Saturday, June 16, 2018

Cheng: Practical Chess Exercises 31-36

Position #31: black to move
8/8/8/8/p1p5/P1P5/1P6/K1kb4 b - - 0 1

Position #32: white to move
r2qr1k1/2p1b2p/p1n1npp1/1p1pP3/8/2P1BN2/PPB2PPP/R2QR1K1 w - - 0 1

Position #33: white to move
r2qkb1r/1b1nppp1/p1p2n1p/1p1pN3/3P3B/2PBP3/PP1N1PPP/R2Q1RK1 w - - 0 1

Position #34: black to move
3rk2r/pp3pb1/4p2p/2n1Nbp1/2B5/2Pp2B1/PP3PPP/2KR3R b - - 0 1

Position #35: white to move
3n4/2k3r1/1p6/1K1R4/2P5/3P4/8/8 w - - 0 1

Position #36: black to move
r1bqkbnr/pp1pp2p/2n2pp1/8/4P3/3BQN2/PPP2PPP/RNB1K2R b - - 0 1

Monday, June 11, 2018

Cheng: Practical Chess Exercises 25-30

Position #25: black to move
r1bq1rk1/ppp2ppp/2n5/1B2p3/6P1/3PPQ2/PPP3P1/RN3RK1 b - - 0 1

Position #26: black to move
2kr1r2/pqp3pp/1pb1p1n1/4p3/8/Q1P1B1P1/PP2BP1P/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1

Position #27: white to move
2brr1k1/4n1pp/p1p1p3/2RpP3/3P4/P4N1P/1P3BP1/2R3K1 w - - 0 1

Position #28: black to move
2r1nrk1/pbqn1p1p/1p6/2p1pP2/2Pp3P/1P1Pb1P1/PB2Q1BK/RN2NR2 b - - 0 1

Position #29: black to move
4r1k1/3b1p2/1pp2n1p/3p2p1/Nb1N4/6B1/PPP2PPP/R5K1 b - - 0 1

Position #30: white to move
2nr3r/4k2p/1ppb1p2/p1p3p1/P1P1P3/4BN2/2PR1PPP/3R2K1 w - - 0 1

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Cheng: Practical Chess Exercises 19-24

Position #19: white to move
1q4k1/p5pp/4pn1r/2Q1Np2/3P4/PP6/5PPP/2R3K1 b - - 0 1

Position #20: white to move
2rq1rk1/1b1nbppp/p1p1pn2/1p4B1/3P4/P1NBPN2/1P3PPP/2RQ1RK1 b - - 0 1

Position #21: white to move
r5k1/2pqn1pp/p4r2/1pnp4/8/2P2PN1/PPB2P1P/R2QR1K1 b - - 0 1

Position #22: black to move
8/2P5/p2K4/8/1P1k4/8/8/2r5 b - - 0 1

Position #23: white to move
r4rk1/1p2qpb1/1np1b1pp/p1n1p3/2P1P3/1PN1BNPP/P1Q2PB1/3RR1K1 w - - 0 1

Position #24: white to move
2r2r2/3q1ppk/p2p1nnp/1pp1p3/4P3/PBNPPR1P/1PP2QP1/5RK1 w - - 0 1

Monday, June 04, 2018

Cheng: Practical Chess Exercises 13-18

Position #13: black to move
r2br1k1/1p3pp1/1pn4p/2p1p3/2P5/P1P2PP1/4P1BP/1RB1R1K1 b - - 0 1

Position #14: white to move
6k1/ppqn1bb1/2p4p/2P1p1p1/4P3/5P2/P1QNBBPP/6K1 w - - 0 1

Position #15: white to move
rn1qk2r/pbp2pp1/1p1ppn1p/8/1bPPP3/2NB4/PPQ1NPPP/R1B1K2R w - - 0 1

Position #16: white to move
r4rk1/pppq1ppp/2np4/8/3PP2n/P2BB1R1/1PPQ2PP/R5K1 w - - 0 1

Position #17: white to move
K7/P7/8/6k1/5pp1/1r6/8/R7 w - - 0 1

Position #18: white to move
r3kb1r/5ppp/p3n3/1pp1P3/8/4BN2/PP3PPP/R2R2K1 w - - 0 1

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cheng: Practical Chess Exercises 7-12

