Saturday, April 28, 2007

Part II, The Wealth of Bullets

Scottish Economist Adam Smith wrote his epochal economic treatise "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes and Wealth of Nations" Three Hundred and thirty three years ago, "a clearly written account of political economy at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and" "widely considered to be the first modern work in the field of economics", but I will resist the temptation to state such grandiose a survey, and narrow it down to a subtitle such as:

An informal survey of localized ratings at ICC class C+/B- players, Fourteen Hundred Bullet at ICC, Part II:

I did some fairly hefty and detailed objective analysis of 50 other bullet players, plus another subsequent related 52 players, totaling 102 ICC players, and report the very interesting results here:

I set up a spread sheet and recorded in detail the results of all the twenty-five bullet chess players ranked proximate and just above me (1402-1406 elo), as well as the twenty-five players proximate and just below me (1402-1400). To sample this not only on one day, but across several days to randomize the data a little bit, I queried the set with the ICC command "rank dk-transform" and recorded it for that day, then in subsequent days, retained the records of those whose ratings were unchanged or were inactive, but then subsequently took careful note of new entrants, and thus in the days ahead took that snapshot several times to get fifty members of my data set. Not the stuff of pure science or allowing heuristical proclamations of averaging all the players in my class, but sufficient to take a very good snap shot of a 1400 bullet ICC chess players performance in other time frames in aggregate.

I not only of course recorded their bullet performance by wins, loses, draws, total games, best performance, but in careful detail their blitz, standard, 5-minute, and 1-minute performance as well--again, in full resolution.

From there I filtered the data via rank-sort so as to eliminate the 15-25% or so who had under-representative activity in each category (depending on what kind of chess it was), so as to get the best quality data set. Since most bullet players tend to also play blitz, this allowed me to establish an average measure of their blitz results among 43 players--or as much as 86% of them--for an average blitz rating of 1580 elo, standard chess play results among 25 players or 50% of them for an average standard rating of 1719 elo, 5 minute play results among 17 players or 34% averaging 1508 elo, and finally 1-minute play results among 19 players or 38% averaging 1058 elo.

Since some player tend to win one, or two, or three, or even play ten 5-minute, or standard, or 1-minute games and attain a perhaps uncharacteristically high posted rating for that category, they tend to thereafter completely discontinue that effort--so as to freeze for all to see their posted out of category result(s)--or alternately abandon the form with a poor result, dating from other years and thereafter remain inactive.

Nevertheless, not everyone does that, so I could establish not only average ratings, but detailed win to total games coefficients for some forty or fifty players, and so also determine the most competitive chess players in total. The idea being that a player 'A' who has won 470, lost 1093, drawn 65 among 1628 total games, and averaging 0.289 wins among all games is faced much stiffer competition than player 'B' who has W411, L269, D17 =697 at 0.590 wins, even if their bullet ratings are identical. Such a combatant is much more willing, by design, to loose many more games, and so is much more battle hardened and tested, in my humble opinion. More often than not player A carries this same tendency over to their blitz, bullet, and even standard games, and is a very interesting pattern to watch.

Along with that, as I was also saying, is that what happens more often than not, is that most instead concentrate all of their efforts upon bullet, blitz, or most likely of all, bullet and blitz in tandem, often resulting in the play of thousands or tens of thousands of games, deepening the solidity of my calculations.

My measures PER PLAYER averaged: 6,012 bullet games, 4,038 blitz, 153 standard, 1,246 5 minute, 6,330 1-minute, totaling an average of 12,873 games per player across the fifty players--of course, some were heavy users with 10,000+ or more blitz and bullet games, and some were new, with low numbers and were excluded to keep integrity of data.

* * *

Thereafter I knew that I had to take the assumed performance relative value of 1580 for blitz and 1719 for standard, to converge the data, and check for backward compatibility--of course, being all but certain to find some surprises in store, up or down!

So I then found the mean 1580 blitz player, using the same fixed window, whereby I then noted new members above and below that level, to sample the 31 blitz players (1580-1581 above, 1580-1579) and their respective bullet, standard, 5 minute, and 1-minute results. This time, I didn’t go through the cumbersome process of noting all wins and loses in detail, but only ratings by category, so as to speed up my query.

I found 15 or 48% bullet players averaging 1361 elo (eliminating the 16 who had insufficiently sizable games to get an accurate reading, et. al.), 16 or 52% standard averaging 1708 elo, 10 or 31% 5-minute at 1380 elo, and finally 7 or 23% 1-minute at 1004 elo.

