The Chess Wanderer

"Les pions sont l´âme du jeu" Francois-André Philidor, 1749

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Ok, if anyone wants a friendly game I have been frequenting the Chess boards on MSN Game Zone. My handle is currently PawnSensei_NE. The NE stands for Knights Errant (using the Algebraic notation for Knight). Please tell me what you think about the NE. If it sounds corny I'll change it to something else. Or do you think KE sounds better? I'm also thinking about using the same nick on other chess sites too. Anyway, see you around the boards!

Micro Drills Day 10

Did two concentric circles today. Also had a couple of games on the MSN Zone. I think I lost all of them.

First time playing a quick game (5 mins) and ran out of time. Then tried a 10 min game and ran out of time again. I really have to practice my clock management. Anyway, I can't practice De La Maza's method of 2 mins per move with those types of games.

Borrowed two books from the library. Winning Chess Tactics by Seirawan and 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate by Reinfeld. I really like Seirawan's books. His style is easy to follow and reader friendly. The current opening that I am using comes from his book on openings.

My trip is tomorrow so I'll have to take my crappy travel board with me. It will probably slow my drills down but I am resolved to continue during my vacation. My family will probably think I am nuts. Which reminds me. My co-worker who I told about my chess hobby called me a nerd the other day. I wonder if others will respond the same?

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Micro Drills Day 9

Ok, breezed through the drills today. I think it only took a half hour this time. I'm really looking forward to the Knight Sight. I could really use that in my games.

Feeling a little better today. Went in to work but could hardly talk. My boss told me not to come in tomorrow so I'll be staying home. Have to get ready for my family trip on Friday anyway.

Does anyone have suggestions/opinions for magnetic travel boards? I seen a couple on ChessExpress. For my trip the only thing I have to take with me is a decrepit magnectic board with flat checker-like pieces. The thing looks like it was from the 1970's. It's even held together with electric tape. Not really good for doing drills or analysis IMO.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Micro Drills Day 8

I feel better today. Only a mild sore throat and some coughing. The headache pretty much went away.

Concentric Circles went smoothly today. I don't think I missed any and I don't get stuck at any point. I'm starting to feel comfortable with my board sight. I can even see forks that I wouldn't see before (but I'm not always good enough to stop them though).

I spent another training session with the Grizzly's. Those guys are terrific. One of the senior grizzly's (I assume he is senior because most of the other people were familiar with him), spent a lot of time with me going over my opening and a lot of tactics. I was also able to get in a couple of games today and did ok. I'm not happy with my play yet but it's getting better. I think after going through my first circle I'll have more ideas for different positions. Hopefully anyway. One note. One guy called me a rato charo. Does anyone know what that means in spanish?

Man, I'm getting addicted to chess. Usually I burn out after a couple of months of anything though so we'll see how long I can stick with it.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Micro Drills Day 7

Oh man, woke up with a killer sore throat and a headache this morning. Managed to struggle through my Concentric Circles but not without a few breaks. I'm getting faster and I only miss a couple now.

Got accepted to the Knights Errant today so I'll be running with the pack now. Glad to be with a group of guys with the same goals. Kind of like a chess support group. Sounds like I am the least experienced of the group though.

My chess hoby is starting to get in the way of my relationship. The better-half was bugging me over the weekend because I spent the better part of Sunday working on my Circles and surfing chess websites. I wonder if it's true what the say about chess ruining relationships?

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Micro Drills Day 6

Day 6 of my micro drills but the first time I am doing them correctly. It took a little while to get used to, but the patterns were pretty much the same. My chess board is becoming a permanent fixture on the living room floor. I may need to start considering getting a table or something.

I was introduced to a chess group called The Grizzly Chess Club today. They are a group on MSN that gets together at the MSN Chess Zone to fellowship. (Side note: I really like the watch and teaching feature of Chess Zone but the interface is horrible. For example the Bishop looks like the Pawn. Using Winboard is much nicer.) I met McRad and Wild1 from that group and they were very helpful and friendly. They spent about an hour or so with me and analyzed my opening play and gave me tips on how to keep my tempo up. Great people IMO.

Bought a used copy of The Complete Chess Player by Fred Reinfeld for $1. It's pretty busted up but what can you get for $1 now days? I'm still looking for a used copy of Winning Chess Openings by Yasser Seirawan and 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate, but am in no rush since I still have three books on strategy from the library and most of my time is taken up by the De La Maza program.

My girlfriend's cousin, who is 8, is getting pretty good at chess. I taught him how to play about a month ago and he hasn't played more than a dozen games or so but he is already starting to understand basic tactics. He memorized the first four moves of the Ruy and practices king safety. That's a heck of a lot more than I knew at his age. I'm a terrible teacher though so if he starts getting serious he will probably need real instruction. I also notice he doesn't like taking things seriously so he jumps around and sings while we are playing. He gets bored easily so we'll see how long he keeps interested.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Beginning

Welcome to my blog. This is the first time I am doing something like this so please bear with me. I was inspired to create this blog after stumbling upon the Errant Knights on the ChessNinja boards. I found them by entering 400 Points in 400 Days in google after being five days into the De La Maza program. After reading Pale Morning Dun's blog I also discovered, to my horror, that I have been doing the Conc. Circles wrong! I will be continuing with Day 6 but will be starting the correct way from now.

I learned chess in grade school but didn't learn all the rules (such as en passant) until after college. I only started playing on a regular basis about a couple of months ago. Never joined a chess club or played in a tournament so I don't have a rating or anything cool like that. Hopefully with this program I can start to play more serious chess. I am currently waiting for my copy of CT-Art to arrive in the mail.

I use a standard vinyl roll-up board and plastic club pieces. With the Circles I tend to slam my white queen on the squares as I do the exercises. I noticed a funny side effect that developed. I started to slam objects down on the counter such as Tylenol containers.

Micro Drills Day 5 of 28