Monday, December 3, 2007

Congratulations to Contest Winners!



Check your email inboxes for Mikhail Tal's Winning Chess Combinations! I pretty much gave it to anybody who put any kind of thought into their answer.

Congratulations to: Glenn Wilson, Chessloser, Likesforests, and adam!

(Likesforests, I couldn't find your email. Just let me know what it is and I'll send it right to you)

Now for the best news!









I've decided to keep the contest open!

Anybody who gives a good answer will get a copy of Mikhail Tal's Winning Chess Combinations!

Woooooo!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chess at Work



Hi everybody! I'm still circling, but this time with Mikhail Tal's Winning Chess Combinations. It's such an awesome book you have no idea. It's the perfect follow-up to 7 circles of CTB. Anyways, I'm back in the blogosphere to get everybody's opinion on something...

What's the best job to have so you can play chess all day? The only thing that comes to mind is to be a security guard at a low profile site. I was also thinking maybe to be a head librarian of a small historic library. Does anybody have any ideas? Because I'm getting in trouble a little too much at my job for playing chess. Now nobody there knows I play chess or am even interested in it, but after I complete my work for the day I never "take the initiative" and "create more work for me to do" blah blah blah. Like I care if I'm good at my dead end job or not. 5 or 10 years from now I will not remember my near minimum wage salary keeping me and my wife's head slightly above water. I will remember all the hours I spent there honing my skills as a badass chessplayer manifested in beautiful combinations over the board.

So I ask all of my fellow Knights and chess bloggers, what is the perfect job for an improving chess player?


Winner of the best answer will receive a pdf file of Mikhail Tal's Winning Chess Combinations via email!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Woooooo!

I've done it! I've completed the 7 circles!


I feel like I've graduated chess grade school :D

God those last two circles were BORING. Having completed the circles I have a few issues with them. First off, more and more after my third and fourth circle my brain stopped thinking. It began to just memorize and recall the solutions to the problems, so I just coasted through. I don't think this is a good thing. It's good to memorize and recall the tactical themes in the problems but I'm afraid I was just looking at familiar formations of pawns to remember the answers. Now don't get me wrong now, I'm a big advocate for the repetition of problems to get the most value out of them. But there comes a point when you don't get enough value out of the problem to justify the time spent. For my future circles I'll stop when I feel their value has been exhausted. Maybe after 5 or 6. Since there is no shortage of tactics problems and they all contain the same tactical themes within them there's no reason not to push yourself.

I've also compiled an errata list for CTB:

379 - Qb7# not listed as an alternative
389 - Rh2+ is a blunder pure and simple.

519 - Ne7# not listed as an alternative
1160 - 3...Kb8 4. Nd7+ Ka8 6. Rh6 seems like an interesting line to include

1202 - The alternate solution lists Qxe6+ instead of the Qxh7#.
1258 - 1. Bg8+ Kh8 2. Be6! seems like it should be included.

1264 - Kc4 should be listed as an alternative.
1289 - Kc7 should not be listed as an alternative because it loses.

Keep in mind that this list would've been a lot more exhaustive if I had thought of the idea from day 1. This is just what I could catch from my last circle. I know I'm missing one in particular where a mate is available but they want you to win the queen instead. Feel free to make this list your own, update and post it on your own blogs so fellow circlers can use it.

So I've been done for a week now, and have started CTI, Chess Tactics for Intermediate Players. People who're doing CTB will be glad to know that CTI builds on some of the same problems in CTB which is pretty cool. It will be the same problem but a few moves back so you have to figure out how to get to the recognizable position. I'm thinking once I finish my 7 circles of CTI I'll do a super circle of CTB and CTI. That would be pretty badass. CTI is super hard, they're starting to include "quiet moves". Moves that aren't forcing, but are devastating nonetheless because there's no way to stop it. These are really hard to calculate correctly because it feels like you're opening the flood gates of infinitude so you really have to be sure there's no response. I feel like this is my first introduction to positional chess.