And to round out my triumphate, of course, I of course also quickly sampled the 21 standard players proximate, above or below an assumed value of 1719 (1719-1722, and 1719-1718). Of course, while many bullet players play what are formally called 'rapid forms', not all standard players play rapids or even like to play any of them, but this is a good double check, since there are also some who play all forms:

I found 4 or 19% bullet averaging 1481 elo, 18 or 86% blitz averaging 1488 elo, 6 or 29% 5 minute averaging 1384 elo, and very lastly 2 or 10% 1-minute averaging 1004.

I know we could go on and on with this analysis, and shave it down, and talk about r-squared, and linear regression, but my main point or two is as follows:

I don't so much need to establish absolute truth, so much as to accurately and objectively survey my peers, and see where I need to be--more or less--in performance in other chess time frames and how I might formulate my goals going forward. I played 1300 bullet games, and am confident of the measure attained since as recently as November alone.

I found that 1402 elo bullet, as I suspected, does equate to a much stronger chess player than seemed proximate 1200 or 1300 blitz, and is often indeed associated with many 1600 and 1700 blitz players (this is an average, so of course does include some 1400 and 1500 blitz, in parity), as does 1580 blitz similarly equate with many 1800 and 1900 standard players (so of course some 1500 and 1600 standard). I found this in play, and now I have proven it. They are there.

With only 0.397% wins, I have had to fight many a ranking player, loosing a great many games 'almost won' but, alas, that is why 'they are' 1500 or 1600 bullet, they have a decisive edge, and can usually outfox you even under the burden or weight of their own sometimes not insignificant errors.

I found 1400 bullet much harder to attain than 1530 ICC blitz, and 1700 Yahoo blitz (2/12 or 3/8 as the case may be) and so will now play to get back to 1600 ICC blitz, where I started... but I am actually, I feel, truly stronger now than before so it remains a real open question as to how far I need to go there, to harvest similar partiy of chess skill and knowledge and effort.

Lastly, my honest pride at <40% wins at bullet yet having raised my rating about 22% in two or three months from a level, is as hard to do as I thought, not unprecedented, but difficult: only ten of those fifty had equal or better ratios (meaning lower), but alas, with my recent rate occuring much more like 33% instead of 40%, puts me not over 80% of my fellow bullet combatants, but more like 90%, a trend that I aim to continue.

My ICC blitz rate is now 0.333% in total, and is bettered by only 2 of those 25 members of the fifty, or above 92% of all combatants sampled.

As Dan Heiseman and Bruce Pandolfini both aptly say variously at, 'try to play two players ranked above you, for every one below you'. I try to ONLY PLAY opponents above me, and at worst, only those ranked very near me if at all. Such a way is hard, but the wins are sweet.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Part I, Forteen Hundred Bullet at ICC

I need to elaborate this post in detail in the days ahead but--for now--to my good friends:

1402 elo bullet at ICC, the major work of six hard months:
496w/ 709L/35D = 1,240 total games @ 39.968% wins last night, also attaining my major goal of LESS than 40% wins there, that is to say a preponderance of games against ++ elo opponents. 0/4 or 2:52 for 40 moves (starts with 0:12 seconds) and 3:00 for 42 moves, etc.

Among those games, in the last 305 games, w99/ L193/ D13 = 305 games or won only 32.5% of the games WHILE raising my rating some 22%, that is to say, I have taken a beating and been flogged daily--*smiles*--but for the better, shunting no challenges. Think about that. How do you win only 1/3rd of your games and raise your rating 22%??? You loose the mininum to peers and scalp your seniors every forth or fifth game handily. I cannot tell you how many nights, I have finished with 5W/13L/1D and had a rating increase.

Like I said, more latter, but for now note that I have found 1400 bullet harder to attain than either a 1700 Yahoo! Chess or 1600 ICC blitz rating. You tell me? Since lower ranked players tend NOT to ever even attempt bullet games, or if they do not significantly, the rating average tends to be scewed lower. While GM's tend well into the 3,000 elo for blitz, few if any exceed 2800 elo for bullet, and very few over 2000.

I am very proud of this, as this has been my burning desire since November, daily, and weekly, and when not otherwise engaged, all my training directed towards this. Bullet is a great test of chess knowledge and skill, since the constrained time while allowing constant and rapid calculation, is necessarily done at an instinctive level. There is no time to fuss, so it is the acid test of feel and intuition--that is to say, real chess knowledge.

