Sunday, December 31, 2006
Because Its There
(Otherwise know as - The DLM program Revisited)

But first -

Happy Holidays Everybody!!!

-- Begin --

Recently a lot of people had been asking me about the DLM program. It seems the Knight Errants had achieved some sort of recognition outside our humble blog universe. Can we say we are a little "famous"? (Look Ma! I'm on TV).. Not really, hehe.. but people do know about us and what we do. Some even referred to us as a "SECT". Ha! The heathens! How dare they mock us. Beware, beware. Fear Us! Our name is legion for we are many (This line from the exorcists still gives me the creeps.. brr.. Lets move on, quick)

-- but seriously folks --

I've posted my conclusions, tried to explain what happened. Everytime someones asks, I cheerfully tried to spread the word of de la maza. But like all avatars, all I met was the derision and faithlessness of the masses. They tell me wicked things, particularly this barbaric phrase they most often repeat "Chess is more than tactics".

You know, if the circles is a sect, then we can consider the chess-more-than-tactic crowd to be a major religion. They think us nuts for trying something too extreme, but I think they're nuts for trying the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

And so, after a long time, I just decided not to explain anymore. Its just too hard convincing people. And anyway, what does it matter if they dont understand. Me personally, I'm glad I completed the course. I wouldnt trade that experience for just anything in the world.

-- But --

Of course, like all true believers, I just cant let it go like that. I have to at least try and explain one more time. But to explain using the same words? I'll just get the exact same result. So perhaps people will understand if i phrase it like this:

"This isn't entirely about chess for me. One of my secret reasons for embarking on this quixotic endeavor was the knowledge that it is a good thing to lay our a challenge for yourself and then work to achieve it. The goal achieved is transient, but the memory that you can do very hard things stays forever."

Now do you see? Now do you understand? I havent posted about this I think, but I say it here now that Don's reason, is part of my reason too. Everything was not all about chess.

When people asked the first person who attempted to climb everest why he did it, all he answered was "Because It's There". Thats it. This sentence right here, contains all the reason in the world why one should do this sort of thing.

Have you seen the latest Rocky movie? There he was old and washed up. Trying to fight again at the age of 50. His son is embarassed and tries to tell him not to fight. What did he do? Did he stop for 1 minute and considered his sons advice? No he didnt, didnt he. He told his son that he's a spoiled brat, and he have no heart.

-- And so --

I'm happy to say that I did it. I've conquered one of my own personal everest. Nobody will take away that from me. That feeling of accomplishment after I've solved my last puzzle. I've stepped into that ring and I can say that in chess at least, I have heart.

Now is this reason enough for you? Only you can say that. However, even if its not chess, I recommend you find your own personal Everest and try to climb it. You say its hard? Then so what. Thats the point - its hard but you do it anyway. So prove you're a man, Prove it! Prove you have heart.


(A girl reading this wouldnt understand, just like she wouldnt understand why guys likes to have a darned samurai sword. But a guy would be nodding his head right now. This thing, this trying to prove something is universal i think. Its the same thing that drives us to study martial arts i realize now - hence most of the knights have practiced martial arts in some form or another. I wont explain much further. I'm sure you understand)

(And someday too, my son is gonna tell his classmate "Your father discovered a cure for cancer? Your father sucks! My father solved 1000 puzzles in one day". How about you my dear readers? What do you want your son to tell about you?)

(BTW: If you're like me and is spending new year on FICS playing chess then its either a) The girl you've always loved is leaving you, hence you have a very big personal problem and wished to escape in a game or b) You're all alone in Japan, hence no family nor friends to support you or c) All of the above.

So heres to us lonely fools my friend. I'm glad you're there! Cheers =>)

-- fin --

It's new year and I'm in frigging Japan! Aauugh!! Haugck!! Arrghck!!
posted by Nezha at 7:09 AM | Permalink | 3 comments
Friday, December 29, 2006
Dreaming Of Calamba
He's walking along a tree-lined road. A few children's playing by the road side. They waved as he passed by, but he paid no heed.. His mind is racing towards the house. A small house with a rusty old gate.

Ring, Ring..

"Sir, telephone call for you. Its the client from Kyoto." A secretary in pink places the phone in his hand. She bows and walks backward slowly. He takes the phone and listens to the person on the other side.. Something about software bugs, and asking for support.. The client is talking about the details, but he is unable to hear, everything is melting.. fading away..

He is irritated. The tree-lined road has no pavement and as such is prone to having mud particularly on rainy days. But why did it rain on this day? He even put on his best white shoes, but now its turning muddy. But no matter, the house is near now..

"Hello!?" The client said "Are you there?" Yes he said apologetically. Of course, the support will be there. So sorry for the trouble.

He really should stop this he muttered to himself. It was over five years ago. Too long, too long. And the name of the one who lives in the house, he doesnt even speak of that name. Not her name. Not anymore.

"Sir, the general manager is waiting" The secretary again apears, holding a stack of envelopes under her left arm. The man notices the flower on her breast. Four small white petals. A winter flower. The man rose and followed the secretary to a room. He sits and took a look of concentration. To everyone he appears attentive and thoughtful.. but he is unable to hear, everything is melting.. fading away..

The winter flower.. It is here too, surrounding the house. Small and white, the man stopped and picked one. The one living in the house always, she did liked this flower best. He gathers some more. Three to be exact.

"And our sales projection for the year" the manager continues to speak.. But the man is unable to hear, everything is melting.. fading away..

He is at the gate now. The gates are rusty. He made a mental note to polish them. They should be white, she always wanted white..

"Ring!, ring!".. He is back in his office. Sitting on his chair, listening to the company chime announce the end of the day. But the man is unable to hear, everything is melting.. fading away..

"Ring!, ring!".. He is ringing the doorbell. Someone answers. The one living in the house is not visible from the shadows. But she is there. That one is always there. The man smiles inwardly. Yes, he tells himself, I've reached the house. Everything is good. everything is good here.. He goes inside.. He is happy. For the only time in his life, he is truly happy.

"Ring!, ring!"..

The morning alarm clock goes off. The man suddenly rises. Another day. He takes a shower and eats his breakfast. The man goes outside and walks towards the train station.. nobody is up at this early hour. The morning mist still covering everything. But everything is melting.. fading away..

He's walking along a tree-lined road.. A few children's playing by the road side. They waved as he passed by, but he paid no heed.. His mind is racing towards the house. A small house with a rusty old gate.

It is near now...

posted by Nezha at 2:14 AM | Permalink | 3 comments
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Subtle Layout Changes
I've been investigating CSS-related programming techniques and have added tooltips to my site. Hover your mouse on the links in the right, and you will see what I mean. I've tried to add descriptions for each knight by getting text from each one's blogs. These descriptions are from your own blogs so don't go hating on me ok. If you wish to change them, just leave a message and I'll do the rest.

However, for some I couldn't find a word catchy enough so I left them blank. So if you find nothing appears from your name, please also leave a message (this is the second time I've said this, so hint, hint!!) indicating the phrase you want me to add.

Look guys, I would have liked to invent something for each and everyone, i.e. words like "Tempo the Slucker" (hehe), but the words doesn't come right now (Thats why I haven't been posting everyday. Is this the infamous writer's block I wonder). So if you can like, create your own descriptions (hint, hint!!), i would be most grateful. I really want to complete the tooltips.

Or maybe i should just use the nicknames?

Edit: People tell me it works on Firefox but doesn't work on IE? That sucks, but - So.. just get Firefox :)
posted by Nezha at 6:32 PM | Permalink | 4 comments
Monday, December 25, 2006
A Present For Me
Recently I was looking at buying something for myself. I've been here in japan all alone for four months, working so hard(Stop that, don't snicker) , and I've been thinking of rewarding myself with a present (But I didn't want to buy no chess book, or any chess-related chess stuff for that matter). Since I was getting bored during train rides, i thought I'd listen to music to pass time. So I went into the yodobashi electronics store and...

The iPod, Bow down before it!

I've heard about how cool this little thing looks and how good it feels in your hands, but I never imagined it would be this cool. When I held it for the first time, I became really happy. I'm serious, not since I've bought my first car have I felt like this about a purchase. The curves, the smoothness, the lines, I was gushing all over.