7 CIRCLE WRAPUP



Well when I started the circles my rating was around the high 1200's. During the third and fourth circles I maintained a mid 1700 rating for about 20 games. But as the problems became memorized, I could really feel my brain muscle atrophying and I became lazier in doing the circles because I no longer needed to push myself to find the solution. I guess that laziness must've carried over into my games. Anyways I'm currently maintaining a mid 1600 rating for all my cumulative games. So I've experienced a 300-400 rating increase from doing the circles and playing regular slow time games. All in all I'm happy with my progress but I don't feel like I'm anywhere near where I want to be. After all I still get my ass handed to me by the old russian men in Harvard Square. I think I've reached the Class B plateau described in this great article: Ratings and Expectations

I really want to be at the level where I can read books like Pawn Power by Hans Kmoch, and positional books like Reassess your Chess but I just don't feel like I'm tactically sharp enough yet. For now I'm going to stick to the circles program with emphasis on playing and analyzing a slow time game everyday. As for my future as a blogger, I don't think I'll post every month. So if that means I'm no longer a knight, then feel free to update your sidebars accordingly. In fact, the only reason I started this blog was to distribute my Concentric Square Exercise solutions. I had initially emailed them to BDK so he could post them on his blog but he convinced me to start one of my own :)

As for my controversial comment on BDK's blog, I'll admit that it wasn't phrased in the most diplomatic fashion, but I just feel that if you have something that works, what else is there to talk about? I guess I'm not much of a blogger ;)

I wish everyone well, and I hope someone gets some use out of the errata. And you can count on me to read your blogs when I'm procrastinating ;)

I'd like to leave you with the one problem that prevented me from getting a 100% success rate on my last circle. You'd really think I'd see it coming after seeing it 6 times..



(White to Move)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Edible Chess Set

This classy chess set features butter cookies as the white pieces and chocolate pieces for the black. If you don't have anyone to play chess with, and your girlfriend/wife won't play with you, this might convince them to.


Or they'll just eat a few of your pawns and then still won't play with you. Son of a bitch.

Check out the pieces in action:




I should be done with my CTB circles by my next post, so stay tuned :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Playchess.com on your cellphone!


This is the coolest thing ever made.

Everything you need to know about it can be found here http://www.fritzmobile.com/

I thought Yahoo Chess on your cellphone was the coolest thing ever made until for some reason I couldn't get an opponent anymore. It was like I was living in a virtual ghost town. Not only is this app free, it's completely reliable and I never have to wait more than 10 sec to get a game! If you have a playchess.com account and a cellphone you definitely should check this out.


***RIDICULOUSLY OVERZEALOUS GOAL UPDATE***

Well as most of you probably predicted, I'm going to fail miserably in my goal of completing the circles by the end of july. Needless to say I had a lot of other things in my life get in the way. You know how you wash a car and then it rains? Well this was more like a hurricane..

So now I'm under the microscope at work, and I need a way to continue my circles training without having to hide a laptop. The solution?

A Pocket PC!




This way I'll be able to do everything I need to do. I can play games on my phone, analyze them with pocket fritz, and do my circles training with pocket chess tactics for beginners! Best of all I got one with wifi access so I can connect to the internet for free!

I bought it used though, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when it arrives it works like it's supposed to..

Last order of business. If you have CTB or any other Convekta product open it up right now. Right click on the board and choose the option enlarge board. Keep on enlarging the board until it's at its maximum setting.


Now take a look at the white knight...



WTF?!

Did they give the knight a little stubbly mustache?

Is that what that is?!

Or did they give him freckles and/or beauty marks?

I think the programmers over at Convekta have a little too much time on their hands...



Friday, July 13, 2007

Gotdammit I've been tagged..



What is your blogger name and URL?

Rise and Shine at http://theriseandshinegoodknight.blogspot.com/

How did you learn about the circles?
I saw Rapid Chess Improvement at Borders and after going over a few pages I had to get it.

When did you learn about the circles?
This was in early March 2007.

How long have you been going through the circles or how long did it take if you finished?
I've been working on them since the end of March. So about four months and some days now.

How is your progress?
It's off and on. I have 2 to 3 week spans where I'm able to put in a bunch of work every day, but unfortunately other things sometimes demand my attention. I think I'm doing alright though, I'll definitely be done soon.

Does working with the circles alone work for chess improvement, or is it more helpful to join the Knights?
It helps a lot to join the Knights because you'll feel more guilty if you stop, so you have some good motivation to keep going.

Are you a scholastic player?
Nope. I might as well be though ;)

Would you recommend the circles to a scholastic player?
Most definitely. As long as he's a willing participant and not being tortured by his father. Because that will turn him off to the game in the long run.

Do you use other training methods to supplement the circles?
I do 15 min of blindfold chess exercises a day, although I stopped doing them due to my recent tactical surge. I'll throw them back in pretty soon though. I also keep coming back to Silman's Complete Endgame Course as my rating increases. I've read Weapons of Chess a few times for some basic strategy. I also like to watch the ChessMaster 10th edition Academy lessons while I'm eating lunch or dinner. Most importantly though, I play and analyze one 45-60 min game each day and record the moves and make notes in a moleskin notebook.

