Sunday, December 26, 2010

BabasChess Background or Wallpaper for your Board

One of the commenters from my post "Configuring BabasChess to look like Fritz" noted that they were having issues with white space behind the playing board. I have seen this before when trying to apply a really nice background image.

BabasChess requires the background images be a bitmap.  You cannot load .png, or .jpeg .jpg or any other image type.  It must be .bmp

This doesn't present a big problem as long as you have the right image editing tools.

1) Google the image you want and save it. For me, it was 'dark wood'

2) Convert the image to bitmap (skip this step if your image is already in bitmap type)
2a) Open your image edit tool. For me, I use SnagIt. But any basic edit tool should work.
2b) Convert the image type. Depending on the tool you are using, this step may vary. But if you are using SnagIt, there is a 'Convert Image' option. Using the wizard, it walks you through ... at the right step, choose the .bmp option. Windows Paint program can also convert images to bitmaps. Open the image, and then simply choose, 'save as' and choose bitmap.

3) Save the bitmap (or copy it) to the Data/Backgrounds directory in the folder where BabasChess is stored. For me it is C:\Program Files\BabasChess\BabasChess\Data\Backgrounds

4) Open Preferences (F11) in BabasChess and choose the background.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Avatar Review

Pocatar
First off - this is not a chess post.  I doubt anyone even looks at this blog very much, but I felt a little rant coming on and needed a place to release it.

I know - I'm a little late with this review.  I've yet to watch the other James Cameron movie (TITanic).  There's something about the raving mad crowds of people who gush over how great a movie is that just turns me off and I don't want to watch it.  Avatar was kind of like that as well.  So I never saw it in the theater.  I finally watched it over Thanksgiving after my brother in law got the blue-ray for a birthday present.

Don't worry - this rant won't be too long.

Point one: the American military general was insane.  I don't deny there may very well be insane soldiers, but those are exceptions in my opinion.

Point two: The business dude running the show was a bit insane too ... and dumb.  If that stuff was really worth that much money, I think the company could have been a little more patient.

Point three: the movie/story ended a bit prematurely.

Point three dot one: The military lost just one battle - the blue people kicked them off the planet.  The military, if indeed they wanted to pursue taking over the planet, would have come back much stronger and with much more force.

Point three dot two: As soon as the company/military/science officers found out that they could attempt to "transfer" human souls into blue-people bodies, I think they should have taken a different route than trying to destroy the planet and people.  They could have started charging humans to come to the planet to get a soul-transfer and start living on Pandora.  There's probably a lot more money in that market.  Plus, with the migration and influx of humans living in blue-people bodies, who's to say the company/military/science officers couldn't have pulled off the original plan - and that was to essentially put a spy in the midst of the blue-people.

Point four: Avatar was really just a re-vamped, slicked up re-do of Disney's Pocahontas.  That movie bombed because the story sucked.  Avatar would have flopped too if it weren't for the absolutely cool effects and 3D technology.

PS - as I was looking for a picture for this post, I found that there were already stored searches for "avatar pocahontas comparison"  The picture shows I'm not the first one to see the similarities.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

HCA - RMS Tournament

My son and I played in the RMS tournament here in our hometown.  This was the first time I played chess in almost a month.  Work and family life have been so extremely busy, that I hardly have time to play, study or write about chess.  But things are starting to slow down again to normal speeds and my chess enthusiasm is starting to come back.

The HCA RMS tournament was a scholastic tournament, but adults are allowed to play in the advanced section.  I knew I would be playing against mostly kids and teenagers.  Time controls were G/45. I ended up playing three Asian kids (between the ages of 7 and 10) and one adult who I played against in the Class Championships.  It was nice seeing and talking to him.  Another adult in the section was the father who was helping his son cheat in the Class Championships.  The kid was also playing, but in a different section.

First off - all the games were very quick.  All my opponents played very quickly.  We had completed our first 20 moves and only 5 minutes would be gone off the clock.  The game went down to the wire and I was able to rattle off a few checks while the clock was beginning to expire.  I was able to mate him with 8 seconds on my clock.

The second two games were boring and both ended up on a draw.  In fact, the third game should have been a loss for me, but I was able to force a draw by repetition.  Afterward, a few other kids analyzed the game and showed us how the kid could have beaten me.

My last game was easy.  My opponent dropped a piece early on and I won no problem.  It was satisfying as this was the gentleman I drew with in the Class Championships.

My son did well for his first tournament.  I won a couple and drew one and lost the others.  He had fun.  His games got over much quicker than mine did.  He enjoyed it enough that he wants to do it again.

I need 10 more games to get the P to drop from my rating.  I'll be trying to find some time to play a few more rated games over the next few months.

*Update* Here is the crosstable for the section in which I played.  Looks like my new (provisional) rating will be 1244 ... up from 1114.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Still Need to Learn My Lesson

Serves me right for drawing.  What makes it more painful is that I knew I needed to slow down - the time pressure was all in my head.  Had I simply got up, walked out, breathed deeply and took my time to assess the position, I would have won (most likely).  Instead, I rushed into it and didn't even consider the perpetual check or even the loss.  I was still lucky to even get a draw out of it after my failure to take time to assess.

Anyway, here it is; and here is the key position (at least for me):
I've included in the screenshot the time left on our clocks.

It took me two days to finally come back to this game and look at this position - it was really burning me up inside.

Qa7+

...Kf6 ... the knight is pinned and I my queen is on the right diagonal to defend against the black queen check.  My pawn is then free to capture the knight and I'm up a full rook.

What puts a burr up my butt is my failure to even analyze the perpetual check and potential loss - instead I succumbed to the perceived time pressure and went with the immediate knight capture.

I know how to not be rattled.  I've got to learn how to recognize when I'm being rattled.  From there, I can just right the ship.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Configuring BabasChess to look like Fritz

I am constantly surprised, when talking on-line chess with people, how many haven't heard of FICS or BabasChess - one of the many clients that interfaces with FICS.  In the next few posts, I'll discuss setting up BabasChess to look like Fritz and then how to log onto to FICS and issue simple commands.  For me, having a nice interface really enhances the on-line playing experience.

A number of years ago, I found someone who was able to configure BabasChess to look like Fritz' board.  I really liked that setup.  I've had my set up the same ever since.

Step 1:
Download and install BabasChess (click here).