However, I actually think its a little overpriced and all, so I attempted to buy the sansa instead. Only, I found myself constantly going back to the iPod displays. So what the heck! Just for once I'll be selfish and do something for me. It can't hurt to buy something I want every now and then right!? All I can say is, thank goodness I bought it. I think I made the right decision. Even now I'm smiling stupidly at myself (Apple, you can have my money and my thanks).

Happiness can truly be found in unexpected places and in simple things.

So go get yourself a present too ok (Preferably a non-chess one).

- Happy Holidays -

posted by Nezha at 6:37 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Piece Activity
Piece activity is the ultimate positional goal in chess - Temposchlucker

It is interesting to note that Tempo has found out independently what I had been reading for ages. This principle is important, and full understanding will enable a chess player to reach his highest potential. That of cosmic nirvana. The place where energy is compressed in a single moment.

Well, not really(I dont believe that stuff) - But the premise, indeed the very core of my favorite book (Simple Chess) is this very idea. Lets read this memorable line taken from the introduction:

The most important single feature of a chess position is the activity of the pieces. This is absolutely fundamental in all phases of the game (opening, middle and especially endgame)
- Michael Stean (Simple Chess)

Then he proceeded to list the major facets of piece activity(outposts, open lines, space, etc). So this principle is indeed at the very core of positional chess, albeit according to Stean, and now according to Tempo.

Now I dont know how good HTRYC is, but I've been gushing about Simple Chess for years. Sometimes I had to do everything I could to prevent myself from randomly grabing a chess player and ramming the book down his throat.

The book is that good. However, let me state that although Stean's explanations of the concepts is the best I found , somethings are still going over my head. It looks simple, it sounds simple, but I can't help but wonder if what I'm getting is what he's trying to teach.

You know the scene from Monty Python? The one where the king waved his hand towards the window and said to the prince "Someday, All these will be yours!". The prince incredulously looked at the window, across the vast plains, and replied "What!? The Curtains?!!". This I how I feel from time to time (and i've read this book cover to cover 3 times).

For example, take a look at this game Tal-Bronstein. Stean refered to this game as "An exciting and instructive display of outpost play". But when I looked at the game, the outpost was liquidated in, get this, one ply. Thats right, yeah: 1, one, uno, ichi, isa, 10-9=1. I was really puzzled, because "But the outpost was gone". I dont get it. Exciting display of outpost? Where? What, The curtains?

However, this illustrates my main point on why one should strive to create his own style. I'm sure Tempo, and you too my dear readers, had been reading about positional stuff for ages. All chess books have tried to define chess concepts while we, the unwashed masses, have collectively nodded in assent. "Yeah, thats important" we say - then proceed to play exactly like we dont agree. You know why we do that? Because we dont. Not really.

Maybe its the result of years of distrust and xenophobia. Maybe its the result of years of not wanting somebody else tells us what to do. Maybe its the result of thinking "Who died and made you emperor!?". I dont know why, but the result is the same

Chess authors had been leading us to water, but we refused to drink.

I am as guilty of this as anyone. In fact if there ever was a "Read chess book, dont agree" fan club, I may have been its president.

But if we try to discover things for ourselves, if we try to search for the meaning of chess from our own experiences, then we may discover what the masters of old did. But this time we will not not-agree, but we will embrace it whole heartedly. For, then we can say:

"I did it, me, all by myself".

- fin -
posted by Nezha at 3:29 AM | Permalink | 4 comments
Thursday, December 21, 2006
You All Saw Him..
After that debacle with Rahmat, I did what any self-respecting chess player would do. I found a much weaker player, and turned him into a quivering mass of goo. There! My self-esteem is magically healed. I'm all fine now.

But as we were playing, I felt like this dialog is taking place.

Jack Wilson: [throws a pistol at the sheep herders feet] Pick it up.
Sheep herder: I don't wanna pick it up, mister, you'll shoot me.
Jack Wilson: Pick up the gun.
Sheep herder: Look, mister, I don't want no trouble. I just came to town to get some hard rock candy for my kids and some gingham for my wife.
Jack Wilson: Pick up the gun.
Jack Wilson: You all saw him... he had a gun
Jack Palance from the movie Shane

The "game" itself:

I'm soo shallow... hehehe... but you all saw him..

didnt you!?
posted by Nezha at 11:12 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Practice!? We Talkin About Practice!?
How Silly Is That..

One of the sports I follow, aside from chess is the NBA. I have had a few favorites. Larry Bird, and Dwyane Wade comes to mind. Now I dont know how someone can become your favorite, but it usually just is. Theres no apparent reason for it. You just like someone and thats that. But there was somebody who made himself my favorite. He was the only one who was like that to me. He was just too real. When he talks, when he plays. When I watch him, the emotions coming from the television is unbelievable. The man is oozing with energy I tell you. I even flunked my MBA because I couldnt stop watching the NBA finals back then (Lakers-Sixers). Of course a lot of people dont like him for the thug image and the tatoos.

But cmon, tell me if there's somebody who can talk like this:

Now he just got traded recently to denver with Carmelo Anthony. The give-sucker-punch-backpedal-like-a-girl-guy? Yeah that guy. Two "keepin it real" guy in one team. And the number one and number two scoring leaders to boot. They could either win the championship, or try to kill each other. There's no in between. I'm serious. I'm licking my chops waiting for the next game. Its on friday, and I can hardly wait.

In the meantime, I got to practice more. I lost 5 in a row to a guy named "Rahmat". When we started playing, he was just 1680. Now we are both 1740. Hyukyukyuk!!! I've personally given him 50 points. And no, I aint no Santa Claus. (I dont know whats worse. Losing, or losing to a guy named Rahmat)

(I'm still mad at myself)
posted by Nezha at 4:41 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The Cubicle
"A powerful story of one cubicle's search for acceptance,
I haven't watched a movie this good in a long time"
New York Times

(Camera pans slowly, showing the universe. Stars and planets pass by. The camera rests on a nebulous galaxy. Plunging into milky clouds, a small blue planet is shown. Larger and larger the planet appears until the atmosphere is shown. Then rolling fields of mountains, until the camera completely stops in a grassy valley)

I was born in this planet, in the galaxy you earthlings known as quadrant QH7.

A race of toilet cubicles exists here, not unlike your earth cubicles. Only they are round and less comfortable.

My mother was a kind old cubicle and she loved me dearly. Others... were not so..

(Scene fades slowly into a playground)

  • Cubicle:Please let me play with you
  • Others: No! (flushing sound heard). You are ugly and square.

And on it went day after day after day. They called me ugly and square and, and, and sometimes even.. Stuck!!

I pleaded my case to the elders but instead of helping me they said i was rebellious and sentenced me to death. My mother cried and held hostage one of the elders while I ran away. The last image i saw was of my poor mother being scrubbed clean by the others.

I traveled the universe for a long, long time. Seeing untold wonders and miracles. But they cannot quench the revenge that is in my heart. One day I will return and clean them all, I whisper to myself every night.

At last tired and weary, I came to your planet. The one they called "earth".

And wonder of wonders, I at last became happy...

  • The cubicles are all square!!!

But my revenge burns deep. So I imagined to take over this planet, one person at a time. The first one I caught was an old man. He was deranged, and obsessed by a game they called chess.

He was useless to me, but he gave me an idea and I hunted down the one they called the chess champion. The one named "Kramnik".

He is shy, that one. He is always in the mountains so i could not get him to use me.

But at last, my chance came when he played the artist formerly known as Topalov.

I hid in the comfort rooms pretending to be just a normal cubicle. For I knew he could not resist using me.

(Scene shows Kramnik walking into the men's comfort room. The moment he touches the cubicles door, everything turns slow motion. Water from the faucet falls very slowly, almost slowing to a stop. The door silently opens. No sound is heard. Kramnik's face is shown. At first he looks puzzled, then his eyes opens wider and wider. Camera shifts and shows the cubicle. Blinding white light emanates from it. Kramnik' back is visible now. He walks into the cubicle. The doors shuts and movement returns to normal. Water from the faucet falls very fast now. A man is shown entering the main comfort room door. He washes his hands and looks at the mirror. Everything seems normal)

  • At last we are one!!!
  • (Angelic singing is heard)

I showed him secrets no mortal has ever known (Kramniks face is shown with the universe behind it). He would have stayed inside me forever, but he needs to return into the world to proclaim my name.

He crushes the artist formerly known as Topalov. But they became suspicious..

"Why is he always going into the restroom", they muttered.