Position #7: black to move
1r5k/2p3pp/1p1p3r/1P1Qp3/P2bPpB1/3P2qP/5PP1/2R2RK1 b - - 0 1

Position #8: white to move
r1b2rk1/p1q1n1pp/3b1pn1/1Bp5/4P3/2N1BN1P/PPP2PP1/R2Q1RK1 w - - 0 1

Position #9: white to move
2r3k1/2P2ppp/Q7/3ppq2/4n3/6P1/5P1P/2R2BK1 w - - 0 1

Position #10: black to move
2r1k2r/5p1p/5P2/4p1PQ/2q1n2P/8/PPP5/1K1RR3 b - - 0 1

Position #11: white to move
rn1qk2r/pbppbppp/1p2pn2/8/2PP4/P1N2N2/1PQ1PPPP/R1B1KB1R w - - 0 1

Position #12: white to move
8/4kp1p/Bp3np1/2p5/P2b4/8/3B2PP/5K2 w - - 0 1

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Cheng: Practical Chess Exercises 1-6

Position #1: black to move
1rr3k1/2q2pbp/1p1p2p1/n2Pp3/R1P1P3/2NQ2P1/5P1P/2R2BK1 b - - 0 1

Position #2: white to move
2rr2k1/1p1bppbp/pBqp1np1/4n3/N1P1P3/1P3P2/P1NQB1PP/2RR2K1 w - - 0 1

Position #3: black to move
2B1k2r/4bp1p/pq1p1p2/1pn1p3/4P3/2P1N3/PP1N1PPP/1K1R1R2 b - - 0 1

Position #4: white to move
  8/8/8/7p/1k4p1/1P6/2K2P1P/8 w - - 0 1

Position #5: white to move
1r3rk1/2q5/3p1pp1/n1pPp1n1/ppP1P3/1P4N1/P1BQ1PKR/7R w - - 0 1

Position #6: white to move
r3r1k1/1b3p1p/p2p1np1/1pqPp3/P1p1Pb2/2P2NNP/1PB1QPP1/RR4K1 w - - 0 1

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"make the best move you can" by marcus aurelius

for the past year, i've been learning and trying to practice stoicism.

today, while reading marcus aurelius' meditations*, i came across this quote, which i thought amusingly applicable to chess.

If you are doing your proper duty let it not matter to you whether you are cold or warm, whether you are sleepy or well-slept, whether men speak badly or well of you, even whether you are on the point of death or doing something else: because even this, the act in which we die, is one of the acts of life, and so here too it suffices to 'make the best move you can'.

* Tranlated by Martin Hammond, Introduction by Diskin Clay

Saturday, December 05, 2015

1700 blitz on lichess

i'm on some kind of a streak now.

on november 12, i was 1546 blitz and since then, i've been mostly winning.  after my last win just a few minutes ago, i'm at 1704.

i largely suspect this is artificial improvement - i've not been doing any tactics or studying.  i've just been playing lots of blitz (casual and rated), with a smattering of classical games here and there.

it's so much fun to simply play.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

come on people; just resign!

in two games, just this week, my opponent made a tactical mistake, i took advantage of the tactical mistake and then my opponent would either leave the game or let their flag fall.

thanks to lichess, when a player abandons the game, the player who stays can claim victory.  those situations aren't so painful.  i remember when i was actively playing on FICS, that unless both players had a certain variable turned on (i think it was "noescape"), if one player abandoned the game, the game would go into this limbo status where neither one could claim victory, unless the other ceded the game.  and if you wanted to claim the victory, you had to message the other player or contact the server admin - painful.

but then there is another class of sore loser - those who let their flag fall.  let me respectfully say "screw you" to those who are in a losing position and intentionally let their flag fall rather than resigning or even abandoning the game.  every single player who does this is automatically added to my block list.  i know, that doesn't sound so revengeful, but it gives me a certain degree of satisfaction.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

