dearest to him. But, he doesnt know of anything to offer. The only thing that he values in this world that would be remotely considered as something he loves would be his... his head snaps sharply up.. it would be his wife.

    The queen only looks at him. Their eyes meet for a long time. Neither one moving. Then when a casual bow, she said "I want to be with my children tonight", and gently turned away.

    Rain begins to trickle. Small drops dropping like tears from the sky. The flowers in the courtyard swaying from the gentle proding of the winds. Later that evening, the few who ventured in the courtyard reported seeing a solitary figure up in the castle. The shadows hides the face so none could be certain as to whom it was, but they all say it was staring in the sky, looking like a supplicant from the old abbey in town.


    The day after tomorrow is the big tournament. I hope I hold my own against the competition this time. The last two tournament had been a disaster as I went a combined score of 1.5/10 - but I feel much stronger now than the last time. I hope my feeling matches my actual performance.

    Circle three: Complete
    12. Zwischenzug 661-702

    13 Stalemate 703-717
    posted by Nezha at 9:24 PM | Permalink | 6 comments
    Wednesday, April 13, 2005
    Got Me Them Old Chess Blues
    Got me them old chess blues, ramblin round my mind
    Sweet tender woman, please come comfort me tonight
    Please give me some lovin, to hold those tears inside
    Cause my hearts too heavy, those circles got me high
    I got me them old chess blues,
    (Got me them old chess blues)
    Wont you come with me.. Oooh, come with me tonight...
    (Come with me tonight)
    posted by Nezha at 7:51 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
    Monday, April 11, 2005
    What chess needs II
    It does not take a rocket scientist to figure how to popularize chess. Its already been done before by all the major sports. All we need to do is rip those ideas, and implement it

    Take for instance wrestling. When I was young, I was fascinated with wrestling. And although Hulk hogan was not my favorite wrestler (it was Tito Santana), I could appreciate how he would put on a show (Hoooo!). But I think wrestling became popular, not because of the actual wrestling itself but because the players are true "characters". They're straight out of a comic book.

    So if I was the evil FIDE president, I'd take shirov and make him famous. How!? Well here is a guy with the name and the game to have serious marketing potential. All he really needs is some packaging adjustment. If we could only get him to gel back his hair, Put on some dark sunglasses, and wear tight fitting leather pants, he could become the chess equivalent of michael jordan. I mean, we could even hire a slicky looking guy as his manager. You know, someone who messes with the opponents while the arbiter is not looking. After every win, he should stand up the board, point his fingers to the sky, then to the audience, then his heart. All the while shouting "I'm on top of the world! I'm on top of the world!". Imagine the alarmed faces of his future opponents then (And specially Ilyumzhinov). Then we'll find a way to bring shirov and kasparov to play together. The match could be billed as
    "The Death Match: Only one will survive".
    It would be held at madison square garden, and - get this, inside a steel-cage. Teenagers just love this stuff. They'll be begging for more once they see how exciting chess could be. We can ask $3 for pay-per-view, and I bet we'd make a killing then. Shirov would have had shoe contracts by now. Nike would have put out the "Air Shirov: Is the fire in you?" and we would both have earned oodles of money.

    Of course there are players whom this will never work. For example, The Undertaker is one of the most successfull wrestler that WWF (or is it WWE now?) have had. But I dont think, borrowing the nickname The Undertaker, and sticking it into kramnik works. I mean Vlady "The Undertaker" Kramnik does not evoke images of death and destruction now does it. Its almost means the same thing as kramnik "The peaceful". But - this is just me, I'm sure there are people out there who thinks that kramnik is a big piece of hunkachunkaloove!!!!
    posted by Nezha at 8:28 PM | Permalink | 2 comments
    Sunday, April 10, 2005
    Mr 1444
    Logged-on to FICS yesterday. I tried to get a match by choosing from the player list, but everybody seems to be busy. Fortunately, this 1500++ player accepted my challenge. No problem, he's just 1500, I'll just smack him down some, and then go look for better competition. The first game, I was white and of course we played the kings gambit. Real man plays the kings gambit. Not like those sissies who plays the
    ruy. "Ruy" Hah! what kind of a name was that. Sounds like the name of a "girlie"-man to me. Ok, So I played the KG, and... I uh, lost.. Gardarnit. My 1753 went down to 1600++. He's just lucky, I'll ask for a rematch.. and lost again.. and again.. and again.. and again.. (5x lost) Auuugah! rant3x!!! Sheessssshhh... (you can now call me, Mr. 1444)

    But, well as mr tartakower would say, the first game, he was just lucky. The second game I was distracted. The third game, The lighting was off. The fourth game, I was hungry. As for the fifth - well, do I have to win everything?

