Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Into the Breach....

The mini-circles are over. The Uber Kreise have begun. It's amazing just how much I have forgotten from the first mini-circles (especially on the long variation problems). My solve rate on the pinning section I estimate to be around 50%. Although my solve % is much higher on the next section (knight forks), I don't feel comfortable doing only 3 Uber Kreise which would have made me a graduate by this coming Sunday. I will add another Uber Kreis that will spread the Reinfeld book over this week. The following week will be my last week on the program.

I have already begun post-program preparations. My next step is to join Vic in endgame studies. I was going to study strategy, but GM Susan Polgar on her blog recommends that endgame study follow tactics. I defer to her greater wisdom on this subject. For my endgame studies, I will be using Convekta's Chess Endgame Training software consisting of some 2450 problems. I plan to spread these out over the remainder of the year. My wife is due with our 3rd child sometime this August, so there may be a gap where I simply cannot study (although this is hopefully not the case - thank God for helpful mothers-in-law). At any rate, I will probably take a similar path as I have done with tactics. I will do mini-circles on each theme followed by Uber Circles on the whole problem set. My target finish date is December 31, 2005.

Buaidh No Bas.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Nezha, My Friend, We Are Paired

Looks like you play White. My time zone is FICS + 2. I'd be willing to play any day except Tuesday between FICS 1700 and FICS 2100. I can also play on Saturday between FICS 0800 and 2100 and Sunday between FICS 1200 and 2100. Let me know when you want to play!

Not This Week....

I was hoping to have finished the 7 mini-circles of my latest theme group, but I haven't even quite finished my 2nd circle. It will probably take the rest of the week to complete, so I'll be beginning my "Uber Kreise" either May 29th or 30th. The main thing is that I don't rush it and gloss over any of the puzzles. They need to make sense to me and become a part of me.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Team De La Maza - This Is A Very Goooood Sign!!!

I just took the scalp of a 1941 rated player on FICS! That's 211 points higher rated than what I was rated in the game. It should have been a draw, and I offered one twice, but he pushed for the win and paid. I have to get back to puzzle-solving, but here is the unannotated game for your enjoyment.

[Event "FICS rated standard game"]
[Site "FICS, San Jose, California USA"]
[Date "2005.05.21"]
[Time "18:28:24"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Innermeans"]
[Black "CelticDeath"]
[WhiteElo "1941"]
[BlackElo "1730"]
[TimeControl "1800+5"]
[Mode "ICS"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. d4 Bg4 4. Be2 Bxe2 5. Nxe2 Qxd5 6. O-O Nc6 7. b3 e5 8. c4 Qe4 9. Nbc3 Qg6 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nf4 Qf5 12. Re1 Bd6 13. Nb5 Rd8 14. Nd4 Qg4 15. f3 Qd7 16. Nd3 O-O 17. Nxe5 Bxe5 18. Rxe5 Qxd4+ 19. Qxd4 Rxd4 20. Re7 Rd7 21. Ba3 Rfd8 22. Rae1 b6 23. Bb2 Rxe7 24. Rxe7 Rd1+ 25. Kf2 Rd2+ 26. Re2 Rxe2+ 27. Kxe2 Nd7 28. b4 f6 29. f4 g6 30. a3 c6 31. Ke3 f5 32. h3 h5 33. Kf3 Kf7 34. g4 Ke6 35. gxh5 gxh5 36. Kg3 Nf6 37. Kh4 b5 38. Bxf6 Kxf6 39. cxb5 cxb5 40. Kxh5 a6 41. Kh4 Kg6 42. Kg3 Kh5 43. Kf3 Kh4 44. Kg2 Kh5 45. Kg3 Kg6 46. Kh4 Kh6 47. Kg3 Kh5 48. Kg2 Kh4 49. Kh2 Kh5 50. Kg3 Kg6 51. Kf3 Kh5 52. Ke3 Kh4 53. Kd4 Kxh3 54. Kd5 Kg3 55. Kc5 Kxf4 56. Kb6 Ke5 57. Kxa6 f4 58. Kxb5 f3 59. Kc6 f2 60. a4 f1=Q 61. b5 Qc4+ 62. Kb7 Qxa4 63. b6 Kd5 64. Kc8 Qc6+ {White resigns} 0-1

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My Game Was Annotated by a Master!!!

See it here. NM Pete Karagianis offers his insights on my round 3 game against Ivan Wijetunge at the 2005 Bloomington Open.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Some Bittersweet News

If only I had better managed my time....