I need to go for a good run in the next few minutes, then do a lot of Yoga, then a good scalding hot bath, and then start the long hard road also of TRYING to start getting to bed early--I go to see my aging mother for mothers day in New Jersey in exactly two weeks for her 80th birthday AND mothers day. Since I work late on the West Coast, and go to bed quite late, I might as well be flying to eastern Europe and try to suddenly adjust to the time change. I am serious. For me, this is as far as time (not hospitality wise) goes, I might as well be flying to Moscow from New York. A real adjustment!

Right on time, for Dow Jones Industrial Average 13,000+, so milestones abound.

Now to rest my nerves and work my brain on CT-Art 3.0 and then when I start back, after extensive analysis of all my games, I will hit 2/12 or 3/8 VERY hard and get my 1600 blitz rating back, if I can, but I plan to take it back! That rating fell on vicadin, and this was sad! That is to say, most of those blitz were done when I broke my rib in November, in a drug induced haze of pain and chess excess! Then the ulnar neuropathy on my right hand, etc.

Of course, I am still 1660 elo at Yahoo chess et al., actively, 2115 elo at CT-Art 3.0 at 72% for 778 problems, and 1590 at RHP for 8/0 games provisonal, but really just getting started, so 1800+ elo is where I am headed after some more games. I am also #9 in the world at CTS out of 1,868 active tacticians for accuracy at 96.3%, #39 among active users for quantity of tries and, at 86% accuracy, only one of eight among the top 40 users >1450 elo and >85.5%, and #131 for overall accuracy among heavy users.

1400 bullet, at ICC, as I will detail in days ahead as I add to this same post (and edit) is more like 1550 and 1650 blitz, and many 1800 and 2000 standard opponents, but we shall see what my numbers represent, having compared my bullet to those ranked near me in their standard and blitz ratings performances. I have the data now, and need to crunch the numbers, but, for now, a run and deserved rest, after many battles, and close attempts at 1350, 1390, 1370, 1389 etc.

No more bullet till the fall!

Warmly, dk

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Karpov Machine Factory

I don't mean to be sarcastic or imply that, like a machine, Karpov organized his WCC pursuit, approach, conquest, and retention into refinement with easy or banal rigor, but rather intimate as to his trademark well known workman like efficiency, deeping the team approach, as is well elaborated by Kasparov in the fifth volume of MGP.

It must be the easiest thing in the world to blog by just clipping everyone else's articles, and I don't and won't do that, but must make brief mention of the best Misha Interview at in the last two years, reproduced with extensive ommissions below. I read them all, good, bad, or indifferent. But this is simply the best on that I have read there. I recommend that you go to the actual article and read it in full, where it discusses how Karpov organized armies of helpers to assist his championship.

Again, I do not wish to imply that this made his effort any less, quite the contrary to honor his savy in utilizing the resources available with foxy or wily intellect:

Interview with Anatoly Bykhovsky

Anatoly Bykhovsky. Born in 1934. International Master and International Arbiter. Current FIDE rating – 2364. Renowned chess trainer and organizer. Chairman of the Trainers’ Council of the Russian Chess Federation since 2003.

Misha Savinov: Could you say a few words about your first steps in chess?

Anatoly Bykhovsky: I started quite late, judging by modern standards. I learned the rules at the age of eight. Of course, there were no trainers during the war. When I returned to Moscow from evacuation, I came to the Pioneers’ Palace, and studied chess together with ... Chaplinsky was an absolute genius – like Spassky. There was a traditional confrontation between Moscow and Leningrad, with Chaplinsky on one side, and Spassky on the other side. Our trainers were not chess professionals, they were candidate masters just returned from the war...

MS: Did you only play in your spare time?

AB: Yes. I became a master, and won the Moscow Championship in 1963. In 1965, I participated in the USSR championship final, where I was the only amateur player. The lineup was quite strong: Stein (the eventual winner), Polugaevsky, Keres, etc. I finished in the middle of the table, sharing tenth-twelfth with Korchnoi and Simagin. So I divided my time between science and chess, until the Sports Committee introduced a new position: trainer of the national junior team.

MS: The situation with junior chess was quite dire, as, after Spassky, nobody could win an international junior tournament!

AB: Absolutely right. The chess authorities were being criticized and they had to react in some way, so they introduced a new position and started looking for candidates. They found just two: Alex Roshal and me. Even though Petrosian strongly supported Roshal, I was selected. I still have no idea as to why; perhaps because Roshal didn’t have a university diploma. I began in 1967 and stayed in that position for twenty-five years.

MS: What were your responsibilities?

...It is also a great feeling to have worked with three generations of outstanding players – Karpov, Kasparov, and Kramnik. Our juniors began dominating the international scene soon after I took the position, but that was just a coincidence. Young talents in chess appear in clusters, like mushrooms in a forest, who knows why... It was a very good job – nice kids were turning into great players before my very eyes...

