Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fifteen Thousand

Bullet Craze on a Sunday [1].

Fifteen thousand. Yes. Fifteen thousand is how many chess games saved that I have played to my chessBase9.

Its not that that's all of em. No. I had about three thousand as text files, in my old notebook PC in Outlook, I had honestly always planned to migrate over to pgn four or five years ago, but no worries.

With odds and ends, I am sure it is more like 20,000 since 2001. Remember, I had two, three years on Yahoo! before first ICC, then FICS, and even now, chessCube for low ego, low stakes warm up games. Its not that I play so much, as when I do play, its very, very hard to stop. Celexa also rev's me up. Not that an adjustment cannot be made, but believe you me, I have tried all the major anti-depressants, and its the ONLY one that works for me, 98% impotence aside :)... I know, I know, I am so shy and private to a fault. Elevated serotonin and sleep don't mix well but it sure beats the 'end of a gun' (gassing myself).

Seriously now with a quite a bit of truth there, the main message is, 15K games does one main thing, among a great many things (primer on endings, primer on blunders, a few brilliancy's, a few scalps against experts aside, etc), but one thing in particular:

If you are systematic, as I am--not with all things but many things, particularly in my areas of obsession--it will give you every major variation of every major line you play.

For example, if you play 1.d4, for sure you will get many Slav's, QGD, QGA, many chances to refine your anti-Indian strategies, many Semi-Slavs'. But you will also learn how to face the Chigorin Defense, many Albin Counter Gambits, many 1.d6, 1.e6, 1.c6...

For the last 18 months, I had more or less done, independent of his findings, exactly as wormwood did, as shown at Building A Repertoire, And Mastering It. Without intended criticism to our good friend Secrets of Grandpatzer Chess, he does a far better job of being systematic about it, or extracting the value from the value chain. I did as much.

Its great to have and use chessBase or similar--but its what you do with it. It reminds me of the folks who get a Masters or even undergraduate degree in English. They read, and they read, and they read, until they are sick. But try reading ten books, really reading them!

I mined all my openings, and found 84 tabiyas [2]. And out of--to start-- some 7,000 or so games, found that 24 key positions made up a full 80% of ALL my games. I took those, in turn, and narrowed them down so that I could find what I needed to do more of, find what I needed to do less of. Its a lot of work, but it pays.

Kant rules [3]. Warmest, dk

[1]. To all you men out there, try to not only finding a woman who not only encourages you to play chess but allows you to, when she is in the SAME room, to play as I do here, bullet chess for three hours+ AND doesn't complain, well neigh encourages you AND, then gleefully takes photographs of you doing so [4]?? Jesus guys. Melancholy Meadow Willows, my beloved Courtney is--or has been--a poet, dreamer, healer, and entertainer.

2] A few random links on Tabiyas, here, and here, and here. And finally, the inimitable Dan Heisman at here and here, hopefully not without profit.

3] Did any of you notice how in Federer vs. Murray, that the prior didn't seem to sweat? Or how sweaty in comparison Murray was? Jim Courier said as much, here: 'Federer Makes It Murray’s Turn to Cry With 16th Grand Slam Win':

“Federer plays with no stress on his body and seemingly no stress in his mind,” four-time major champion Jim Courier said on Australia’s Seven Network. “As long as he stays healthy, we’ll see him challenging for another three to four years."

4]. While as a rule I--mostly--consider 1-minute to be a real waste of time, I do have a rule, and that is NEVER to finish a set without a peak rating. Problem was, I had inadvertently hit 'Play 1-Minute' at ICC (intending the next 'Play 5-minute game'), in the pool of random, stacked players, a fabulous feature at ICC [6] and not only lost, but lost again, and again, and again, only to wind up spending an ENTIRE Sunday afternoon doing so, with my girlfriend JUST feet away, and never once complaining.

Yes, I got my peak back AND found, in the next day, I could WHIP out 5-Minute openings and entire games, to my profit, so not a total waste. It has its place [

[5]. No laughing. I am not, I repeat, I am not OCD. I kid you not, I played a 9.5 minute bullet game days ago, beating a 1750. No laughing matter. 91 moves, 181 ply. I play 0 4, which begins with twelve seconds, avoiding Armageddon utter non-sense.

[6]. A great feature. At times, while a 1500 can play a 1450 or 1550, pairing as closely as possibly, you will see your fair share of 1700's and 1300's alike. It means you can scalp a few senior players, maybe even an IM, now and again, but allows otherwise unwanted juniors to scalp YOU. The coolest thing. As BDK [7] and wormwood can attest, if you are willing to spend one, two, or three hundred dollars on chess books, CD's, videos, tournament money, beer, wine, Frito-Lay chips but are unwilling to invest in a year's paid membership at ICC, well, there is just no hope for you, plain and simple. Please. If you cannot get chessBase and play at ICC, better to give up chess and open a pawn shop, sell your chess books. OK?

[7] Wonderful post. Highly recommended: 'Katar on the social dimension of chess improvement'.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Taming Squadron

I have not worked or had regular income since the day before Thanksgiving in 2008 [1]. Needless to say, its been hard. Do I have time to blog? Probably. Extra mental energy? Maybe, maybe not.

But those of you who know me, are aware that I have been playing chess all along. Hiatus from the bloggesphere? Yes. Absence from chess? Not hardly. But far be it for me to say that I have been luxuriating in endless and sweet reverie in chess, I have not.

I have played plenty, just not at all times. One needs piece of mind to give chess ones all, and I do NOT play for fun. I play for sport, to win, to kill and destroy. Chess is war the way I do it--its all business.

Where I am currently making a big breakthrough is:

Playing regularly in scale, instead of as I did before--marathon sessions for weeks, only to thereafter HAVE TO stop due to stress and exhaustion--and sequestering back in study. Now I try to play every day, or nearly every day, but take more time to review losses, opening prep, CTS, all that. Proportionality and balance.

I am finally 1500 at ICC at 5 0. A rippedly bloody harsh game. My blitz is at 1531, and soon to be 1600 (its out of date now), which ranks 6,732 out of 14,442, but the 5-Minute ranks only 2306 out of 4,153 yet is far more competitive. I also plan to finally hit 1500 at bullet--and I do not mean 1 0--but 0 4, which starts with 12 seconds at ICC and ten at FICS, and can easily have 4 minute games with long endings, avoiding silly Armageddon.

Love to all, dk

[1] But as is plain to see for the eyes, am not doing badly in ALL areas: my beloved Courtney, whom I met on twitter--been to visit in Seattle twice. 23 day second date. Two folks not totally familiar in one tiny house for 3+ weeks without ever going to total war is a good sign. She is the best woman ever! Needless to say, she is very type B to my type A, and so it works....