Any general comments about chess training or the circles?
It's the second most important thing you need to do in order to improve. Playing and analyzing being the most important.

Down Under Knight, you're it!


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chess in the Cinema


I stumbled across a pretty amazing website a few seconds ago..

Chess in the Cinema


Enjoy!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

no pussyfooting around here


I'm determined. I'm going to finish my seven circles of Chess Tactics for Beginners by the end of July. To do so I'm going to have to up my 1 hour of tactics to 4 hours every day. I'm 3/4 of the way done with my third circle and I'm already tired of seeing the same problems over and over. I'm ready to move on to Chess Tactics for Intermediate Players.




Like all of us, I have a few things going in my life right now that threaten the completion of my goal. So I'm going to have to wake up earlier to make it happen. All of this with an analyzed game a day of course.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Just completed circle 2! Here are my stats:

Circle 2
-------------
ELO: 1636
Success: 89%

I'm glad to see I've made some improvement since circle 1, and hopefully circles 3->7 will be even easier. You may have noticed I've slowed down considerably from my initial 2 hour 40 min a day tactical workout. Right now I try to get 2 hours in but most days I just do 1. This is to allow time for one slow game each day and for the annoying distraction known as life >:|

Sometimes I wish I could just run away to some obscure country and live my life as a chess monk. As long as they have wi-fi and running water I'd be good to go. ;D


Anyhoo, I've been making some more progress with my blindfold chess drills. You may remember a recent post (this one) where I illustrated how my brain likes to break up the board. Well now that I've got all the components down pat, I've got to sew them together. So now each time the knight in my head lands on a square, it transforms into a little bishop and I visualize the diagonals. Pretty soon I'll have a fully functional, dynamic chess board on call in my head and then I can start adding pieces slowly. Here is the second part of that article that explains it better:

Exercise 2:

Now that you are able to move the knight in your mind, let's extend the method to include board interaction. [The objective here is to relate a specifc square to the rest of the board.] When a knight lands on a square, your task now is to visualize that square's connecting diagonals. In the case of the a1-square, there is only one diagonal. Thus, the a1-square's connecting diagonal is made up of the squares, a1, b2, c3, d4, e5, f6, g7, and h8. All these squares are black, so visualize them as such.

It is also important to try to visualize this diagonal in relation to board (i.e. from a detailed perspective and from a higher-level perspective). So, try to visualize this specific diagonal from various perspectives, specifically as it fits in relation to the rest of the board. That is, try to look at it from a player's vantage point, an overhead vantage point and from a spectator's persective, naming each and every square on the diagonal as you do so.

After you begin to feel comfortable with the names of the squares on the diagonal, from the distant perspective come back to a detailed view and work the knight to the next square (in this case the b1-square). When the knight arrives on the b1-square visualize the b1-square's connecting diagonals.

There are two diagonals, that intersect at the b1-square: the b1, a2 diagonal and the b1, c2, d3, e4, f5, g6, h7 diagonal. Try to visualize these two diagonals from the high-level perspective. Picture in your mind that all the squares on these diagonals are white. Work to memorize the names of the squares along each of the diagonals.

To make the task easier, and also to develop dynamic visualization, play a simple game in your head by visualizing an enemy bishop moving back and forth along the diagonal to and from various squares. Name each square the bishop lands on as you move it back and forth. Then, when you are comfortable that you have the diagonals clearly visualized, visualize the bishop capturing the knight.

Now remove the bishop and replace the knight back on the b1-square. Again visualize the knight's path to the next square on the rank making sure to see each square's and color the knight touches as you move it. In this case, we are wanting to get the knight to the the c1-square. Upon landing on the c1-square, visualize the two diagonals which intersect at the c1-square
making sure to name each square on each diagonal. For example, you would visualize the black c1, b2, and a3 squares on one diagonal, and the c1, d2, e3, f4, g5, and h6 squares on the other diagonal. Again place an enemy bishop on the board and move it back and forth until you eventually decide to capture the knight.

Repeat the technique until you have moved the knight to every square on the board and have visualized every diagonal and color thereof along with the piece interaction. You will then have done the exercise from both a static and dynamic perspective.

courtesy of the web archive link

I've been playing one 60 min/60 min game each day for a while now. In that time, I've become very familiar with a certain type of player who really pisses me off. I like to call this player the "I accepted a challenge for a game with 60 min on the clock but I'm gonna act like it's fucking blitz and after bitching and whining in the chat window about not moving quick enough I'm gonna abandon the game and let my clock run out on move 10 without resigning or other wise giving my opponent any indication I'm still alive because I'm a huge asshole" player.


