The Chess Wanderer

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

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Chess time with significant other

This post was motivated by Don's post. I wanted to put together a little table of things to do to "buy" chess time with your significant other. The format of the list is:
(Item): (Item time) = (chess time)

Here's the list in no particular order:

1. Foot massage: 15 minutes = 2 to 3 hours

2. Going to in-laws for dinner: 1 minute = 55 seconds *

3. Going shopping: 1 minute = 45 seconds **

4. Playing video games: 1 minute = -1 minute

5. Watching a movie together: dependent on type of movie

6. Long walk on the beach: > 1 hour = 1 free day

7. Going out with her and her friends: 1 minute = 2 minutes

Hope this helps. Please feel free to add to or edit the list.

* Majority of time can be used at the in-laws for studying. This is good for two reason. 1. It gives her time to spend time with her family. 2. They will be impressed with your studiousness. The rest of the time is allotted for eating dinner together and the required small talk.

** Again, majority of time can be spent with a puzzle book just outside of the store or in the sitting area near the dressing rooms. Remaining time is used for commenting on outfits and general ego-stroking.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

And then there was the Sicilian

So there I was. Going through all the different responses to my opening. No problem. He takes, I take, he moves his bishop, I move my knight. I'm doing fairly well against live opponents too. Suddenly the computer program I was playing against decides to go c5. "Aw man. What is this? I thought the English was a White opening."

So I open the Fine book to the section about the English and read the following: "Then we have a Sicilian Defence with colours reversed...." So I ask the logical question. "What's a Sicilian?", turn to page 66 and am confronted with eight pages of variations and explanations. Suddenly I am reading words like "deliciously complicated" and "exciting variations". Oh great. So I guess I got my work cut out for me. The earliest my next T26 round would be held is Friday so I got a few days but that's if I neglect my problems which would help me for the match. I'll try to balance the time before then and do my best. Other than that I find studying openings to be quite fun. It's the same as memorizing master games, just that they are much shorter and variations play a bigger role.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More Chess Stuff?

I think I'm addicted to buying chess things. Um, I'm just going to blame it on Don since he's always buying stuff. Just look at this. I know what you are saying, it's a laptop, not a chess book or software, but my point is he bought it for doing chess problems.

Ok, so anyway, on the great advice of CD, I purchased Chess Mentor 3.0. And since I was buying $70 worth of software from them already, I threw in a copy of "The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings". I'll have to return it to the library eventually so might as well get my own copy. Great book BTW.

Monday, March 28, 2005

A New Beginning

My title is a little shout out to everyone in Hawaii. It was our current govenor's slogan for election.

I am also starting a new opening system since Saturday. After five months of playing the same opening I recently learned that I am doing the openings backwards. Heheh. Instead of starting with central occupation I was starting with central control which is what most people learn last. SO! I am now starting from the beginning. I'm using Fine's opening book and going from front to back. The first opening isn't the strongest opening for e4 but it is the easiest to learn and uses good opening concepts (except for bringing out the Queen too early). There are five variations that I memorized to give me a good base for most likely responses from people at my level (1300). I like the Fine book and am adding that to my next purchase list from Amazon. Currently I have it on loan from the library.

Like CelticDeath, I ran into rude people this weekend. One guy, attempting to be funny I guess, told me after my game "You have much to learn grasshopper" and disconnected. Yeah, like I never heard that one before. And this guy was only a low 1200 player.

I think I will be removing Jose from my blog too. It seems like he is more of a coach then a student. Which is fine with me, but if he is looking for students rather than wanting to learn then I think we are on different paths.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Jose's Blog

Ummm. Does Jose sell chess pieces or something? I notice he has been posting commercials for chess sets lately.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Round 2

Hee hee! The other guy got robbed. Play out the game to see why. I was able to achieve the draw because of my endgame studies.

[Event "Team 45 45 League T26"]
[Site "Free Internet Chess Server"]
[Date "2005.03.25"]
[Round "2"]
[White "maglover"]
[Black "PawnSensei"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "1527"]
[BlackElo "1404"]
[TimeControl "2700+45"]
1. c4 d6 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O e5 7. d3 Nc6 8. Be3Bg4 9. Qd2 Bxf3 10. Bxf3 Nd4 11. Bxb7 Rb8 12. Bg2 Qd7 13. h3 Nh5 14. b3 f5 15.Bxd4 exd4 16. Nd5 f4 17. Nxf4 Nxf4 18. gxf4 Bh6 19. e3 Bg7 20. Rae1 Rbe8 21.exd4 Bxd4 22. Rxe8 Rxe8 23. Re1 Rf8 24. Re4 Qg7 25. Qe2 Qf6 26. Qg4 h5 27. Qd7Bb6 28. Qe6+ Qxe6 29. Rxe6 Kg7 30. Re4 Kf6 31. d4 c6 32. d5 cxd5 33. cxd5 Bc534. Re6+ Kf5 35. Be4+ Kxf4 36. Kg2 Kg5 37. Rxg6+ Kh4 38. f3 Rc8 39. f4 Bb4 40.f5 Rc2+ 41. Bxc2 a5 42. f6 a4 43. bxa4 Bc3 44. f7 Bg7 45. Rxg7
{Game drawn bystalemate} 1/2-1/2

