Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is Freedom Too Loose?

Freedom--which I must admit is not exactly my forte--feels slightly odd if not disorienting to me.

I enjoy discipline, enjoy planning, and like structure. It is often how I find comfort and earthly reassurance. After that last big push on my Big Classic GM Database through most of January, I was by that time hungering for freedom from the predetermined routine of set daily viewing of high level GM games, and was all too happy to escape the dicta of self imposed neurotically close to perfect 98% accuracy at CTS. The prior was tiring and the latter was stressful.

After so much study of the classics in concert with CTS, I was by that time thirsting for live play, and subsequently played blitz 3/8 every single day for the three weeks starting in late January to mid February--till that urge gave out too, with the onset of flu two weeks ago.

Unlike any of my prior gigantic efforts at either blitz or bullet, I recently managed NOT to have a big overdose. Instead of playing for hours and hours and hours at at time if not ALL night long (as I often did before), I managed to play daily, for 'but an' hour at at time, sometimes two, but never an imprudent three or four hours--as often occured before!

Thereafter I rapidly seized upon Ivan's (Getting to 2000)scrumptiously marvelous suggestion to take a look at Angelfire.com which set me into a whole new frame. I found myself eating heartily at the cornucopia of game collections at Gambitchess, and shortly thereafter found myself revisiting Ossimitz with aplomb, luxurating upon myriads of studies, most notably in extensive ending study. After getting the flu, I stopped ALL effort at CTS and as I said, immediately stopped all live blitz play.

I of course viewed all the games of Moreila-Linares while exploring and structuring the many game collection downloads, and make a lot of big discoveries or advances in annotation, and am now finally making ample use of ChessBase's 'copy to notation' feature--not of variations, but copy of entire high level games now. You go to 'reference' at ChessBase, and for example, can pull up all the historic games played in the subject variation or, much more germain to my study, all the recent high level games, sorted by ELO. So then before running fritz--often very deeply on a position--I look at many archtypal games in that postion, seeing the tendencies embedded there. Marvelous learning tool.

Buddhists: Form is emptyness, Emptyness is Form

I also made a 33,000 game file from careful sifting (out of 109,000 source games) on the Caro-Kann that I will use for reference, and also made a 13,893 game file on the Slav that I intend to use for reference (given it's kinship with the Caro, I aught to play it--but don't), made a 1,016 game file from various books on the Caro, started a Kings Indian Attack or Reti file, a French file, formed an English Opening file, and even have something on Donaldson's Strategic Opening Repertoire.

Its like walking into a new world. I have waited patiently before starting on openings, knowing that when I did so, would do so with vigor, methodically, and correctly. No half measures.

I am using the 1,001 Sacrifices and Combinations file, in parallel to resumed work with the Reinfeld book again. This is potent, because I never use a board, but do it all mentally, and sometimes cannot quite see the full win (but often can). The cbv file allows me to drill into the postion, and do so fully. It feels real good. I combined that with the other combination books into one big file, set up a strategy file (Kotov, Pachman, Euwe, etc.), set up an endgame file (Shereshevksy, Chernev, Seirawan, Averbakh, etc.) and am using this each night--too. I set up a basic openings file, a basic tactics file, and a classic miniatures file, and others too numerous to mention. I am not idle.

But this freedom of which I speak--which included neither recent live play or CTS--with no disciplined viewing of GM game daily, has felt really, really good, and I am bursting my box. It would not be far fetched to say that for weeks now, that I have been spending two to three hours per day at chessBase. It is endless, and I follow my fancy. It is time.

What else is there you ask! Lots. Lots more. I finally am slowly going through the cbv file of Seirawan’s Winning Chess Endings as a primer after of course years already among Chernev’s nice endgame book, Pandolfini's, Soltis marvelous Grandmaster Secrets: Endgames, then finally Averbakh’s Endings, Essential Knowledge…

Then after Seirawan, I will continue with Shereshevsky's cbv file (133 games, cf. Ossimitz), which I started last week, but after three days and nights on the first position (Capablanca-Reshevsky, Nottingham 1936), realized that I wanted to do WCE first.

