Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wish List

Here are just a few of the tempting titles to be released next year. My overall ambition is to read (some parts) the books already collecting dust before buying a new one but that is an "ambition" worthy of a politician hunting for voters.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year!

The Holiday Season has been pretty lazy but the New Year waiting around the corner is a reminder to get up to speed with my chess training. I will take a short break from the Team4545 League and instead join some ICC tournaments. The Team League is great fun but scheduling the games is a pain due to the time zone differences.

The top priorities for the immediate future is to digest more annotated master games and to become more confident with the black pieces.

One of my chess mentors suggested that improving my ICC rating by on average three points per game played would be a reasonable expectation. That is great news!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Knocked out of the Play-off

Well, our team was already down by 0.5 - 2.5 when I was to play my game. For some reason my mind was totally set on playing black. Anyhow, we had a fun battle and I probably stole half of a point in the end. I will post some notes in a day or two.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekly Training Log (week 3)

December 14 - December 20

Daily Tactics
Daily Fischer Challenge
Chess Book Reading Group Meeting
Slow Game(s)
Reading about the Colle

Chess Exam

This fine book just arrived at the local Chess Store: Chess Exam: You VS. Bobby Fischer: Matches Against Chess Legends, Play the Match, Rate Yourself, Improve Your Game!

60 positions for you to analyze and your answers can be used to give you an evaluation in different areas of the game.

A Stoyko exercise per day might keep the Patzer away!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Seeking Slow Games

The Team4545 League is heading for play-offs but none of my teams are invited. Shame on the Rules! Anyhow, I need my weekly dose of slow games so I would like to ask if somebody would be interested in a few games? Maybe even a Match Series?

I have a slight preference for ICC but FICS is OK. A starting time such as 15:30(EST) works fine for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chess Books -- A Waste of Time?

Here is a copy of an email I sent to a handful of skilled chess players and chess coaches:

"Hi Coach, I just discovered some interesting reading on Chess Improvement:

Rose's Rants at Chessville (

The following statement was interesting and amusing: "Kevin Spragget recommends that until you achieve master strength you need only about 25 books."

I am, as you know, on a limited quest for chess perfection. My Long Term Goal is to reach an ICC rating of 1700 within five years. I would like to ask for your "guesstimate" of the number of books needed to reach such a goal. Furthermore, if I may, I would like to have your input on which books to read for a geezer on his way to 1700.

To create a book load list might help me to be focused so I thought I shopuld give it a go!"

I was kind of surprised by the answers. Almost all of them responded that books might not be the best way to improve. One GM responded that almost any book would do the trick as the important thing was to read it in a proper way.

Anyhow, since I am addicted to buying books I would like to post the questions:

1. How would you like to design the required reading (ten book or less) for a 1700-player-to-be?
(i.e. One book on openings, three on strategy...)

2. What titles would you recommend?

note: Extra credits for a suggested list of three books for the 1400-player-to be (which happens to be my goal for next year )

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekly Training Log (Week 2)

December 7- December 13
Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book: Preface, Introduction, How to read this book, Mates with 2 major pieces TEST 1,2

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Mate with queen and king and play on ICC with KQK robot

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Mate with rook and king and play on ICC with KRK robot TEST 3,5

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Practice the mate with rook and king and Mate with queen and king on ICC TEST 4

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Stalemate Alert!, Summing up, TEST 5

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Review and reread Part One including mate with queen

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Review and reread Part One from mate with rook and stalemate and TESTs

Please note that both ICC and FICS have "bots" for endgame training.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Chess Study Buddy Reading Group

A few fellow chess improvers took the bait and decided to join the Online Reading Group. There is plenty of room for more group members. We have decided to study Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master

Why join the reading group? Well, it might be fun and it might be the whip and carrot you need to really study the important concept of endgames.

How will it work? We decide on a fairly slow paced schedule for reading the group and "meet" online using, say, Skype +ICC (or FICS?) for conference calls and discuss interesting sections of the last reading assignment.

Doesn't that sounds like fun?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Tough Nut!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Members of the Movement --- Please Join!

I have noticed a few Chess posts on New Year's Resolutions. Please update me about other members of the movement!

Members of the Movement:

Begin Chess
Russ Bastable

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekly Training Log (week 1)

November 30- December 6

This will be the first week of my new Training Regime. Tactics will still be the meat and potatoes but the goal is to add one new topic each week.

