The Chess Wanderer

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

Monday, February 28, 2005

Anyone Interested in STC chess?

We are trying to get a team together for the next FICS Team 45 45 tournament which starts in March. We need one more person but can have up to three more people. The team captain is thinking about naming the team DeLaMaza. Let me know ASAP because I think the deadline is the 6th.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

First Shipment

"King Lear with a touch of Don Quixote. His life combined tragedy and drama. Patches of glory and matching periods of suffering were sprinkled with doughty battles, sometimes against imaginary targets." - Ken Whyld (speaking about William Steinitz)

Got my first shipment in today. It included "William Steinitz, Chess Champion" and "Pawn Structure Chess". I bought the first book because I wanted to learn more about my favorite player and the second book will be a bookshelf paper-weight until I am good enough to make use of it.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Welcome to Nezha and Blue Rook to the group.

Question. Do you guys and gal want to keep the ICQ group? If not I can just cancel it. I think we only have about 6 out of the 17 Knights plus one reporter signed up. We also haven't had a meeting in over a month I believe. Just wondering.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I Have Been Dubbed

Don has dubbed me The Fair Knight. He says it's because I'm courteous. I guess I have to watch the swear words from now on. Here is what I found in the dictionary on the word "fair".

(adj) Visually appealing
(adj) Of no exceptional quality or ability
(adj) Attractively feminine

Ok, don't get the wrong ideas guys. I'm not "that" kind of man. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Hey, I got picked for a team! Yay for me. They are called the Pomaranch Team. I forgot what it means though. Something about the color of the flag. They are Ukrainian. I know, I know, I'm not Ukrainian but I guess they needed another guy with a low rating to help bring down the average. We will be in the U1600 section in FICS. I'm looking forward to the tournament.

Funny story about the team captain. He contacts me in FICS and I am chatting with him. He tells me there is this tip that he thinks is the best for chess improvement. I'll give you three guesses what that tip was and the first two don't count. Yup that's right. "400 Points in 400 Days" baby! He is on day 39 if I remember correctly. So I send him to my blog and he is all stoked about it. What are the odds? I told him to see Don if he ever considers blogging his experiences.

Lastly, a new thought on chess study. Endings should be studied in the beginning. The Russians believed this and they drill the young students in endings from the start. They believe that the best time to learn endings is when your mind is young and you absorb more. That is the one area of chess that remains static. Even our board drills is a form of endgame study. We are learning how a queen is best positioned against a lone king and a major or minor piece. Another advantage is you get to see how a piece works when it has the use of the whole board. What it can and can not do. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Please Don't Tell My Girlfriend

I just bought $120 worth of chess books from Amazon. Two of them were library binding so they were damn expensive. She would kill me if she finds out. I hope she doesn't sign for them when they arrive. At least I put them in two different shipments so hopefully they won't arrive at the same time.

I like CD's post on OCD. I think good chess players need to have a little of it or they wouldn't keep at it. It takes a different person to do chess problem after chess problem and never get enough. I forgot which one of the knights said it but they did something like 15,000 problems in the last year or so! Can you imagine if we all did that many math problems? We would be living on the moon right about now. I'm having a hard time concentrating on work though, my mind keeps wandering to mating patterns and clearance sacs.

I'm still working on tactics but I really need to get cracking on "Winning Chess Endings", my games keep falling apart toward the endgame because I am at a loss for moves. I usually shuffle my rooks around and Fritz gets all pissy on me for that. I'm taking a DLM approach to "Winning Chess Tactics" now. I re-read three chapters at a time then I go back and only do the diagrams. So far so good, only missed two problems and it takes me a lot faster to recognize the themes this time around. I think it helps that I used a day to memorize the different motifs mentioned in the book (Double Attacks, Pins, Skewers, King Tactics, Deflection, Open Files and Diags, Pawn Tactics, Decoys, Clearance Sacrifices, X-Rays, Windmills, Zuschwizug, Types of Draws). Recognizing the different themes is becoming second nature to me now. I surprised one of my opponents at the chess club because I didn't fall for his deflection tactic that he must have thought was cleverly hidden. It shouldn't take me longer than a couple of days to go through the book in this fashion. Then I plan to tackle the endings book before going into Don's 10-Circles of Hell program.

Finally, they say you should pick a hero and I've decided to pick Steinitz. I like his style of play and I want to model my playing style after his.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

More Welcomes

Welcome to Fatboy, Margriet (our very first Lady Knight!), Desperate Measures, and Takchess! Wow. Please remember to join our ICQ group everyone.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Welcome to Chess Club

Decided to go to one of the chess clubs last night to see where my current OTB skills are at. It was interesting to say the least.