Shereshevsky's book itself is NOT to be 'hurried' (cf. his adage: "Do not hurry!"), but chewed quite slowly and with great care… As it is, his note in this second game to the first line, which says that '3.f4 gxf4 4.exf4 d4! is a draw' is far, far from clear, and never mind the game, but on that alone or the exceptions to that, DAYS can be spent on those alone.

But even here, in what should be much simpler, I find lines in S’s book, that Fritz sees big improvements on that are suppose to be clear wins, but really aren’t, so this is not just 'click, click, click', but true investigation in depth. Then I read his book in bed AFTER much cbv work, just to reinforce the lines, with his comments.

Aronian: Rare Oddity, One hand for the clock and the other records the move!

So that is about it. I work with chessbase in Seirawan, I read his book in bed latter, work on the 1001 book, and even get to check some of the more difficult lines in chessBase. Again, I don't use a board, and in some cases although rarely, cannot see the line well enough, then go to cbv and/or Fritz to see it, and it works wonders over the little brain only in unfolding all the 'ins' and 'outs. I started back at CTS, but three wrong in 94 is piss poor, but I will recover it. :)

I somehow don't think that Mr. Polgar played any games with his girls, but was all business!

Do all of you know of Phaedrus? "And what is good, Phædrus, And what is not good... Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?" His blog is best of breed. He and I have established a major connection, and to say that he is a peer or more of temposchlucker's aught to get your dandruf up@!

In a comment at my blog, he handily and easily made a comment that he wished that he at a cbv (chessbase) file of the Polgar Middlegame book for his teaching and students, and this led to many exchanges that has led to a major project about to begin. He suggests that this will prove invaluable. I do not know if this is true, but what need I think? I trust this man, do not blink, do not look left or right, but follow him therein. Who knows what will come of this?? Wonder of wonders!

We need ten good chess blogger~students so that we can each render five hundred games and/or copy them from cbv, and pool our efforts. Listen to me. We don't want slave labor. But we need six more good ladies or men. We are happy to do this alone, if it just be us. But if you wish to participate, then please let us know. No one's ego is involved, we just want to execute. It is an evolving process. But we want quality and perfection, not ordinary slap dash ho hum fabrications. Quality, oh Phaedrus!

Our Efforts at Chess Blogger Go Round and Round the World Day and Night, a Beehive of Activity

Just a gentle reminder to new readers: there is more, but this isn't the best place to tell it all. So, in briefest outline: I applied to the City of Seattle for a 9-1-1 Police Dispatcher, or emergency dispatcher position, but didn't get it. If it were just to talk and be on the phone, this I can do well. But they wanted not just good typist, but "highly proficient typists". I scored high, and was on their shortlist among hundreds of applicants and they wanted me, but in the end, you also need to be able to type fast, and accurate, with your eyes closed in all ways. Let us salute all 9-1-1 operators. It is a very hard test! And if you are dieing or hurt, damn, you need someone fast, and good, and accurate. They were all very, very professional at Police Headquarters, and exceedingly have my utmost respect.

I have worked in tools now for 16 months, after years in flooring. As is well known, I work for a major competitor to Home Depot. I know 38,000 items on sight. Six years as a chess player in a big hardware store is a miracle employee. I remember all that I see, and know where it all goes. And if only Morgan Stanley could now see me training employees on a fork lift! Go to hell I say. Those bastards!

Like any language, it builds. In the beginning, you cannot speak, then the simple sentences, then more advanced words and constructs. Latter on, you can comprehend or express complex thoughts or sequences. It is humbling, for so many (usually but not always male) men come in with vast knowledge, and you must assist them.

First they ask if you have an XYZ and you not only have never seen it (3,400 items in my corral), but never even heard of it. The first time, if you are in error simply say "we don't have it" but then then minutes latter they politely put it in your face: "For the future, here it is, this is what a VIX-bit looks like'. Then the second time: "Do you guys have VIX-bits?" "Yes, but lets see if we can find it". The third time, it is yes, we have them, then you can find the bay. The forth time, a prompt yes, espre decor: "Yes we have them, and they are right __ __ here";! As you reach.

