I’m just making up these subtitles, people. It’s funnier that way.
Archive for: February 2012
The Fabulous Fifth Edition!
No time to waste, let’s get this going!
A short “Chess Around the World” this time as I note that the winner of the World Chess Championship (Anand or Gelfand) will make $1.53 million and the loser will make $1.03 million. That’s a lot of money but it is only going to the top 1% of the chess players playing professionally right now. When I get back to my “sprucing up the modern game” talk again, I can explain how that can be expanded to include a larger number of the top players.
Chess may be slowly gaining speed but at some point its going to be a big deal.
One of the most important things you can ever know about yourself in chess: if you are not competing at the highest level, you could use some improvement. For those of us a little lower than that (i.e. a lot lower): you suck.
Don’t take that as a harsh review of your personal character. I’m including myself in there as well. People at my level of playing could use improvement, and in my case, a lot of improvement. Players at my level, though, don’t really know how to go about getting any better, so it’s always nice to see someone posting ways to improve.
Most of these suggestions, though, assume that you (as the player) are studying almost as hard as the person giving the free advice. That is rarely, if ever, the case.
I personally would like to get better at chess. I’ve read several books and most of them, while pointing out some important flaws in my game, have given me very little in the way of interesting content that I could use long term. I’ve needed a “road map” in order to improve my game and serendipity has placed two individuals at my doorstep offering advice… advice I will now discuss in detail, one piece at a time.
The first list comes from NM Dan Heisman, who writes for Chess Cafe on a monthly basis. The site has some nice columns to read and evaluates the broad spectrum of what can be learned about chess (arbitration, new players, historical games, book reviews, etc) but my favorite is Heisman’s Novice Nook. I am, after all, a novice.
Top Tips for Improving Chess (by Dan Heisman) is the chess column in question here. He presents “two dozen” points of advice.
1. Find strong chess players and analyze with them as much as possible.
This sounds like a great plan of action. One problem with that: I don’t know any. In my personal circle of influence, I am the strongest chess player and I’m barely rated over 1000. I’ve recently taken to randomly messaging top players on Game Knot, but of the twenty or so requests I’ve sent out, only one has responded. He’s been very kind in helping but I don’t want to be a “pest,” so I’ve held off with my barrage of questions and items for him. Any other option I have requires chess lessons and those are expensive.
2. Play as many long time control games as possible.
I play most of my games on Game Knot, and most of those at the standard (default) 3 days per move. I don’t get down to under 1 day very often but that is simply because I can’t get to the computer and has very little to do with staring at the board for the next best move. I don’t know how to think, so staring at the board isn’t going to do me any good.
3. Once you are past the beginning level, play a mix of fast and slow games.
Not past the beginning level, so this doesn’t help me.
4. Play almost entirely against humans (computers play differently).
Check. But, as I’ve stated, players at my level are all looking for the quick win and aren’t really looking to get better… at least that’s the impression I get from their move selection.
5. Play mostly against higher rated players to push yourself to learn.
I’ve taken this advice. When my participation in the Game Knot 90th Tournament ends (I’m in the lowest rated group), I will sign up for the next available tournament at the highest group so that I can play people rated higher than me (because I’m hoping that not many other 1000 rated players on GK have this same idea).
6. Play in every event you can.
I live in North Dakota. There are zero events I can play in. Moving along.
7. Join a chess club.
No chess clubs in my town. Start one, I can hear you saying… tried that. Failed miserably. Well, there was one club that started in town but they meet while I am working, so I can’t join. Life is convenient for everyone else, almost never me.
8. Don’t worry about your rating or try to protect it with artificial progress.
I use it as a measure of my ability, not as something I need to make sure is always at a certain level. If your idea behind this number is different than that, I don’t want to play you because you’re not thinking like a winner… you’re thinking like a number.
9. Practice good time management: use almost all of your time every game.
I don’t live in a world where this is always a viable option. See above for the time controls explanation, which is my situation.
10. Don’t make moves based on hope or without a reason.
I’m TRYING to do this… but it’s hard. Part of my issue is not knowing HOW to think.
11. Pick your opponent’s brain in a postmortem.
You’d be surprised at how many players around my rating level don’t give a rat’s ass. This is why I’d like to start “punching above my weight” because the GK community may have a large number of members but there are a large number of those members who don’t care about getting better.