Step 2:
Download this zip file to get the data needed for this theme (click here)

Step 3:
Extract the files under the Data directory to their proper folders.  In other words, go to the Data directory where BabasChess was installed on your PC and then copy the data from the zip folder to the matching folder.  So the file in the Fonts directory in the zip file will go in the Fonts directory in the Data file.

Step 4:
Import the BabasFritz.bcpref theme from the zip file.  Click 'File' then 'Import Preferences' then choose the BabasFritz.bcpref file.

Step 5:
Click on the 'Preferences' button in BabasChess (or hit F11) and configure the board settings as per the screen shot below

If the setup worked it should look very similar to the Fritz Wood setup

The first screen shot is Fritz while the second is BabasChess configured to look like Fritz.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Final Thoughts on US Class Championship

The last time I played in an OTB tournament, I was in 6th grade.  The tournament was a lunch-time event involving a handful of students.  I won that tournament.  This tournament was essentially my first real-live chess event I've ever participated in.  To say the least, it was fascinating.

It amazes me that in all my interactions with so many people in my neighborhood, church, work and school that I don't regularly find serious chess players.  I mean, chess is a very popular game and has a huge following, but I've never found that one friend who will stay up til midnight playing chess with you.  When we moved to Houston, I began in earnest to ask more often if people actively played chess.  Miraculously, I've been able to find a couple of gentleman who play.  One goes to my church and the other I met at at chess meetup.

Then I go to this tournament and it's as if I've finally found the party after searching all these years.  The best thing I liked about the tournament was simply talking to others about the game - knowing that there are other people like me who have the same crazy delusions about getting better at this game.  Getting the prize money wasn't the most valuable thing I got - rather it was the experience of the event ... one that I'll never forget the rest of my life.  It was exchanging contact info with other people and meeting fellow chess bloggers.

I was a little apprehensive about the tournament at first, but now all that anxiety is gone and I'm planning which tournament I want to sign up for next.  This addiction has gone to the next level.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Rounds 4 & 5 US Class Championship (Unrated Section)

The 4th and 5th rounds were much better than the 2nd and 3rd.  After doing some calculating, I figured if I won both games and the gentleman who I drew with either loses or draws a game, then I'd earn 2nd place and $100.

The 9:30am game began.  Us unrated folk are sitting in the back of the hall - having to endure people constantly walking in and out of the hall (we were right by the doors).  We also had to deal with all the traffic that was getting water (we were right by the cups and water).  About 2 or 3 times during the game, the waiter would push his cart full of water into the hall and then dump all the ice water into the water dispensers - it was very loud.

So about 15 or 20 minutes into the game, I notice the kid next to me jumping up and down, moving around a lot, going back and forth between his board and his dad who was sitting in the back of the hall with his laptop - you know where this is going.  I kept an eye on the dad.  I couldn't see what was on his screen, but I am curious because the kid is constantly going back and forth.  A few more minutes pass and I notice the dad has now turned sideways - and plain as the noon day sun, I saw a computer board on the laptop screen!  I immediately went to the director and told her what I saw.  She promptly came over, made the dad shut the computer down.  Right when the dad was closing the lid on the laptop, the kid walks over and with a shocked look on his face, raised his hands as if to say "what?"  The director then told the kid that outside help was not allowed.

Now up to this point, the kid and the gentleman who he was playing were even.  After the computer was shut down, the gentleman won easily and quickly.

After the round, I told my fellow unrated players what happened and we were all angry to put it mildly.  We just couldn't believe in the unrated sections of all sections that cheating was going on.

I won my round 4 game and then had all morning and afternoon to think about round 5 and my next opponent who I had just caught cheating.  That's right - I was playing the kid next.  Two of the other unrated players and I discussed the next round quite a bit - especially what I would do if this kid was bouncing up and down during the match.

The time came for round 5 and the kid and the dad were all ready to go.  I sat down, looked behind me and noticed the dad was also taking notation of the game - great!  So the rest of us kept a sharp eye on the kid to see what he would do.  The first time he got up to walk over to his dad, I stopped looking at the board and deliberately followed him with my eyes.  Sure enough, he was going to his dad.  I decided that if he did that again, I'd stand up and actually follow the kid.  But he actually stayed put the rest of the game.  He made his moves in under a minute every time.  I took my time and made sure not to blunder.  Twenty-six moves later, I had him check-mated.  Again, I was the last one to finish my game - the other two games had ended quickly. A few minutes later, I mated the kid - all the unrated section was done in a matter of 20 minutes.

The cherry on the top ... the gentleman I was tied with lost his final game, which gave me sole possession of 2nd place and a hundred bucks!

I hung out in the hall observing other games for the next 90 minutes.  Then when I had had enough, I packed up and went home.  Then that same night, I played my first game of the new season in the team league and I won that game as well (click here and here for the game - there was a disconnect during the game, therefore there are two parts to the game).  3-0 in one day and a hundred bucks - not a bad day at chess at all.

I'll post some additional thoughts and comments on the tournament tomorrow.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Rounds 2 & 3 US Class Championship (Unrated Section)

I lost round 2.  It went 60 moves.  But ultimately it was me not seeing the knight fork after his rook sacrifice.  I'll post the games later after I load them in pgn.

The 2nd game was also 60 moves and resulted in a draw.  There were some very crucial positions and a lot of calculation involved on both sides.  I was up two pawns at one point, but then was just up a pawn with two pawns on the g and h files to his one and one pawn on the a file to his one.  He had a white-square bishop and I a knight.  I'm sure there was a win there somewhere, but 1) I suck at endgames and 2) I suck at endgames.  Anyway - he offered a draw, but I told him I'd prefer to play it out - heck, we're paying to play right?

Regardless - it was fun and I'm looking forward to rounds 4 and 5 today.

Donnie is cleaning house!  Good luck to him today.  Ivan had an interesting ending last night - after my game was over, I watched the end of his.  He won after his opponent's flag fell.

We had our picture taken ... Ivan's posted it here.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Round 1 US Class Championships (Unrated Section)

Here it is - my first official USCF over-the-board game - and it's a win to boot!  I played with Black and I put my own annotations in. I'll run it through Fritz later to see how many missed opportunities my opponent and I had.

This was the longest time-controlled game I've played (120 mins).

Round 2 is today at 1:00pm, followed by round 3 at 6:30pm.