Weekly Topics:

week 1 french with Nc3, Nd2 when we can capture on e4
week 2 endgame 1 basic checkmates with major pieces
week 3 tarrasch when bishop develops to e2
week 4 endgame 2 1000-1200 part 1
week 5 colle 1
week 6 endgame 3 1000-1200 part 2
week 7 french advanced white plays e4-e5
week 8 endgame 4 1200-1400 part 1
week 9 tarrasch when white places his bishop to g2
week 10 endgame 5 1200-1400 part 2
week 11 colle when black plays kings indian setup with g6, Bg7, pawn d6-e5 or c5
week 12 endgame 6 1200-1400 part 3

Goals for week 1:
  • Daily Tactics Sessions using Chess Tempo and/or Chess Magnet School
  • Start studying the basics of the french defense
  • Play 1-2 League games
  • Improve my ratings at Chess Tempo (1805) and Chess Magnet School (1330) by at least five points

Daily Tactics Team League game Reading Purdy (Action Chess, pp. 77-83)

Daily Tactics Reading Purdy (pp. 58-66) Analyzing League game

Daily Tactics Reading Purdy (pp. 66-69 )

Daily Tactics Reading Purdy (pp. 70-73 )

Daily Tactics Reading Purdy (pp. 74-77 )

Team League games (2) Reading Purdy (pp. 83-90 )

Daily Tactics Reading Purdy (pp. 90-98 )

Friday, November 27, 2009

All Time High at ICC!

Winning is sweet!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Year’s Chess Resolution

The Guru hereby invites all fellow chess improvers to join the New Years Chess Resolution Movement! I strongly believe in simplicity, goals and peer pressure. I kindly invite blogging chess improvers to do the following:

  • State a Long Term Chess Goal (possibly linked to a suitable number of short term goals)
  • State a Chess Promise
  • Defining a penalty for failing the chess promise

Hopefully the members of the movement will blog about their efforts and support fellow improvers with feedback on their blogs. How does that sound?

Farbror the Guru's New Year's Resolution:

  • Long Term Goal: Reach 1400 at ICC
  • Chess Promise: Daily Chess Training (30+ minutes) and Keeping a Weekly Training Log
  • Penalty for Failing: Not to buy any books for a year

Members of the Movement:

Begin Chess
Russ Bastable

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Night League Game

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekly Training Log

November 23-29

Read a chunk of Art of the Attack
Reach 1800+ at Chesstempo
Some work using the Step Method Disc

Team League game, Chesstempo +1.5, 12 minutes, a little Art of the Attack

Tuesday:'s Rating Test (scored 1470)

Chesstempo +11.3 (1804!), 15 minutes, Chess Magnet School +4, 30 minutes

Chesstempo +2.6, 20 minutes, Chess Magnet School +6, 20 minutes

Team League game, Chess Magnet School +10, 30 minutes

Chess Magnet School +7, 30 minutes

Chess Magnet School +2, 30 minutes, Chesstempo -1.6, 15 minutes

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Please forgive me for bragging my heart out!

I will add some more notes as soon as I touch the ground.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weekly Training Log

The Guru will be updating an online training diary:

Chesstempo +7.8, 24 minutes

Wednesday: Chesstempo +5.4, 18 minutes, Art of the Attack, 15 minutes, Three Online 15/10 games (2/3)

Chesstempo +5.9, 24 minutes, One lesson and some test exercises using the Step Method

Chesstempo -6.0, 30 minutes, Step Method 3.11 + tests, 30 minutes

Team4545 League game (Bragging in process)

Chesstempo +6.4, 20 minutes

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Required Reading

Mr Silman posted a Great Article on how to design a Chess Study Program. It is time to spend a little more time on reading Chess Books.

Learn Basic Tactical Patterns: The Art of Attack in Chess

Create an Basic Opening Repertoire:
FCO (pretty, almost done!)

Positional Play:
Weapons of Chess, Simple Chess (waiting for the revised/rewritten Reassess Your Chess due in April 2010)

The Endgame:
Silman's Complete Endgame Course (to a suitable level)

Time Frame? This reading package will probably take forever but I am OK with that. I will still do my Chesstempo sessions etc.

The challenge will be to find a suitable "Chess Hero". I think I have falsely been under the impression that tactics is my main skill (relatively speaking!) since I have done tons of tactics problems. A dear friend pointed out that my best games might have been more of positional chess. OTB I do not mind grinding out a win but I somehow do not feel comfortable assuming any degree of positional chess skills. I just don't have any training in playing positional chess. Furthermore, it is so much more fun to look at master games filled with fireworks.

My understanding of Silman's article is that the areas suggested above should be covered before starting the heavy work with master games. That will give me some time to find and accept a Chess Hero.

All input are most appreciated. Both suggestions on what hero to choose but also which annotated game collection to study.

