While I haven’t started back on the Chessmaster lessons yet, I’ve been working on openings again, though I’m still favouring the Stonewall when playing real people.
I think it’s time for me to switch. Maybe I should look at something like the Caro-Kann, and use it for a while.
I also want to do a review of the openings I see used most often at FICS, and figure out good strategies for dealing with them.
My new high-water mark is 1175 for blitz, though my normal rating is a fair bit lower. Hopefully some concentrated study will pay off.
I’ve had a nice string of games lately, and hadn’t noticed that my score had improved by a few tens. 1160 now: 40 points to go before I’m up a class. It’ll take a while to make 1200+ a solid rating, but getting there would be a nice start.
While playing my good friend who’s generally better than me on Gameknot, I’ve found a lovely situation where I managed to see 3 moves ahead with a nice combination that goes from a fairly balanced game (me 1 point ahead) to the capture of both his rooks via checks & forced moves. Nothing too spectacular, but it was nice to be able to see the board properly.
It’s been a good few day’s worth of chess in the evenings. Last night spent a bunch of time talking chess basics with a fellow in Kansas, who was very happy for the information on strategy, openings, etc. I always enjoy getting a chance to review what I’ve learned so far by teaching.
And as of today I’m up another 8 points, to a personal best of 1133. At this rate, I might be an average player in a matter of a month or so! (heh). Seriously though, it feels great to be getting closer and closer to USCF Class D. I can’t wait to see if any of the Windsongers are into chess, and if so to what degree and at what level. It would be great to be able to work on things there. I love playing online, but nothing beats a face to face game.
Though I’m still blitzing, at least my blitz game is improving again. New best rating of 1125. I look forward to seeing what the next batch of lessons & drills do.
I’ve been playing relatively regularly this past month, which has been good, but mainly blitz games, and without spending any time analyzing them afterwards. While I don’t have the energy for it quite yet, I’m looking forward sometime after we’re settled into the new place to trying to put my nose to the grindstone and break out the drills, the lessons, and the theory again, and try to boost my level of play.
Had a funny experience the other day while playing… had an interesting game going with matched material and we were into an unorthodox endgame, and the other fellow offered me a draw.
“Thanks, but I’m interested in seeing how it plays out” I responded
“Because the endgame is the heart of chess, particularly one with balanced material”
“Oh. Yeah.” was the response.
It was an interesting moment of realization that while I’m endgame oriented (which isn’t to say brilliant at endgame), lots of folks aren’t. I may try trading material down more, as I seem to do fairly well in the endgame. Usually I’m… not hesitant to trade material, but not eager to do it if I don’t see an advantage in the trade.
Yes, I think I’ve managed, in the past couple of months, to become a much WORSE chess player. My strategies are shot, I’m making massive blunders, and I’ve forgotten a lot of my openings. My rating has slid by about 100 points.
Hopefully once things calm down a little I can get back on the Chess wagon, and start working my way upwards again.
I’ve realized that like Kung Fu, a lot of the skill comes from doing the drills. Spent a bunch of time yesterday doing some of the lessons and drills on forking, finding mate, avoiding mate, etc. And definitely felt like I was getting that part of my brain going again, re-awakening my ability to see what was happening on the board a little deeper and a little quicker, and to see the potential for pins, skewers, forks, and such. Still a long way to go before I get off of this plateau and start to improve solidly.
Weird… I seem to have opponents use openings in waves. In the last week I’ve had three people use the Alekhine Defense, even though I’ve almost never seen it in use before (except for “Cassie”, the poor semi-retarded child in Chessmaster 10th ed. Yes indeed, on the rare occasions when it happens, it’s always a delight to be beaten by her: to look into her vacant and virtual eyes and know that no matter how hard the computer tried to lose… I foiled it’s plan.)
But yes …. lots of Alekhine, very odd.
Current FICS ratings:
Just finished Waitzkin’s CM Endgame course, and was pleased to have two endgames where the princples started to kick in.
1r5r/8/p5kp/2p3p1/P7/PP1PR3/6PP/4R1K1 b – - 0 31 (Black)
In this two-rooks each endgame with my opponent up significant pawn material I managed to get a nice win.
1k6/1pp1r2p/3p2p1/p2P4/3P1P2/8/P4KPP/4R3 b – - 0 29 (Black)
Felt I was strong enough positionally to take the Rook exchange, and in a pawn endgame, had numerous of the strategies and tactics from the lessons kick in, allowing me to paralyze the opponent, and come to an easy win.
(My opening in the second of these games was ATROCIOUS, losing me a rook, which I later recaptured).