The results of my tournament have been rated, and I have dropped 18 rating points (I'm #18 on the wall chart here). On the plus side, the opp for round 3, who I had a winning game against, but ran into time trouble was actually 1809 rated (apparently his rating wasn't current at the tournament). So, I can say that I have broken new ground here. I have never had a winning game against a Class A player before. This does give me some confidence!

Disgusting OTB Experience

My last round game at the 2005 Bloomington Open was against somebody from my chess club who was just under 900 rated. Anyhoo, during our game, he continued to chew on something, although I was never quite sure what it was. Midway through the game, he sneezes all over the board (MY board and pieces, mind you), and something wet hits my arm. "Oh, did I get you?" he asked genuinely concerned. I just mumbled "yep" and got up from the game to head to the washroom to wash my arm. I think I'm scarred for life!

Monday, May 16, 2005

The Helpless King and the Weakened Castled Position, Teil Zwei

I've reached problem #943. I only have 58 more problems to go before I can say that I have worked each of the 1001 problems of 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations at least once (and 870 of those have been worked 7 times). After I complete 7 circles of the 131 problem set that I'm in now, I will be ready to work the entire book as one "uber circle" as Blue Devil so aptly put it. I will complete my current mini-circle by this coming Sunday and begin Die Uber Kreise on Monday. I'm aiming to have that done in 1 week as follows:

Monday, May 23rd Problems 1-250
Tuesday, May 24th Problems 251-500
Wednesday, May 25th Problems 501-750
Thursday, May 26th Problems 751-1001
Friday, May 27th Problems 1-500
Saturday, May 28th Problems 501-1001
Sunday, May 29th Problems 1-1001

I had originally planned on doing 7 Uber Circles, but I'll have already done 7 mini-circles on all the problems, so this would be overkill. Instead, I'll do 3 Uber Circles that would equate to circles 5-7.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A Silver Lining for a Darkened Cloud

After my piss-poor performance at the Bloomington Open, I was glad to be able to best a higher rated player on FICS today.

[Event "FICS rated standard game"]
[Site "FICS, San Jose, California USA"]
[Date "2005.05.15"]
[White "CelticDeath"]
[Black "pacovsky"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B06"]
[WhiteElo "1714"]
[BlackElo "1763"]
[TimeControl "1800+5"]

{B06: Modern Defence} 1. e4 g6 2. d4 d6 {At this point, I conclude that my
opp is going for the Pirc, to which I always respond with the Byrne System
characterized by 4. Bg5 to place it outside the pawn structure.} 3. Nc3 Bg7 4.
Bg5 a6 {I briefly weighed responding with 5. a4, but felt that my opp had just
given me a tempo so I had better make good use of it by completing my
development.} 5. f4 b5 6. Nf3 {Daring Black to play b4, wasting more time.} Bb7 7. a4 b4 8. Nd5 a5 9. c3 f6 10. Bh4 e6 {Black will now win a pawn, but at the cost of isolating his light square bishop from the defense.} 11. Ne3 Bxe4 12. d5 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 e5? (Fritz: 13... bxc3 is a viable option 14. dxe6 cxb2 +/=) 14. Bb5+ +- Nd7 15. fxe5 dxe5 16. O-O bxc3 17. bxc3 h6? (Fritz: 17... Ne7 18. Qh3 Rb8) 18. Nc4 {Now, the threats begin to mount.} 19. Nxe5! {Fritz: the knock-out blow} gxh4 (19...fxe5 20. Qf7# {A double attack}) 20. Nxd7 {and the threats are simply too much. Black resigns} (Fritz shows that this leads to 20. Nxd7 Qxd7 21. Bxd7+ Kxd7 22. Qg4+ Kd8 23. Qxg7 Ne7 24. Qxh8+ Kd7 25. Qxf6 Kc8 26. Qe6+ Kb7 27.Rab1+ Ka7 28. Qe3+ Ka6 29. Rf6+ Nc6 30. Rxc6#, but found a faster route with 20. Qh5+ Ke7 21. Qf7+ Kd6 22. Qe6+ Kc5 23. Nd3#) 1-0

2005 Bloomington Open: Great Tourney, but My Perf Was Nothing to Crow About

The tournament was stronger than I expected with 2 national masters showing up to play. One of the NM's even lost to somebody I'd beaten twice last year in tournament play. As for myself, I won 2 and lost 2. My wins were against too weak of an opposition, and my losses were against too strong of an opposition. So, I've only annotated my losses (with the help of Fritz).