So the knowledge builds, and if you are like me, it builds and builds and you never forget, and in time, you not only know the other 34,600 items, but now 3,060 of many little 'wigets' in your area. Its just now those last 340 of them that I...

What is this world and Who are We??

Lastly, I remember all kinds of model numbers and item numbers, thousands of them or hundreds.... but now in tools, the DV13 by Hitachi, the Dewalt DW345, the BlackandDecker FS210... then the 13,000 rpm's, tpi or tooth per inch, torx bits T-15, T-25, T-30, T-40, 1.5mm allen wrenches, 14.4 volt, 9 amp heavy duty 1/2" chuck drills, metal cutting carbide blades, lithium-ion batteries, bi-metal sawsals blades, cup grinders, crescent wrenches, basin wrenches, pipe wrenches, open end box wrenches, come alongs, bunge chords, jumper cables, AC-Adapters, ntp air fittings, 150 psi compressors--90 psi, 4.8 SCFM paint sprayers, Bosch SDS shanks, 18 GA brad nailers, narrow crown staples, hook and loop sandpaper, random orbital sanders, 5" adhesive backed sandpaper, 20 oz claw hammers, wonderbars, 5.5 hp 5.0 gal Shop Vacs, 3/8" drive sockets, 7/16" 12 point deep socket sets, easy-outs large and small, planner blades, porcelan drill bits, drum sanders, double beveled compound miter saws, coping saws, bow saws, leather tool belt harnesses, knee pads, tool chests, caution tape, chalk, propane, MAPP gas, hammer drills, impact wrenches, #2 Phillips, magnetic bit holders, 8-32 threads, 8mm threads 1.25 threads per mm and 20 mm long screws, glazing points, hot air guns, glue sticks, pole sanders, wrecking bars, the 0.030 solder, then the 0.035 solder and on, and on, and on. After 16 months, it is all starting to come together rapidly for me... Look Mom, no drugs! A place to go five days a week and forget the horror of existence: "The Horror, the horror. The horror of ... existence", a river slowly wound up into Kurtz.

Kafka said that Alexander the Great simply did not conquer the world so as not to have to move the weight of his own body?

I turn 50 in October. My goal is finally this summer to be able to climb Mount McGregor, among the highest non-technical peak in the state. A day just to drive there, then a long water taxi... from 1598' to 8,123' or 6,525' of gain in one day (2,034 meters), the most strenuous possible in a day. 6.5k feet in eight miles is a killer. I planned this in 2001, but at the last minute canceled the trip to be in a wedding party, as solemnly requested by the grooms brother: "It would mean a real lot to him". Needless to say, he doesn't even talk to me any more, and now I must recover this dream...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hardcore Pawnography Offer, Warranted

I get excited sometimes

ChessLoser took up my offer to call me, and we had a long chat early tonight about chessBase9 and why I very much hope that he can buy it soon.

The details are private to him, but he will soon, with apolomb he reassures me.

It was a absolutely total delight to chat with him about what I have recently integrated (above and beyond my now well known 3,274 Classic GM Game Database) among:

Now vast book files comprising endings, classic books on basic tactical problems, game collections such as from the many books on great former WCC's, strategy, openings generally then specifically in the Caro Kann, A Strategic Opening Repertoire by Donalson, The Reti; and finally among: advanced tactical collections, classic miniatures, games annotated verbally among the major classics, and autofritz files such as on Vukovic's Art of Attack, Euwe-Kramers The Middlegame, Vol's I &II (Hays edition!) [4] , and finally the treasure trove by Shershevsky's Engame Strategy.

I do not wish to suggest that Obama has my vote (or doesn't) but he definitely has the total initiave both in the press, among all races and economic levels, and with PROMISES for those who believe the new can occur?

In no way do I wish to suggest that links to Ossimitz or Gambitchess cum drivingsinsane.angelfire are new. But what is notable is recognizing how to utilize these sources, in bootstrapping yourself into a focused and integrated and study of chess in its gigantic, global, and universal availability. What you can radily and efficiently accomplish through these files in chessBase9 is spellbounding.