Also, I got to meet two fellow bloggers: Ivan and Donnie.  Both of them won their games too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Deep Blue - the song



via Boylston Chess Club Weblog

Kubrick and Chess

I watched this video yesterday:



I did a little searching and found a few interesting tid-bits about George Scott and Stanley Kubrick.
Here's what wikipedia had to say about George Scott's performance in Dr. Strangelove. "Kubrick tricked Scott into playing the role of Gen. Turgidson far more ridiculously than Scott was comfortable doing. Kubrick talked Scott into doing "over the top" practice takes, which Kubrick told Scott would never be used, as a way to warm up for the "real" takes. Kubrick used these takes in the final film, causing Scott to swear never to work with Kubrick again."

The entry went on to state: "During the filming, Kubrick and Scott had different opinions regarding certain scenes, but Kubrick got Scott to conform largely by repeatedly beating Scott at chess, which they played frequently on the set. Scott, a skilled player himself, later said that while he and Kubrick may not have always seen eye to eye, he respected Kubrick immensely for his skill at chess."

Then I read another article in which the interviewer asked Kubrick about chess:

"Q: You are a chess-player and I wonder if chess-playing and its logic have parallels with what you are saying?

"A: First of all, even the greatest International Grandmasters, however deeply they analyse a position, can seldom see to the end of the game. So their decision about each move is partly based on intuition. I was a pretty good chess-player but, of course, not in that class. Before I had anything better to do (making movies) I played in chess tournaments at the Marshall and Manhattan Chess Clubs in New York, and for money in parks and elsewhere. Among a great many other things that chess teaches you is to control the initial excitement you feel when you see something that looks good. It trains you to think before grabbing, and to think just as objectively when you're in trouble. When you're making a film you have to make most of your decisions on the run, and there is a tendency to always shoot from the hip. It takes more discipline than you might imagine to think, even for thirty seconds, in the noisy, confusing, high-pressure atmosphere of a film set. But a few seconds' thought can often prevent a serious mistake being made about something that looks good at first glance. With respect to films, chess is more useful preventing you from making mistakes than giving you ideas. Ideas come spontaneously and the discipline required to evaluate and put them to use tends to be the real work.

Q: Did you play chess on the set of The Shining as you did on Dr. Strangelove (with George C. Scott) and on 2001?

I played a few games with Tony Burton, one of the actors in the film. He's a very good chess-player. It was very near the end of the picture and things had gotten to a fairly simple stage. I played quite a lot with George C. Scott during the making of Dr. Strangelove. George is a good player, too, but if I recall correctly he didn't win many games from me. This gave me a certain edge with him on everything else. If you fancy yourself as a good chess-player, you have an inordinate respect for people who can beat you."

source: Wikipedia: Dr. Strangelove and Kubrick on The Shining
image source: Playing Chess with Kubrick

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Make Your Own Chess Board (the cheap way)

I ran accross this post today: Decorative Chess Sets.

She did a little dumster diving, some garage-sale hunting, cutting, glueing and painting.  Not sure I'd want to play with the set, but it would be a good conversation piece sitting in the guest room.

source & image source: Just Something I Made

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2010 Class Championships

I tossed in my hat.  I joined the USCF and registered for the 2010 Class Championships October 1-3 in Houston.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Restlessness

Volcano in Eyjafjallajokul - what I saw in my dream
I was talking to my older brother.  He had some disease that made his fingertips look like they had leprosy.  His breath smelt badly too.  I felt so bad for him - but he was taking medication.  We were standing outside with hundreds of other people in the town.  This huge storm with really dark clouds was moving in.  Then there was an explosion in the clouds and lightening - red, firey lightening.  The clouds were moving more quickly - like they were going to collapse on us.  We all started running - the earth was quaking - then my alarm turned on.  I was in a sweat.  It was 4:30am.  The lengths I go to get in a good chess game online.

I walk to the guest bathroom, grabbing the eye drops on the way.  I turn on the light, put a few drops in my dry eyes and then I walk into the office.  He's not online.  I check my email - he's going to be 15 minutes late.  We finally play - and we're playing like it's a blitz game.  The game is 45 45, but we both end the game with more than 45 minutes on each of our clocks!  Of course I lost the game.  No surprise there.  But why is the question.

Like usual, I blunder in the opening moves.  After doing some post-game checking, I see I went out of book on move 5.  I lose a pawn.  I know it's over.  This guy is too good.

But why didn't I take time to think a bit more?  Sometimes I can get in the groove and really enjoy the thinking and analyzing.  Other times, like this morning, I am just restless and want to be moving - not thinking.  How do I combat this?  I need to find a solution to combat this anxiety when it occurs.  Deep breathing?  A bit of jogging in place or some exercise before or during the game?  Meditation?  I'll have to think of this a bit more.  I know in the past, I have gotten up and walked around a bit - not because of restlessness, but because I needed a drink or to go to the restroom.  When I did that, I became more settled.  Maybe I need to incorporate this into my start-of-the-game routine - force myself to walk around a bit - think about a move a bit longer.

With the loss, my rating dropped below 1600 for the first time since - I don't know - maybe 2004?  I ended up playing a couple of 15 0 games with a 1584 player (I was 1590ish).  I won both of them easily and my rating bumped up above 1640.  I don't even know why I care about the rating - consistency is what I desire.  And to know what the hell I should do in the opening so I can give myself a chance.

image source: The Big Picture

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9-11-01

Inspired by wang's post, I figured I'd write a few thoughts as well.

I too remember that day.  Like most, I was going about my business at work.  I had been in my first career job out of college for 9 months.  I heard the secretary gasp - she said one of the towers had been hit.  In those first few hours, everyone was scrambling to find news and pictures on the Internet.  All the sites were swamped - I finally went to beethoven.com and found pictures.  It was shocking.  Many of us left work early.  I drove past DFW airport and didn't see one solitary plane in the sky - it was very creepy.  My wife and I just watched the news with our 1-year-old in our arms - then the 2nd plane hit and later both towers came tumbling down.  It was surreal.  Of course there was the attack on the pentagon and the other plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.  Wow ... it makes one speechless.



Thursday, September 09, 2010

#39

This is out of the blue.  Susan Polgar featured another blog's post about 50 great chess blogs.  ROCKY ROOK is featured as #39 on the list.  This is how he described my blog: "Learn how to improve prowess by developing an appreciation for the rich history and eclectic culture of chess."