12. Don’t mask your weaknesses – learn about them and minimize them.
How do I figure out what my weaknesses are? Who can help me figure this out? Part of the problem with this suggestion is that I’m not going to go pay for chess instruction because I don’t have the money to do so. I want to get better but the players at my level aren’t thinking like winners and don’t want to talk about it. Mr. Heisman is obviously living in a great place because this situation isn’t what I’m in at all. While this suggestion might work for someone who has loads of time on their hands and doesn’t need to work two jobs to make enough to get by, I can’t use this. Before I get angry at this, I’m going to move on.
13. Read many annotated games, master or otherwise.
I don’t know that I personally get a lot out of this. I’m a visual learner, I need to see what I’m doing in order to get it. I know at least this much about myself.
14. (Paraphrased) Not every chess book is conducive to helping you learn.
Yep, got that one down.
15. Improve your chess vision.
How? This is one of those vague things that probably needs someone of a higher level to help me figure out. Now, in Dan Heisman’s defense, he’s got references to how to use these bullet points in other columns he’s written (with referenced links to said columns) except for this one. What I’m getting from this list so far is that I have to spend a lot of time reading and less time playing chess… because there WILL be a trade off in situations like mine.
16. (Paraphrased) Get intimate knowledge of tactical situations.
How? How do I know what to do? I use the tactical trainer in Game Knot (I only get 10 per day) and there are a lot of times I can’t get the puzzle because I don’t understand why the move was made. Why did the person setting that up move that piece there? Why would I know what they were thinking? How can I change my thinking to be that kind of thinking? What am I doing wrong? I need someone to talk to that can help, for free.
17. Do everything you can to make your work fun.
I’m not going to even address this.
18. Don’t worry about your opponent (online or otherwise) cheating.
I don’t because there is no point. If they want to maintain their artificial rating, I’m certainly not going to stop them. I can only worry about myself.
19. Play with consistency.
I’m trying. The only inconsistent part of my game is my opponent.
20. Have perseverance.
Or in other words: you need to be a masochist.
21. Don’t put up barriers.
For a description of what he’s talking about, he’s saying that one needs to get out of the mindset that “humans are too arrogant,” “you can’t find people to play on the Internet,” and “not wanting to read descriptive notation.” I’ve stated all of these things in this column alone, but I’m not putting up a barrier. Players at my level almost never choose the “strong player” moves. They choose moves I can’t fathom, and if I do, those moves never work against stronger opponents. I “can’t” read descriptive notation, I’m a visual learner, so if I want to see what’s happening, I need to set up a board and run through the moves. That eats up a lot of time I don’t have… and the final point is that I can find plenty of people to play on the Internet, I can’t find many STRONG players to play on the Internet. I’m not paying to be on a website, so my options are basically Game Knot or subscribe to something. I guess I’ve got barriers.
22. (Paraphrased) Don’t self fulfill a losing mindset entering a game.
I never go into a game thinking I’ll lose. At least, I don’t think I do.
23. Learn generic ideas before specific.
First time I can say I’ve heard this. Honestly. Now, what do I learn? Where do I start? This is my dilemma.
24. Don’t perceive your chess abilities as “I’ve got this one or I don’t.”
Isn’t this just rephrasing the idea in point 22?
I occasionally read Dan Heisman’s columns and I often feel like I’m missing the “joke.” Like, I’ve needed to have read every column before to understand every column after. Shouldn’t every column of the Novice Nook be geared for a first time reader? Isn’t that the mark of a well written column? Sitting down and reading something takes time and I know from my own experience, I don’t have that much time to read. I listen to my books now because I can do it while I’m working. If I could find a chess audio book that would help me improve, I’d give it a shot.
Let’s get to the other improvement item I came across recently. His name is “Jerry” and he’s also a National Master. His is in video form!
10 Ways to Improve Your Chess
1-Figure out the type of learner you are and your style of play.
I’m a visual learner, so I know I need to see things to get them. I also know at this point that I should probably have someone pointing out my thinking errors to me in the midst of me making them so I know when to slow down. The strong player who has been nice enough to help me did this in our game, pointed out a major mistake I made as I made it… now I know what I should be thinking in those situations instead of bumbling through another error like this again.
2-Solve checkmate/tactical puzzles.
I solve the maximum number of these I’m allowed to in a day on Game Knot. I’ve not found another great source for these yet, but I am actively looking.