So I was playing on playchess.com yesterday, and this player appeared in the form of "carlosvigo" from Spain. After patiently waiting for 10 min for this man to move, I take a break from calculating different variations on the board and take a look at the chat window. Apparently this man had been talking to me for a while now, and was agitated that I wasn't moving a piece every 10 sec. It started as:

carlosvigo: mueve
carlosvigo: mueve
carlosvigo: muevete
carlosvigo: MUEVE

which means to move in spanish, and it quickly progressed to

carlosvigo: muuuuuuuueeeeeeeeevvvvvveeeeeeeeeee
carlosvigo: M-U-E-V-E

The whole conversation escalated from a barrage of different forms of the word mueve to what I'm pretty sure was him calling me a smelly horse >:|

And he tried to claim win on disconnect like eighty million times which is just annoying. Either play the game or don't.

Despite him referring to me as a dirty farm animal, I had a small glimmer of hope that he hadn't actually abandoned the game, but was letting his clock run out to the last minute where he would then destroy me with a series of dazzling combinations. That would be pretty bad ass. But the minute did run out, and I was really pissed.


*whew*

I'm glad I got that off my chest.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Saitek Micro Travel Chess Computer Product Review



Sleek. Refined.



That's not what this is at all.

What this is, is a portable chess computer for 20 bucks.

Most importantly though, are all the features it comes with. The coolest feature by far is the ability to setup the board and have the computer analyze the position. This is great if you ever wanted to play a "what if" position from a tactics book and you are away from your computer. It's a great companion to my 111 Winning Endgames by Pandolfini because both easily fit in each of my pockets.



I see they're going for $22.77 now at amazon here. I got mine for $19.77 just a week ago, so the price might go down if you check back from time to time.

Not that it matters, but it's also endorsed by Kasparov. Although I wouldn't be surprised if he's never seen it before in his life. If I was World Champion I'd endorse anything they'd give me money for ;D

(If it seems too light in the pic, don't worry, you can adjust the contrast to be super dark if you like)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

beauty


A beautiful problem from phase 5 of CTB. Black to move.

(White on bottom)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

MIA for a while



I've been gone for some quite some time. Unfortunately, I have not been playing a lot of chess in between. However all of that changed today! I'm back on my regimen full blast :)

Not only that but I received my incredibly cheap copy of fritz a few short days ago thanks to the link hisbestfriend placed on his sidebar. Now I can finally get my Rybka to work! The Fritz/Rybka dual analysis setup is probably the best you can get on a PC. It's far better than my previous Crafty/ChessMaster 10th edition setup thats for sure.

I've also made some progress in my blindfold chess drills. I've learned to break the board up into components rather than trying to visualize a vast maze of alternating colors. Check it out:


Granted, everyones mind works differently and there are infinite ways to break up the board. I find using this approach works well for me. You've got your base squares, one with a black X, one with a white X. Then you've got your connecting pieces, one with whites on the outside and ones with blacks on the outside. And of course you've got the center. Put it all together and you've got the board!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Tournament was a Success!

Best of all my star player showed up! He did a great job representing YMCA Central all by himself :D Check out the pictures below:





I also got word that BASIC will continue on through the summer! I know I would be a lot better teacher the second time around so I'm looking forward to it :)

Teaching chess to kids is HARD. This next time around though, I'm going to try and instill three basic principles by repeatedly saying them every day we meet.

1. Control the center with your center pawns

2. Move all your Knights and Bishops Out

3. Castle

From now on, I won't even bother to tell them about certain things like not moving the pawns in front of their castle, rooks are worth more than bishops, etc. because doing so would overwhelm and ultimately discourage them in the long run. My job is to promote chess and help create a love for the game, not be their coach when they're not even sure they like the game in the first place. I need more of a laissez faire approach to teaching chess I think.

I'm also going to buy a lot more boards so all the kids can play each other. Since we had a shortage of boards it was always me playing all of the kids together on one board. But the kids always had move disagreements and my helpful tips probably came off as discouraging. From now on I'll loudly say those three principles at the beginning of the day, at the end, and maybe a few times in between but the rest of the time I'll just set up the pieces, let the kids play each other and answer any questions they might have.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lots of Pain


Well after a year of needing it, I finally went ahead and got reconstructive knee surgery for a torn ACL + meniscus. I envisioned myself playing a lot of chess in the post op period. Boy was I wrong.

I don't feel so nauseas anymore, but that has only been replaced by an excruciating throbbing pain all over my leg. Needless to say, chess has not been a priority.