"After coming back from the cubicle, he moved so fast, its not natural", some added.

Fools! They dare investigate me. They even touched my cables.

You will pay for this outrage. So, carefull carefullll...

(Two years pass)

Topalov gets out of his car. He is drunk, and walks wobbly. Camera zooms into his mouth and the words "Sh**t, that Kramnik defeated me again" Are heard.

Topalov reaches inside his pocket but finds no cigarette. He gets angry and hurls his lighter far away. "AAARRRRGGHHH" he shouts, and falls into the ground curling into fetal position.

He stays like that for sometime, his shoulders violently heaving along with his sobs. The camera now goes into ground level to show Topalov's face pressed into the asphalt. His eyes are closed but he opens his tear stained eyes and saw - "A Cigarette!" (Topalov's face blur, and the camera focus on cigarette)

But where is the lighter? He slowly stands up, brushes his shirt, and walks in the direction of the lighter. He finds it in the middle of the grass. He picks it up, but he notices something and stops mid-air.

Whats this? A cubicle? Here? In the middle of nowhere?

  • "What the frock, I needed a piss anyway. "

Topalov walks towards the cubicle. Touches its door...

..and everything turns into slow motion..

(Scene Fades to Black)

(Credits Roll)

posted by Nezha at 6:25 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Monday, December 18, 2006
To Be The Man...
You Got To Defeat The Man!

Its just a month ago my rating was about 1630. It didn't bother me because I'm not sweating my rating as much as I used to. Ratings become important only because all the good players (read: 1800+) don't want to play with somebody with too low a rating. I know I don't. Not because I disrespect their ability and all. Its simply, I want to have a good game and I found out that I can defeat almost all 1600U without really trying (Read: Through sheer pattern recognition)

With that said, I'm finding that I want to reach 1800 again. I know, I know, I said ratings aren't supposed to matter. But "Nezha 1800" looks really good to me. Mmhmm, yesssah sure looks really fine (As if that number validates all those hardships I had to endure just to play chess).

There's only one problem. Take a look at my five latest games:

  1. + 1775 W 1467 LasseR
  2. - 1768 B 1829 AnesJamak
  3. + 1771 B 1532 mirrorring
  4. = 1776 W 2014 surround
  5. + 1781 W 1652 eBraun
Do you see the problem? I haven't been able to defeat an 1800 player in a long time. I find this really annoying because if I reach 1800 only by defeating 1700U players, the accomplishment would seem hollow somehow. Look at my man Rick Flair. He is taunting me:

Told you, didn't I?
To Be The Man, You Got To Defeat The Man!

So my quest is clear. Beware Mr 1800 man, Nezha is lurking. Nezha is waiting for you. Nezha is watching Rocky IV right now shouting with Mr. Lundgreen "I'm gonna break you! I'm gonna break you!". Nezha is looking at the mirror, pointing at himself and yelling "Your the man! Your the MAN!". Nezha is watching Dirty Harry Movies, chewing tobacco and mumbling "Go ahead punk, Make my Day!". Nezha is watching Hulk Hogan, Nezha suddenly rips his shirt, looks left to right, and goes "Hoooooo!".

(Kids, don't try this at home)



The things we do for ratings
posted by Nezha at 7:21 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Don't Ask
(Note: Dont ask why this is here, just.. never mind..)

You Dont Say Kind Words

Your voice lights up,
and we will talk for hours.
Now I call late at night,
but you say your sleeping,
and gently put down the phone.
I don't hear kind words anymore.

I mail everyday, and try to say hi,
I tell funny stories just like before.
"Its great to hear from you, but gtg",
was the only answer i got.
You don't say kind words anymore.

Oh baby, I still remember your words
"I love you so dearly, your my friend..
you make me happy, don't leave me"

But now we hardly talk..

We loved each other so much.
it seems not possible but,
Is this goodbye?
I need you to tell me the truth
(I don't need kind words anymore)
posted by Nezha at 6:16 AM | Permalink | 2 comments
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Blunders Are Enemies, Blunders Are Friends
1. First - I'm back!!!

I managed to recover my pre-hiatus rating. Yup2x.. I'm happy and all is fine with the world.. Yup2x.. :)
  • Rating 1773
  • Win 133
  • Loss 94
I managed to do this by having an 8-2 record for the last ten games. Now all that's needed is to post a positive record, say 6-4 for the next ten, and I will reach 1800 soon. Of course two weeks ago, i had an 8-2 record too.. however, I lost 6 straight and plummeted down to the low 1700's. Chess is like that. Sometimes you get the squirrel, and sometimes the squirrel gets you.

2. Blunders is my Friend/Enemy

I played a game against an 1750 player. It was a french defense, and I used the Josh Waitzkin variation. That not really its true name, but it was featured in CM10 and still remember that it gives a tactically rich position in return for an isolated queens pawn. True enough, we came into this interesting position:

(White to move)

The tactical possibilities are off the charts. Of course I immediately blundered a piece away after this. I would have resigned except it was just too nice a position not to play through. Its a good thing too because I managed to equalize thru some tactical wizardly, yay! - Thats when he blundered away his queen. At first I couldnt move for two seconds. I was completely puzzled. Then the puzzlement turned to glee, and I immediately took advantage of his mistake. You know what happened next? He requested a take back. What the!!? He flooded the console with requests.. I rejected him but still he goes on and on and on.

I dont know how other players feel about things like that but - Asking take backs is not something I would do. Blunders are a part of the game. The struggle not to commit mistake is one of the things that make chess interesting. True tis painful - but thats part of chess. Just like pain is part of life.

(Sidenote: I find it absurd that some school outlaws competition so everybody can be "winners". What!? the fools, what are they teaching kids? You cant win them all. Everybody loses from time to time. This is a fundamental fact that must be accepted. Otherwise, it will only result in pain. I have a nagging suspicision that decisions like that was made by old geezers who wasnt able to withstand what life gave him. The poor sod)

Full game text:

3. The Dark Secret!!

You know the old levi's commercial? The one they used to introduce the button-fly jeans? The one that goes "Everybody has their dark secrets. I havent zipped my fly in 10 years. No sir". Yeah, that commercial. Well I'm proud to say that Nezha has his own secret too.

I havent washed my pants in four months. No sir!

Not a drop of soap nor hint of fabric conditioner has touched my beloved jeans. I'm trying to see how long I can go without washing. Its still in the "kinda ichy" stage and so I can still bear it. I think I'm gonna wait until the "It smells like dried urine" stage. Although I'm considering whether to try and go for the "It doesnt bend anymore" stage.

What!? You dont need to know these things?

Well, I feel you do.
posted by Nezha at 7:41 AM | Permalink | 2 comments
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Thinking! Thinking!?
Well, with all this discussion about thinking, you'd think that we as chess players actually do think when playing. Suurre we do. But not about chess (smiles inwardly)

But anyway, I'm actually not interested in knowing how GM's think. Why? Because I will never be a GM. No matter what I do, I will never have the commitment or the talent to reach that level. So its no use trying to think that way.

Trying to think like a GM is like trying to think like Tom Cruise. I can try talking to the Katie Holmes of the world, but without his money nor his looks such girls are way-out-of-my-league.

(Dawnson's creek was good. But you know why your watching)

But to think like a 1900 player? Ah! now were talking. This range is not so far from my own rating. I've even defeated some 1900 players from time to time, so I feel its not that too large a jump.

So, what is the difference between us? Whats that 11th ingredient that made the Kentucky friend chicken so to speak? Beats me. If I knew Id be 1900 right now.

However, all is not lost my dear readers. What I can try to give you, is my analysis on the difference between Me and someone 100 points below me (U1700).

Now, before you go and ask me for data and such stuff, I will have to tell you I have none. This is just my own conception and you have to take my word for it. I will not mislead you. Trust me! Nyehehehe!

Anyway: There are a lot of things of course, One of them is simply better tactics. But there were some U1600 players who I feel is as good as me tactically. So that cannot be possibly the only answer. What I think is closer to the truth is this:

But before that: You must have the tactics otherwise the advice below will not serve you.

And so with that out of the way, I give you my analysis:

A lot of players try to win with pure piece play.