    Anyway, All those loses did have a positive effect. I got tons of feedback on how to play the KG correctly. Most of it would take too much words to explain, but if there is one thing very important that I would want to share, it is that in the KG, castling is not a priority. With very high emphasis on the "NOT". I was not yet psychologically prepared to move my king to strange places like f1, d2, e2 and e3. Next time, I would just march my king out there and just attack.

    So now after all those loses, I did what any self-respecting chessplayer would. I looked for weaker player to beat. Hehe! the last games went 4-1 in my favor. I know, I know, they're just 1300 players, but my rating went to 1400 from all those loses. So its just fair, right mate!?

    Now one of my wins came when I played the KID. Playing the KG as white and the KID as black enables me to see two different playing style. You know, in KG, I feel rush3x! but in KID, it's slow3x. You should not be in a hurry, but rather try to keep the tension. slowly maneuver, and tada! a win. The change of pace is disorienting at first, But I want to be able to learn to play fast and slow, that's why I am using two diametrically opposed openings (not that I know the meaning of the word "diametrically")

    Books or CD
    Okay, since nobody gave me feedback on the "right decisions" CD, I've changed my mind. I will not buy that CD, but instead, I will buy the book "Excelling at chess Calculation". If I liked the book, then I will buy the CD.

    You know, I had have plans on studying the endgames. But reading posts and experiences from other people made me think that maybe I should just study tactics for this year first. I mean, I studied positional concepts for two years. So maybe I have to pay my dues to the tactics school before tackling the endgame.

    Now one of the earliest books I bought was "Art of chess combination" By Znosko-Borovsky. The book is divided into two parts. One tactics that can happen anywhere (pins, forks, etc.) And the other, tactics depending on the position. The current 7-cricles is concerned with first kind of tactics. After this, maybe I should study tactics involving specific positions. So I would know if there are "auto-sacks" available in the position. So now, I want to buy a book(what else). Its titled "essential chess sacrifices" by lemoir. Yeah3x, I aint got no money. But real men aint got no use fo money. They just have them chessbooks.

    Welcome to blue-devil knight. I hope we get those reviews too =>
    posted by Nezha at 8:26 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
    Thursday, April 07, 2005
    Status Report
    Here are the status so far broken down by chapters. Two chapters seems to be missing from my book. Its too late to return it now since its all tattered from everyday use. I'll have to make do.

    3 circles: Completed
    1. Annihilation of Defense 1-45
    2. Distraction 46-156
    3. Decoying 157-255
    4. Discovered Attack 256-312
    5. Opening of file rank and diagonal 313-381
    6. Clearing the space 382-417
    7. X-ray attack 418-426
    8. Damming 427-462
    9. Blockade 463-486
    10. Anihillation of pawn strukture 487-606

    3 circles: Ongoing
    11. Conversion of a pawn 607-660:

    Not yet:
    12. Zwischenzug 661-702
    13 Stalemate 703-717
    14. *Missing*
    15. *Missing*
    16. Conjunction of tactical Method 754-1014

    Some Observations.
    Important differences between now and at the start of the program

    1. Tactical Recognition:
    Kilgore said that he didnt notice much improvement in his tactical ability, but I noticed there is some in mine. I notice more themes now more than ever. This is really encouraging. I woudnt have continued on with the program if I didnt see any improvement in this area personally.

    2. Tactical Reognition speed:
    I do not notice any improvement. I notice more themes, but not at a significantly faster rate.

    3. Stamina
    I've solved problems the whole day, but with taking breaks. The longest I solved non-stop without any break, and without being tired was three hours. Previously, I get really tired after two. A one hour improvement, *But* I havent verified this in actual games. I dont know yet if I will have more energy batteries OTB. We will know on the april 17 tournament whether this ability has increased.