The picture above is a very accurate depiction of my current emotional state :(

In brighter news, today is the culmination of all the BASIC chess league tutoring, in the form of a huge scholastic tournament pitting together the best and brightest from all the YMCA's in the city!

Me and Johnny hold down the largest and loudest of the YMCA's at the Central Branch. We've got some dangerous players that not only know how to castle and develop their pieces, but do so on a regular basis ;)

I've got high hopes for our kids, and win or lose it should be a good time with free pizza and trophies for all! :)

Now I'm off to hobble over to the Navy Yard with plenty of Percosets on hand, it should be an exciting tournament :D

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Why haven't retards taken over the chess world?


Now I'm not talking about your run of the mill retard, I'm talking about those autistic savant genius retards. If they really have such incredible mental abilities, why isn't the #1 chess player in the world retarded?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Chessboard Bandana!


This is probably one of the coolest things ever made. For the first time ever, you can be totally badass and ready for some chess action at a moments notice. Although if you sweat a lot it could get pretty gross I suppose.. Nevertheless this is a smart buy no matter which way you look at it.

You can pick up your own at looneylabs.com

After reading Blue Devil Knights latest post I've decided to play and analyze a game each day rather than just on the weekends. I need to apply what I've learned each day every day, I think that's some great advice right there.

Also, I've decided to add a cool little google document to chart my progress like the Common Man does it :)

Check it out on the top right :D

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Circle..New Plan

Well I've decided I need a new approach to my regimen. From now on, I'll be on a 5 day schedule.

Check it out:


HEAVY DAYS --> Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday
-----------------------------------------------------


Knight Concentric Square Drill (as described in Rapid Chess Improvement)

15 min of Chess Eye

2 hours of Seven Circles


LIGHT DAYS --> Thursday and Saturday
-----------------------------------------------------


15 min of Chess Eye

1 hour of Seven Circles

15 min of Knight Visualization

1 hour of free study


The 2 hours of free study each week will help me to develop other important aspects of my game such as an opening repertoire to force open games (I'm looking at the Center Game for White, and Center Counter and Benoni for Black), an understanding of some strategic concepts (I've decided to do seven circles of Weapons of Chess before moving on to Simple Chess), and to learn endgame principles (Silman's Endgame Course).

On the light days, I'll be doing 15 min of Knight Visualization. Knight Visualization is a blindfold chess drill taken from the site braillechess.net which seems to have been wiped off the face of the internet. Here is the exercise I'll be starting out with:

Exercise 1:

The first technique that I found useful was to picture and empty board with a knight on the a1-square. The objective is to eventually move the knight to each square on the entire board. Start by figuring out in your mind how to get the knight from the a1-square to the b1-square, then to the c1-square, etc. until you reach the h1-square. After you've completed the first rank, and have the knight on the h1-square, then figure out how to get it up to the h2-square, then over to the g2-square, the f2-square etc. until you get the second rank completed and the knight is on the a2-square. You'll then concentrate on moving the knight up to and along the third rank, fourth rank, fifth rank, etc. until you picture the knight ultimately ending up on
the a8-square. At this point, you will have transferred that knight to every single square on the board.

However, the trick to the above exercise is not only move the knight from square to square, but in doing so, to simultaneously visualize the color of each square that the knight touches as it moves. [As you will see, knowing a square's color becomes very helpful for later exercises]

Picture the knight on the a1 square (visualize the a1-square as black). To get it to the b1-square, one route is to move the knight in your mind first to the c2-square (picture the knight landing on the white c2-square), then to the black a3-square, and then to the b1-square (which is white). Concentrate on both the color and the name of each square the knight touches.

When I first started doing this, it took me several hours to get the knight to each square on the entire board. Now, it takes between 10 to 15 minutes provided I make sure to visualize each square's color that the knight touches along the route.

courtesy of http://web.archive.org/web/20041215125450/www.braillechess.net/rreid.html


In other news, I'm up to the last exercise in Chess Eye which is a lot of fun :) The program spits out positions of pieces for both sides and then asks you what the best move is. If you saw the position on a board it wouldn't be hard to figure out, but when you have to keep track of all the pieces interacting with each other in your head, it becomes difficult.

Lastly, if anybody is looking for drills to add to their study plan, the Exeter Chess Club has a great collection of drills they call Mini Games:

http://www.exeterchessclub.org.uk/minichess.html

I especially like the idea of cut-down chess games :D

Play with K+8p each and...
  • just the rooks
  • just the bishops
  • just the knights
  • just the queens
  • just the minor pieces (knights and bishops)
  • just the major pieces (queen and rooks)

I'm interested in hearing from my fellow knights about your study plans. I figure most people don't have as much time to devote to chess as I do (I have a great job in that respect), so I figure a lot of people just do what they can, when they can. But I'd love to hear about the different goals you've set for yourself, and the different schedules you're on to achieve those goals. No matter how large or small your commitment, I'd love to hear from you :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

CHECKMATE BITCHES!!