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Internet Chess Club

I haven't been as diligent on studying my problems lately. I've been preoccupied with playing long games on ICC. I've gotten my rating up to around 1329 yesterday (down from a high of 1343).

I did have a chance to play Margriet a couple of days ago. She mated me in around 20 moves. So that brings my record up to 0 and 3 against my fellow knights so far. Hey, I never said I was good did I?

Monday, March 21, 2005

Interesting week

What an interesting week for chess. I was sick most of the time but still managed to get my rating on ICC up to 1299 last night. I hope to break the 1300 barrier some time today. I have a feeling I will top out somewhere around 1350 because my opponents are getting to the point where I am 50/50 against them.

After my frustration with losing won endgames I went to Dr. Fritz and asked him for help. I gave him some of the endings that I should have won and played them out until I won them consistently. I also went back to my $1 copy of Reinfeld and drilled the diagrams in the basic ending strategy section. It has already paid off in at least two of my games. One was a Rook and King vs King ending with me on the losing side. My opponent offered a draw after being unable to checkmate me. Knowing the basic ideas helped me to play the most difficult moves for him. Another ending was a pawn ending where I had the extra pawns. Again using the stuff I learned from the Reinfeld book I was able to grind down my opponent and avoid stupid mistakes to squeak out the win. The coolest part happened when one of the diagrams I was working on actually showed up in one of my games!

I'm still drilling diagrams from Winning Chess Tactics. It has been a big help and boost to my confidence in my games. I still need to go through them a few more times to drill them into my head since I regularly miss a few of them, and I'm not up to the point where I can do them all in 30 seconds or less, but I feel like I am on the right track with tactics right now. I've let my drills slip though. I gotta get back to doing the circles and knight sights. The knight sights have especially helped in avoiding stupid knight forks. I don't fear a far advanced knight like I used to. Most times I can chase them back to where they came from without much problem. Now the Queen and Bishop, they are another story.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

My hardest fought game to date

Wow, this one was a killer. It took at least an hour and a half to play. I was up material with a good position but made mistakes toward the end. I'm not sure if I was getting tired or something. It was a great game and we agreed to play again the next time we meet. Man, I need to take a nap now!

[Event "ICC 30 25"]
[Date "2005.03.20"]
[White "PawnSensei"]
[Black "wiggley"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ICCResult "Black resigns"]
[WhiteElo "1290"]
[BlackElo "1229"]
[Time "15:58:00"]
[TimeControl "1800+25"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 e6 4. O-O c5 5. d3 Nc6 6. c4 dxc4 7. dxc4 Be7 8.Nc3 Rb8 9. Qxd8+ Bxd8 10. Nd2 Bd7 11. Rd1 O-O 12. Nde4 h6 13. Nxc5 Be8 14.N3e4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Be7 16. Bf4 Rc8 17. Nxb7 Nb4 18. Nd6 Rc5 19. b3 Bc6 20.a3 Bxe4 21. Nxe4 Rc6 22. axb4 Rb6 23. Rxa7 Bxb4 24. Bd2 Bxd2 25. Nxd2 Rd626. c5 Rd5 27. c6 Rc8 28. c7 Rd7 29. b4 Rdxc7 30. Rxc7 Rxc7 31. b5 Rd7 32.b6 Kh7 33. Rc1 Rxd2 34. b7 Rb2 35. Rc7 Kg6 36. f4 Kf6 37. Kf2 Rb3 38. h4 Kg639. e3 f5 40. Kf3 Kf6 41. h5 g6 42. hxg6 Kxg6 43. g4 h5 44. gxf5+ exf5 45.Rc6+ Kh7 46. Rf6 Rxb7 47. Rxf5 Kg6 48. Rg5+ Kh6 49. Kg3 Rb3 50. Re5 Kg6 51.Kh4 Rc3 52. Rxh5 Rxe3 53. Kg4 Re4 54. Rg5+ Kf6 55. Rf5+ Kg6 56. Ra5 Rb4 57.Ra6+ Kf7 58. Kg5 Rb5+ 59. f5 Re5 60. Ra7+ Kf8 61. Kf6 Rb5 62. Ra8+{Black resigns}1-0

Saturday, March 19, 2005

My First Round Game

Comments and suggestions most welcome.