AB: ... So I became an international master. Many people consider me to be Grischuk’s trainer, but I was more of an organizer for him. That’s about it. I don’t regret quitting science, as I had a good time in chess.

MS: I noticed that there are many trainers who previously worked in the scientific sphere – Nikitin and Lukin.

AB: And Boris Postovsky. The explanation is that these people had a habit of waking up at 7AM.
... When we were recently looking for a trainer for our men’s team, the Trainers’ Council reviewed many candidates. I had one personal request: the man in charge must show up at work every day. Guess what – nobody accepted this condition! It was impossible to find someone ready to work on a daily basis. So should we be surprised about the recent mediocre results of the team? ... because he is a strict and strong man, and it makes it difficult to find a common language with other strong personalities. ... And Bondarevsky was a trainer of yet another type: he would take Spassky by the throat and force him to work...

MS: Bareev stated that he only wanted to work with very young players. Do you agree? ...

The problem with 9- and 10-year-old children is that it isn’t easy to distinguish between genuine talent and someone who just had an early start. ...
Chess has become much younger. Unfortunately, the career span of a chessplayer has decreased substantially. Botvinnik played championship matches after forty, but now a player of that age is over-the-hill. In other professions a man only begins to flourish at forty, because of all the knowledge and experience he has accumulated, while a chess player has to look for a new job. Nowadays, players spend ten to twelve hours a day in front of the computer, and this is a luxury that only youngsters can afford. In return they get a huge amount of the most up-to-date knowledge, which gives them an edge over more experienced players. In Soviet times a student would meet with his trainer two or three times a week, while now they can do everything on their own. One can explore the database, play on the Internet, analyze with an engine, find annotated games, follow all the news, etc. Chess has become more intense.

MS: Was time a factor?

AB: No, no, in real sound games. The game itself has changed, too. It has become more concrete and tough, and contains fewer abstract ideas. Suspicious-looking but deeply analyzed positions are played, and we see that there’s something wrong with our perception, because they are completely playable. You know, when you play against the computer, it often seems that its pieces are badly coordinated and lacking protection, but then it turns out that they interact splendidly, only at some higher level of perception. And young players are learning this kind of chess.

MS: What remains for a trainer?

AB: The role of a trainer is still important, but in a different way. It is more organizational and psychological. The great players of the past were always associated with a trainer: Tal – Koblents, Karpov – Furman, and Kasparov – Nikitin. ... Who is Radjabov’s trainer? Carlsen has Nielsen, who is a very nice man and a fine player, but not Dvoretsky, and not Nikitin. Plus, the top players don’t just have a trainer, they have brigades!

MS: But there are only a few such players...

AB: I believe most of the top players have many helpers. Kramnik, Leko, Aronian... One person is responsible for one part of the opening encyclopedia, while another explores the next volume, etc. In Botvinnik’s time there was a single man responsible for all the analysis, including adjourned games.

MS: Who introduced this “brigade” method to chess? Karpov?

AB: No, it appeared much earlier! Strangely enough, it was introduced by a “man of great modesty” David Bronstein. He had the best brigade in the history of chess! Boleslavsky, Furman and Konstantinopolsky! These three are among the top ten outstanding trainers I have ever met in my life. ...

Petrosian also had a brigade: Geller, Suetin and Averbakh. However, Karpov took it further. He is the smartest of chess players, the most organized, like an A-student, who analyzes everything and picks out the best. He did not just choose the best analysts, but strengthened his team with a cook and a masseur. He acted like a skilled manager. Karpov brought many innovations to chess. He has always been a smart kid...

I actually have my own opinion on Jakovenko. Many times I told him: “Mitya, you are very talented man, and you can prosper in many different areas.” He either had to concentrate on his university studies – which is correct in my opinion – or focus solely on chess. The times have changed. Today a different gifted youngster wins the first prize of a strong open on a monthly basis. What’s the point of pursuing this chess lottery?

MS: Well, chess is addictive.

AB: Yes, one needs to love chess passionately. However, I noticed that players such as Svidler, Anand, Bareev, and Grischuk all seem very tired of chess. It’s the same tournaments, the same opponents, the same positions, the Petroff and the Slav – I barely can look at those positions! Their motivation declines, and why do they play? Grischuk tells me he can make more at a poker table, so he isn’t playing much chess. This is very sad. Sasha is a wonderful talent, surely not less talented than Topalov, but with better nerves and innate objectivity. I tell him that the chess goddess does not like disloyalty! Two more years of semi-absence, and you’ll regret your missed opportunities for the rest of your life...