3-Play blindfold chess.
I’m a visual learner… but I’ll give this one a go. I already doubt I’ll make it very far into the game but I can take baby steps.
4-Play against those stronger than yourself.
Like Dan Heisman’s point, I have a very hard time to find players stronger than me willing to play. Would I be annoyed by someone weaker than me nagging me for games? I think I might be, so I’m not holding this against them… I’d just like some help. In turn, I should also probably help others when I can.
5-Find a strong player with a style similar to your own and review their games.
I don’t know my style. I need to figure this out.
6-Develop an opening repertoire that suits your style of play.
7-Find a book that meets your needs.
I’ve done this! It’s the Chess Player’s Bible by James Eade and it’s a visual learning manual! I’ve gotten a few pages under my belt but that’s because I’m so busy. I’m trying, though.
8-Review your games.
That’s the point of the next section of this column!
9-Diagnose your defeats.
10-Have a good internal dialogue.
I’ve been told talking to myself is a bad thing.
This would help someone, all together (both sets of points), if they could accomplish all of these things. I find that Jerry’s list (if you listen to the video) comes from knowing how he got to where he’s at as opposed to Dan’s points feeling more like someone on top pointing down with generalities.
I commented to Jerry after reposting his video on Google+ and made mention I’m glad someone explained things as they figured them out rather than trying to follow a road map when you don’t know how to get to the starting point.
I want to be a better chess player. I don’t have the time to devote to sitting with a stack of books pouring over annotated games learning to play like a player I may not play like in order to grasp concepts I’m not even sure I need to be grasping. The problem is, and always has been, how do you get started and how can I get to the end of this journey without at least one person to guide me? Heisman calls that thinking a barrier. I call it reality.
The truth of the matter is that people can be dicks. Very few people want to help others out and very few people think about explaining how they got someplace to allow you to follow the same path and get there, too. That’s like me going from Bismarck to Chicago without explaining how to get there. ”Well, you drive east.” Sure, thanks… that’s great.
I’m a cynical person but I want to learn. I want to improve. I want to know how to think like a grand master but I can’t find anyone to help me achieve this goal. I’m a padawan who needs a Jedi teacher.
Hopefully these help you out, though, and if I’m stronger than you and you’d like me to help, I will. Drop me a line.
Holy buckets, another game! As noted in the Event, this is also not the first game I’ve asked to play but I’m not going to get picky. I have a “tournament” game I wanted to include, too, but I’ll only do that if I don’t have another one to review (which I know I’ve got at least one in the pipe ready to review). So, let’s get to the game itself:
[Event "4: Vorpal Bunnies!"]
1. e4 c5 2. c4 b6 3. Nf3 e6 4. Ne5 Bd6 5. Nd3 Bb7 6. b3 Nf6 7. f3 Nc6 8. Bb2 Qe7 9. Nc3 O-O-O 10. g4 Nd4 11. Na4 h5 12. h4 Bg3+ 13. Nf2 hxg4 14. Be2 Nh5 15. fxg4 Nf4 16. Bxd4 cxd4 17. d3 Kb8 18. Rg1 Bxh4 19. Rh1 Bxf2+ 20. Kxf2 Rxh1 21. Qxh1 Nxe2 22. Kxe2 Qg5 23. Kf3 f5 24. Rg1 Qe3+ 25. Kg2 fxe4 26. Rf1 exd3+ 27. Rf3 Qxf3+ 0-1
This game ended with my opponent resigning. It was a good game, I thought, but I wanted to get it under review to see if there was anything I could do better. This was the first game I knew I’d review WITHOUT the “parlor tricks” approach to it, so I’m at least happy for that. To the diagrams!
1. e4 c5 2. c4 b6 3. Nf3 e6 4. Ne5 Bd6 5. Nd3 Bb7 6. b3 Nf6 7. f3 Nc6 8. Bb2 Qe7 9. Nc3 O-O-O
This was an excellent start, and a logical one (in my mind). My opponent was just as determined to develop a solid opening as I was. In this position, I have more pieces developed but my opponent is occupying the center. As for who controls the center, I think it’s almost an even split here, but the game just started and we keep going. I’ve included an animated board below to “see” how things developed (and as an example to use vs. my static board).