    4. Square Vision
    Previously, I have had great difficulty in an open board. With less pieces and more open squares, I cannot satisfactory tell at a glance which squares are controlled by the pieces. This is the reason why I cannot mate with KNB vs K. Its like being *blind* to the squares. I still do not have perfect sight of the squares, but I think it has improved. I am now less blind, if there was such a term. *BUT* I dont know why this should be so, but I have greater sight on 2D than on an actual board. I estimate that there is as much as 50% difference between them.

    5. Calculating Ability
    This has improved significantly. Initially, my biggest problem during calculation was retained images. 80% of the time, this is the cause why I cant find solutions.
    This has lessened somewhat by asking myself if the piece is really there or if I'm just hallucinating. *BUT* I am really frustrated. In actual OTB play, sometimes I calculate, and sometimes I dont. I want to force myself to be concrete. I can solve for three hours calculating each and every lines of the problems, so I should be able to calculate every move in OTB play. But why dont I do it? Why3x!

    Ive blogged about my 1 year improvement plan, but if this does not improve, I am gonna drop that study plan as it will be useless if I can't realiably analyze variations. To that end, I am now thingking of ordering the "Right Decisions" CD by Jacob Aagaard. The reviews say that it will improve calculation ability. Sancho Pawnsa already has it, but he seems to have, uhh.. things going on right now that I am hesitant to ask him. If somebody reads this, and you have the CD, please give me further feedback.. please3x!

    6. Hardest Chapter
    The hardest chapter so far was chapter 10. I've spent 2months for three circles of chapter 1-9, but I consumed a full month for this one chapter. Some of the problems I can't solve even now. I havent come to conjunction of tactical Method yet, but so far chapter 10 had been the killer.

    I think I can finish the remaining chapters, plus do circles 4-7 in two months. I hope I dont get bogged-down by conjunction of tactical methods, otherwise I'll have to skip that so as to complete a seven circle in two months. Or maybe I'll do circles 4-7 of the first 13 chapters, then do a separate mini-7 circles for chapter 16. That way I can be assured of having a "seven-circle" within my 5-month deadline.

    Right now there are two CD's that I am eyeing. They are vastly different from each other, but my goal for them is the same. The premise is that since I have already invested so much time in tactics, I want to enhance it. This can be done in two ways, thru greater calculation ability, or greater tactical knowledge. The CD's are of course "Right Decisions" by Aagaard, and the other one is "School of elementary tactics". Both of them have pretty good reviews, albiet only by steve lopez. I am gonna see which one of my weaknesses needs immediate attention. I can try to work on my calculation ability by buying right decisions, Or, I can sharpen (again) my tactical knowledge by further study, this requires the school CD.

    After all of this, I had better improve or I am gonna tear a major artery due to frustrations.

    "That's the way chess is; you are happy only rarely; the rest is grief."....GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic
    posted by Nezha at 12:56 AM | Permalink | 4 comments
    Tuesday, April 05, 2005
    Five (5) Hours Of Chess
    Circle 2: Comversion of Pawn is complete.
    It took me nearly three hours to solve all 60 problems. I was gonna stop at the
    second hour, but thought "what the heck!" and did everything until the end.

    Kings Gambit:
    After solving the 60 problems, I turned my attention to continue learning the Kings Gambit fischer variation. After one hour, I was consistently displaying 100% on the practice test of CPT. So I decided it was time for me to play a training game against my favorite program "Der Bringer".

    (A side note: I own a lot of programs. Fritz, Hiarcs, Crafty, Arasan, Genius. But my favorite was bringer for its simplicity and ease of use. Its not a very strong program by computer standard, crafty can easily defeat it, but for me it works just fine)

    Now, Its already 3am in the morning, and my eyes are burning, so I was really tempted to lower the strength of bringer to my level. I dont enjoy being thumped, but decided against it. I wanted to see how far I can go against very best play.

    First the complete game score:

    [White "Nezha (1753)"]
    [Black "Der Bringer (2400)"]
    [Result "0-1"]

    1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 g5 5. h4 g4 6. Ng1 Qe7
    7. Nc3 Nf6 8. Bd3 Bh6 9. Nge2 O-O 10. g3 c5 11. O-O cxd4 12. Nxd4 Nh5
    13. Nf5 Bxf5 14. exf5 Nxg3 15. Qxg4+ Kh8 16. f6 Qxf6 17. Bxf4 Nxf1
    18. Bxh6 Qxh6 19. Kxf1 Qf6+ 20. Ke1 Nc6 21. Kd2 Rg8 22. Qe4 Qh6+
    23. Qe3 Qxh4 24. Rf1 Rae8 25. Qf3 Qg5+ 26. Qf4 Qxf4+ 27. Rxf4 Rg2+
    28. Ne2 Kg7 29. Kc3 Rexe2 30. Bxe2 Rxe2 0-1