First had to take a one hour and fifteen minute bus ride then walk about a half mile to a mile to get to the rec center. I played three games. My first game was a loss to a high schooler who was quite helpful in giving me tips on improving. The second game was more interesting. Did you ever see the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer"? My second opponent was the Laurence Fishburne character from that movie. He kept on saying things like "Oh look at this guy! He is on the attack! Oh, I'm starting to get nervous.", and all the while smacking his lips when he is moving his pieces. Quite intriguing.

My last game was against a more serious opponent who thought long and hard on every move like me. I won the last game and the guy felt we were about the same level. He said his rating is around 1350 or so. That was nice to hear. He was also the most help on giving me advice on how to go about the local tournaments as well as entering other state tourneys. Overall it was a good learning experience but I don't think it is worth it to go more than once every three months or so. At least not until I complete the 7-Circles program. It was my first time watching a blitz game too. Now that was amazing.

My new set from Wholesale Chess was a big hit. Everyone commented on how nice the pieces were. That may have been a bad thing though. I notice that OTB chess players tend to take their chess games more personally than online guys.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Another One

Lost another one to FICS. I thought I had this solid 1800 player but then I missed the disc check to lose my queen and I think it was the turning point in the game. I felt like I was doing really good up till then, and I held on all the way to the end with a rook vs queen ending and him up a pawn or two. I feel that if I concentrate hard on tactics and endgame for the next month or so I can bump my game up a notch. Might as well too since my Seirawan endgame book came in from Amazon. I think I will stop blogging for a while so I'll let you guys know how I did when I get back. Wish me luck! Oh, and let me know on ICQ if you guys hold a meeting, I wouldn't want to miss that. PS out.

No Title

"Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight -- how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly." - Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Interesting weekend. I was 4 and 1 on Saturday and 1 and 4 on Sunday. The good news is I got over 20 games now and I almost have my RD below 80. I can enter Team 45 45 now. I wonder if it's too late to get on a team? I really felt dissappointed with my games on Sunday because it's not that I lost, but that I should have won most of those games if not for my last minute blunders. Again my rook handling was one of the culprits. But aside from that I was getting excellent position because my opponents were letting me control the center even though my opening puts me at least a tempo behind.

On another note, it's funny to analyze my games with Fritz. Does your program tell you that you are an idiot too?

"Now why did you do that?" "Haha, gave away a winning position!" "Stupid, just plain stupid."

Heh, just kidding of course, but that's what it feels like. At least the program has the decency to explain what you should have done. It's been a great help with analyzing my mistakes.

Yesterday reviewed my drills and studied openings for about an hour.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Circle 0 Day 7

It's not looking good folks. I started the first of the three tests in the back of Seirawan's book, which is supposed to be the easiest of the three, and I only got half of them correct. At this rate I won't score enough to warrant starting CT Art yet. I'm expecting that the table in the back of the book will tell me that I need to read the book over again. Oh well. Stay tuned. It looks like it will take me another two or three days to finish all of the tests then I'll post my final score. BTW, it takes me up to 15 minutes to answer a question so my score may be a little higher than it would be if I only took 10 minutes to answer each one.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Circle 0 Day 6

Okay, this is starting to get crazy. We picked up three more knights yesterday! We are really starting to become big. I hope we can eventually start a Team 45 45 and enter the tournaments. We already have a name, all we need to do is sign up a captain. If we do, I nominate Don, but that's a no brainer.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Welcome to Celtic Death, Temposchlucker, and Fussy Lizzard to the Knights. You are joining a great group of guys. I just joined in December but already I've gotten a lot of good tips and they help to keep me on the straight and narrow. If you have a couple of hours to kill one day maybe you can go through my old posts. Be farwarned, it ain't short! Also, be sure to click on the link on my blog to join our ICQ group. We have been trying to start meeting regularly on Sundays at 6pm PST but it hasn't happened yet. If you have been following the blogs we did have one meeting at Pogo a couple of weeks ago. Again, welcome to the Knights!

Completed chapter 12 last night (big deal, it was two feakin pages), and half way through chapter 13. I was planning on doing the test tonight but it may not happen. Played another game on FICS and won. Got my opponent into a bishop vs rook endgame and he resigned. My rating is starting to stabilize at around 1350 or so. I would be happy with that. Only nine more games before I can sign up for Team 45 45. I hope I can keep my rating above 1300 when I reach my 20 games.

