Monday, April 24, 2006

Rust Never Sleeps

I've been neglecting CTS for a month and a half now, and just started doing it again. The time really takes it's toll, and I dropped from steady 1480 to almost 1400. Fortunately it's coming back reasonably easy, after two days I'm back at 1450's. I'll try to keep doing it regularly again.

The reason for it is I joined into a 1600-1699 tournament at RHP, and suddenly got 16 more games going on, totalling at 36. Which is clearly too much for me. Can't find the time to study anymore, nor focus into the games as thoroughly as I'd like. Anyway, the tournament games are going quite well so far. All are slightly for my advantage or even, but no clear wins yet. There's even one guy who was at 1900 a while ago, but has dropped under 1700 for some reason (probably vacation timeouts?), and I'm doing okay against him too. Still, being swamped with games has brought some side effects as well. I've neglected doing thought process a lot, and already lost a rook for a pin to the king. Also did one completely arbitrary blitz-move, but luckily it was ok. Pure luck there. I'll really have to get a grip again, and start doing thought process consistently again. Also, I'm thinking I'll take some days off from playing, and focus on studying. Maybe I'll get a better balance.

It'll be interesting to see how I'll do against such a high rated competition. winning more than half should be good score, meaning I've really established myself at 1600's. But it's a long way there.

CTS: 1454
RHP: 1658

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blunder Check Follow-Up

The systematic blunder checking is working like a charm. I've started around 50 CC games since I took it up, completed about 30, with only 1 single piece dropped in total! And of the completed 30 games, I've lost 6, 5 of which I was a piece down before starting to blunder check. So, only 1 lost game after the blunder checking, 2 draws, and 20+ wins!

My rating on RHP has risen to all time high 1638 from the low point of 1530, where I started blunder checking. But it's rise has been hindered by those 5 old lost games, some against 1300's and 1400's, and I'm expecting my rating to climb even higher now that the last lost game ended 4 games ago. Of the 15 games I have going on, in four I'm up a minor piece or more, in one I'm up an exchange, and at least even in all others. So it's all looking good, Very good, and I'm quite optimistic about breaking the 1700-barrier before long. It's becoming increasingly certain that the thing keeping me in the 1500's was the lack of structured thought process, and namely the blunder checking part of it.

The way I'm doing it now, is that after I've decided on my move, I look at every piece one by one, check they're not en prise or under-defended, check specially for enemy knight forks, for alignment for possible pins and skewers, for bishops assassinating undeveloped rooks or attacking my castle. Then I check all my pawns are safe.

More complicated checking I do before blunder checking, meaning removal of guards, possible double attacks, discovered attacks, longer combinations in general. The actual blunder checking I reserve only for the simple one-move oversights, to keep it simple and fast.