You could see this in any number of games. See my last post as example. For the longest time, my opponent was moving only his pieces. He was trying to beat me to a quivering mass of jelly using his knights, bishops, and queens. But you know, pawns are part of the army too. Playing only with pieces is literally playing with 50% of your army. Makes no sense not to use them. You know, if pawns were basketball players, they would've complained to the press. "I don't know my role, the coach doesn't explain it to me", or "I feel I can help this team win. I just need the chance to play". Sounds familiar? It should, the pawns are telling this to you every game. It whispers melancholy "Play us. We are so lonely, pleaseeee?".

To add - We all know that we should develop our pieces harmoniously right. Some take this to mean that pieces should be harmonious with other pieces. But actually, it is much more important to develop pieces harmoniously with pawns. Why!? Because pieces can always be connected with each other. But pieces and pawns cannot. Sometimes you only get one chance to develop them.

No army in the whole world sends only its officer in battles. Chess is not only the stage for the mighty knights, long robed bishops and pretty queens. The humble, poor, distraught, destitute, bojangled, outcast, sneered-at,
sad, hapless, dejected, blue, lonely, oh so very lonely pawns have a right to exists to.

Sounds very theoretical heh! Now if only i can play better than I talk.

(On a sidenote: Its too late for this but: Why Katie? Why? Did you know I hated watching soaps, but I watched Dawson's Creek just for you. I even went to that sucky "the gift" movie to see your, er.. face. And now, your in the arms of a crazy lunatic. Anybody but him, he's too old and decrepit. Why not go with somebody your own age - like Nezha perhaps? I feel like Michael Corleone saying "You broke my heart Fredo, You broke my heart!". And don't even try telling me you're happy. You look so sad. Is it because your "Far away from Holmes?". Hehe! But seriously, it scarred me for life. I'm serious. I haven't recovered yet. This is making me bitter. Lets just move on..)

// Something Interesting

I read a very interesting post by GM Ziatdinov yesterday. (See this sample)

Here are some of his more interesting comments:

1. On Thought Process

If you look too hard for the best way of thinking (especially during the game) you will always make frustrating blunders that are far behind your true chess level. Concentrate on concrete chess, not generalities, and follow your intuition. My experience shows that you cannot change the way you think. Any attempt to make your thinking reasonable and systematic will fail. Kotov's method of calculating, creating a list of every feasible move (candidates), and examining each variation of each candidate move only once in a mechanical order, is too scientific and has little practical use.

Chess is not a time for thinking, it is time for action; it is show time!

2. An Inadvertent GM Knight Errant?

To study tactics, I recommend my timed tactical software program, or similar software programs. A good book of combinations is beneficial too, but less efficient and not as fun. Basically, set up a cycle of ten positions, go through them until you get a perfect score, then set a cycle from 10-20, get a 100% score, then go through problems 1-20, repeating this cycle until you can go through 1000 problems "by hand" (not mind) without any mistakes. If yo
u try this method with my tactics program and complete it, you will have the tactical ability of a Grandmaster. I have had more than a hundred students and nobody had enough will power to finish this tactical training method. Is it my students or is it me?

Hmm, Sounds like a quasi-DLM plan to me. What do you think? Have we found our long lost brother?

posted by Nezha at 11:51 PM | Permalink | 3 comments
Nezha's Chess: Move by Move
Some games you don't know how you won. Some games you don't know how you lost. But in some rare instance, you win knowing exactly what you did. This is one of those games. If there ever was a game that can be termed as a "textbook" win, this will be it. Good bishops, bad bishops, weak pawns. Such elementary positional concepts rarely appear with such clarity in my games.

So in memory of this event, i am now giving you the game along with my comments, move-by-move style.

But why waste words? Accompany me my dear reader as I take you into a journey of spiritual profundity (If you're wondering why I write like this, all i can say is thanks Nimzovich)

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5

The Caro-Kann. Personally i don't like this opening for black. I don't know the theory behind it, but i feel there is very limited kinetic possibility in the resulting positions. Some called this opening the king of draws. You will find no arguments here..

3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 h6

Trying to keep this bishop was useless. I didn't want to waste time chasing it around for one, and this bishop is just simply bad for another (Bad cleric, Bad!). The standard Caro-Kann formation is to put a pawn on e6. After that, its scope becomes severely limited.

We let Michael Stean Speak:

"The most important single feature of a chess position is the activity of the pieces. This is absolutely fundamental in all phases of the game. The primary constraint on piece activity is the pawn structure.."

and so, why would I help him get rid of a half-dead bishop?

7. c3 e6

He will develop the dark-squared bishop soon. Now that is the bishop I'm worried about. That is the one who have chemistry with its pawns. That bishop and his pawns are soul mates. Best-of-friends, lovers, milk and coffee. They fit one another like a bathing suit and Anna Nicole Smith. Err.. too much analogy, but you get the idea.

Anyway, viewing it this way, my next move is

8. Bf4

What else? I was hoping he'd put his own bishop on d6 and we can trade. Recognizing which pieces to trade is one of the things I'm trying to work on. Mindless hacking will not do. There must be some form of "finesse" in moves I might say (hehe!).

8. .. Bd6

What a good helper you are.

9. Bxd6 Qxd6 10. Be2

Of course not Bd3. In no way shape form or manner will I trade this bishop. This is my preciousss!!!

10. ..Nf6

11. O-O O-O 12. Re1 Nbd7 13. a4?!

I think this move in inaccurate. Now if I was him, I'd play c5! and try to break whites pawn structure. The correct move here i think is b4 to suppress that.

13 ..Nb6 14. a5 Nbd5

I was deathly afraid of c5. I was thinking he will move a5 to prevent b4 then play c5 to isolate my pawns. So I "prevented" a5 myself.

15. Qd2 Nf4

How dare you threaten my preciousss!!!

16. Bc4

There, my preciouss!!! is safe. In no way shape form or manner will I trade this bishop (preciousss!!! preciousss!!!).

I might be too late, but he should find some way to play c5 while there is still a chance. That move will put tremendous pressure on my position. He will isolate my d-pawn, and have the c-file for himself.

16. ... N4h5 17. Nxh5 Bxh5

I will not let my pawns be isolated and help him remove his problem bishop (see next move)

As a side note black is trying to win via piece play. But i think this position calls for the fabled minority attack. In fact, I'm positive the minority attack against positions like this is written in one of my chess books. That strategy is just begging to be played. Look, his bishop on g6 controls the b1 square so I couldn't even support my pawns with my rooks there. Then if he had pushed his own pawns to a5, and b5. And instead of jumping around like a headless horsey left his knight on its strong outpost d5 - cause it controls b4 (not to mention the idea of c5) - my whole queen-side suddenly becomes precarious.

Hmm, this Caro-Kann stuff is interesting after all.

18. Ne5 Ng4 19. Bd3

A very deep move if I may say so myself. Ha! An avaricious dullard will not think upon such a plan of infinite delicacy. Well not really. But why here, and why now? The reason is that he will have to bring his bishop to g6. The minute he does that i will trade bishops. But didn't i say this is a good bishop? Yes it is, but trading on g6 will give him doubled g-pawns and an isolated e-pawn. This is called trading one positional advantage for another.

I learned this from Fischer.

19 ..Nxe5 20. Rxe5 Bg6 21. Bxg6 fxg6

Well done my preciousss!!! (pats bishop in the head, bishops looks up, hangs tongue and grins happily)

I like games like this. Its almost as if my opponent is trying to help me conduct the game. I was very happy here. Almost too happy. Everything was flowing according to plan.

22. b4

At last!!! the annoying threat of c5 is gone. Mwahahahahahahaha!!!!

If there was one move I've feared throughout the game, it was that pawn break. If he was able to do that, the position will open and his chances will increase exponentially.

So kids, don't forget to study your reading, writing, ciphering, and pawn breaks ok.

22. ..Rf5

What else?

23. Rae1 Rxe5 24. Rxe5 Rf8 25. Qe3 Rf6

Now why am I so happy here? The material is equal and I am no endgame player after all. So why place my hopes on an isolated e-pawn and doubled g-pawns. These are weaknesses sure, but they are slight. Plus the queens are still on-board so its hardly just "A Matter of Technique".

The only thing i can say during times like this is "You should see the other guy".

25. Qe3 Rf6 26. c4 b6 27. axb6 axb6 28. c5 bxc5 29. bxc5 Qd7

I am simplifying as much as possible and driving the queen away from d6. Now the pawn on c6 is also weak. The thinking is, he will not be able to protect both the c-pawn and the e-pawn. One of them will fall sooner or later.