Sunday, April 08, 2007

It is Finally Done!

I didn’t realize just how large a burden Mr. Averbakh’s Endings: Essential Knowledge was for me. Last night, I finally finished it off, after a year or more, and it is DONE. At the very end, there were some really long variations in rook and pawn, and despite a week or two on ONE OR TWO DIAGRAMS, I just couldn’t see it deep enough, and had to get a board out. So there I was, in bed, unable to sleep at 6:10 am, with my little portable magnetic set after dawn with a little light on, moving the pieces, and there it is, what satisfaction. Of course, I went through 98% or more of the book using no board. Exhausting.

How do I know the DEGREE OF relief this is? By how rapidly I whipped out Euwe-Kramer’s Middlegame: Book One, Static Features--to begin reading it from scratch. Right then and there at six am!

Then today I started back on previously early efforts upon Reinfield’s 1001 Sacrifices and Combinations. Of course, it can be said that with CTS and CT-Art 3.0 all available-- with the prior almost absolutely daily, and the latter comes and goes in dribs and drabs (I find it VERY hard to do it without total focus, and do it with absolute calculation and NEVER guessing, 2100+ elo)—that I don’t need another tactical program. But my point is easily found. I need something to carry around—to my bed, at lunch, or at work on break, or during an auto oil change while waiting, or in the commode. Something peripatetic if you will.

Then I put Seirawan’s Winning Chess Endings out, next to these two, and of course, I already have much endgame basics under my belt, but believe in regular review of basics, and after Chernev, Pandolphini, Soltis (GM Secrets: Endings), then Averbakh, I need a cogent revisit albeit with much better exposition before moving onto my next four:

Secrets of Pawn Endings, by Mueller for practice in an essential part of chess--practice of absolute calculation; Shereshevsky’s Endgame Strategic for the most epic part of chess—deep long range planning in pawn structure and fundamental chess piece play in endings; further down this same major road: Soltis, Pawn Structure in Chess; and, why not? Fine’s Idea Behind the Chess Openings.

This aught to be enough, aside from correspondence play, bullets and rapids and annotating and reviewing my own games, as I do in all non-bullet games, every time.

Warmly, dk

Friday, April 06, 2007

welcome back likeForests!

welcome back likeForests! warmly, dk

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Onward, Tallyhow!

at CTS tonight:

dkTransform: 41 in a row at 1500 elo+. finished 2f/52s= 54 @ 96.30%.

dogWaste: i simply cannot recall the last time i got a problem wrong as dogWaste, but i know that i have gotten three wrong since problem 5694, but those were a month or two ago... therefore, i am currently 3f/556s= 559 @ 99.46% at 1300 elo.

as an asside, at work i am starting to have episodic photographic memory, as i did when i was age 21, and at times in my early forties and late thirties.. 'yes, that was a Bostich compressor, item number 236500 $279.00' or 'yes, we sold out of the DW703, 12" compound mitter saw--it says that we have two in stock, but we only have the display, which we cannot sell', or in calculating percentages, on sight: 'yea. at 15% off, that is $126.65'.

i cannot so much calculate these internally, as when i see them, then i know them or can caluclate them when i see them. and most common of all, things like, 'you were here 16 days ago, wasn't it, at around 7:45 at night, on isle 46, and you bought a hammer drill?' and dont think that this does NOT make a distinct impression with customers and collegues ? [please do not include spelling in this!]

this has been there all along in my professional work, but it is getting stronger again, and i attribute its ascendancy or, rather, resurgence to extensive work at CTS and CT-Art 3.0 and doing many endings without a board. :)

if i am saying this much, then i might as well say it all--sometimes i tell people their profession on sight or them or a minutes chat. i practice intuition and have most of my life.

when yasser called me Tuesday, i told him that i felt like calling him in the minutes before, but didnt worry about calling the person he was staying with again, as i had faith in the situation, but clearly noticed a strong urge to call him the minute or two before. all true and recounted to him, as soon as he called me moments latter. then i told him that i already knew he was going to XYZ city this weekend without his telling me as much and thus 'i already knew that he could not meet me this sunday' but 'would need to meet monday', as i know his routine, when he visits, but THEN told him--when he told me he'd be staying at PDQ family members house the day we were meeting--the address: 'thats 1234 such and such street isnt it?', with my not even knowing that i had memorized the street address he uses for the usa, having seen it maybe five or six times in the last year or two in email, which he rarely uses as a salutation at the end of specific types of relatively rare messages to friends of his in certain circumstances??

warmly, dk