Totally..

Huzzah!!


DAY 16
-----------
IQ Test - 1:55 <- I made it under 2!
Seven Circles - 1312/1312 1 down, 6 to go :D

Well I learned that I need a LOT of work on my endgame. My ELO dropped more than 100 points in the last 100 problems :(

Anyways, here are my numbers for the 1st merry go round:

CTB Circle 1
--------------
ELO: 1503
Success: 83%

Not bad for my first run, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. In case you were wondering, my real chess ELO is nowhere near that high. I'm probably somewhere in the 1300's.

I'm still looking for a great chess movie and there's a new one available online for your viewing pleasure called the Queen of Cactus Cove. I really liked it, it's a sweet coming of age film about best friends who compete against each other in a chess tournament. There's a lot of accurate chess playing in the movie along with the greatest use of subtitles ever. All in all, it's a very enjoyable way to spend 18 min. Plus this kid was hilarious :D


In conclusion, that up on the top has got to be the ugliest picture I've ever posted on this site.

Enjoy ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The End is Near!


Almost done!

Everything is looking good right about now..


DAY 15
--------
IQ Test - 2:15

Seven Circles -> 1283/1312


I have to say, I really love the Chess Eye software. Doing those 15 min everyday has really helped me visualize the board and the pieces in my head when I close my eyes. Every day I warm up with 4 min of exercise #3, 3 min of exercise #6, and the rest on the mating drills where I'm up to exercise #9. I just wish that I could have the Chess Eye generated questions on a piece of paper so I could do it without a computer. I could just write down a bunch of exercises from the program but that would be super time consuming :P

As for the other drills, I'm still getting value out of them :)

For example, yesterday I learned that it's a lot easier to visualize the queens path by visualizing the squares that it doesn't cover. This came to me after a week of jumping my opposite color knight around the queens path before it popped out really nicely :D

And today I realized that I've stopped calculating the squares needed to trap a knight on the corner of the board with a queen. There is a beautiful pattern to this too. For example there are 6 squares on a1, 4 squares on a2 and b1, 2 squares on a3 and c1, 3 squares on b2, 1 square on b3 and c2, and 0 squares on c3.




Is that sexy or what?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Slowly but Surely



Circle 1 is almost completed!

I think it will take another 2 days before I'm ready for round 2.

DAY 12
--------
IQ Test - 2:50

Seven Circles -> 1180/1312


DAY 13
--------
IQ Test - 2:46

Seven Circles -> 1225/1312

DAY 14
--------
IQ Test - 2:25

Seven Circles -> 1255/1312


So I was watching the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer the other day, when I realized how awful it was. I remember watching it as a kid and loving it, but watching it now makes me want to strangle his parents. They are probably the most annoying movie parents ever portrayed in all of cinema history.

That got me to thinking, are there any good chess movies?

For such a large international community of players, there aren't any movies that really romanticize the game. And it is a very romantic game..

I think we are long overdue for a classic movie to do for chess what Rounders did for poker.

What do you guys think?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

First Circle feeling like a Purple Nurple (sp?)

The problems are getting harder but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I should be done with my first in a few days :)


I changed my blog settings to allow anonymous comments!

You are now free to cuss me out to your hearts content ;)

Or if you're not much of an internet badass, remember that ass kissing is always welcome.



DAY 10
--------
IQ Test - 2:22

Seven Circles -> 1086/1312


DAY 11
--------
IQ Test - 2:43

Seven Circles -> 1129/1312

I'm still doing the aforementioned drills, but I figure everybody already knows the regimen so I'll stop posting it every time.

Anyhoo, a new and exciting blog to watch is hardcore pawnography. Very funny stuff :D

And I hope that some of you are making your origami chess sets and getting ready to send photos to beejermanyea@hotmail.com!

Maybe you need some more motivation..

Just remember that when you're on that desert island, and you come across a chess playing monkey, you're going to be sorry that you didn't learn how to make a chess set out of two pieces of paper.






Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Origami Chess!


Did you know that you can construct an entire chess set out of a single piece of paper?

It's true.

I found these instructions while surfing the web and had to try it myself.

http://www.josephwu.com/Files/PDF/chess.pdf


If you include the board, I guess it's actually two sheets of paper.

Nevertheless, it's still pretty impressive.