30. f4 Qf7 31. g3 g5 32. fxg5 hxg5 33. Rxg5 Rf1+ 34. Kg2 Qf6

I intend to bring my king into the battle. The more the merrier, i say. Plus, there is no way he can mate me. My own queen and rook protect me well enough.

35. Re5 Kf7 36. Qe4 Rc1 37. Kh3 Qh6+ 38. Kg4 Rc3 39. Qxc6 Qg6+

Another pawn falls. Now its just a matter of technique (Always wanted to say that). Btw, he could have taken my h-pawn a few moves back there. But I feel he will have exposed his king needlessly, rook and queen can mate a king after all. Not only are queen, rook, and enemy king such a dangerous combination - In fact its the oldest trick in the book (Or if not, I can win the c and e pawn at least).

Apparently, my opponent shared my conviction.

From here it becomes easy. I give the rest without comments

40. Rg5 Qf6 41. Qc7+ Kg8 42. Qf4 Qh6 43. h4 Qh7 44. Qe5 Kf8 45. Qxe6 Qd3 46. Qf5+ Qxf5+ 47. Rxf5+ Kg8 48. Rf3 Rc4 49. Rf4 Rc3 50. Re4 Kf7 51. Kf4 Kf6 52. g4 g6 53. Re3 Rc4 54. Ke4 g5 55. hxg5+ Kxg5 56. Kd5 Rc1 57. Re4 Rf1 58. c6 Rf6 59. Kc5 Rg6 60. c7



Full game scores:

[Event "rated standard match"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2006.12.14"]
[White "Nezha"]
[Black "Gianuzio"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1756"]
[BlackElo "1658"]
[ECO "B18"]
[TimeControl "1800+30"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 h6 7. c3 e6 8.Bf4 Bd6 9. Bxd6 Qxd6 10. Be2 Nf6 11. O-O O-O 12. Re1 Nbd7 13. a4 Nb6 14. a5 Nbd5 15. Qd2 Nf4 16. Bc4 N4h5 17. Nxh5 Bxh5 18. Ne5 Ng4 19. Bd3 Nxe5 20. Rxe5 Bg6 21. Bxg6 fxg6 22. b4 Rf5 23. Rae1 Rxe5 24. Rxe5 Rf8 25. Qe3 Rf6 26. c4 b6 27. axb6 axb6 28. c5 bxc5 29. bxc5 Qd7 30. f4 Qf7 31. g3 g5 32. fxg5 hxg5 33.Rxg5 Rf1+ 34. Kg2 Qf6 35. Re5 Kf7 36. Qe4 Rc1 37. Kh3 Qh6+ 38. Kg4 Rc3 39.Qxc6 Qg6+ 40. Rg5 Qf6 41. Qc7+ Kg8 42. Qf4 Qh6 43. h4 Qh7 44. Qe5 Kf8 45.Qxe6 Qd3 46. Qf5+ Qxf5+ 47. Rxf5+ Kg8 48. Rf3 Rc4 49. Rf4 Rc3 50. Re4 Kf7 51.Kf4 Kf6 52. g4 g6 53. Re3 Rc4 54. Ke4 g5 55. hxg5+ Kxg5 56. Kd5 Rc1 57. Re4 Rf1 58. c6 Rf6 59. Kc5 Rg6 60. c7 1-0

Paste here Lutanho

posted by Nezha at 7:59 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Book, Help!!
I've been itching to buy a new chess book to read during train rides, but i cant decide which one. I can buy them all, but i prefer to buy one only and then study the mess out of it before buying another. Here are the books I've been considering lately:

But first:

- My system -
I've always wanted to read this. Reading about Nimzo shouting "Tarrasch you fool!" doesn't get old somehow. Plus I'm really interested in knowing how exactly he saved the chess world from the banal thinking of the classicists thus heralding a new age of refined thought. But the latest edition is going to be out on 12/30 and I want to buy one now. My fingers are itching, i don't know if i can hold on till then.

And without further ado:

1. Logical Chess move by move - Seems to be okay. The writing style is light and seems to have diagrams so i can follow without a board. Very important for train rides

2. How Karpov Wins - Hmm, a treatise about Karpov. This is a player I've always wanted to see in action. However this is a praxis book. Not an instruction book I think. Can I learn through osmosis i wonder!?

3. The middle game - I can compare Euwe's writing style to that of my professor way back in college. He used to teach religion and philosophy both at the same time. He's favorite theory was celibacy was not really a vow but more of a guideline. Furthermore, the actual words used in the oldest scrolls was actually celebrate. And yes, i just made this whole statement up. Anyway, the amazon reviews are great and this is an instruction book after all so I'm also considering strongly.

4. Judgment and Planning in chess - I had this book a long time ago, but left it back home. But perhaps reviewing it will serve me well. This is Euwe's book too. And no, no more classless jokes about imaginary professors for you.

5. Modern Chess Strategy - Yet another middle game book (YAMB). I read the table of content and it does seem to cover a lot of ground. Also, a lot of people swear by this book judging from the amazon reviews. Words such as "Nimzowitch made easy", "Just short of perfect", "Exploded my ratings 100 points", "I got 400 points in 400 days" was used to describe this book. And yes, i made these up too. =>

Well, that's about it for now. If anyone can help me decide on the above mentioned books, please let me hear the reasons.

BUT THAT'S NOT ALL - better yet, if you have a book and want to co-study with me, then give me a holler. I'll buy it and then lets study it together (via FICS)

Studying all alone is no fun. Lets "open-source" our knowledge (Besides I've always wanted to be part of a collective)
posted by Nezha at 1:28 AM | Permalink | 1 comments
Monday, December 11, 2006
Nezha's Log, Supplemental

(Sidenote: Yes tempo, the plan is to let the opponent make the plan. You worded it perfectly.)

The last time Ive talked about keeping the balance in chess. However, sometimes this actually runs contrary to the well known advice "Play the board, not the man".

To give an example, suppose there are two good moves. The first move is the absolute good move that the board dictates. No matter what the opponent plays next, its still a good move. The second move is a kind of gamble. You sense your opponent will play something and if do this move, his position will crumble. Of course he might not, and that will mean trouble for your own position. So what are you gonna do?

1. Play The Man
I hear GM's say this all the time. Find the truth in the position. Never mind the opponent. A very good advice perhaps. however -

2. Play The Board
I think I'm somewhat like this. But it depends on what I sense. If I think the probability is above 60% or so. I play the move designed to take advantage of my opponents next move. Of course, the problem with this is that usually when I am playing 1800++ players, I would lay this deep trap and smile satisfied to myself, only my opponent will see it and now I'm "in deep shit".

That's the problem with playing people with higher rating (Say about 100+ points differential). My traps does not work simply because all I see, they can see too. They certainly didn't get such high rating by being a worse player than I am. If that was the case, I'd be the one with the high rating wouldn't I.

But I just couldn't help myself. If I find a trap, i feel this deep satisfaction. "Yes, yes, my precioussss!!!" - thoughts like this flickers on my mind. So I play the move because it makes me "happy".

Nezha you fool! I Hate you!!

I played this game yesterday evening. This game is full of blunders for both sides, the +- graph would look like a sine wave. It was a very wild game. My opponent tried the center fork trick on me. Then the position got into a "gambit" mode, I sacrificed the exchange for an attack, and was down material for most of the game. However, during the middle game - I was very happy with my position. Looking at the board, I realized excepting for queen moves "What the?! He is in zugzwang!". Well not really, but for the longest time he was paralyzed. Then we got into the endgame, and then reached this position.