I do think that "Best Game Collection for Improving Players" has higher priorities that "Most Appropriate Chess Hero". "Learning" as compared to "Pretending to be", if you get my drift?

Winning streak of one!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Legendery 10 Ply Patzer Repertoire for Black

Well, I might have joined the dark side to become a d4-player. My next bullet on my agenda is to decide on a repertoire as black. I think I have a few ideas using e6 as a backbone. The Guru's Guru Purdy suggested in his articles (collected and published as Action Chess) a certain line of the french against d4. IM Martin, clearly inspired by Purdy, suggested a slightly more sharp version.

The main reason for trying e6 is to have the option to wiggle into either the french or the Tarrasch against almost anything.

My beloved fellow patzers tend to find some artistic free spirit move well before move five so my Opening research/Studies will be limited to "The Legendary 10 Ply Repertoire for Black"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chess Book Reading Group

I would be interested in a online Reading Group. Any takers? Lars Bo Hasen's book looks promising and interesting.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Me as a d4-player

I will post notes ASAP but I am down with fever:

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Glimpse from the Chess Cave

A snapshot from my training ground: Fågelsången

A great place! However, the owners would like me to pay for the coffee for my invisible opponent.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A New Beginning

Here is my new draft training regime:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Noble Art of Evaluation

This is not rocket science but I think it is a short and sweet summary of a neglected area in my Chess: Evaluation

A: Evaluation:
1. Material
2. Activity/Effectiveness
3. Weaknesses

B: Opponents threats -- preventing

C: Identify Opponents most Advanced/Active piece(s)

D: Activate your own pieces -- increase pressure

This nice little scheme has helped me to pinpoint some leaks in my game. Basically it has provided some clues to a better understanding of both the pace of an attack and what a weakness/target could look like.

Furthermore the scheme will help me to annotate my own games in a more systematic way.


Friday, October 16, 2009

New book by Dan Heisman

I am really looking forward to read this book. There are a few sample pages at the publishers site

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Fascinating Réti Gambit

This looks like fun stuff to play against the annoying french defence:

1.e4 e6 2.b3!?

Have a look at Thomas Johansson's web site

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Wonderful Weird World of gambits

I am sure this gambit has a name but I wonder if we managed to stay within theory for more than three moves?

Look for "Gibbins-Weidenhagen Gambit" or "Poisoned Spike" if you want to be amused by a semi crazy gambit. You might even find a game played by Humphrey Bogart using the gambit. Fun Stuff!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A New Plan

My daily tactics drills are paying off. I start the day in a zen state solving tactics problems for 15-20 minutes. This routine has brought me up to 1846.6 at but it has also been my road to the depressing insight that my ICC skills are roughly half my chesstempo skills!

Ergo: In order to do some good for my U1200 Team4545 I had better reach 2400 at chesstempo pretty soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some notes

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Winning Streak!

Holy cow! I did my debut in a warm-up team league called "Korpen" tonight. Last season I played three games and scored zero points. Our team, average ranking at least 250 points below the second worst team, scored a few draws.

Tonight we struck gold! We started off neatly with a walk-over win at one of the three tables.

I had tried to book up a little on my black repertoire but for some reasons I found myself behind the white pieces. Yikes, two moves and I reached the end of my Opening knowledge. Anyhow, my dear opponent played a few generous moves and I came out ahead! A win! Win-win-win, baby!

Modesty? No more..... or maybe....

I will post a few notes on my game in a day or two.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I took a semi-vacation from chess after a series of extremely bad games. I was amazed that I still could play that bad without a hidden agenda and I had to measure my height twice a day to double check if my head had fallen off.

Now is a good time to start to play my A game as my only live tournament for the year has started. I benched myself for the first round but I will be on the team and in the gun smoke on Tuesday.

I swear by my daily 15-30 minutes of Tactics Problems and reached a new ATH at chesstempo today: 1808.3

If that rating is anywhere near a remote image of my true chess skills, then I think it is about time to beat my fellow 1200's at ICC with some frequency.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Still Mad!

Another sub par performance:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I hate chess!

I should have stayed in bed! This game started 5am which is almost my preferred starting time but not today! Sleeping is Key!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"I'm Beginning to See the Light...."

Well, my chess is still in the dark but the League has started! That and the amazing fact the I had "lotsa" comments on my previous post is bringing a smile to my face.

Here are my draft motes on my last game:

I reached ATH by a single point! Another thing to feel good about!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Opening Worries

Learning Opening Theory is not on my agenda. There are too many other leaks in my game to work on. Still, it is hard to totally ignore chess openings. One of my chess dreams is to come up with a low maintenance opening repertoire that would keep me comfortable in the opening phase of the game. It would be so much better if I also would enjoy playing the repertoire.