    Here are my annotations:

    This is a "novelty" of black. The queen is bearing down on the e-file putting pressure on my king.
    This is maybe my first mistake. The move Bxf4 was better here says crafty. I considered that move, but thought that after 8...Nxe4, The exchange of my e-pawn for blacks f-pawn is to his advantage. Also, since the black queen is lined up with my king, black has a potentially problematic discovered check. With that in mind, I played this. But I should have played Bxf4 here because:
  • a. It prevents the black bishop from going into the critical h6 square.
  • b. I have no need to fear the dicovered check because of a variation I didnt
    see 8.Bxf4 Nxe4 9.Nd5! Qd7 10.Bb5 c6 11.Qe2 - I didnt see the possibility
    of Whites 9th move. I taught that I had no choice but to play 9.Qe2,
    whereby a queen swap may follow. I didnt want a queen swap so I discounted
    this line.

    This move highlights a hole in my game. I saw the potential of Bxf4 but discounted it too soon without investigating too deeply. When I thought that the variation maybe be bad, my analysis stopped. This tendency will be seen again and again during this game as we will soon see.

    9.Nge2 0-0
    The position reached after this move is the critical moment. I've already made a mistake and doing another here would be fatal. Now, a similar position is found in the PGN file that tempo sent me. This looks like a standard KG position. So I played the standard move. 10.g3?! The purpose of this move is to undermine blacks f-pawn. Not a bad idea, but after playing this, immediately the evaluation swung heavily into blacks favor. Maybe -1.75 or something, Crafty gave Nxf4 here as the best move with a slight 0.45 advantage for white. I also considered taking the pawn, but again my preference for maintaining my central pawns reared it ugly head. Again my analysis of the line Nxf4 was too superficial.

    One more thing, the elimination of the f-pawn seems to be very important in the KG? I dont know the strategic implication of this, but in this game, this pawn will serve as a strong point for black. The queen and the knight will use this outpost to coordinate an attack against white's position

    11. O-O
    I thought that I should castle now. Otherwise the king will be caught in the center.

    12. Nxd4 Nh5
    I was planning a long-winded tactical shot. At this point, I consumed a lot of time. My head was spinning in variations. I finally settled down into a variation that I Thought was good.

    Technique: The variation that crafty gave is the same idea as mine, But the critical difference is that a preparatory Nd5 was given to move the black queen into a less active square. If I spot such oppurtunity to mess with the opponents position, I should do it and not rush into tactics

    Ok now here goes!

    15. Qxg4+ Kh8

    I thought that the black knight can be taken. That was the point of my moves. But I overlooked the fact that it is protected by a pawn. Dope! Crafty shows massive advantage for black. I could now resign in good conscience here.

    Darn! I didnt even last 20 moves. Yeah, I'm not yet mated, but the position is already hopeless. After this my defense pretty much collapsed. This Kings Gambit stuff is vicious.

    Its already 4am when I finished all the above. I started at around 11pm, so thats about 5 hours of chess. I had to take a half-day off from work. My wife is giving me grief right now for "failing to provide family time" too. I may have to give her a new refrigerator soon. Shes been asking me for one, and at this rate I dont know if I can hold on =>

    To fraktal: I will try to add an e-mail sidebar to my template so you can contact me, but I cannot right now. I'll try within this week or the next, but if you get too impatient, try to contact tempo.
    posted by Nezha at 11:19 PM | Permalink | 3 comments
    Monday, April 04, 2005
    The King's Gambit
    I got a PGN file from tempo containing a complete repertoire using the kings gambit. (Thanks tempo!). So last night after the requisite 1hour tactical training, I played thru the variations. I stayed really late trying to understand the system. *sleepy*. Well, this opening may be "busted" as fisher calls it, but I think the resulting positions are interesting enough, that I will adopt this as my primary weapon of choice.