Go check it out - your blog is probably on the list too.

source: onlinemasters.org
via Susan Polgar

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Chilean Miners and Chess Violence

The King is Dead
It should be no surprise by now that I regularly document chess violence.  Chess indeed is a game of egos and some people just can't handle losing - so they resort to violence.  I think losing with grace and dignity and also learning from lost games is a mark of maturity and civility.

I read a very fascinating article about those Chilean miners who are trapped 700 meters underground and are stuck there until December.  They've been trapped down there over a month now.  Due to their extreme conditions and isolation, there are worries now about their psychological well-being.  NASA has even sent a team to help them deal with the isolation.  The rescue team has been sending them provisions, but they are extremely careful not to send any games to them.  Read this:

Most of the miners remain upbeat, but there are ominous signs. Some of the men are already depressed, and a few refused to appear in a video the miners made. They will almost certainly have other problems, which is why officials were careful not to send down any games that might spark conflict. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union banned cosmonauts from playing chess in space after a Soviet researcher at an Antarctic station killed a colleague with an axe, after losing at chess.


It is only going to get worse as the weeks drag on, and the miners are going to have to come up with a set of rules and procedures for allocating scarce resources, resolving grievances, and dealing with deviant behaviour. What they need, in short, is a system of laws. As the 33 unfortunate Chilean miners will soon realize, even hell needs a government.

source: Chilean miners: That far down, who decides what's law?
image source: kalafudra.wordpress.com
other reading: Chess Related Deaths

*UPDATE*
Boston.com just posted a bunch of pictures of the rescue effort.  In photo #26, you can clearly see a bag of dice which is part of a "package" that was to be sent to the 33 miners.  The photo's caption mentions that games were going to be sent.  So there is some conflicting information out there as to whether games are going down there or not.  You can also see in photo #26 that a PSP is being sent down as well.
source: Trapped in a Chilean mine

Monday, September 06, 2010

Long Term Improvement Plan

Update: September 6, 2010

I've been thinking about my improvement plan a lot lately and when Thomas commented on it, I figured now is as good a time as any to update my plan.

I finished The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess 3rd ed. - as for Logical Chess, as I said in the comments section, I've read most of it.  Now I'm just going back and transposing the games.  I've got a whole separate post I'm going to write about the way one is supposed to study GM games.

Tactics - I was doing quite a bit clear up until May of this year.  Then I basically stopped.  I'm still wondering about the benefit of doing tactics on ChessTempo.  I was trying to do 30 a day.  Maybe 20 is about right.

The best update is that I'm playing much more often than before.  I still need a play more games - long games.  Teamleague has helped a lot with that - but I'd like like to play a bit more - perhaps twice a week.  Sometimes I think 45 45 is too quick for me.

I think the general idea for my long-term plan that I've outlined below is still valid, but I doubt the dates will be accurate.

Right now, I want to intensely focus on the following:
1) Play as many long games as possible - shooting for two a week - 45 45; 60 5 or longer

2) Analyse the games and analyse the games. Let Fritz analyse them.  Annotate them myself.  Use the whisper feature during the game.  Review the opening - see where I went out of book - learn how to stay in book longer.

3) Go over GM games - I've not been doing this - I need to let my brain absorb quality games.  As a side note, I should also watch my teamleage team play games - and comment and think about those games - as time permits.

4) Tactics - I think 20 a day is about right - shouldn't take too long (10 mins or so) to do 20.

First published January 1, 2009

The biggest obstacle I face is carving out time once a week to play a slow game. I figure if I can get at least one slow game in a week, then I'd make great improvements.

Redhotpawn has been a great resource for me. I enjoy being able to take as much time as possible to evaluate a position.

I continue to work on tactics almost every day. My goal is to do 20 tactics a day at chesstempo.

The other area that is lagging is finishing books I've started and going over as many GM games as possible. I'm mostly done with Wolff's book and I've dabbled a lot with Logical Chess Move by Move, but have yet to finish it.

At this point, let me back up a bit. The premise of my goals and improvment plan is based on Dan Heisman's article entitled "An Improvement Plan." Currently, I'm trying to finish steps 1 and 2. From there, I plan to complete the remaining steps and would hope to complete the whole "plan" by January 2015.

Here are the details:

Goals Without an End Date
Play one long game a week (60 5), review, annotate
Go over several annotated GM games a week (reading books)
At least 20 tactics every day

January 2009 to June 2009
Finish The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess 3rd ed.
Finish Logical Chess Move by Move
Read Everyone's 2nd Chess Book
Read or review archived Novice Nook articles

July 2009 to December 2010
Study positional play (I'll fill in the books later)

January 2011 to January 2013
Fill in the gaps ... enlist the help of a professional instructor

February 2013 to 2016
I would hope by the time I reach this phase, I would be around 1800 (2000 FICS) and would begin to fine tune my game and eventually reach a rating of 2000 (2200 FICS). As I write this post today, I do not know how reasonable this timeline is. It may take me an entire lifetime to reach 2200 FICS. But for now, I feel I need to set some goals and dates.

FICS Standard Ratings
Date................Rat. .....RD.........W.......L.....D.....T........Best (date)
12/19/07...... 1628.....110.6.... 102... 89.. 6.... 197.....1733 (04/17/07)
01/25/09...... 1668....134.8.....128....111..7.....246.....1733 (04/07/07)
09/06/10...... 1614....97.2......142....128..9....279.......1733 (04/07/07)
03/29/11.......1603....66.2......167....158..12....337.....1733 (04/07/07)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Punches Over Chess Game

Continuing with the chess violence theme, here is another reported incident:

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- A chess game led to an altercation between inmates at the Indian River County Jail.


Indian River County Sheriff's Office deputies said Christopher Brown was playing chess with another inmate in the cell block Wednesday when Christopher O'Neal interjected on the other inmate's behalf.


Brown said he told O'Neal to leave them alone, but O'Neal ignored him and began yelling at him. Brown said he left the table and walked back to his cell when O'Neal followed him.


Deputies said other inmates witnessed O'Neal punch Brown several times. It took several detention deputies to break up the fight.


According to the incident report, O'Neal told deputies it was simply "a misunderstanding between them."


O'Neal was arrested on charges of battery on a detained person and resisting arrest without violence.

source: Chess Game Leads to Fight At Indian River County Jail

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Practice and the Illusion of Winning

The age old topic of practice and greatness reared its head again today.  This time it appeared on Scott Adams' blog (the guy who draws/writes Dilbert).