The biggest problem is to figure out what to choose as Black. I have really enjoyed reading about Katar’s view of things but the Scandinavian is just not my cup of tea.

Any suggestions?

(Hey, I just learned how to include pictures!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nimzowitsch Revisited!

It is time to have a serious look at Nimzo'z Classic Book. Yeah, Tactics is Meat and Potatoes but you need some other nutriments as well!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Measures of improvement

To review your own games is excellent training. I like to look back at old games to get a better understanding of my improvement. Recently, I started to create a “Top 5 list” of all my OTB (“Over-the-Board”) games. I think such a list might be useful as a measure of your improvement. How? Well, one idea is to set goals such as: “At least one of my next ten games should make it into my Top 5 List”

Rating Improvement is of course a simply measure of improvement but the thing is that you can play the best chess of your life without winning a single game! The Top 5 List does not necessarily consist of won games.

Please note that making in into the Top 5 List is quite demanding if you have played a lot of games. A simple but crude estimate of the chance for a single game to make it into the list is “5/N”, where N = the total number of your games from where the Top 5 is created

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tactics Trainer is my Friend! A Generous Friend!

I just bumped my All Time High at the Tactics Trainer a bit. It is a Great Site but all ratings seem to be bloated. My personal best at the tactics Trainer is 2000+ and I am nowhere near that good OTB.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Will I ever get those simple endgames into my head? I saw this one at and it is rather frustrating! "Distant Opposition" as in "the kings forming a square on the board where all corners have the same color" is just alien to me. What am I missing?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Goofed Again!

Rematch for the League title. We needed a win to stay alive but I failed to deliver. Sad.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Biggest Game Ever! Lost!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Addicted to tests

Which chess opening fits your personality?
Your Result: French Defence

The French Defence is a chess opening characterized by the moves 1. e4 e6. The French has a reputation for solidity and resilience, though it can result in a somewhat cramped game for Black in the early stages. Black often gains counterattacking possibilities on the queenside while White tends to concentrate on the kingside.

Four Knights Game
Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game)
English Opening
Sicilian Najdorf
King's Gambit
Sicilian Dragon
Evans Gambit
Grob's Attack
Which chess opening fits your personality?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Saturday, June 6, 2009

All Time Higher -- Another Lucky Win

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

All Time High

It is the last blunder that really matters!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Tale of the g2-pawn

Today's League with an uncommon hero:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Brief Report from Patzerhood

GM Fabiano Caruana kindly offered at simul for LeChessclub members at ICC. I delayed my big blunder for 20 some moves and enjoyed the experience.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ugly Loss

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Improvised tournament?

Chess Buddies,

My Wife and kids have gone on a trip to the countryside. They will be away for a few days or maybe even a week. Poor me will have to survive on massive doses of online chess etc.

Would you be interested in keeping me busy?

I was playing around with the idea to start a mini tournament at FICS. How about three rounds of G/30 tonight (Thursday, May 28th) starting at 13:00 (EST)? Please forgive me for the short notice and Europe biased suggested starting time.

Please drop me a note at and tell me what you think.

Cheers, farbror

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Training Diary: May 20, 2009

Tactics: daily doses of problems at chesstempo (CT)

Endgames: almost daily problems at CT

Openings: Reading about Grand Prix Attack (GPA), collecting GPA master games for review

Strategy: almost none, started reading Euwe's "Developement of Chess Style"

Analysis: analyzing my league game

Slow league game, won, all time high ICC rating (1258?)

reaching 1670 at chesstempo

Wish list:

- to have a draft opening repertoire

- create "my five best games" list

Monday, May 18, 2009

New League game with some notes

Here is my game from the third round:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Team League game

Our team had a bye in the first round. Here is my game from the second round with some notes:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Match 3(6) vs Blkmagic

Here is the latest game in our match series. I will add comments in a day or two.

(show chess board)(hide chess board)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bulid Your Chess - I

Time to get serious with this book. Anyone who has read it? The book has 24 lessons and a bunch of tests. Each lessons should be about one hour of workload.

from the publisher's site:"Build up your Chess with Artur Yusupov is for chess players who want to build their skills on solid foundations. Yusupov guides the reader towards a higher level of understanding using carefully selected positions and advice. This new understanding is then tested by a series of puzzles.

Artur Yusupov was ranked No. 3 in the world from 1986 to 1992, just behind the legendary World Champions Karpov and Kasparov. He has won everything there is to win in chess except for the World Championship. In recent years he has mainly worked as a chess trainer with players ranging from current World Champion Anand to local amateurs in Germany, where he resides."