10. g4 Nd4 11. Na4 h5 12. h4 Bg3+ 13. Nf2 hxg4 14. Be2 Nh5 15. fxg4
I’ve developed into attacking my opponent early because I felt that if I didn’t bring the fight to him, I was going to be fending him off the whole time (I shouldn’t use the gender since I don’t know but it’s easier than just being vague). My next move is 15… Nf4, which will put more of my pieces into his section of the board and start putting heavier pressure on multiple pieces of his. I’ve got to admit that I managed to develop myself into a strong position here and my only concern was making sure I had a little pressure on my opponent while I was actively attacking his king.
15… Nf4 16. Bxd4 cxd4 17. d3 Kb8 18. Rg1 Bxh4 19. Rh1 Bxf2+ 20. Kxf2 Rxh1 21. Qxh1 Nxe2 22. Kxe2 Qg5 23. Kf3 f5 24. Rg1 Qe3+ 25. Kg2 fxe4
After a few exchanges of pieces, I actually felt I’d won at this point. I was leery of thinking so confidently but my pressure has paid off and I’m really in the stronger position, especially with so many pieces aimed at so many of his pieces. A simple move or two and I’d have his pieces forked… my first instinct here was to take out the rook but something told me to wait and try going for the queen instead. If you look at the final few moves, I accomplished my goal and my opponent resigned (26. Rf1 exd3+ 27. Rf3 Qxf3+ 0-1).
This game puts me at 2+ 0= 0-, but I can tell you that some of my tougher games are coming. It’s nice to start out with a couple of wins but I personally believe I’ll get better by analyzing my losses more. The strength of my opponents will grow as I get better, which is my goal, but I do have a 2100+ rated player (on Game Knot) who is currently playing me and will give me a couple of games. Hint: he’s smoked me in game one… I’ll add that to my official review here when we’re officially done.
Due to a schedule to which I had no idea I’d be working, I will not be posting a New Chess Experience or a Lime Flavored Podcast this week. I plan to make up for this, though, by postin TWO columns next week and providing a gigantic Lime Flavored Podcast that will provide so much information that your head will spin.
Things just didn’t work out, but the podcast will explain it all.
For those wondering, J-Bear on the Air episode 1 wasn’t recorded for distribution on the web, so we’ve renumbered them to reflect the actual number of the episodes. So 3 is dead in our numbering here, 4 is on!
Will I soon have a studio? Wouldn’t that be cool? I cover that, my illness, a brief overview about comics, I renamed my sections a bit, I go over some cool video and movie items and cover the Steve Jobs book by Walter Isaacson, which spawned some Apple talk. Join me!
I’m also at trumpshairforpresident – gmail.com (you can figure out the email addy) as well as Facebook and Google+.
Episode 2 of the critically acclaimed podcast is now available through Lime Flavored.com! Listen to the critics:
Old York Times says “Please stop bothering us.”
Podcast Magazine says “What’s a J-Bear?”
New Audio Frontier.com boasts “It’s a podcast.”
Someone randomly grabbed on the street and asked to listen is quoted as saying “I’ll promote anything you want for $5. Thanks.”
Join the new podcast! Join J-Bear on the Air!
The Fantastic Fourth Edition!
I’m getting a stride going and I think the format works for me… I may end up working up another section or two, depending upon need in the future, but I think what I’ve got for right now is good.
Oh, hey, I have a game of mine to review! Yippie!
Okay, chess fanatics… the World Chess Championship candidates tournament will be happening in October in London. Yes, I’m pretty sure that qualifies as being outside of Azerbaijan and Aronian can play, which means this will be the first WCC candidates tournament I’ll witness with the correct players participating in it for the Undisputed World Chess Championship held by Anand. When I started following competitive chess, Garry Kasparov was the Classic World Chess Champion and Alexander Khalifman was the FIDE World Chess Champion, so it isn’t an epically long time that I’ve been watching this but I think that a decade or more is long enough.
On Google+, I’ve been following the ChessNetwork page and they recently posted this video. It’s 10 ways to improve your chess and I was glad to find it because there are very few players who get to be titled (National Master in his case) who give you the path on how to get there rather than the vagaries like “oh, just study more.” Pfff. I could give you the 10 ways to improve your chess but then you wouldn’t need to listen to the video. I wouldn’t want to deny you that glory, plus I don’t want to drive DOWN the views on that video. It has been helpful so far, although, I’ve got a long way to go.