Monday, February 07, 2005

No Tactics Today

The title says it all. I read a little from Reinfeld and played one game 20/5 on FICS but that's it.

I was really happy with my play on FICS today. My positions were solid and I was eventually able to take his rook and put myself 5 points up. I then created an open A file which brought my Queen rook to the 7th for a mating attack on the unprotected king.

I found my current weakness to be my rook handling. If I can better handle my rooks my game would even out somewhat. When I ran one of my lost games through Fritz I noticed that I am giving up good rook positions because I am at a loss for moves. Does anyone have tips on how to improve in that area?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Circle 0 Day 5

Finished chapters 10 and 11. Only two more to go. I will probably finish tomorrow then take the test on Tuesday. Reviewed the concentric circles and knight sight and reviewed the Tartakover game. I didn't realize that I had forgotten the two GM games I memorized last month. I have to make it a point to review each game at least once a month. I plan to add at least one more game to my list.

Went 1 and 1 today on FICS. I won the first game because my oponent made a mouse slip at a crucial point near the endgame and resigned. My second game was going well all the way up to the last couple of moves. I was up material and had a good position but I panicked and made the wrong moves with my rooks. Fritz confirmed this in the postmortem. BTW, it was my first time using Fritz and that program is hella fun. Don was right, it's like having a pro for a friend who will analyze games with you any time you feel like it. Best $10 I ever spent!

I watched Pogo and ICQ from 6pm PST just in case anyone showed up. While I was waiting I sat in a lecture for hypermodern tactics. Pretty interesting stuff. I also listened to a lecture on bughouse. Bughouse sounds like fun but I think I'll stick to my standard time controls until I get the hang of standard chess. It sounds like you can easily pick up some bad habits if you play too much bughouse.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Circle 0 Day 4

Finished chapters 8 and 9 today. Only four more chapters to go before the final test in the book. After that it's on to CT Art if I do ok on the test. I still haven't heard back from all of the knights for our ICQ group so it looks like we will be meeting at Pogo again if at all. I hope someone shows up so I can at least get a game in. The poll on the ICQ site has two votes for 6pm PST but since half of the knights aren't even registered for the group......

I was able to meet with my coach on Thursday. He recommended I stick with tactics for now. He analyzed my game and wants me to practice my counter-attack and full development. He noticed that I have a tendency to start an attack prematurely, and I need a stronger counter when my oponents aim for my kingside.

Still losing every game but my game tightens up a little bit more every time so it's bearable. I want to start entering online leagues but I don't feel comfortable being on a team yet. I don't feel like I could contribute significantly enough. Maybe one of these days the knights might want to create a 45 45 team. I probably won't be playing much but I make a pretty decent benchwarmer!

I still haven't started making a weekly training schedule. I hope I can sit my butt down and do that tomorrow. I mean, how hard is it to write down: Monday - Chapter 11, Tuesday - Chapter 12, etc.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Sorry Guys

Dude, I got smashed around the boards today. I went 1 and 4. I'm really starting to get POed with myself. I think I'm rushing things too much. My rating on FICS is now 1124 or somewhere around that. If I keep this up I'll drop below 1000. Now that is just sad. I wish I could meet with my coach to go over my weak spots but I haven't seen him on for the last two weeks or so. Oh well. I'll keep trudging along until something clicks I guess. I'll finish up chapter seven by the end of today. Dang I'm so POed! *grunt*

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Circle 0 Day 3

Finished chapter six of Seirawan's book. Good stuff man! Chapter six was especially enlightening for me. It opened my eyes to some of the possibilities I have been missing and where I get into trouble in my own games. I tend to overwork my pieces by giving them multiple tasks and this chapter showed me why I get punished for doing so. I'm afraid to take the test at the end of the book because it may tell me I have to read it over again. Oh well, que sera sera I guess.

If you have time go read Don and Sancho's blogs. They have taken great pains to detail their recommendations on modifying the 7-Circles program. Since they have gone before us I think it would be well worth your time to see what they have to say if you are considering starting the program too.

Generalkaia also mentioned a reporter from Chessville contacting him to write an article about us. I really hope that they do. If you have been following my blogs, the articles that I talk about are from their website. The two writers that I especially like are Tom Rose and S. Evan Kreider. If you have even more time you should mosey on down to their website and check out their articles. Very easy reading and shouldn't take too much of your time. They have recommendations for books to read as well as software to use.