Nezha (1766) vs. macamaran (1861)

(White to move)

I should have won here. I was fully intending to do the deflection-promotion trick, but then completely forgot about it the very next move. Remembering this position caused me to twist and turn last night. Oh my lamentations... these kind of blunders haunt me.. Dang nezha, how stupid can you get. You should have won.. you, you.. fool.. you... (and yes, I'm still not over it)

Full game text

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bc4 Nxe4
5. Nxe4 d5 6. Bb5 dxe47. Bxc6+ bxc6 8. Nxe5 Qg5
9. d4 Qxg2 10. Rf1 Ba6 11. c4 Bb4+ 12. Bd2 Bxd2+
13. Qxd2 O-O 14. O-O-O f6 15. Rg1 Qh3 16. Nxc6 Bxc4
17. b3 Bf7 18. Rg3 Qe6 19. d5 Qd6 20. Qh6 Qa3+
21. Kb1 Bg6 22. Rxg6 hxg6 23. Qxg6 Rf7 24. Rg1 Qd6
25. Qxe4 f5 26. Qd4 Qxh2 27. Re1 f4 28. Re6 Qg1+
29. Kb2 Qg5 30. Qe4 Raf8 31. Ne7+ Rxe7 32. Rxe7 Qf6+
33. Kc1 Qa1+ 34. Qb1 Qxb1+ 35. Kxb1 Rf7 36. Re8+ Kh7
37. Ra8 c6 38. dxc6 g5 39. Rd8 Kg6 40. Rd7 Rf6
41. c7 Rc6 42. b4 g4 43. a4 g3 44. fxg3 fxg3
45. b5 g2 46. Rd1 Rxc7 47. Rg1 Rc4 48. Rxg2+ Kf5
49. Ra2 Ke5 50. Kb2 Kd5 51. Ka3 Kc5 52. Rb2 Rc3+
53. Ka2 Kb6 54. Rb3 Rc4 55. Ka3 Ka5 56. Rb2 Rxa4+
57. Kb3 Kxb5 58. Kc2+ Kc4 59. Kb1 a5 60. Ra2 Rb4+
61. Ka1 a4 62. Rb2 Rb3 63. Rc2+ Kd3 64. Rb2 Kc3
65. Rh2 Kb4 66. Rh4+ Ka3 67. Rh2 Rf3 68. Ra2+ Kb3
69. Rb2+ Kc3 70. Ka2 Rf1

Paste here Lutanho

I console myself in thinking that even Kramnik blunders. I am now convinced that he just threw us a bone. Maybe he was telling himself "If I draw here it will be just another draw, But if i lose in a blaze of glory, then people will remember by name. Wait, chalk that. There! - a mate-in-1. If I seemingly allow myself to fall for that, then people everywhere will sing praises in my name and offer virgins as sacrifice. Haha! Take this fritzy! A useless queen move. Drawnik eh!? How do you like me now Kasparov!" - I'm sure this is what he's thinking. There couldn't possibly be anything else.

-- Ah, but will the blunders always be with us? --
posted by Nezha at 7:23 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
About Plans
To continue my last post. Chess players should plan. Even simple plans are preferable to a move-by-move listless play. This is well understood by now. The only thing is that weaker players does not have the necessary experience to know the correct plan in any given situation. This can only be remedied by playing supplemented by book study. Not book study supplemented by playing, ok. Experience is the best teacher in my opinion and trying to learn from books is not nearly as effective I think.

Active plans are best. However, one of the best advice i came across was from Simple Chess (Wait, did I just say learning from books is not as effective? That tells you I'm a flip-flopping idiot. Don't forget this fact when reading my posts. Not for a second).

Lets give the mike to Michael Stean:

"When you have a spatial advantage, there need be no hurry to form an active plan. That will come in due course. The important thing is to keep your opponent bottled up and put the onus on him to create active play"

This simple advice has done wonders for my game. This is for when you have a spatial advantage, but i have applied this even when i have not. I mean, when i don't know what to do, i just sit in my had and let my opponent dictate the course of play. Hmm - this doesn't sound right. When I don't have a plan in mind, I think about what his plan is and try to mold my actions accordingly (If I feel my position is optimal, and i dont know what to do - I don't do anything. I just wait for his actions and try to poke holes in them). There, is that better?

For example, take these positions from two of my latest games

Game 1.
Here I had a hunch my opponent wanted to play Bh6. A direct attack on my position. At this point, i wasn't thinking of attacking. I was thinking of "Hmm, let me give him enough rope to hang himself." So my next move was (try to guess..). Btw: I don't know what happened to my opponent here, but i think he must've been drunk or something. He did play Bh6 and launched a speculative attack. But I remember thinking, "My position is sound, why are you attacking stupid!?". (Shoot, I hope EdFix is not reading this. Otherwise he might take offense and try to crush me everytime we meet. -No offense EdFix. Its just what I though ok. Just being honest =>)

EdFix (1881) vs. Nezha (1737)

Black to move

Game 2.
This is a slightly complicated example. Here, my opponent will have to play e5 at some point in the future. He might not play it i know, but if I were him it couldn't be helped. So I didn't try to do anything like advance my queen-side pawn or do some queen-sally or some such thing. I just waited patiently for that move. Just quietly preparing for it. The line of thinking was "Well, I can't prevent it anyhow. Let him try it and see what happens".

RedPimpernel (1671) vs. Nezha (1726)

Black to move

Now, we can say "Anybody would have done that". But that is not true. If I were playing this position a few years ago, what I would had been thinking was "Kill! Kill! Kill!" and would had been trying to aim my battering arm on a target. Any target. The need to do something "active" would had driven me forward to some pawn push, some bishop attack or anything. Just as long as its a move that allows me to feel I'm "progressing".

Playing this way. I'm starting to understand what Lasker called the "Balance" in chess. After achieving an optimum position, I'm starting to think that maintaining that position is very, very important. Sure I can try to think of trying to achieve something like trying to determine the "best" move in a position using things like the Sillman list. But I'm starting to think that the plan of achieving, and maintaining balance in an equal position is a good plan too.

Its because thinking in chess is very hard after all. Perhaps it is better to just empty my thoughts and wait for events to come to me (Its called the "MU" in Japanese. The state of emptiness..) This way, perhaps my opponent will make an error trying to come up with the best move? Its a very (fatalistic?) passive way of thinking i guess, but hey! it worked here so, can't argue with success..

Whew! Thats too much philosophy for one day.

(Btw: Regarding game 1, I played Nc4 helping him carry out his plan (Bh6). I saw a tactical trick as a result of focusing on the idea of allowing Bh6)


Complete game score for the two games

RedPimpernel (1671) vs. Nezha (1726)
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. d3 Bg4 4. Bg2 Nbd7
5. O-O e5 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. Re1 O-O 8. c3 c6
9. Qb3 Qc7 10. e4 Nc5 11. Qc2 dxe4 12. dxe4 a5
13. b4 axb4 14. cxb4 Ne6 15. a3 Bxb4 16. Bb2 Bxd2
17. Nxd2 Rad8 18. Nc4 Nd4 19. Bxd4 Rxd4 20. h3 Be6
21. Nd2 Rfd8 22. Nf3 Rc4 23. Qb2 Rc5
24. Rac1 Rb5 25. Qc3 Nd7 26. Rb1 Rxb1 27. Rxb1 f6
28. Bf1 b5 29. Rxb5 Qd6 30. Rb1 Nc5 31. Re1 Rb8
32. Kg2 Rb3 33. Qa5 Nd3 34. Ra1 Qd7 35. Qa8+ Kf7
36. Ng1 Qd4 37. Rd1 Qxe4+ 38. f3 Rb2+ 39. Kh1 Nf2+
40. Kg2 Ng4+ 41. Be2 Rxe2+ 42. Nxe2 Qxe2+ 43. Kh1 Qh2#
{White checkmated} 0-1

EdFix (1881) vs. Nezha (1737)

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 Bf5
5. e3 e6 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 Nbd7
9. O-O Be7 10. e4 O-O 11. Bf4 Nb6 12. Qe2 Nh5
13. Be3 Nf6 14. Ne5 Bb4 15. Qf3 Nfd7 16. Nxd7 Qxd7
17. Qg3 Nc4 18. Bh6 Qxd4 19. Rad1 Qf6 20. Bg5 Qg6
21. Qf4 Nxb2 22. Rd7 Bxc3 23. Rc1 e5 24. Qe3 Bd4
25. Qg3 b5 26. Rc7 c5 27. Qh4 Nd3 28. Rc2 a6
29. Be7 Rfc8 30. Rd7 f6 31. Rd6 Re8 32. Bxf6 gxf6
33. Rxf6 Qg7 34. Rf5 Re6 35. Rh5 Rf8 36. Rf5 Ref6
37. Qh3 Nf4 38. Qf3 Rxf5 39. exf5 Rxf5 40. g3 Nh3+
{White resigns} 0-1

Paste them here

Hat tip: The images on these site was automatically generated. I used Chess Imager Give it a try. its very convenient.