This section is going to become a joint section for the first time. I have a bit more of my personal history to impart but I also wanted to talk about a style of play I’ve encountered with enough frequency to name it, and it’s a style of play that really wouldn’t allow a player to rise above the rating of (for instance) 1500 or so. But first, the history.
After the WCO had “died,” I tried to make the idea behind a chess league continue. By this time, I’d discovered FIDE and dug into enough of the history to realize that I was a bit silly in believing that there wasn’t a governing body to the sport of chess. My own desire to be part of a organization, though, was strong enough to keep trying to bring the idea behind the WCO back to life. All of my efforts were focused on an online league.
Unfortunately, after searching for static websites that haven’t been updated in quite sometime has proven to be fruitless. Every example of a website I had used for each of my organizational ideas is missing from its previous home. I’ll do my best to explain things in detail.
I had started the Internet Chess Enterprise (ICE) about two months after I let the WCO die. There was zero activity on this website (which I’m pretty sure was on Geocities) and I had advertised enough to try to create an IECC or IECG style organization but there just didn’t seem like there was enough interest. In hindsight, this advertising effort probably resulted in the membership of my other endeavors later but I was highly disappointed that ICE didn’t go anywhere… this was also the point where I figured I’d try “jazzing up” chess a bit in presentation.
Remember, I was using professional wrestling as the merger example and thus went forward with that in my next attempt.
The Virtual eXtreme Chess group, or VXC, actually boasts up to 12 members. I had gotten 11 other people interested in playing in the VXC with the theory that smack talking and a little bit of showmanship was needed in the playing of these games. The VXC had three games played between a couple of the more active members (I was not in any of them) and I’d decided to hold the inaugural event that would crown us a VXC World Champion. I called the event Chessmania and tried to host the event (a KO tournament) on Chessed.com, an online server that no longer exists. No one showed up for the event and the VXC never held another game. I don’t know the reason for this or why no one seemed interested in returning my emails, but the VXC died so mysteriously that I still am not sure what exactly happened.
The VXC spawned the Computer Chess Confederation (CCC or C3). In C3, I was determined to remove the smack talking aspect of chess to try again for another ICE style chess league. It was brought to my attention, many times, that anyone who discovered C3 thought they were coming to a website with a computerized chess system to play games. There were two other such websites that I can no longer locate online that had the ability to send in your moves to a server who would compute the move and spit back the PGN at you and your opponent. Despite my best efforts, I didn’t want to continue fighting this war against people too determined to understand what C3 was about.
This led me to what I like to call the clone of the WCO. The Alliance of Chess Enthusiasts (ACE) was basically WCO with a new face. I’d done some more advertising and managed to attract a player or two but no one who wanted to stick around for a league. Everyone was just looking for casual games. I was baffled as to why I couldn’t attract the type of player I really wanted: someone long term committed to competing at chess against others will to rebrand the presentation. ACE led me to understand that it didn’t matter what I called the federation, I just needed to figure out the formula and start the WCO over again (keeping the history helped bolster the federation… but I’ll get back to that).
Using the idea that Brain Games.net bought the rights to the Classic World Chess Championship (then held by Vladimir Kramnik), I decided that the World Chess Organization would use the branding of my own website Lime Flavored.com. The World Chess Organization became the Lime Flavored Chess Organization (LFCO) and I stepped away from the actually playing to formulating how to run the LFCO for future success. To do this, I simply started playing more games online and talking to my opponents.
Due to my actual play strength being less than 1400 at the time, I continued to run into a particular type of play style that I found unsettling. The whole concept behind the style was to end the game as quickly as possible by putting your opponent off his game quickly and not allowing him to fight back without a significant loss of pieces. The most infamous of this style, which I’ve come to identify as “parlor tricks,” is evident most in 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5:
Against an inexperienced is when you see this most, or when your opponent feels that they are vastly superior than your own. By the time this move is played, though, any hope of having a game that is “decent” or well thought out is out the window. Your opponent has disrespected you and trying to play any specific opening for exploration.
This is what I refer to as parlor play and it’s upsetting. I want to think like a stronger player and playing in a game where this opening happens ruins my ability to do much from my side of the board. As you will see in the “Me: On The Record” section this time, I have a game where something along these lines occurs.