[White "PawnSensei"]
[Black "Triplea"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1383"]
[BlackElo "1306"]
[TimeControl "2700+45"]
1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 Nc6 4. O-O e5 5. d3 Bf5 6. Nbd2 Bd6 7. b3 O-O 8.Bb2 Re8 9. h3 e4 10. Nh4 Be5 11. Bxe5 Rxe5 12. Nxf5 Rxf5 13. dxe4 dxe4 14.Nxe4 Rd5 15. Nxf6+ gxf6 16. Bxd5{Triplea resigns} 1-0

Friday, March 18, 2005

T26 Round 1

Had my first game in the Team 45 45 Tournament 26 last night. My opponent did really well until the last combination and resigned after the 16th move.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Got a mean case of the "sniffles" on Sunday. I've been out of commission for the last two days.

Had a nice chat with TS and Margriet though. I even met up with TS in the ICQ chatroom in the Knights Errant ICQ site. Did you guys know that TS and Margriet are married? I never did figure out that when Margriet was talking about her husband that she meant TS. But I'm usually slow to catch on to those things. It must be nice to be a chess-playing couple. I'm trying to get my girlfriend to play but I highly doubt it will work.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

By popular demand!

Here is a great game ..... that I lost (in PGN format).

Unknown Unfriendly Foe vs PawnSensei
1. e4 d6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bc4 Bg7 5. Ng5 O-O 6. Bxf7+ Rxf7 7. Nxf7Kxf7 8. Nd5 Nxd5 9. exd5 b6 10. Qf3+ Kg8 11. O-O Bb7 12. c4 Nd7 13. d3 Ne514. Qe4 a6 15. Bd2 b5 16. Bc3 e6 17. f4 exd5 18. cxd5 Nd7 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rae1 Nc5 21. Qd4+ Qf6 22. Qxf6+ Kxf6 23. Rf3 Bxd5 24. Rfe3 Bxa2 25. d4 Nd726. Re7 Nf8 27. Rxc7 Ne6 28. Rxh7 Nxd4 29. g3 Nf3+ 30. Kf2 Nxe1 31. Kxe1Rd8 32. Ra7 Bb3 33. Rxa6 Kg7 34. Rb6 d5 35. Rxb5 Bc4 36. Rb7+ Kh6 37. b3Ba6 38. Rb6 Bc8 39. Rb8 d4 40. Kd2 d3 41. b4 Kh5 42. Rb5+ Bf5 43. h3 Kh644. g4 Be4 45. Re5 Rd4 46. b5 Rd5 47. Rxe4 g5 48. Re6+ Kg7 49. fxg5 Rxg550. b6 Rd5 51. b7 Rd8 52. Re7+ Kf8 53. Rc7 Rb8 54. Rc8+ Rxc8 55. bxc8=Q+{PawnSensei resigns} 1-0

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Am I the only one that is struggling with my endgame? I mean seriously. So many times I am up material and my opponent wears me down in the endgame. I just finished a game where the other guy blundered both rooks for a knight and a bishop plus I had a passed pawn on the d file. I should have had that one right? I freakin lost! There is nothing more dissappointing for me then to be winning the majority of the game and the lose in the endgame. What's the freakin point if you can get all that way and then lose the game!? Do you remember the scene in Real Genius where they are studying for finals and one guy gets up and starts screaming his head off? That's how I feel right now.

All hail the conquering hero!

He did it, he really did it! Don completed the 7 Circles as written by De La Maza! I toasted a beer in his honor. I didn't have any Arrogant Bastard laying around so I settled for a Miller Light. If you haven't already done so mosey on down to his blog.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Game On

So we got our team together for T26. Should be fun. Like usual I am the lowest rated player so I get last seed. Looks like my rating is going to settle down around the 1500 mark. I would be happy with that especially since I thought I was going to be stuck at 1350. Who knows, maybe endgame study will give me another 100 points?

Didn't get much studying done over the weekend. I did complete WCT for the second time through and am now going through just the diagrams and tests to really burn in the 13 tactics mentioned in the book. Wild noticed that I am thinking about all tactics right now. He says that's why I am having a hard time coming up with a plan for the endgame. I didn't realize it until he mentioned it but I do look for all the tactics in each position and get lost when there is no readily apparent one. Hopefully going through Winning Chess Endings will help me to get a better handle on that part of my game. I have to set a stricter time limit on my different studies because it is too easy to get lost in doing only tactics. I have to admit it is the most fun part about chess.