If it is 18th Century Europe, you might as well learn French. If it is 2020, get ready with a Bachelars Degree in Electrical Engineering with specialization in nanotechnology and telecommunications, a Masters in Business with a specialty in supply chains and distribution, and start an extensive set of notes on sustainability, globalism, and practice the art of negotiation. And, if you are gonna play chess and study the game, have chessBase9 and use the critter. I suppose that I use it for three hours hours a day--at least.

The Spice of Life

ChessLoser was most gracious in sustaining our conversation before his dinner. After my exegesis on chessBase9, we got to chat about life, and compare notes. What a doll this man is, a real treasure! I confided to him that while he was not the second blogger I had offered to chat with, by making my identity and ASL available known to him, he was only the second to do so. A huge good heart this lad has [1].

To conclude: yes, you can get the world off the web outside chessBase9, by-passing their rich coffers, but no, you cannot get the universe with your friends without it, when we can all send you or intercommuncate with cbv, rich text files, with variations, comments, the whole nine yards.

Money (double click to expand this fascinating illustration), of course, doesn't just grow on trees!

Of course, you have to eat your own cooking, so to stand by my words unabashedly told him that if after a year he felt that it wasn't worth his while to improve at chess, after he bought it, that I would (*while telling him that I was by no means rich*) mail him US $60.00 for a $160.00 if he wasn't satisfied, no questions asked. :) This reduces his risk to now only $100.00, not including 'a year out of pocket' (or 'discounted future value') but does so to the tune of a factor of now only 62.5% [2] Not bad for magic come his way.

Love to all beings, dk

[1] Now my public lists of beers that I will buy [3] include in rank order:
temposchlucker, Robert Pearson aka Wahrheit, and now chessLoser.

[2] Friendship truly has no price tag, and cannot be included in ennumerating costs, as it is priceless.

[3] ReAssembler would necessarily have to be Sushi, but here in the hotbed of new Asian cuisine.

[4] As I have said a great many times already, my respect for this book knows no bounds. And now to have this! Notes directly from Ossimitz, aught to give you some of the flavor:

****** Games /Positions from Euwe/Kramer's The Middlegame (dt. "Das Mittelspiel" is until today the most complete treatise on this subject. It took Euwe originally more than 10 years to finish this project in 12 small volumes. Today this book is available in a nice 2-volume algebraic figurine edition with main author Kramer, published by Hays Publications. At Amazon.com you can find The Middlegame: Book I and The Middlegame: Book II . The german edition (1 volume, +700pp, Ed. Rattmann, ISBN 3-88086-55-6) is still available at some specialized chess-dealers (like http://www.niggemann.com/), but no longer among the german books in print. Here are two versions of complete collections belonging to this book!

middleg.zip Bradley Loh's completely annotated electronical edition! YES! Here you find not just the moves and positions, but also all the varations, verbal annotations, introduction texts to all diagrams, some chapter introduction texts. Moreover Bradley Loh has added Chessbase-specific features like arrows, colored squares, training questions for making this an absolutely incredible learning tool!

YES! This copyrighted material is put here for free with grateful permission of Lou Hays, who published the printed stuff.

YES! This collection is a free gift of Bradley Loh to the worldwide chess community, as anything for download on my website! My heartfelt thanks to Bradley for his extraordinary work!

YES! There is a catch: for extracting middleg.cbv from the zip-file you need a password. See the file password.txt about how to get the password easily out of book II of the Hays Pbn edition (or of any other edition you have available).

eukra.zip The sequence of positions and the numbering is according to the german edition (12 parts). I have marked all the diagram positions as "critical middlegame positions". Open the search mask in CBLight, choose "Comments" and mark "critical middlegame position." With OK the search finds all games, but after that you come directly to the diagram position when opening a game! Voila!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dropping Acid, Then Lets Meet Here

After five fairly intricate, somewhat positional games with my fine opponent, who outranked me by a bit, (1w/3L/1d=5 before our final game shown below), I won our sixth game, before turning out to sleep now, saying to him as I played 1.e4 e5 2.f4: "Lets go for it".