Seeing so much of this style of play made me look into how to counter it (or really, discourage it) when I play chess. While my attention wasn’t completely distracted from making the LFCO into something, I was determined to actually make myself into a better player in the process.
While I’m still not the best at defending against these parlor tricks, I’ve learned what type of player to avoid for the future. This has led me to approaching my presentation of chess in a different way, too. The types of players I want to avoid are these described here and are of a greater playing strength, though I know that the top players in the world aren’t right for this, either.
There is still a lot of work to do but at least now I can move forward knowing what to look for in the future.
[Event "6: Revenge Cheddar"]
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Qf3 c6 6. Nh3 f5 7. Bg5 Qb6 8. Nd2 Qxb2 9. O-O e4 10. dxe4 Qxc2 11. Rac1 Qb2 12. exd5 h6 13. Qe3+ Kd7 14. dxc6+ Nxc6 15. Qe6+ Kc7 16. Bf4+ Kb6 17. Qe3+ Bc5 18. Rb1 Bxe3 19. Rxb2+ Kc5 20. Rb5+ Kd4 21. fxe3+ Kc3 22. Bd5 Ne7 23. Rb3+ Kxd2 24. Rf2+ Kc1 25. e4+ Kd1 26. Rb1# 1-0
As you can see from my first “official” win (and the fact that this was the sixth game I started before getting finished with my first “official” game) that things were a bit… uh… interesting. Wait, what? You can’t “see” it? Well… I will employ some DIAGRAMS! Whooo hooo!
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 d5 4. exd5 Nxd5 5. Qf3 c6 6. Nh3 f5 7. Bg5 Qb6 8. Nd2 Qxb2 brings us to the following:
I wasn’t really sure how my opponent figured this was going to put them into a great position. Sure, I can see that the queen way down in my zone on the 2nd rank might intimidate, but I had already planned on castling in the next move or two, so I wasn’t quite understanding what he was trying to accomplish by launching this offensive. If the attack came before I managed to position myself in his area of the board, I would have considered it one of the aforementioned “parlor tricks,” but I’d laid down the first gauntlet and now I had to reap what I’d sown. My castling move allowed me to put myself into a better position in only two moves.
9. O-O e4 10. dxe4 Qxc2
So, now with my opponent’s queen deep in my portion of the board, I’ve bee presented with the dilemma of losing yet another piece without any form of retaliation that I’d find satisfactory. Rather than go into defensive mode, like I’ve been prone to in the past, I decided my best defense was a stellar offense, so I tried to figure out the way to get my opponent into check or start clearing out his pieces.
11. Rac1 Qb2 12. exd5 h6 13. Qe3+ Kd7 14. dxc6+ Nxc6
My strategy completely worked out. I threw my opponent back on his heels as I ran through a series of checks (which would continue) while I maneuvered my pieces into better locations. Although the goal wasn’t to flush his king out into the open, I’d done a pretty good job of making sure that none of my pieces were in danger while forcing his king out into the middle of the board. Due to the early nature of my opponent’s movements, I’d figured he couldn’t live without his queen (or at least survive very long), so my goal was to get the queen while keeping pressure on his king. It was at this point I figured that the game would go my direction, at least for a while.
15. Qe6+ Kc7 16. Bf4+ Kb6 17. Qe3+ Bc5 18. Rb1 Bxe3
My opponent was feeling pretty good about endangering my queen after the first time since I started checking his king that he avoided being in check. I did, though, make sure that his queen was in direct harm if I was going to lose mine, though I wasn’t as concerned as he seemed to be about the piece. At this stage, I was to move and would be taking his queen, which I’d pinned the move before, and would place his king back in check. I’d lost a fair number of pieces but he was in a far worse position than I was, so I wasn’t tremendously worried. My lack of concern for his bishop up against my king’s pawn protectorate was also something that I would have previously been concerned about. I was, for the first time in recent memory, completely focused on my opponent’s king because I could smell checkmate.
19. Rxb2+ Kc5 20. Rb5+ Kd4 21. fxe3+ Kc3 22. Bd5 Ne7 23. Rb3+
I stopped the diagram generator here because I wanted to show that I knew I’d beaten him at this point. I had a brief concern about losing my knight in this position but couldn’t really avoid the situation. Bringing my other rook into play was imperative and I was positive I could place the king into checkmate if I just didn’t worry about saving that one piece. I had to keep the checking situation up to maneuver my rooks into the two rank checkmate on MY END OF THE BOARD.