My first round game was against an opp using the King's Indian Attack. I've never faced the KIA before, so this was new to me. I got mixed up trying to play tricky tactics when I should have been playing solid position play. I tried one trick to much and my king paid the price....

[Event "2005 Bloomington Open"]
[Site "Normal"]
[Date "2005.05.14"]
[Round "1"]
[White "My Round 1 Opp"]
[Black "CelticDeath"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A08"]
[WhiteElo "1648"]
[BlackElo "1543"]
[TimeControl "2700"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 c5 4. O-O Nc6
5. d3 e6 (better is 5... e5) 6. Nbd2 Bd6 7. e4 O-O 8. Re1 Qc7 9. Qe2 e5?! (Fritz likes 9... Nd7 better with the idea of 10... Ne5) 10. exd5 Nb4? {I thought this move looked good, because it threatened a fork at c2, plus I could retake at d5 if White defended. However, White's Bg2 continues to get stronger.} (better is 10... Nxd5+/=) 11. Nc4 {Now, I thought I could grab some space on the queenside. Fritz prefers Re8.} b5? 12. Nxd6 Qxd6 13. a3 Nbxd5 14. Qxe5 Qb6 15. c4 Nc7 16. Be3 Ne6 17. Ng5 Ng4 18. Qe4 Nxe3?? {Trying for a combination that simply doesn't work....} 19.
Qxh7# 1-0

I had better success against a stronger opponent in Round 3. He was higher rated than my Round 1 opp, but I was more familiar with the opening he played. I reached a point where I had the better position, but I was in severe time trouble. In the critical moment of the game, sacking a bishop was called for (which I did), but I couldn't think through the proper follow up accurately with only a few minutes left on the clock. I ended up blundering and then losing the game....

[Event "2005 Bloomington Open"]
[Site "Normal"]
[Date "2005.05.14"]
[Round "3"]
[White "CelticDeath"]
[Black "My Round 3 Opp"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B12"]
[WhiteElo "1543"]
[BlackElo "1764"]
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bg4?!(better is 5... cxd4) {At this point, I looked at dxc5, but was fearful of Nxe5. I should have looked at this a little closer, because e5 cannot be touched.} 6. Be3?! (6. dxc5! with the idea of Nxe5?? 7. Nxe5 Bxd1 8. Bb5+ Qd7 9. Bxd7+) 6... e6?! (6... Qb6) 7. Nbd2?! (7. dxc5! still works here) 7... Qb6 8. Qb3 Rb8? 9. Qxb6 axb6 10. Be2 (slightly better is 10. Bb5) 10... Nh6 {I thought for waaay too long after this move.
I had to determine if it was safe to take the knight, knowing that
strategically I needed to castle kingside and start action on the queenside. I finally decided that it held, but time on the clock was dwindling....} 11. Bxh6 gxh6 12. O-O Rg8 13. g3 h5 {I started to waste more time here, trying to see if Kg2 held. Fritz says it does, but I wasn't sure....} 14. Rfe1?! (better is 14. Kg2) 14... Be7 15. h4 Ra8 16. Kh2 Bf5 17. Nf1 Kd7 18. Ne3 Be4 19. Nd2 Bg6 20. Nb3 Raf8 21. f4 Rg7 22. dxc5 bxc5 23. Rad1 Kc7 24. Rd2 Rfg8 25. Bf3 h6 26.Red1? (Now, 26. Bxd5! exd5 27. f5 is called for, but I was in time pressure and didn't see this tactic) 26... b5 27. Bxd5! {Now I found it, but I settle for gaining 3 pawns for a bishop, which Fritz indicates is equal. I could have gotten more) exd5 28. Nxd5+ Kc8 29. Nxe7+? (29. Na5!) 29... Nxe7 30. Nxc5 Bf5 31. Rg1 Kc7 32. a4 bxa4 33. Nxa4
Bc8 34. Nc5 Nf5 35. Rd3 Nxh4 36. Ne4? Bf5 37. Nf6?? Bxd3 38. Nxg8 {And, short of time and out of ammo, White resigns.} 0-1

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I Couldn't Find a FICS Opp to Play Slow Time Control

last night. So, I did the next best thing and fired up Chessmaster 8000. I wanted good prep for Saturday, so I chose to play against the Rand character which had a rating of nearly 2100. I played most of the game very well. I was winning at one point with a pawn advantage. Then, I must have gotten fatigued and gave back the pawn. The coup de gras was when I blundered a rook away after missing a pawn pin (you'd think I would have learned by now). Anyhow, I quit the game and didn't save the game score.