random comment, related to chess, from scott adams' blog

random comment
I have two adult sons. One of them became an adult around the age of six. He followed the same life strategy from age six as Scott has outlined, and now enjoys great professional success and family satisfaction. Go figure. 
My other son joined the Army because he needed the challenge and structure to keep him out of trouble. If he makes it to his late twenties without going to jail or getting killed, I think he will have a good life. 
In my late twenties, while in graduate school, I joined my university chess team because I knew they would play the state penitentiary chess team, and I wanted to see the inside of a state penitentiary as a tourist and not as an inmate. As an unexpected additional player, I found myself playing against the prison chaplain instead of against an inmate. Looking around at the inmates, I said to the chaplain, "These guys look a lot like me." The chaplain said, "They look a lot like you, to me, too. Let me guess. You spent the last ten years in the Marine Corps." "Nine," I said. "If you had not spent the past nine years in the Marine Corps, you would have wound up here: at one time, young men like these, and like yourself, served society well; after all, Columbus needed sailors and Cortez needed conquistadores." 
Not everyone can play the odds as an adult. Some people have a prolonged childhood and adolescence, not of their own choosing. They deserve better than prison and homelessness. Scott Adams did not select his genetics, nor his parents, nor his birth situation, nor his early adult character. He only thinks he made the choices he made. In actuality, life made those decisions for him. He put in the work, but then, he could not NOT put in the work, and he now enjoys remarkable success. 
My older son has followed a path similar to that of Scott's, and I don't see that my son had any choice in the matter, either, except to act out what life had given him. In any event, I love and respect and admire both my son's; both the doctor and the soldier.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


i started a sub reddit: /r/chessmatchups

feel free to use and advertise!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

state of my chess

since about 2011, i've been trying to establish a goal of playing about 50 real games a year.  in 2012, i got to 41 games, in 2013 i played 52 games, in 2014, i only play 24 games.

in 2015 so far, i've played about 22 games.  i need to reach my goal of 52 games by the end of august.  this means i'm about 10 games behind.  but i think i'll be able to reach my goal.  most of my games are turn-based.  in fact, i've got an active game with robert pearson going right not - it's early into the match.  you can follow that game here.

unfortunately, this is about all the chess i can get in right now.  i started a new assignment at work and it does not leave much time for anything else.  every once in a while, i'm able to sneak away during lunch and solve some problems at chesstempo.  and once a in blue moon, i pull out chess book and read.

if anyone wants to play a 30 0 game or longer, leave a comment.  i play on or

and lastly, i'm sure everyone has already seen this, but in my effort to document chess violence, i needed to add this to the list: a 10 year old boy jumps to his death after being check-mated

Friday, January 23, 2015

of losing and pinewood derby cars

last fall, i got my 10 year old son to start playing chess.  i introduced him to fritz and chesster and he immediately took a liking to it.  we began to play several games a day.  i got him a account and he began to play lots more.

several years ago, i made a deal with my older kids that if they ever beat me, i would buy them a prize.  this motivated the two older kids for a while, but they never got close to beating me.  i made the same deal with my 10 year old, and he got to work!  he wanted to beat me.

when we first began to play, he would move quite fast.  but more recently, he has been taking his time and really thinking about his moves.  this week, we were playing our usual nightly game.  i was surfing the internet on my tablet while playing him.  but i was still trying to make good moves.  before i knew it, he had forked my king and queen.  i still wasn't too concerned, but then i failed to defend my back row and he was able to notice and deliver the checkmate.  it was over.  i was honestly stunned, but extremely happy at the same time!  he is a very modest ten year old and wasn't overly excited, but he was undoubtedly proud of his accomplishment!

now the fun begins!  i hope he continues to improve and continues to make our games more challenging.

coincidentally, this week my son and i worked on his pinewood derby car.  his idea was to make the car into a chess piece.  naturally, we decided to make it a rook and call it "ROCKYROOK"!

the derby is tonight; we doubt he'll win the whole thing, but it's always a fun event!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

tata steel tournament

i wonder if the players at the tata steel tournament have a constant urge to urinate.

that's all i can think about every time i see the room they are playing in.

and seeing people standing in ankle-deep water like it's no big deal; makes my feet cold.

it must be torture playing in that hall.