The best thing about these sets is that each one is unique. For instance, I chose a red and white color scheme, and decided to use little pyramids for the pawns, and boxes for the rooks. I also used moist toilet paper to add some weight and allow all the pieces to easily stand up.

I'd love to see what you guys can come up with :D

If anyone decides to make their own set, please send me the pictures!

This way if you're ever trapped on a desert island with two sheets of paper you'll know what to do ;)

Welcome to Hell


Hello! I've officially entered the 5th stage of CTB Studies, so in the coming days the problems will be a lot harder and a lot more epiphaniacious.

Check out my vocab.

Is that sexy or what?

Anyways, here's what I did today:

DAY 9
----------------------------------------------------

Read through Concentric Square Exercise Solutions

Concentric squares
a. 2:00 of randomized king and rook placement
b. 2:00 of randomized king and bishop placement
c. 3:00 of randomized king and knight placement
d. 1:00 of randomized king and queen placement

Sight Drills
a. 2:00 of randomized knight placement
b. 2:00 of randomized bishop placement
c. 1:00 of randomized rook placement
d. 2:00 of randomized queen placement

IQ Test -> 3:41

15:00 of Chess Eye <- I'm on exercise 3 and it's getting interesting.. :) Seven Circles -> 1018/1312
----------------------------------------------------

In other news, the local kids at the YMCA are improving greatly! I played about 10 little kids while giving them advice on how to play better chess :) Some of them are starting to understand that it's important to develop your minor pieces before engaging the enemy. Most of the kids are so kamikazeish (vocab is so sweet today) that the deciding factor in the games comes down to who is patient enough not to lose their pieces to a premature attack.

I also recently received my copy of Pandolfini's Weapons of Chess! This way I can supplement my tactics training with some basic strategy. The book is perfect for a regimen like mine. Each lesson is on a different strategic theme that can be read in 5 min or less. Perfect for the train or carpool. I'll probably start the next chapter of Silman's Endgame Course and play some FICS to close out the night :)

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Three Days of Pain and Regimen Change


At my wife's insistence via iron grip on the balls (ouch), I recently learned that I haven't actually been having an affair with the lovely Chessica as I thought, but rather with the flamboyant Chester. Apparently my wife feels more comfortable by restricting my sexual trysts with board games to homosexual affairs as opposed to straight ones.

So with one fell swoop of the rolling pin, I'm gay.

Great.

Despite a natural aversion to this lifestyle change, I have been faithful to my man these last three days, I just haven't been able to post. And I've made some changes to the daily regimen!

NEW DAILY ROUTINE
-------------------------------------------------------------

Read through Concentric Square Exercise Solutions ____

Concentric squares
a. 2:00 of randomized king and rook placement
b. 2:00 of randomized king and bishop placement
c. 3:00 of randomized king and knight placement
d. 1:00 of randomized king and queen placement

Sight Drills
a. 2:00 of randomized knight placement
b. 2:00 of randomized bishop placement
c. 1:00 of randomized rook placement
d. 2:00 of randomized queen placement

IQ Test _____

15:00 of Chess Eye

Seven Circles

-------------------------------------------------------------

I've shortened the duration of all the drills, and randomized their position on the board. This will help me to spot the attacking squares based on the king and rook/knight/bishop/queen positions rather than just memorizing which position comes next. And instead of using the solutions manual to check my answers, I will take 10-15 min to read through it prior to jumping into the randomized drills.

As you can see, the rook is back on the sight drills albeit only for one minute. I've also made it a practice to walk all around the board in a circle while doing the sight drills to make sure that the piece's path is solid in my mind even if I take my eyes off of it. Occasionally I'll add a knight and see if I can jump all around the path of the piece, being careful not to jump on a square where it could be captured. This helps to test if I can maintain the path when I add complexity to the board.

I've left the Knight IQ Test intact (see my first post for link), and I've added the Chess Eye Visualization software. This software will help me to visualize the board in my mind and make each square and it's notation second nature. It will also be good training should I ever want to play blindfold chess, which for the record I think is awesome.

Here's a link to the Chess Eye Software if anybody is interested in adding it to their program. I highly recommend it, it's a lot more comprehensive and efficient than flashcards.

http://chesseye.alexander-fleischer.de/

Here are my records for the last three days, just so you don't think I was slacking.