I hope you have been following Don's blog lately. He is on his last circle!! Boy, it seemed like only yesterday that I joined up and he is already completing the program. Way to go Don!

Finally, we heard back from GeneralKaia. He is doing good and concentrating on other things at the moment. Track and basically having a life. Ah, to be young again!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Calling all Knights!

Hey guys and gal. We need two more players for our FICS Team 45 45 team. The next tourney starts soon and we need two more people by next week. Our team name will be DeLaMaza in honor of the man himself. We will be in the U1600 section. If we don't get anyone we will pick from the remaining list on Team 45 45 but we wanted to have other De La Maza followers. Thanks!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Why are you taking so long?!

Finally got my replacement mobo up and running last night and it's running like a champ! Good to have the 'ol puter back. I'm not complaining about my laptop but it's not even in the same league as my desktop. It was taking about five minutes to load Fritz on that little thing. Poor guy.

Played two games on FICS last night. It was against the same guy but he did so bad in the first game that he wanted a rematch. I try not to turn down rematch requests if I win the first one because I always play the same opening and if the other guy/gal has a new idea on how to beat it I want to see it so I can add that to my toolbox.

However, during the second game I got the dreaded "Why are you taking so long on this move?!" Note the exclamation point. I felt bad so I explained that I just started in November and I'm not good enough to see the answers to most positions yet, blah, blah, blah. So after appologizing I made my moves in 15 seconds or less and basically threw the game in a couple of minutes (this was confirmed by Fritz in the post-mortem). I don't think he meant to win that way but as a beginner, I don't know about how you guys were, I am very sensitive to the "taking a long time" thing. I know I'm not as fast as most people at my rating level, and because of that it is sometimes hard to find people willing to play games with me. Do you think a 1900 player wants to lose their edge by playing a 1500 player? Anyway, just another road bump on the path of a beginner.

Also played a few games on Pogo. Good grief the endgame is agonizing! I was up a bunch of material but still couldn't checkmate the guy. He finally resigned after I queened one of my pawns. To me it is really embarassing to play a tough game all the way to the end and then flounder around in the endgame. I can't wait to go through "Winning Chess Endings".

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Steinitz the Bohemian Caesar

Every night before bedtime I read the Steinitz biography for a half hour or so. The more I read about him, the more I like him as a person and as a player. I feel like my personality is a lot like his. He wasn't very popular among his peers and the press but it doesn't seem like he meant to offend people. He just lacked a softer touch.

Yesterday was an off day for tactics. I seem to be stuck on chapter 5, King Tactics. The funny thing is I'm going through the puzzles only for the third time and I am seeing LESS than I saw on the firt time through. Does that happen to anyone else?

Won my nightly FICS game last night. It wasn't my best game but it did include a Queen sacrifice and a back rank mate.

I have been thinking about hiring a chess coach to help me along the way. I'm not sure if I should wait till after the 10 circles or do it now? I'm afraid that if I hire the coach now that I won't have time to do my homework on top of the program. On the flip side I need help identifying and fixing my weak areas. Has anyone else used a coach before?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Did we lose another one?

Is GK coming back from his Tournabout? I haven't heard a peep from him in a while. I hope Cupid didn't get to him. I hear that little bas*#$d has ruined many a potential GM. If you are reading this, run GK! Run for your life!

I'm still going through WCT even though I said I would be done by now. Go figure. Went home to visit for the weekend so didn't get much studying done. I did learn one thing though. I have uncles that play chess, but I still haven't found anyone in my family who can beat me yet. Isn't chess supposed to be hereditary? Oh well, the search continues. I did notice that WCT has helped me to see which exchanges I can win a piece. Prior to reading the book I would constantly go through an exchange and end up on the short end, not knowing how I lost the extra piece.

Something else that I found interesting about the puzzles. On the second time through I can solve more of them, and solve them quicker, however, if I don't read the description of the puzzle then it becomes MUCH harder to solve because I have to figure out what theme the position is about. On one puzzle I calculated down the completely wrong path and wasted five minutes doing so. That was unreal. I could just imagine doing that during a game and wasting all that time.

I did win my game on FICS today which brought my spirits up. I didn't make any blunders and slowly whittled away at the other guy's pieces. I think the main difference was that he moved too fast and overlooked some of my threats. The bad part is I suspect I am missing some mating patterns. I'll run the game through Fritz to see if he sees anything.