The Chess Wanderer

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Going forward

Hello world! Back from my sniffles adventure. Hope everyone is doing fine.

During the break I had some time to reflect on this past year, my first year in chess. Here is what I have figured out so far.

1. I've run out of things to say. I think in the beginning everything was so new and there were a lot of decisions to make. Every turn had new possibilities. Now that I've got my first year under my belt I feel confident that I know where I'm going and I know, fairly well, how to get there. Now comes the hard part of the journey. I must roll up my sleeves and tread that long and difficult path.

2. ICC really is that good. I've played on a fair number of internet chess sites (MSN, Yahoo, Pogo, FICS, Playchess, ChessAtWork) and ICC has been the cream of the crop. Once I got over their ugly interface things really started rolling. It's the only place I play now. I can usually find a 30 30 game within five to ten minutes, whereas on FICS I could wait more than half an hour to get a game longer than G20.

3. I suck at speed chess. I've honestly tried to like it. I spent about a month playing nothing but quick time controls, but I just couldn't get into it. Even when I won I didn't really feel like I got much out of it. I'll probably play a quick game here and there in the future but I know I won't really care about the outcome and therefore not play my best.

4. Blogs are great. But they are written more for other people than yourself. Blogs != Diary. It took me a while to realize this. I guess in our disconnected society (I'm talking about the U.S.) this medium is the new way of reaching out to people. Let's face it. I wouldn't have met the great people I've met this last year if it wasn't for this blog.

5. I *heart* master games. I really didn't appreciate them in the beginning, mainly because I don't understand a lot of the moves they make, but once my coach taught me how to go through them I was immediately hooked. I currently use my Palm Pilot with Pocket Chess Deluxe to review games and I take it practically everywhere with me.

So that was '05. Here is my study plan for '06.

1. Play at least one 30 30 game every day.
2. Go through at least one master game a day.
3. Review Winning Chess Tactics once a quarter.
4. Review first 450 problems in Polgar's book once a month.
5. Complete Chess Tactics for Beginners.

And that's it. Posting will probably become very infrequent from here on (besides a couple that I have stored up), mainly due to the fact that the above study plan isn't supposed to change much over the next year. If I can master the tactical material then I'll post an update to the plan.


At 1/18/2006 10:58 AM, Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

So how should you go through Master games?

At 1/18/2006 10:29 PM, Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Hey Ed,

Sorry, didn't mean to make it sound like something special. The main thing is to not spend too much time trying to figure out and dissect each move. Also, he told me to play from the winner's side. That's pretty much it.

I used to agonize over each move and would spend way too long on each game. At my level I won't understand most of the moves in each game but the main thing is to get a feel for good moves.


At 1/18/2006 11:47 PM, Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1/18/2006 11:51 PM, Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

And i didn't mean to make it sound like you were saying something we are all allready aware of. It was a serious question. Because i find that going over Master games is pretty difficult. While Masters themselves make it look so easy. You know what i find the most difficult moves to understand (though lately i am starting to see some meaning to them sometimes)? When one Master or the other all of a sudden pushes his a2 or h2 pawn to a4 or h4 out of the blue.

But hey! Thank's for the input ;)

At 1/19/2006 8:22 AM, Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Oh, those pawn pushes are my favorite. I don't know about the a or h pawns though but I love when masters push their pawns with tempo backed up by the bishops or queen on the home row. I've been able to use that a couple of times in my games and Sancho even saw me use it once.


At 1/19/2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Sounds like a good plan. I, too will be working on Chess Tactics for Beginners as well as Sierewan.

What is special about the first 450 problems in the Polgar tome? Are those the elementary checkmates? If so, perhaps I'll make a habit of it too!

At 1/19/2006 3:33 PM, Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Hey BD,

I wouldn't say they were elementary checkmates. They are mostly composed one and two move mate problems. The idea is to learn how each of the pieces work and how they coordinate together. If you want to learn elementary checkmates I would recommend "How to Beat Your Dad at Chess".

BTW, my CTFB is taking forever to arrive.


At 1/21/2006 9:26 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Those folks at Convekta are pretty slow!

At 1/24/2006 8:17 PM, Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

I think that's a nice program. Combining tactical training with game time, and throwing in some master games is nice mix, and should keep things fun (which is probably the most important).


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