On the plus side, I see that I do have the potential to play at a higher level (although I'm not sure what an Expert per Chessmaster equates to in the real world). On the minus side, I see that I am likely to blunder at the end of the game when time is short on the clock and I have a winning advantage. Now, THAT is disturbing, and I really need to think about how to overcome it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tournament This Weekend

I'll be playing in a 4 round Swiss, g/70 tournament this weekend at State Farm's headquarters in Bloomington, IL. I need to make sure I get plenty of rest. It seems that lately I've been slumping, so that usually means I've gotten lazy with my thought process. I need to straighten that out over the course of this week. I'll post my games and analysis sometime on Sunday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Final Theme Group: The Helpless King and The Weakened Castled Position

I was up until 2:00a this morning, but I finally completed the X-ray Attack, Surprise Moves, Defensive Combos, Trapped Man, and Zugzwang chapter grouping. I've now completed 7 mini-circles, as Blue Devil, calls them on 870 tactics problems of varying degree of difficulty. I have 131 to go over the next two weeks before I begin my 7 circles of the entire 1001 problem set of Reinfeld's 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations. I doubt that it will take me the 2-3 weeks it's taken me to do the mini-circles, because I'm already familiar with the problems. After all, I solved over 500 yesterday, if you count the repetition of circles. I should be done by early to mid-June.

Monday, May 09, 2005

X-Ray Attack, Surprise Moves, Defensive Combinations, Trapped Man, Zugzwang, Pt. Trois

I've gotten to the point where I have to literally force myself to study. I'm partway through the 4th circle on this theme group, but there are many problems with long variations and several branches to their analysis trees. The hardest themes for me in this group are the surprise moves and the defensive combinations. I'll keep slogging through, though, and will hopefully finish this group tonight.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Comedy of Errors

I played a g/60 game against someone 151 points higher and should have lost...no, should have won...no, I was right the first time. My opp missed a chance to win the exchange and, most likely the game, early on. Then I found a tactic that should have won me the game, but I later blew it and my opp found a brilliant pin that I had overlooked to finally bring home the point. This game also had an audience.

CelticDeath (FICS 1710) vs. patzerdude (FICS 1861)
1.e4 d5 2. e5 Bf5 3. d4 e6 4. h4 h5 5.c4 Nc6 6. Nc3 Qd7 7. c5?? Nb4 8. Bb5 c6 (CelticDeath: At the time I thought Nc2+ wins the exchange, but it doesn't.*) 9. Ba4 Nd3+ 10. Kf1 Nh6 (intending Ng4) 11. Bxh6 Rxh6 12. Nge2? Nxb2 13. Qb3 Nxa4 14. Qxa4 Bd3 15. g3 Be7 16. Kg2 g5 17. hxg5 Bxg5 18. Nf4 Bxf4 19. gxf4 0-0-0?? 20.Qxa7 Rg8+ 21.Kf3 Qc7 22. Qa8+ Qb8 23. Qa5 Kd7 24. Rhg1 Rg6 25. Ke3 Ba6 26. Ne2 h4 27. Rab1 Qg8 28. Qxa6!! bxa6 29. Rb7+ Ke8 30. Rb8+ Kd7 31. Rxg8 Rxg8 32. Rxg8 h3 33. Ra8?? h2 34. Ng3 Rh3!! and Black queens the pawn and wins 0-1

*Ed (Der Alter Goniff): 9.Qxc2 Bxc2 10.Bxd7+ Kxd7 looks about equal.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Maximum Chess Strength and IQ

I came across an article that offers a somewhat simplistic calculation for determining a person's potential chess rating. All you do is take your IQ x 10 + 1000 = Maximum Elo. I don't know how accurate that is, but it would put me somewhere in the range of 2400 - 2650 based on IQ tests I've taken in the past. That also would mean that Hikaru Nakamura has an IQ over 170.

I also came across another article that says that you can improve your IQ "significantly" (whatever that means) after just 4.5 months of serious chess study.

X-Ray Attack, Surprise Moves, Defensive Combinations, Trapped Man, Zugzwang, Pt. Deux

I've finished circle 1 and am through the X-Ray chapter on circle 2. I hope to be on my last 2 chapters by Friday. So far, I have made my way through 87% of the Reinfeld 1001 WCSC book. It seemed like nearly every one of the problems in the Defensive Combinations chapter was used by GM Blokh (and CT-Art 3.0).