23… Kxd2 24. Rf2+ Kc1 25. e4+ Kd1
The next move was 26. Rb1# 1-0. I was so proud that I’d finally defeated a player who I believe in my heart was trying to use the parlor tricks to get my fluster factor up instead of playing chess like someone who wants to be better. This game came about when I tried to set parameters to play against a much stronger opponent (1500+) but I couldn’t set the minimum to 1500, I could only put it at 950. My maximum was 1550, which wasn’t pleasing but I thought that maybe someone fromt he upper range of strength would come in for the game.
What I have taken away from this game is that don’t let the focus become solely about the highly threatening move my opponent just made. Push forward with a plan of my own, keeping my opponent on the ropes, and making sure that I continue to dictate my own strategy rather than simply play defense and probably walk away from this one with significantly less pieces and cursing the parlor play for getting the better of me yet again.
So, my official record (as contained within this column) is now 1+ 0= 0-. Sure, it’s nice to start off with a win (even though this was game “6,” according to the Event tag) but I really want to play some stronger opponents to get deep into evaluating that. If I want to get better and play chess against someone who won’t use parlor play, I need to play those people who think like champions.
We have ourselves the first podcast on the feed of Lime Flavored.com that is not produced by the website, but by former co-host on the Lime Flavored Podcast: Jared Erling!
J-Bear on the Air debuts with a few little bumps, mainly in the first 15 minutes or so, but will improve to perfect as newer releases spew forth! Welcome to Lime Flavored.com and iTunes, J-Bear!
Welcome back! This is becoming regular. Three posts, three weeks… excellent!
This edition will contain more about my historical chess experience and with any luck, I’ll also have a little bit about the digital age attempts at bringing chess to a broader audience. We’ll see when we get to that part of the column. I’ll also be discussing some of the top players and their current playing exploits.
What are we waiting for? Let’s get this party started already!
The Anand (Champion) – Gelfand (Challenger) 2012 World Chess Championship will start off on May 10 and run through May 31 of 2012. Both players will be in the Skolkovo region near Moscow, Russia to play for the Undisputed World Chess Championship. Neither player, champion nor challenger, is number one rated in the world and that (to me) is odd. I understand why Carlsen (number one rated player) bowed out of the last candidates cycle, but that would still have been better protested by winning the championship. Carlsen shouldn’t be bowing out of the next cycle as the new rules for candidate qualifying takes place for the 2013 World Chess Championship. Already qualified for the tournament are Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, and Svidler… though if the matches are held in Azerbaijan then Aronian won’t come because of the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict, which would mean that Aronian would be replaced and that would eliminate another fully qualified player from the competition. FIDE, get your head out of your ass and start holding these competitions in places 100% free of controversy.
That leads me to the illustrious President of FIDE, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and how the man is embroiled in constant controversy regarding FIDE business decisions and yet no one will vote him out of office. Chess should NEVER go to a war conflict area. Chess should NEVER go to a country where there are limitations on certain genders (promoting the equality of those genders). Chess should NEVER be someplace where a candidate in one of the most important tournaments cannot compete due to religious or patriotic reasons. FIDE under Ilyumizhinov? Constantly pulling this crap. Sad, really.
Kramnik and Aronian will be playing a 6 game “friendly” in the near future… not sure why, but this is a great way to put two of the top players in the world against each other in a focus on great play. I’m looking forward to it.
I left off with the death of what I call the Beulah Chess Club, my sixth grade class’s own little chess league. Almost four years later, a group of my friends and I (not limited by a class, grade, or region) formed what I would call the Chess League. I’d ended the Beulah Chess Club as the World Champion but I wanted to legitimize the “championship” in a new setting, so the founders of the Chess League (CJ, Daryl, Tim, and myself) played a round robin tournament to be crowned the first Chess League Champion. I won narrowly and would get the chance to lead another effort into the future.
The Chess League had anywhere from four to twenty members at any one time. There was a lot more playing going on and only the one championship to worry about. All four of the founders would hold the Chess League Championship multiple times because, much to my delight, we were all fairly evenly matched. If I had to guess at a rating, I’d say we were between 800 and 1000, somewhere good enough to be competitive but not so good as to be “snobbish” about it.