DAY 6
----------------------------------
Concentric Squares
a. Rook -> 4:43
b. Bishop -> 7:28
c. Knight -> 12:45
d. Queen -> 1:35

Sight Drills
a. Knight -> 4:19
b. Bishop -> 3:13
c. Queen -> 6:08

IQ Test -> 4:24

Seven Circles -> 819/1312
----------------------------------


DAY 7
----------------------------------
Concentric squares
a. 2:00 of randomized king and rook placement
b. 2:00 of randomized king and bishop placement
c. 3:00 of randomized king and knight placement
d. 1:00 of randomized king and queen placement

Sight Drills
a. 2:00 of randomized knight placement
b. 2:00 of randomized bishop placement
c. 1:00 of randomized rook placement
d. 2:00 of randomized queen placement


IQ Test -> 3:17 <--- Blazing Speed! Ha-sha!

Seven Circles -> 864/1312 <-- Ok, so I was slacking a little on Day 7 ----------------------------------

DAY 8
----------------------------------

Read through Concentric Square Exercise Solutions

Concentric squares
a. 2:00 of randomized king and rook placement
b. 2:00 of randomized king and bishop placement
c. 3:00 of randomized king and knight placement
d. 1:00 of randomized king and queen placement

Sight Drills
a. 2:00 of randomized knight placement
b. 2:00 of randomized bishop placement
c. 1:00 of randomized rook placement
d. 2:00 of randomized queen placement IQ Test -> 3:26

15:00 of Chess Eye

Seven Circles -> 932/1312

----------------------------------

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Day 5 Bitches!


The problems in CTB are definitely getting harder, plus I'm probably a little rusty after my two day hiatus. All in all though, I think I'm making good time :)

DAY 5
-----------------------------------------
Concentric Squares
a. rook -> 5:39
b. bishop -> 10:04
c. knight -> 16:47
d. queen -> 2:22

Sight drills
a. knight -> 3:44
b. bishop -> 3:48
c. queen -> 7:53

IQ Test -> 5:27

Seven Circles
a. 1st circle -> 735/1312
-----------------------------------------

I breezed by the drills pretty quickly today, probably because I stopped tapping the board and just visualized. I forgot my board and wasn't about to start tapping on my laptop screen ;)

When doing the sight drills, I found it helpful to look at another area of the board while trying to keep the path visible in my peripheral vision. Because even if you can make a piece's squares easily pop out while focusing on it, it won't help you in a real game if your sight goes away while trying to move your other pieces. I really should've been doing this from day 1, oh well..

In some alarming news not related at all to chess, my wife saw a cyclist get hit by a cab, fly in front of a truck, and die :O

She saw some things on the street that really ought to stay inside of your body :P (ugh..)

The moral of the story is to always look both ways.

In more important news, I received my copy of Silman's endgame course! I've never studied endgames before, so naturally I'm real excited to start :D

I'll probably read the first chapter of the book and play some games on FICS (Free Internet Chess Server) to close out the day :)

As always, don't die.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Day of Rest


No regimen training today..
I wanted to spend some time with my wife and mondays I teach chess to kids at the local YMCA! :D
The Harvard Chess Club got back from their exhibition match in China so now the chess program is back on :)

The HCC is full of very strong players, most of them 2000 or higher. I think the lowest is a 1800 and the highest is a 2400. That being said, they got absolutely massacred in China.

In past years they've lost, but by narrow margins. This time their best player could only draw at best!

The international aspect of chess is one of its most attractive qualities to me. The fact that the game is so deeply respected in every culture of the world is incredible. I hope that when I become a stronger player I can participate in tournaments all over the world.
That's very much a pipe dream, but it still makes me feel good :)
I'm back on with the training tomorrow, I'll probably just play some games at ICC for today.
See you tomorrow!


P.S. It's very hard to teach chess to little kids when they all are at different skill levels :P



Sunday, April 1, 2007

Halfway done with circle one!


Day 4 went really well. My brain wasn't hurting and I started on the daily regimen really early in the day, which I think helped.


DAY 4
---------------------------------------

Concentric Squares
a. rook -> 5:31
b. bishop -> 8:53
c. knight -> 19:05
d. queen -> 2:55

Sight Drills
a. knight -> 6:26
b. bishop -> 6:42
c. queen -> 10:50

IQ Test -> 7:36

Seven Circles
a. 1st circle -> 623/1312

Yahoo Chess --> defeated a 1240 with black, I still have to buy some kind of program to analyze my games with though :/

---------------------------------------

As you can see, I got rid of the rook sight drills. I'm able to make out the rooks path a lot easier than the bishops, so when trying to visualize both paths together for the queen, the rook path would be dominant and block out the bishops (if that makes any sense). So I'm cutting it out of the routine until my bishop squares pop out just as easily.

If anyone has any comments/suggestions on how to improve this blog, feel free to post it in the comments section.