Sunday, January 30, 2011

Opening Phobia

I am suffering from yet another spell of Opening Phobia. This is indeed one very complicated position:

rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1

Please cure me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Humanlike Engine?

I suppose the huge majority of all chess engine research is focused at bumping the silicon monsters yet another ELO point. Why is it more interesting to buy a new version that is five points stronger than the six month old version you already own than to buy a software that plays at a very human like 1500-level?

As a DIY chess improver working full time and eager to spend time with the kids, it is hard to find time for a slow game. Playing against software when a gap suddenly appears in the overloaded time schedule is often the only alternative and it is a nice kid surprise insurance to have the pause button available.

The problem is that most engines are totally useless to mimic patzer chess. The mastermind programming to produce an Average-Joe Chess style seems to be to play at top strength and to mix it up by moving Ra1-Rb1 for no obvious reasons at random time points.

Which engines would you consider to be most humanlike when playing at lower levels?

Monday, January 17, 2011


Inspired by the commitment and efforts by two of my Online Chess Buddies (AndreaCoda and ScotchYeti), I have decided to try a few online chess lessons with a professional chess trainer. I will never be able to reach their heights in chess skills but I might be able to follow suit in efforts.

In order to make room for bi-weekly chess sessions in an already cramped fun time quota budget, I will have to make changes to the planned training activities before even finding out in what ways the training plan would fail.

Concrete is the new buzzword. Minimal time invested in planning, preparations and book keeping:

  • Bi-weekly coaching sessions
  • 30+ Chesstempo problems per week
  • 50+ Slow games this year
  • 3+ Chess books to (re-)read
The Team4545 League at ICC will be my main source for slow games. Hopefully spiced up with training games with online friends (Drop me a challenge! I love shorter match series in Europe friendly time slots). The planned reading list would be:

Alexander Alekhine's Best Games: Algebraic Edition

Simple Chess: New Algebraic Edition

Logical Chess: Move By Move: Every Move Explained

Essential Chess Endings: The Tournament Player's Guide (using Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master should GM Howell's book turn out to be too advanced.)

Support your Local Bookdealer!!!

Interesting reading for exra credentials: Ziatdinov training tips "PART THREE: CONCRETE CHESS"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pogo-dancing in the mindfield

Endgames can be a silly dance on the knife's edge. Here is a snapshot from a recent training game (see below). Maybe Mr Fritz is in a joking mode or there are a lot of blunders to be made in the position.

Maybe Mr Purdy has some clever rule to help us survive similar endgames. I did not find the proper move but I did not get the proper(?) punishment for making the naturally looking loosing move (Kd5).

A great chess teacher Valeri Lilov pointed out the fact that this can be viewed as an example of Corresponding Square.There is a little more to be learned.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Old Year?

It is that time of the year when we cover-up last year's resolutions by making new resolutions. Fair Enough!

I think a great deal can be learned from our failed resolutions and in my case I can clearly see that I must stick to simple and measurable goals. Life is complicated as it is and the Fun Time quota is limited.

This year, I feel the Force is working for me. I have .... not decided but perhaps accepted the idea as an alternative...... considered not to buy any chess books for a while. I soon realized that the well defined time period "a while" might be less than a week. However, the Force kicked in and I might be able to prolong "my while" for some time.

A book I have been keen on for quite some time appeared on an online book seller's list. I placed an order but got the message that the book was unavailable. I could live with that as I discovered that the book also was available in mint condition at an US based shop. No problems ordering the book but for unknown reasons they charged the same shipping fees for single books as for orders of 3+ mid sized elephants.

A friendly online chess player informed me that the book was available from a German bookseller. However, they refused to accept orders below 15 Euros and my planned purchase was listed at 14.95 Euros. A few friendly emails might allow me to bump the cost upwards by a fraction of an Euro or I should go with the flow and obey the Force.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Promising Blog

Make sure to keep an eye on this one:

GM Nigel Davis new chess blog!

Nigel plans to update his chess blog twice weekly.