- fin -
posted by Nezha at 12:30 AM | Permalink | 2 comments
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Various Japanese Stuff
This is called "ramen". I had this for lunch a few hours ago. This is one of those things where, it just grows on you. When i first tasted my ramen some eight years ago, i found it bland and too oily. But now, i couldnt keep my hands off these things. When i see the noodles floating in oil, my veins starts constricting even before one sip. But I eat it anyway. Btw: There's lots of variation of this dish. Some get chicken feets, chicken heads, cow ankles, pig tails, etc.. in short, meat that cannot be sold. They bind these combination inside a net and boil it for 6-8 hours until it melts. The melted liquid is that brownish thing you see in there. Hmm, nyam2x.. delicious no?

Japan is supposed to be a budhist/shintoist(?) country but you wouldnt know it from all the christmas activities going on. Celebrating christmas? How dare the heathens! All the malls are replete with decorations such as this. Every corner even have its very own santa claus standing. Albeit one with slanted eyes shouting "irrashaimase" (welcome). This one is taken from venus fort in Odaiba. Highly recommended place for tourists. Its got an artificial sky that changes alongside the time of day. And the best part of it is - this place contains the most number of japanese babes in high tops and designer dresses.. just an overload of cuteness going all around.. err.. did I just say that? hehe.. lets just move on..

Alongside the venus fort is a kind of a car showroom. Only these one is like so big, it feels like a bazaar. However, it contains only toyota cars. Every car sold by toyota is represented here. From camry to prius to corolla. Even hybrids and lexus can be seen. There are even car simulations and you can ride automated concept cars for 300yen ($3). Just a fun place to be if your a car-loving geek like me. Btw: This is gonna be my next car. I used to drive a honda civic, but i decided to get this one next (Just to mix things up). Although when "next" is i dont know.

Oh please kind sir. Wont you give me some alms? (Still in venus fort)

And who might this handsome young gentleman be? Rumor has it, he is programmer by day, gigolo by night. Also known among the girls as the grand high mystic ruler of love. (But dont tell that to the girls as they dont know yet.)

(Next time ill take more pictures to show you guys. I've been regretting not taking any since i came here. But ive since bought a new camera and is looking forward on using it)
posted by Nezha at 6:50 AM | Permalink | 0 comments
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The Zone

I have been thinking lately of planning. It is a very well known saying that a chess player must plan, and that a bad plan is better than having no plan at all. Various authors across the ages have even recommended a myriad of ways on how to do this. For example, let me give the well known "Sillman Technique":

Jeremy Silman:

1. Take note of the differences in the position (imbalances)
2. Determine which side of the board you wish to play on. You can only play on the side of the board where a favorable imbalance exists or the possibility of creating a favorable imbalance exists.
3. Find Candidate Moves. A Candidate move should always be directed at your positive imbalances unless you're being forced to play a purely defensive move.
4. Calculate Candidate Moves.

I havent read any of sillmans books, nor studied any of his games and yet im familiar with this technique of his, so i assume most chessplayer is too. And if not, im sure a lot of players have their very own unique list. A checklist to go through every move. I myself have created such a list once (I threw it out because i cant remember to go thru the list, and when i do i consumed an inordinate ammount of time)

Now i will not critizise this technique as he is a far better player than i am, and so perhaps i am not qualified to pass judgement on such matters. However, the question im now going to ask is this. During playing, do you really stop, then think about a position? Do you really go - "wait, wait, wait. before i proceed i have to go thru the imbalance" - or some such thing?

Because when i play chess, particularly a good tense game - i tend to go into a kind of "zone". This is the moment where the outside world is forgotten and you can hear your own thoughts.

Most of the time when i enter into this state, i have a good game. And if not, i tend to blunder material away. However, when in this zone concious thought is not done. I mean things tend to become almost a game of action and reaction. Outposts, lines, diagonals, i tend to not consider them "deliberately". I just do it. (Of course sometimes i dont - and this is why i think the circles was very good for me. The patterns was absorbed deeply that even in the zone its presence is felt. And that is why, i think learning ang re-learning the positional concepts are important so it too will exists in the zone.)

Anyway, the point is - in this state, you forget yourself and so you can't do any such thing as go through a list, or even plan. It becomes a "do or do not" proposition. All the knowledge that you gained up to that point is synthesized. The plan present itself to you or it does not so to speak. (Trying to break this and "think" is like your wife telling you she wants to go out and "think" in the middle of "it")

(Sidenote: Like in basketball. Basketball is one of those games where if you think too much your game just suffers. You just have to play. To let the game come to you as they say)

Anyway perhaps trying to get a clear head and trying to stop going into zones will be better for my chess. You know, like try to follow sillmans list or something (However, does somebody really follow this list? - just curious). But that zone is almost like crack its addicting. Taking it out of my games will make chess unpleasant i think.

Or perhaps its just endorphines?
posted by Nezha at 4:44 AM | Permalink | 4 comments
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The backseat driver
We all know about the people who say "I can do things better than that" while jeering the player they are watching. A backseat driver so to speak. But put this very same person in the battle himself, and he will wither like an ice cream under a hot sun.

Sometimes this is what i feel. I analyze grandmaster games and it looks so simple that I begin to think "Is the opponent really a GM? I could do better than that. I would have played this move here then i would have done that to counter this, etc.. blah2x..". But of course things aren't really that easy.

For example, take this game Ive analyzed with Bahus a few days ago -Botvinnik-Szilagyi

It looks soo effortless here that in hindsight we can almost say "The moves are logical, anybody could have thought of that". Then you try to play a game and you find out that it wasn't so easy after all. (And were GM Szilagyi and I were to play a game, he would have beaten me in 15 moves. He would put the pieces down with a loud "bang" and say with a sneer "I got your easy right here! Baby, right here!!!!" - But said Arnold Scwarcheneger-like so it sounds "russian").

Anyway - going through this game, i noticed a lot things. I think i can summarize Botvinnik's play like this:

1. Opening Moves
2. Take over Strategic Squares
3. Prepare
4. Prepare
5. Prepare
6. Prepare
7. Prepare
8. Prepare
9. Prophylaxis
10. Mate

(Btw: I thought about listing the things i learned but thought otherwise. I think a person needs to analyze the game himself before he understand its meaning. Just trying to explain something without that person experiencing it for himself will not convey the truth i think. For example, I always knew winter was cold. But now I'm actually living under it. I never knew it was this cold until now. I sleep under three blankets, wearing three shirts with the heater on, and still i get cold. brr.. brrr...)

I wonder when i will be able to play like this. There is a sense of constancy in games like this that make me envious. My own games reminds me of the saying "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing". Peripatetic queen moves, galloping knight sallies, slashing bishop attacks. Only they come back later to some odd square not really accomplishing anything. When I look back at my older games, i couldn't figure out why I did what I did. The names of my games should in fact be the "What am I doing here? " game. (Or the term I believe that a scientific type would use would be "Superfluous").

Oh well, perhaps someday. One fine day, i will play a game and it will be clean and orderly like Botvinnik. That elusive "At least I knew what I did here" game. (Yeah, and while i'm dreaming, i would like to play like Nezhmetdinov too, and could someone please give me a black car? and a million dollars and, and a mansion in the everglades.)
posted by Nezha at 7:37 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The Genesis
> Also Fierabras left this interesting comment
>> But if you want to play like Nezhmetdinov ... ... too passive

You know, before I proceed with discovering my chess "style", I think it best to discover what I am doing now. To answer this, I'll start by answering this question "why don't I try to play like Nezhmetdinov?".

To begin with, lets start with title of the first three chess books I've read:

> 1. Judgement and planning in chess - Euwe
> 2. Chess Fundamentals - Capablanca
> 3. Simple Chess - Stean

Do you see a pattern here? Do you know what this means? It means that for the first year or so of my chess life, I've been studying positional play. (I stopped only when i noticed that no matter how good I am positionally, i wont come very far without being good also tactically, hence the circles)

Our very first teachers influence us in ways we don't notice ourself. It is only later through self-inspection, when we seek to analyze why we do the things we do that we understand. We understand that what we had been doing was precisely what was thought us by those very same teachers.

For example, I dislike sacrificing pawns for initiative. I try to keep the positions simple, I constantly try to prevent counter play.