Of course, as many of you know, I am not an e4 player, but I can do it when I want to, especially the Kings Gambit, which I tend to spring late in a series, as if to say, 'lets switch it up a bit'. Also, wide viewing of mryiads of GM games allows me to do this on demand:

My guru's spiritual teacher, Maharish, whom she lived with in India for eight years in the 70's, writing him of her strange, otherworldly experiences, simply sent her a one word telegram in reply, saying:


She packed her bags, went round the world, and thus began her journey. He made her a teacher, and she trained me as a teacher trainee. His influence comes directly to me, through her directly. Added to that, she studied with Tibetan Lamas for years, in my tradition, Zochen [Tib.: Engl for 'Pathless path']. Thus my very, very exposed work with the public, at her suggestion. Screaming at me, literally:

"Consulting? Technical sales? Project Management. NO! No. Get a humble job. A waiter, or something humble". After nine months of hard looking, if not two years unemployed, after I left Wall Street, she suggests this--and I had my retail job five days latter, and have now been there closer to six years than not now.

Maharishi died two days ago, in the Netherlands, after reaching millions with his transcendental meditation.

Warmest, dk

Saturday, February 02, 2008

How Much Land Does Tolstoy's Man Need, or scope of GM game study

Great Russian author Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy--cum master psychologist of human nature--once wrote a great essay called 'How Much Land Does a Man Need?', and I reproduce some short characterizations of this fine tale:

"(Russian: Много ли человеку земли нужно?, Mnogo li cheloveku zemli nuzhno) is an 1886 short story by Leo Tolstoy about a man who, in his lust for land, forfeits everything, including his own life. Late in life, James Joyce called it the greatest short story ever written" Although it is set in Russia, it is about the greed that many people had at the time and the outcome of that greed", and

"There was once a Russian peasant who worked hard. The earth never failed to feed him and his family. His life was quiet and secure but he was never satisfied and happy. 'We have too little land. If we had more land, I would fear nothing and no one.' He borrowed money and bought twenty-five acres of land. 'Now he was his own master. The grain stood tall. He had a bountiful harvest, and he made a handsome profit at market. He was able to repay all his debts. There was peace and happiness under his roof.'

"But unfortunately, it did not last for long. He wanted more land so that he could become rich. Over and over again he moved his family, so that he could buy more and more land. One day a traveler told the peasant about good and fertile land in the faraway country of Bashkir. There, for one thousand rubles, a man could have as much land as he could walk around in one day, and:

"Leo Tolstoy's short story about a man's consumption by greed. Honest, hardworking sharecropper Buck believes that a piece of land to call his own will make him truly happy. He and his wife eventually procure some acreage, but when Buck learns that other farmers have more than he does, he becomes obsessed with improving his lot. A never-ending quest to acquire still more land leads him to make a deal that will test his greed and his physical strength like never before. He literally dies trying to claim a huge parcel of territory and ultimately ends up with 'as much land as he'll ever need -- six feet from his head to his heels.'

"[The main character] lives in a commune and some of the people have begun to buy their own tracts of land. He sees this and decides that it would be a good idea if he did the same thing. He was worried that if he didn’t act soon, he would miss his chance. He wouldn’t have to pay any fines and could keep all the money he makes. The more people heard about it, the more they wanted it for themselves.

"The night before he had a dream that the devil was sitting over his dead body laughing. He dismisses it and goes back to sleep. The next day he starts out to stake his claim. He is trying so hard to get as much as possible that he miss judges how far he has gone and begins to have problems walking. He is tired, hot, and hurt. He has to start running to make it back in time... begins to realize that he should not have been so greedy, as it is taking it’s toll on him. He barely makes it back on time, and alive" and

"Right as he gets to the finish, he sees the Chief sitting and laughing, just like the devil in his dream. He collapses and dies right as he finishes. He is buried right there. 'His servant picked up the spade and dug a grave long enough for [him] to lie in, and buried him in it". And, again: "Six feet from his head to his heels was all he need."

What does THIS have to do with the study of classic GM games, and, as such, necessarily first the selection and collection of those games? Let me explain:

One of the leading Israli chess Grandmasters, Psakhis is reputed to have attained mastery of chess by only and exclusively studying 200 games from the Chess Informant publication. On the other hand, Silman used to say (during one of his live commentaries to the 2002 U.S. Chess Championship in Seattle) that he used to look at something like one hundred games per day (I am not endorsing this, but worthy for comparisons sake)!

