Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chess in the Cinema

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

Chess in the Cinema


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 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.


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)