When I asked myself, why am I like that? I imagined myself an "attacking" player. But when I analyzed, my games does not "feel" like an attacking game. Its a slow grind2x.. get small advantage here, build outpost there-type of game (See previous post Cheap Tactics)

When I first played chess and i had no knowledge of things, I'm sure i didn't feel this way. And you know how my site is named after an aggressive player, and to someone who had been reading my posts regularly, it would appear that I at least try to emulate him with all my talk about tactics and stuff...

But alas, what we want to do, and what we do are two separate things. Alas, Nezhmetdinov came too late to influence my play. It was Capablanca who came first, and Euwe and Stean. This chess trinity has influenced my play to such a degree that it would take significant amount of time to reverse it. I'm not even sure if it can be reversed.

If I could have gone back in time, I would give me a copy of Nezh's games along with a tactics book and say "Here, go through this tactics book 7 times, and then study these games." Then perhaps, i would had been the fearless slasher I thought I was. But its too late now (And too late that I noticed or my site would had been named "In Honor Of Stecapeuwe").

Perhaps later, ill evolve into that. But right now I have to be true to myself and accept the fact that the road I'm walking is different. Trying to put fire on board when my inner voice tells me to keep calm, keep calm, prepare and keep calm is a conflict I wish to avoid. If only for the sake of winning. Valor is no substitute for victory. I like the aesthetic side of chess too of course, but 80% of the reason I'm playing is for competitive reasons. That sense of blood pounding in my ears, my heart beating like a trapped butterfly, during a tense moment in a game. That is why I play chess.

I just want to win. And if it wins subverting my desires to do so. Then so be it.
posted by Nezha at 7:02 PM | Permalink | 1 comments
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
A Conversation
(Sidenote: If you are the type easily offended, please don't read this post)

(Only you plays in the background)

Kramnik: This is place is very beautiful.
Leko: Yeah, but we have to keep smiling like this for the reporters.
Kramnik: Yeah, but look over there. Mountains
Leko: Where?
Kramnik: There, outside the window. Do you like mountains Leko?
Leko: Yeah, my wife and I went on a trip once on the Himalayas.
Kramnik: Me too, but you have to be careful
Leko: Huh!? why?
Kramnik: I broke my back in a mountain once.
Leko: What!
Kramnik: I said I broke my back.
Leko: Oh, haha.. I thought you meant.. haha.. yeah.. that's a bummer..
.. (awkward silence)
Kramnik: So was it as good for you as it was for me?
Leko: What!?
Kramnik: Our games..
Leko: Oh haha.. i thought you said.. haha, but yeah i guess so..
Kramnik: So you were satisfied?
Leko: Uhmm.. uh, it was a draw but i-i guess so.. yeah..
.. (awkward silence)
Kramnik: Do you like me Leko?
Leko: what!?
Kramnik: I said do you liiiike me Lek0?
Leko: (Blinks)
Leko: ..
Kramnik: Now I'm hurt, just awhile ago you said you were satisfied.. but now you cant even answer
Leko: No wait you have to smile.. don't stand up.. yes, yes.. yes i like you..
Kramnik: Really?
Leko: yes i like you.. please sit down
Kramnik: Oh leko! you make me so happy. Hold my hand, hold me and never let this champion go.

(hat tip to
jeskeets for the idea)
posted by Nezha at 7:54 PM | Permalink | 0 comments
Monday, December 04, 2006
On Talent, On Openings Study (Dont!!!)
1. On talent

When I was a teenager, I liked girls. Well I still like them now, however that time I was broke. So I figured the only way I can impress them would be to study the guitar. I will buy love for a song I said to myself. Plus, I could dress like a homeless man, and people wouldn't care just because guitar players are expected to look like flood victims - this is very important as i had no money to buy expensive shirts. But the only problem is, I cant carry a tune. Cant figure out a song in my head. I couldn't even differentiate Do from Re. Took me ten years to achieve some sort of proficiency. But by that time, the girls don't want songs anymore. They want guys with car and bling2xs, and guys who try to serenade them with songs are now called "nerds". Go figure.

But there were guys who they just pick a guitar and immediately play something they've just heard. It was just amazing to me. Here I am studying scales and stuff, and this guy just plays it all from his head. That convinced me that there really is such a thing as "Talent". You can kill yourself trying to master something that for all intents and purposes flows like water in another..

Ok now, why am I telling you this? - its because of this comment

>you sound like a naturally very gifted chess player. impressive! thx, dk

Well I sure hope i have talent.. however, i cannot be considered as possessing as having an abundance. Most of that rating was earned via study. Specifically, studies of tactical exercises. The seven circles, CTS, puzzle books.. You name it. Then, here are some of the books I've read from cover to cover

1. Judgement and planning in chess - Euwe
2. Chess Fundamentals - Capablanca
3. Simple Chess - Stean
4. Fred Reinfeld book whose title i cant recall
5. Art of Checkmate - Georges Renaud, Victor Kahn
6. Art of chess combination - Eugene Znosko-Borovsky
7. Art of Attack - by Vladimir Vukovic

Plus a score of books Ive partially read. Title like "Tal's life and games", "Chess advantage in black and white", etc... etc.. I was solving chess puzzles while my wife was giving birth to our daughter.. She almost left me.. After that I've not dared solve puzzles in her presence..

(Sometimes, i wonder if all these hours I've spent in chess would had been better spent in something else. Like trying to get rich perhaps? So i can buy cars and bling2x so i can finally get the girls? haha..)

However - there is something that I've noticed from studying all those books. Some books I've felt like i was reading the secret to life.. However some books, particularly opening books, have had a very detrimental effect on my game.

This has led me to -

2. Why I don't study opening anymore

It is my whole hearted advice to a newbie, or to anyone with low enough rating to NOT study openings. You know why? Its because all those memorization of lines kills a players maturation of judgment and planning. Take me for example. Instead of thinking for myself, I've almost become a slave to variations.. My opponent will make some move which i think is weak, and I wouldn't care about it because its "not the main line". This line of thinking affected other areas of my play too. I was always constantly trying to steer the games into a variations that i know. And if it diverges, then i became lost.. And besides you cant shutdown your brain and start thinking only on move 10. A battle is won before it begins it was said. You walk into a battle sleepwalking and all you'll get is punch in the face i gather.

Also - You know, I've been thinking. What are opening variations but fragments of games played long ago. Of course it carries with it significant analysis but - why do i need to know if GM Kramniparov used the move order x,y,z in the Kan variation of the French defense to defeat GM Topalipov. Understanding another's thoughts is hard. Heck, sometimes I don't even know what I'm doing.

Then it occurred to me too - why am i following them? I've followed the government, my boss, sometimes even my wife. And then I'm gonna relax and play a game only to follow somebody there too? Why cant i live my own life in the board at least?

So screw that. I decided not to be peon anymore. I wont be a serf and follow another's lead. If I'm gonna win, it will not be because if followed a book. I will win with my own skill and my own way.

(Then, if you want I'll give you my winning games for you to follow. After all I won didn't I. Why don't you follow that variation I used? But that's silly right. I ain't no GM so why follow my opening repertoire. But then why does a "hypothetical" 1200 player follow a GM. To a 1200 player, does it really really make a difference whether you follow a 1700 player instead of a 2500 player? You know, we both can defeat a 1200 player easily so why pick one instead of the other. Is a GM win "better" than a 1700 win? Thats like trying to kill somebody. A 1700 might get in a single bullet, and a GM might pepper him with 100. But the end result is - he's dead. He cant be anymore dead from a single bullet than a hundred. And yes, its a bad analogy - but I feel you need to know these things..)

So I dropped any sort of opening study. Sure if I remember something that worked, ill try to use it. After all why throw knowledge away? Sometimes an opponent will catch me unaware in an opening trap. But its okay. Those times are few and far apart. Compared to what i think I gained, its no contest. - You know the other things that Ive been studying. The positional concepts like outposts, square strategy, etc.. etc.. Well I think I'm learning them more now because i am thinking about them from the beginning of the game. Like, instead of thinking about the book line, now i think "Hmm, lets see do I create an outpost, or do I use a white square strategy? hmm, how about this.. how about that..". Sometimes, i almost feel like a kid in a candy store when choosing the "lines".

Now of course I'm just 1700 alright. I might never improve from here on using "my system". But I am convinced that right now, at this very moment, studying endless variations is pointless. And don't worry, someday I'll teach you the nezha variation of (insert opening name here)

posted by Nezha at 11:06 PM | Permalink | 4 comments