Fluctuating membership was a side effect of being outside of a limitation of venue. The Beulah Chess Club happened exclusively inside the walls of our sixth grade classroom, the Chess League had no such limitation. We played at Daryl’s house, my house, the high school, Hazen (our nearby city rival), Zap (opposite direction from Hazen), and I even took in a game in Golden Valley (further west than Zap). We stretched MUCH farther than the Beulah Chess Club and the championship was actually sought after by anyone who could beat one of the founders… because we were the benchmark.
The Chess League lasted about two years, right around when CJ had to stop playing due to moving, and instead of carrying the championship on like I did before, the coveted “top spot” just sort of left with him (he was the Champion at the time he left). Interest in playing towards the end of our school year in 93 let the rest of us just kind of drift apart. There would be plenty of personal issues to arise to drive a permanent wedge between a couple of us and that would really end the Chess League as we knew it.
During a research project in April of 1994 (I’ll explain why I know the date in a bit), I and a couple of others had known what we were going to be doing after high school… I would be joining the United States Navy and would be able to actually PLAY chess in foreign countries. Four others (who have since chosen to remain nameless) and I signed a document forming the World Chess Organization on April 21, 1994. A ten game match was played between myself and the next best “founder,” whom I’ll call Tiger.
The series between Tiger and I was nothing to write home about. We’d played in the past but I knew I was significantly stronger in play than he was. We played only six games and I won all six. I was the first World Chess Organization (WCO) Champion. That would be the last time I’d have contact with any of the others in a chess capacity.
As the WCO Champion, I wanted to make sure to branch out into the world actually defending the championship against decent opponents. I had no concept of FIDE or that there was an actual World Chess Federation out there, so my concept of the game was that it was a casual competition just about anywhere I’d go. Locations where I’d defended the championship (successfully or otherwise) were Mississippi (multiple cities), New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Okinawa (Japan), Anchorage, and San Juan (Puerto Rico). In an epic match and rematch, I had lost the WCO Championship to a man who goes by DCP, who then gave me a rematch and I won it back. So, I was a two time WCO Champion.
When I detached from the Navy, I remained the WCO Champion until October 31, 2005… when I officially vacated the championship and allowed the WCO to “die.” As the only regular and active member for over three years, I felt the organization needed to be laid to rest.
That did not end my endeavors, though. We’ll pick up in the Internet era of my chess experience in the next column (which will complete the saga of how I got to where I’m at today).
I don’t have a game to evaluate, yet. I do have four started and a fifth has just been sent out into the void to request another opponent. When I get to actually evaluate these things, I’m wondering what kind of mess I’ll be in with the rest of them.
I’m a member of GameKnot.com, as I’ve noted before. I would really like to get some opponents that will be around my own strength to discuss both sides of the game to figure out why moves were made. I do have a friend (an official “friend”) on GK now but I’ve not approached him about this concept, yet.
So, without a game to evaluate, I’ll push this column out and I will pick a game of mine to go over, whether or not its one of the official recorded “w-d-l” games or not.
Sorry, but there won’t be a Lime Flavored Podcast this week. I’m ill and talking is uncomfortable, so I’m canceling this week’s podcast. I’m sure that I’ll be better for next week’s podcast, though, and I still intend to write a chess column, so you’ll still get to experience a little bit of the awesomeness that is me.
I am excited to watch the Disney produced John Carter, a movie based upon the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs entitled “A Princess of Mars.” At least, I’m hoping the movie is just about that book and doesn’t try to bite off too much by including pieces of the other books. I hold out some hope that Disney will do this right and potentially have a kick ass franchise on their hands due to it.
John Carter (the character) is a Civil War veteran (Confederacy) that gets chased into a cave and thinks he’s dying only to wake up, completely naked, on the surface of a planet called Barsoom by the locals. We know this planet as Mars. The novel, A Princess of Mars, introduces us to the inhabitants of Barsoom, their culture, and some interesting characters (including Tars Tarkas and Dejah Thoris). As I’ve “read” (i.e. listened to) the novels, at least the first two, I am hoping that the action is contained to the information in the first book because each book has enough to put in it’s own movie installment.
I’m going to see this one in the theater because I know what to expect. I only see big budget special effects movies in the theaters anymore and this one promises to be a good one.
I hope that I’ve enticed at least someone to go see this movie… and hopefully read the novel (or listen to the audio book, both of which are public domain and free).