By the way. as long as we are talking about the heart of life as it relates to potentially unchecked vast ambition, I sent GM Seirawan (along with a few other close friends of ours), a copy of a classic song I had heard at work: "Lay Lady, Lay", and it struck me so much, I dug it up, not realizing that it was sung by none other than Bob Dylan. I sent a bcc to Jeremy Silman, and he promptly wrote me back, saying that he 'listened to it, all the time', and knew it well;

In putting the finishing touches on my classic GM game database, it struck me at a certain point that I just didn't need any more games, and almost got stuck in endlessly trying to add one more set of games here, one more set of games there, to the already capaciously large and ample and abundant database. At this point, as I am often want to say to any of my many correspondents now, who write asking for a copy of the cbv file (which I always gladly email to all who ask for it, freely--with nothing asked in return save a simple acknowledgement of it's recept), often remarking, like JFK:

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country", remark to them, "don't ask me what is IN the game file, but, rather ask me what is NOT in the game file!" 3,274 games, outlined here, with an emphasis on complete books first, only with missing individual games distinctly second in importance.

To quickly recapitulate, I spent 2.5 years slowly chewing on the first 941 games, from the three main Chernev game collections, through the two early Nunn collections, Timman, Burgess, Stohl, the two classic Nimzovitch books, Fischer, Bronstein, and finally Romero's book.

Then I added the game from the ICC classic chess game collection, evidentally compiled by Tim Krabbe, and now also posted at his fine professional blog, Open Chess Diary (surely, never be be missed by any chess fans whatsoever)! Then I added his 110 Most Fantastic Moves ever played, and his Over 250 Unsual, Funny, and Beautiful Games file. And finally, some snippets from his endgame collection--a small file, in that instance.

Then why stop there? I added GM-Ram, Soltis Greatest Games of the Twentieth Century, and finally then Reti's, Masters of the Chessboard. At that point, I was cleaning up my games from 2007, that is to say games viewed in contemporary chess praxis, and realized that I had best add the games from the best of Informant, both from chessCafe, Chess Brilliancy by Damsky, and 640 Golden Games. Opposing this very modern contribution, I finally rounded out the classics by laboriously adding Alekhines 107 Great Chess Battles 1935-1942 and Tartakowers 100 Master Games (updates from 500 Master Games, but after WWII), and Fines very, very, fine (no pun intended) World's Great Chess Games.

And, let me remind the kind reader that I do not drink alcohol or do drugs. I do not play golf or go shopping or have--at this time--a girlfriend, but I do have a cat. I need a digital photo of him very badly for you all! May God please help me!

As I proceded, I found that there was great convergence. I found that it was becoming rarer and rarer for anyone to mention a great classic GM game that was NOT in my database, and in those rare cases where they were not, forthwith added them promptly.

It seems to me that two thousand or fifteen hundred games, to truly absorb is plenty. No worries, ok, I have three-thousand plus+. I am almost done viewing the second unit, games 942 to 1,735. Once I get to there (I am at number 1,486 so don't have far to go), I aim to take a break, and for the remaining 1,200 games or so (there are necessarily some duplicates, so less than or right at 3,000 actually), will click through them fairly quickly.

My plan is to drill in more deeply in the first 1,500 or so, with diminishing returns on the next 1,500 (1,501-3,000+).

So like the man who set out to scribe as much land as he could walk in a day, only to die of exhaustion, so too here, I must prudently stop, and see that my 'value chain' consists in going deeper into these same games in the collection while not being enjoined to add to it (or viewing more and more new games), so that the knowledge would have to become a blur instead of true recognition of things already known or famiar.

Most of all, my yearning is to spend about half a year on the next 50 or so games from Chernev's The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played, when I had already annotated the first twelve or so, to great profit and learning.

In closing, as a small parenthetic thought, might I suggest that the kind reader NOT miss this very, very endearing 'in depth' video of video of Magnus Carlsen trainer, Simen Agdestein, from chessVibes.com, about twenty-seven minutes long and very descriptive about his chess training, vertical ascent as a younger chess player, and Agdesteins various non-chess periginations.

Warmest, dk