He says, "I've spent a ridiculous number of hours playing pool, mostly as a kid. I'm not proud of that fact. Almost any other activity would have been more useful. As a result of my wasted youth, years later I can beat 99% of the public at eight-ball. But I can't enjoy that sort of so-called victory. It doesn't feel like "winning" anything.

It feels as meaningful as if my opponent and I had kept logs of the hours we each had spent playing pool over our lifetimes and simply compared. It feels redundant to play the actual games.

I see the same thing with tennis, golf, music, and just about any other skill, at least at non-professional levels. And research supports the obvious, that practice is the main determinant of success in a particular field."

The comments to his post are equally entertaining.

source: dilbert.com
image source: 8vsb.wordpress.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

Full Throttle Shankland

How about this for a pretentious comment: “the sharpest rating curve in American [chess] history, meaning I learned the fastest, I improved the fastest, I think of any American of all time.”

"Although Shankland admitted he does not know for certain how his improvement compares to all other players, he said it was a quicker improvement rate than many of the best in history, including Bobby Fisher."

“I have a lot to learn about modesty. I’m not as modest as I’d like to be. It’s one of my big problems in life I guess or one of the problems with my character.”

Really?!

Now for the good inspiring stuff ... “Chess has also sort of made me learn to fight adversity a little bit better.” As a child and even during the beginning of high school, Shankland said he was “ruthlessly made fun of.”

“It definitely taught me to keep on fighting even if other people are making fun of you or whatever. Just believe in myself.”

source: Chess King

I just want to puke ...

Our team is playing a warm-up tournament before T44 starts.  I played the first game yesterday.  I got off to a fantastic start - found a really nifty tactic, won a bishop, made it to the end game and then ...

Well - let me put it this way - what would happen if Lance Armstrong decided to quit the last 100 miles of the 2000 mile race?  How would the world react if Federer threw in the towel in the last set at Wimbledon?  Or if you were running a marathon and collapsed with 1/2 a mile to go?  Truly frustrating and agonizing - it has taken me a full day to even talk about it.

So here is the justification - I had about 10 minutes on my clock and I needed to go pick up my kid from the bus stop.  Under that pressure, I simply dropped my rook.  I was truly blind and not thinking - the only thing I remember was the need to defend that pawn and that the rook would be defended by the king - which obviously he was not.  It's like my brain short-circuited - there is something fundamentally un-nerving about that game that makes me wonder if I really have brain-function issues.  Even under those pressures, I should not have dropped that rook.

... and the rook of all pieces!  My flippin handle is the rook - holy hell.

One of the biggest things I learned and liked from the game was the 'whisper' command.  I've never used the whipser command before in a game I was playing.  So I used it quite a bit and it helped me a lot - helped me see variations, avoid traps and what not.  I think I'll be using that feature again.

And with that - here is the game.

image source: bildungblog

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chess and the Stock Market

This blogger has learned to apply chess principals to investing in the stock market.
Of all of the lessons I learned over the board, one saying has consistently resonated with me. I'm sorry that I can't remember the author, but I certainly recall the quote: "When you see a good move, sit on your hands and look for a better one." Equated to investing, this does not mean that you should be looking to hit a ten-bagger every time. Nor does it mean that, in times of general uncertainty, you should turtle up like Claude Lemieux under a barrage of Darren McCarty haymakers (anyone who knows what I'm referencing there immediately gets me as a groupie).
Simply put, it means be certain that the move you make is the right move. It may in fact be the wrong move, or a neutral move. But what you can not do is compromise and select a move for the sake of doing something and hope that it works out. In some ways investing is more forgiving than chess. At the highest levels, chess games are lost by the slimmest of margins. You may get only one opportunity, if that, to claim a victory at the master level. On the other hand, even a misplaced pawn can bring about a swift, catastrophic demise. With investing, you may miss one opportunity. But another will come along at some point.

Referring to his quote about finding a better move, I believe it was Emanuel Lasker who coined the term.

source: How 64 Squares Have Helped Me
image source: chessformoney.com

OpEd: Mr. Obama - play some chess!

"Dear Mr. Obama: Center yourself" is an OpEd letter to Obama to play some chess (and to learn from it) while he is vacationing at Martha's Vineyard.  The author quotes Benjamin Franklin, "The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. ... We learn by Chess the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable chance, and that of persevering ..."

source: capecodeonline.com
image source: The Daily Telegraph

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chess Joke Recognized

A chess joke was nominated as one of the worst jokes told at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Emo Philips' joke was "I like to play chess with bald men in the park although it's hard to find 32 of them."  Despite having one of the worst jokes, another one of his jokes placed 3rd in the competition - "I picked up a hitchhiker.  You've got to when you hit them."


source: Best joke at Edinburgh Festival Fringe revealed
image source: emophilips.com

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Graphic Novels, Business School and Chess

One Texas Tech teacher is using graphic novels instead of traditional textbooks to teach his students about business.  The character's name in the graphic novel is Atlas Black.


Atlas plays chess with his friend and they discuss the similarities: "In both chess and business you have to deal with ambiguity and uncertainty. You have to anticipate your opponents moves. You have to consider a lot of potential options that aren't necessarily clear or perfect. In business and chess, you can take 'old moves' and put new twists on them."


From reading the article, it sounds like the format of content has changed, but the content has remained relatively the same.  In MBA school, we were always reading cases that had background scenarios.  In almost all of those cases, we had to decide what was relevant information and what was fluff.  If you've ever read The Goal then you could easily imagine it being reformatted into a graphic novel.


image source: online.wsj.com
source: usatoday.com

Friday, August 20, 2010

Conniving and Crushing Instinct

“Chess is a war game,” he said. “You’ve got to have that conniving and crushing instinct in you. I have a lot of anger and I express it in that."


source and image source: Chess man plots his next move to citizenship

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Prison Chess

Oliver Fluck took pictures of inmates while they played Princeton University students.  Here are 21 pictures from that series.  He has little profiles about each of the inmates - it is interesting reading these and viewing the pictures.


source: oliverfluck.blogspot.com

Words of Wisdom: Think before you Act

 "Think very hard before you go down a road, because you never know where it is going to lead you and how much time it will involve. The rewards are sometimes different from what you expect."


Stephen Lipschultz, MD (Food For Thought Software)


Source: Doctor creates software to help kids "think like a king"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When Did the Black and White Boards Disappear?