    But let me discuss something first, I think that there is a kind of urban legend among us weaker chess players (No offense to other weaker players =>). Namely, that an opening has something to do with winning a game. In GM play perhaps, but I think not with players like me. An analogy of this when I was trying to play the guitar can be described best by the story that goes:

    I was jamming with some folks, and I said that "Man, my guitar sucks!" One of them borrowed the guitar and all of a sudden, all these wonderfull sounds started coming from it. He looked at me and said "The guitar sounds fine, I guess you just can't play". Oohhh! that hurts. Since then I stopped thinking that good music has something to do with the wood

    I would like to think that I will win or lose a game not because of the opening. In fact I dont know a lick about any opening. But it seems I still manage to win every now and then. So the only reason I am gonna adapt the KG is not because it will win for me, but because it is the opening which will allow me to play to my strenght. Namely, tactics. On an open board with latent tactical threats, I am hoping all those training pays-off.

    Chess Position Trainer
    I am thinking of entering a speed (G/25)tournament this April 17. That means I still have 12 more days to brush up on my KG theory. So how do I memorize all those oodles of variations. Well, I use the CPT. This software really rocks! The candidate move test is very addicting. Higly recommended(10)

    Anyway, I am gonna post my findings about the KG after I've spent a little more time analyzing it. I'll have to try and get some games with it too I guess. I'll log in FICS this week and "unleash" the KG there =>

    Status Report
    Circle 1: Conversion of Pawn: Problem 607-660 Complete
    Will start Circle 2 tonight
    posted by Nezha at 8:18 PM | Permalink | 5 comments
    Sunday, April 03, 2005
    I played at FICS for the first time yesterday. I didnt know how to play a match or anything, so I just doodled around until I found the "seek" command. Fortunately, three players answered. Here are the results of the games:

    1101 Player:
    Two games, both of whom I won in tactical fashion. Under 30 moves. He was too weak for me tactically. So I run the seek again to seach for better opponent.
    2000 Player:
    One game, I won the exchange in the middlegame. Maybe I'm a 2000 player? Not, as he proceeded to checkmate me in another 15moves. I wanted a rematch but he seemed to have immediately logged-out. Chicken! => But I lost darn!!!! loosing really sucks. Even if it is against a higher rated opponent.
    1650 Player:
    I have a winning position, I am up a piece, plus a continuing mating attack. Then my kid pulled the computer plug. Dope! What would my opponent think if this happened in a loosing position?

    I had a provisional rating of 1750. Seems about right to me. But I can understand now, the obssesion with ratings. It seemed to me that when I lost, it was a little bit harder. And when I won, I was a little bit happier. It's amazing what those little numbers can do to your emotions.

    I have been thinking about why study endgames. Why not concentrate on tactics until I can blow all opponents tactically? We'll for me, studying endgames has something to do with increasing the scope of my attacks. What is that, study the endgame to get better at attack? Yes, thats right. You see, right now my attacks have only two objectives, 1. Mate and 2. Material advantage. Nothing irregular about this, but I hope that by studying endgames, my attacks can gain another dimension - 1. Mate 2. Material Advantage and 3. Better endgame.

    Having lots of options during a game woudnt hurt. I could start trying a mating attack, then suddenly shift to simplification if I know that I can win the ensuing endgame. Well thats my theory anyway. Putting it in practice is another matter altogether and one which I'm not qualified to discuss right now (Which means I'll discuss it after all, hehe!)

    In another note, I think I know now why I didnt improve as much as I could have when I tried to study positional concepts, particularly "judgement and planning" in chess by Max Euwe. I mean, really. The style of play discussed there has something to do with getting a positional plus that you can exploit in the endgame. This is very plainly shown by the discussion about the minority attack, and the queens gambit exchange variation. I mean, here is an opening system that is all about the endgame.
    No sacrificial attack, no tactical melees, just attempt to swap pieces as much as possible, do the minority attack, then go into a pawnup endgame. And, at this point in my chess development, I can't win a pawn-up endgame. I lack the necessary technique.

    So I should just forget tactics now and concentrate on endgames? Goodness no! As I've just said, the endgames are for me just a means of increasing my attacking dimension. Its not the main role-player in how I want to play a game of chess.

    Conversion of a pawn: Starting circle 1 of this chapter. I noticed that this mostly
    involves tactical tricks in conjunction with a pawn on the 7th or 6th rank. A very good chapter as I have picked up a lot of tricks already on how to use such pawns.
    posted by Nezha at 7:33 PM | Permalink | 2 comments