Monday, January 12, 2015

silman's knights tests

3rr1kn/ppnqb1pp/2p1p3/6PP/1PBPP1Q1/P3B3/2N5/2R2R1K w - - 0 1
test 1, white to move

5rk1/1b1n2pp/p3pr2/1p1p4/3R1P2/P1N2R2/1PP1B1PP/7K b - - 0 1
test 2 black to move

r1bq1r1k/2p3pp/pppbn3/4Np2/3P1P2/NQP1B3/PP4PP/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1
test 3, black to move

2r2rk1/pbqnbppp/1p3n2/1Pp1p3/2P1P3/P4NP1/1BQN1PBP/R4RK1 w - - 0 1
test 4, white to move

4r1k1/2qn2bp/p2p1ppn/2pP4/1rN1PP1B/2NQ3P/1P4P1/4RR1K w - - 0 1
test 5, white to move

r5k1/pp1rb1pp/3N2b1/2p1B3/5P2/1P3K2/P5PP/R2R4 w - - 0 1
test 6, white to move

r1b2rk1/1p1nqpbp/2p2np1/p3p3/P3P3/2NQBN1P/1PP1BPP1/R4RK1 w - - 0 1
test 7, white to move

r1b1rnk1/1p2qpb1/p1pp1np1/4p3/2PPP1P1/1QN1BPN1/PP5P/1K1R1B1R w - - 0 1
test 8, white to move

3rnrk1/2qn1pbp/1p4p1/2p1p3/4P3/4B1PP/1PPNQPB1/R4RK1 w - - 0 1
test 9, white to move

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Snippet from "Drugs, Chess, Books, or Gambling: How to Fight Boredom in Prison

Read this snippet from this article via /r/chess

Also popular and widely played enough to form a ranked community is chess. Its stars are known throughout the system; I played occasionally for years and never won. The true enthusiasts devote their being to the game, reading books, trading strategies, and easily spending eight hours a day at play in the yard, even in the depths of winter. Most have waterproof sets made of plastic, as the rain doesn't stop them. I've also seen chess sets carved from soap or molded out of spit and cardboard. In solitary confinement, men play chess against each other by screaming; both parties have boards made of paper and ink, and instead of the complicated official system (E2 to E4 and so forth), they have the squares numbered from 1 to 64. It's torture to hear the numbers yelled through the night.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

to AOX: i've reached 6 hours on "attackers"

after lots of discussion with AOX about chesstempo and how to gain real improvement, i offered to be a guinea pig on visualization practices.

he said the first step is to get about 6 hours of practice in for "attackers" on

i just surpassed 6 hours today.  i averaged about 32 pieces of minute.

AOX - now what?  should i be trying other visualization exercises that you list on your blog?

Monday, November 03, 2014

November 2, 2014 - 30 2 game on

Trying to get into the habit of playing a long-ish game every Sunday evening.  Last night, I had time to play a 30 2 game.

Here is a link to the game.  I posted some self-analysis; as well as some comments from an engine analysis from lichess.  Feel free to comment on the game, either here on this blog or at

I need to get better at analyzing my own games.  I did some initial analysis, but I figure I can still go back to the game, and add comments and thoughts as more ideas surface.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


life got really wild about a month and a half ago.  with four kids in three different schools and numerous activities going on; with a ramp-up in work - every new day and week brought more and more work and things to do.

then our home was burglarized; part of it was ransacked.  ever since, we've been trying to recover and get back to a somewhat normal life.

chess took a backseat, obviously.  i've not done any work at chesstempo or started any new games at since the middle of september.

while we were reassembling our home, i took the opportunity to do some reevaluation of what i'm focused on in life.  a part of that was figuring out what i should do with chess.  i love solving chess problems, but i'm beginning to wonder if that really is helping improve my game.  on top of that, i don't regularly play.  i had a number of correspondence games going, but not much beyond those.  although i have been playing more with my younger son - who has taken a big interest in chess when i introduced him to Fritz and Chesster a couple of weeks ago.

i don't quite know what my new routine will look like, but i know i need to play lots more games; i know i like solving problems at chesstempo; and i'm trying to experiment with AOX's suggestion at Chess GYM (attackers).  i'm up to around 17 pieces a minute now.

the one constraint i have is time.  i estimate i have about 10 hours a week to dedicate to training and playing.

so, with all that said, a high level view of my plan looks like this:
- during the week, do 30 minutes of tactics at CT; play a 15 0 game at (during lunch)
- spend an hour an evening going over correspondence games at night
- play a 30 0, or 60 0 game Sunday night
- somewhere in there, i need to spend some time reading books (i'd like to actually use the books i have, which are just collecting dust)

any suggestions from my dear readers?  what should i focus on?  how do i maximize my results for improving, given my time constraint?