Steve Rushin at SI discusses "Vanishing traditions in sports" and muses ...

Auto racing's checkered flags are still checkered, black-and-white as a chessboard. Which is more than can be said of a chessboard. At the 2010 World Chess Championships in Sofia,  Viswanathan Anand of India defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria on a board of brown and beige squares.


This color scheme -- along with green-and-white -- has become standard in tournament chess. But let's set aside the question, then, of why the player who goes first in chess is still White and the player who goes second in chess is still Black. Let us wonder, instead, what we're to sing when the Yes song "I've Seen All Good People" comes on the classic rock station in the car. Not, apparently, "Move me on to any black square, use me any time you want ..."

It does beg the question "when was the last time a tournament or major event used a black and white chess board?"

Here is what FIDE has on their site with respect to the chessboard:









image source: echindasontheloose.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More Chess Violence?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A 16-year-old is recovering after being shot in the foot overnight. Syracuse police say it happened around midnight at 686 South Ave at The Chess Club.
Witnesses told police a fight broke out at a party and as the crowd was leaving, a man wearing a plaid shirt, grey vest, and blue jeans fired a handgun toward the crowd. They also say that at the same time, a red Pontiac stopped at Hudson Street and fired back toward South Ave as well.
At 2:30 this morning, 16-year-old Damani Prince walked into Upstate University Hospital with a gunshot wound to his foot. Police say that Prince told them he was shot when trying to get away from the gun fire coming from the Pontiac.

2 Months Jail Time for Talking in a Chess Game

Think twice the next time you're in Taiwan and want to talk during someone else's chess game ...


Opinionated spectators beware: talking loudly during a game of chess can land you almost two months in jail.


The Taoyuan district court has sentenced an elderly man to 59 days of detention for assault. The man, surnamed Lin, was watching a chess game at a local park when he made excessive remarks disparaging the players' strategies and got combative when they told him to keep quiet.


The incident occurred last September in Taoyuan, in an open space in front of a temple where public chess games were popular. Lin, 79, was standing behind a sexagenarian chess player surnamed Tao, giving him and his opponent unwanted advice and commentary.


When Tao and his opponent had a dispute regarding a move, Lin threw in his two cents as well and pointed to Tao as the one in the wrong. Tao responded by telling him to be quiet, causing the more senior Lin to fly into a rage and beat the younger man.


The judge sentenced Lin to 59 days of detention — the equivalent to NT$59,000 (US$1,850) in fines.


Playing chess in front of local temples or in public parks is a favourite pastime of many senior citizens across Taiwan. The activity often draws a substantial crowd of elderly people with the same interests.


Source: Old Man Gets Jail Time for Being a Loudmouth
Image Source: chess-poster.com

Sunday, August 15, 2010

T43 Results

I went 2-1 in T43.  My two wins are here and here.  My loss is here.

The first win was quite interesting - as usual, I worked myself into a poor position.  But my opponent allowed me to push a pawn and he didn't capture it.  He let me hang in long enough and I was able to convert a lost game into a win.

The second win was nice - but really nothing more than a blunder on my opponent's part.  He came at me with a blistering king-side attack which I managed to survive.  I finally got some counterplay and was able to corner his king until he resigned.

The loss - well - that wasn't too surprising.  I got into trouble early and never really recovered.

Our team almost made the playoffs.  I think we're in a good position to do well in T44.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

200 Points in 200 Days

Here's the recipe boys:

Add 1 titled-player instructor to regularly review your games.

Remove excess studies/books on openings - instead study pawn structures.

Play higher rated players.

Analyze your blitz games.

Add 30 minutes of chesstempo a day.

Exercise regularly.

Voila!  You're now 200 points higher!

Details found here: Moving up the Ladder: A Class Player on Gaining 200 Rating Points

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Chess Around the Net

Here are two articles discussing the benefits of kids playing chess.  The cut-off age is 12-years-old.  After that, you might as well play checkers :-)

Brain over pawn: Childhood chess studies have benefits beyond the board
The benefits of playing chess for children

This is an interesting read: True past of Oregon man emerging from federal probe.  This 'avid' chess player isn't who he says he is.  There's only the one mention of chess in the article, but it's still a interesting read.  There are lots of other articles about this same case as well - 495 according to google.

Playing and improving at chess means happiness.  Read this inspiring article (which notes chess in a list) that talks about how to be truly happy: The Secret to Happiness.  This same article also talks about flow.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Misc.

So I played that guy I noted in my last post.  It wasn't such a crushing defeat.  I was expecting a swift knockout, but I actually put up a fight for 55 moves.

The last game I played in T42 ended in a agreed draw.  I admit I was happy with the draw considering I had all losses in T42 and this guy was almost 100 pts higher than me.

I finally made it to the local chess meetup.  I've been meaning to go for the last year, but finally made a priority of it and went this month.  This might sound a bit shocking, but it was the first time I've played over the board with other people (besides my kids) since I was in college about 10 years ago.  It was a load of fun!  I met a couple of people who live in the same part of the city as I do and we joked how we travelled all the way downtown to play!  So there is talk of starting our own little club in our neck of the woods.  I played a couple of people at the meetup.  I think I was hustled by one of the regulars.  I won the first game, drew the 2nd and then lost the last two.  All were exciting games.  I think I'll definately do that again - lots of fun!

Lastly, I thought I'd put a standing "seek" out there for the next few weeks until T43 starts.  Let me know if you want to play.  A really good time for me is Sunday mornings at 3:00 FICS time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh man ...

Pairings for T42 came out ...

PLUS

EQUALS

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rush Limbaugh & Chess

This ought to be interesting.

Here is the source:
www.bookwormroom.com/2010/04/20/ordinary-people-view-rush-as-a-dangerous-svengali/comment-page-1/

Here is the quote:
It’s also very frustrating to me because, in a funny way, I agree with my liberal friends that Rush can rejigger their world view very quickly. The only thing is that I don’t believe Rush works his magic through hypnotism and trickery. Instead, I think Rush’s real magic lies in his ability to view the political world as a vast chess board, one on which he can see multiple future moves; his prodigious memory; his well-informed mind; his logical analyses; and his funny persona. He convinces by appealing to our rational mind, our sense of humor, and our knowledge of the world as it is, and not as some Ivory Tower liberal tells us it should be.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Entertaining Read

Maybe it is because of the underdog theme, but I really enjoyed reading Mike Griffin's (rated 1813) post about winning 2 points from 3 masters.