You can have a test ot the book from here

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Night Workout

The endgame was clueless and ugly. I just don't have a solid grip over the endgame. However, I enjoyed the fact that the old brain found a few ideas after "14. f4"


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Match 2(6) vs Blkmagic

Here is the second game in my series against blkmagic. I will probably win "Blunder of the Year" for this game. My friend blkmagic might also win the prize for the move that gave me tha chance to prove my ability to overlook the obvious. I guess you can say that we are evenly matched. During the last part of the game I felt as if I constantly missed Mate in one.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Match Series vs Blkmagic -- comments added

Here is the first game out of six. This will be interesting. Another nice series of slow games! Comments appreciated.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Match -- comments added

Here is the latest game in the match versus Cardman. I managed to hold on to my pieces and score another win.


Friday, March 27, 2009

A golden nugget in my inbox

"Thanks for your comment. It is nice to know that people read what you write!!

Just a thought to add to all of this:

I notice on your web site that you use CTS web site a lot and also have a diet of MDLM who advocated a lot of tactics (I notice that he is well retired now and does not have to support his assertions by defending his playing skill). I think all that sort of thing is good, but in moderation. Some trainers have noted that if most of the time in training is spent on tactics, then the chess players skill is a little brittle. I think it is very important to be deconstruct a position positionally as well as tactically. Most moves in a game are quiet, not tactical (despite assertions that chess is 95% tactics - it isn't). Often, people who have focussed mostly on tactics have trouble in quiet positions and tend to look for tactical solutions. So I think it is very important to absorb positional/planning patterns, even more than tactical ones. In my own experience against weaker players, I have found that quiet positions are usually where they go wrong (not tactical ones) and they just drift into inferior positions before making a tactical mistake. Usually, against higher rated players (say 2400-2500 FIDE) I obtain an inferior position first before making a tactical mistake - so same thing. The inferior position is usually due to the failure to correctly assess the positional elements - little to do with tactics.

Just an idea. I think positional elements need to be studied 1. By going through classic games (up to about 1800 FIDE), 2. A study of the middle game positions arising out of your openings (up to 2000 FIDE) and 3. A deep study of the endgame, and in particular strategic endgames (beyond 2000).

Cheers, David"

Monday, March 23, 2009

New All Time High at Chess Tactics Server

No game last night but a new personal best at CTS.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Match Play

The first games in a series of four games will take place tonight. I am really looking forward to play. The correlation between my seriousness for chess and my complete lack of chess skills is record breaking.

This PGN-viewer is acting funny:

Maybe this one can get it straight:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Interesting site!

Those of you who would enjoy a series of slow games should check this site out!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A non-winning generation



Monday, February 16, 2009

Something to look forward to!

Novice Nook Guru Dan Heisman plan to release a new book, "The Improving Chess Thinker", mid-year 2009. Sounds Great!

I hate to wait!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New League Game


A few minor aspects of this game was among the best I have performed OTB. Please bare with me if the notes are "Self Glorifying" or from another perspective (to be sung to a well know tune): "It's my Blog and I brag if I want to...."

Friday, February 13, 2009

All Time High


I bumped my All Time High at the Chess Tactics Server (CTS) by a few points (7!) and that feels good! It has been a while since the last record. In some way, I manage to fool myself that I am under rated at CTS (what are ratings for?). Still, my ratings at other sites tend to be grossly above my well rounded lack of skill.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Edmar Mednis ”How to Play Good Opening Moves”

“Mindfulness” has been the buzzword for a while. I am not all sure what it is all about but my naïve recollection of the concept is a mixture of awareness and paying attention. So, what has Mindfulness to do with a dated chess book?

Mednis book starts from the very basic principles of opening play but what he does in this remarkable little book is that he manages to describe how the basic stuff works together.

This little book has better than any other text on opening play improved my understanding of the subtle interaction between the basic principles, a sort of opening awareness, if you like.

The big flaw is that the book suffers from a lot of typos which of course is annoying.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

League Games

Here are my first two league games with some sparse notes. Both have one key position early in the game and then a long and painfull road to The End.



Yikes, I posted the wrong version of the 2nd game but that should be OK now. Anyhow, my 9th move in the first game was interesting to me. I really thought that I could make something usefull out of Zohan's knight move.

In the second game, I found the position before my 8th move to be interesting.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chess Tactics Server

I really like the Chess Tactics Server. Still, I get confused by the brutal day-to-day variation. Or rather the slow climbing in rating followed by a huge drop in a single day.

It would be great to learn what sort of daily rating change fellow Knights find to be normal.