Friday, April 02, 2010

March Stats / April Goals

Here are my March Goals with a status for each one:

1) 30 tactics a day (930 total for the month) - SUCCESS! 676/931 (73%)
ChessTempo Blitz rating improved from 1673 to 1717.
2) 3 long games - FAIL. played one game against the computer.
3) Study and input into .pgn at least two games from Logical Chess - FAIL.
4) Consolidate previously captured tactical misses into one .pgn file (missedtactics.pgn) FAIL.
5) Review missedtactics.pgn every week - add problems to file as needed. FAIL.
 
Perhaps most of those goals were too ambitious in light of the fact that I don't have that much spare time.  So I'm going to re-focus on what really matters.
 
April Goals:
 
1) 30 tactics a day (900 total for the month)
2) Play 3 long games (should be easier this month as Team League is starting up again)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Chess Boxing League

So I've been training since January and I think I'm ready to try my hand at chess boxing.  I'll be in Gaithersburg for a couple of weeks in May and while I'm out there, I'll be competing in a chess boxing event (in Richmond) on May 29.  If you're in town, stop by and cheer me on!

These Virginian hicks are in for a butt-kickin'

Richmond Chess Boxing League

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

General Factor of Intelligence, Genius, Experts and Chess

Half Sigma is at it again.  In his post entitled Chess and David Shenk, he discusses how a blogger has debunked an author who argues genius is made and not born.  I've saved articles on the subject of becoming a genius/expert before ... here and here.  Half Sigma goes on to add that "playing chess at a high level doesn't create value; it increases the chess player's status, and because status is [a] zero sum game, he can only increase his own status by making everyone else slightly less important."  He goes on to say that chess is a value transference activity rather than a value creation activity.

It was entertaining reading the pages and pages of comments.  If you don't understand Half Sigma's premises, then you will be riled up with his comments and opinions.

In a subsequent post entitled Intelligence and reasoning, chess, computers, calculus, he further clarifies why he thinks learning chess does not require as much intelligence because it is mostly about memorization and "being able to compute board positions many moves out into the future."

In my opinion, the best argument against Half Sigma's is this one:

"-Chess talent requires the ability to make quick connections and recognize patterns. There are nearly an infinite number of moves possible. You cannot "memorize" your way through chess. It might be possible to have a repertoire of the three first moves memorized, but soon after that the combinatorial possibilities become overwhelming. What's needed, then, is an ability to make connections (recognizing the opponents intentions/strategy) and an ability to perceive what the most damaging move is at any moment. Have you ever looked at chess problems? They can be very difficult and people with chess talent can solve them simply.
-Chess talent depends heavily on working memory, which is a key component of g and perhaps might be what underlies analytical ability. On the LSATs, for instance, students who can solve the logic games the fastest no doubt can simply retain and manipulate a greater deal of information in their heads -- the same thing that's required for chess.
-And for the last time, just because talented chess players are intelligent does not mean all intelligent people will be chess champions. So relax."


Agree with him or not, his opinions spark debates and reading the debates and comments is entertaining and interesting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CT-ART 4.0

In reading my feeds today, I came across a post stating that CT-ART 4.0 is out.

Then I read the one review at Amazon about CT-ART 4.0.

Avoid this software like the plague.
First, it is not new - it is CT-ART 3.0 with Mate Studies added. If I had known that I wouldn't have bought it. And they lie on the box and in their web info. I only found out by going to their support site. Which is another nightmare, by the way.

Second, the new interface, Peshk is a Piece of Garbage. I own the software, I bought it, and will be returning it to the USCF. I can't get the thing I bought, CT-ART 4.0 not Peshk, to install or register it. In fact I can't even tell you where it is. I bought, I remind Convecta, a licensed copy of their software. I didn't buy the right to attempt to endlessly contact their server to get their permission to run something I own. Or endlessly write tech support for help. There is no excuse for this.

It is software from hell. You have no idea what you are supposed to do. Another example of bad programming from ChessNOTOk. Not to mention more bad English.

One star is too high. Even zero stars is too high. A waste of both time and money. Stay away from it at all costs.
 
Talk about a hot opinon! Needless to say, the reviewer gave it 1 star.

ChessCafe's shop has a few more reviews which are at least toned-down from the one at Amazon.
 
Has anyone purchased this new version?  Is the Amazon reviewer correct or does (s)he have abnormally high expectations to begin with?
 
I also wonder if tactics-type software sales have dropped significantly since more and more tactics sites are available now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

10,000

I've finally done 10,000 blitz problems on chesstempo.

My percentage correct has also been climbing and I'm now over 64%.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

OTB in Houston

I'll actually be able to attend this month's meetup in my feeble attempt to include OTB in my chess diet.  If you're in town on March 15th, stop on by.  Looks like Glenn is on the list but not attending.  And I'm not sure if Donnie knows about this meetup or not.

On a related note, I just saw on the TCA blog that the 2010 US Class Championships will be in Houston October 1-3.  I'm seriously considering signing up.

Perhaps those of you who have gone to one of these tournaments can answer me a few questions about this tournament.  On the site it says "3-Day Schedule: Registration Fri (10/1) 5-7pm. Rds. Fri 8pm, Sat 1pm & 6:30pm, Sun 9:30am & 2:30pm. 2-Day Schedule: Registration Sat (10/2) 8-9am. Rds. Sat 10am, 1pm (merges with 3-Day Schedule) & 6:30pm, Sun 9:30am & 2:30pm. Byes for all rounds, must commit before end of Rd 2."  So if I were to sign up for the 3-day schedule, I would play 5 rounds?  And when it says "byes for all rounds", what does that mean?  I wouldn't be able to play Sunday, but I'd be able to play Friday and Saturday.  So could I use byes for the two rounds on Sunday?  And one last question ... could I replace a Sunday round with a Saturday morning round?  Maybe I'll just email the organizer.

Monday, March 01, 2010

February Stats / March Goals

My main goal for February was to do 30 tactics a day on ChessTempo.  I fell short by 35 problems.  Even still, I managed to do the most tactics in a month than I ever have before.  The most before that was 785 problems in a month ... that was last February .. February seems to be the month to do tactics.

ChessTempo: Blitz - 562/805 (69.81%) Rating: 1673

Slow Games: 2 (2-0) FICS Rating: 1687
RedHotPawn: 2 wins (claimed time outs), 0 losses, 6 current games Rating: 1670
Reading/Study: 1 game from Logical Chess

March Goals:
1) 30 tactics a day (930 total for the month)
2) 3 long games - contact me if you want to play!!
3) Study and input into .pgn at least two games from Logical Chess
4) Consolidate previously captured tactical misses into one .pgn file (missedtactics.pgn)
5) Review missedtactics.pgn every week - add problems to file as needed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chess Playing Ghost?

Patrons, baristas and even the owner of Lazy Daze coffee house in Indianapolis claims there is a ghost who haunts the place and even plays chess.  The claim about the ghost playing chess comes from the owner who said, "One morning I was opening up the coffee house, getting the place ready and straightened up for business," [Jeff] Coppinger tells Asylum. "I put the chess pieces on to the playing table and then went to the back room for a little bit. I came back to the front office and noticed that all the chess pieces had moved."

OK ... I'd bite.  If I lived there, I would visit the place after reading this story.  I'd even get the pieces out and wait for the "ghost" to move them while I sipped on some cocoa.

via Our Lady of Lourdes Chess Club
image credit Earl McCall at redbubble.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rook Shop

Rook Shop ... my kind of store.  Very neat idea.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

FICS DB Annotate Feature

So I was messing around at ficsgames.com and found that you can request for games to be annotated.  What I did was search on my handle, clicked on a specific game and then clicked the 'annotate' button.  A message pops up saying a request has been made and that in a few minutes the annotated game would be available.  Sure enough, I hit refresh on the browser and the game was annotated.  Pretty neat for a quick and dirty analysis of a game.

Here is the game I had annotated.

And since I'm a glutton for punishment, I've linked to all my FICS games (for all my potential competitors to see).  You can find the link under "ROCKY ROOK GAMES" to the right.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Chess Set for all the Knights Errant

Hurry and place your bids today!  There is a unique Don Quixote chess set on eBay right now.  At the time of this posting, the bidding ends in about 5 hours.
The world of creative chess sets and the old Knights Errant collide in spectacular fashion in this antique chess set.

A snippet from the auction details reads,

"What we do know:
The oral history of the set: This set was purchased 1988/1989 from a woman who told me her Grandfather brought it back from Spain. He was stationed in Spain both during and immediately after World War 2. She said the pieces were displayed in a curio cabinet for many years until the Grandfather died in the late 1960's. After his death, the set was put back into it's case and stored. We used it several times a year (total probably around 100 times), returning it to it's case after use. We have not used it since about 2002.

What we do not know:
The actual age of the set, the manufacturer or the type of wood used. The back of the board is stamped GENUINE LEATHER MADE IN SPAIN JEYPE. Since the stamp is in English, we feel that it was probably made for export, so there may be some doubt as to it being purchased in Spain. Our research indicates Jeype is a leather maker, which sheds no light on who made the set or who carved the pieces."

Happy bidding!

*UPDATE* The set sold for $104.50

Old Picture Site - Playing Chess in Algeria & Capablanca

I found a neat site (called old-picture.com) a few years ago and saved the link to it.  I went back to the site today and did a search on chess and a couple of images were returned.  Here is a direct link to the first picture.  From the site, it says this picture was taken in 1899.


The second picture is of Capablanca.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

T41: Game 3

We're into the 4th round.  This was my third game.  Here is a link to all the whispers made.  I need to start whispering in my game so as to record my thoughts and such.

It's not an exciting win, but it is a win nevertheless.  Fritz is working it right now ... we'll see how many tactics I missed this time.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

January Stats

Inspired by Farbror who posted his January chess stats, I thought I'd start doing the same.

ChessTempo: Blitz - 337/468 (72%) Rating: 1701
Slow Games: 3 (1-2) Rating: 1640
RedHotPawn: 0 wins, 0 losses, 6 current games Rating: 1642
Reading/Study: None

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

4-Way Chess

I've posted a picture of a 3-way chess board.  Now behold the 4-way chess board and set.

I found the picture while browsing Flickr (here).

This set sports the fancy "star" design of the board.  It looks like you can get a more "normal" looking 4-way chess board here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

When to Play Your Best Chess

I just read Scott Adams' post "Like a Night Watchman" in which he talks about how he feels words and how he needs to be in the right frame of mind before he can write.

He wrote, "People often ask how I get into the writing frame of mind. To me, it feels like being the night watchman in a museum. My job is to make sure all the doors are locked, and the blinds are pulled, and the lights are out. As a writer, you need to shut out all of the distractions from your other senses. I make sure I'm not hungry, tired, uncomfortable, or listening to anything. Then, like the night watchman, I go room by room with my flashlight until something scares me, surprises me, or makes me laugh. I have to feel something. And when I do, that's the part I keep. Then I wrap up the inspiring words in ordinary words, to form sentences. That part is more craft than art.

"Writers tend to work early in the morning, or late at night, when brains are naturally able to focus deeply on one thought. In the middle of the day, distractions are unavoidable. I wonder if anything worthwhile has ever been written in the afternoon."

Although I don't want it to be that way, I admit that I am this way when it comes to chess ... I have to be in the right frame of mind before I can play really good chess.  If I'm too distracted or have something else on my mind (work, family, other pressing needs) then good chess play takes a back seat.  I'd rather be able to play good chess anytime, anywhere ... that's where I'd like to be.  But as it stands, my best chess is played at night with the kids in bed and my wife watching American Idol or whatever it is she likes to watch on TV and me sitting at the computer in a quiet room.

Chess Player Look-a-Likes: Lilienthal-Bush

Susan Polgar had a Chess Trivia on her blog today.  I thought I was looking at a young George W. Bush when in fact it was Andor Lilienthal.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

T41: Game 2

It was going pretty well, I thought, until his queen came down and picked off those two pawns.  After he picked off the first one, the air out of my ambition just went out and I pretty much lost the will to continue.  I kept trying to prep for that kingside attack on h7, but it never really materialized for me.

Oh well, it was still fun kept me entertained for most of the two hours.

Here's the game with all the observers' comments.

I let Fritz analyze the game all day today ...

He pointed out a missed tactic that would have really helped me along.  I actually considered the move, but felt that Bf8 neutralized the check ... if I would have looked one extra ply, I would won a rook.