Tuesday, February 21, 2006

CTS Rating Bumb

After being stuck on around 1420 at CTS for some time, my rating suddenly bumbed up by 50 pts in just a couple of days. It's weird how it goes, but I've heard of other people experiencing the same thing. Ratings don't increase with steady pace, but more like with sudden bursts.

rating: 1483
tries: 31 951
overall success: 76.3%
session success: 88.0%

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Curse of Correspondence Chess

It's a great way to get some really slow chess going on, mulling over plans for hours or even days for one single move. Evaluating positions, analysing for tactics. Weeding out those braindead blunders, and working through combinations untill you see them in your dreams. Or so it should be, but once again I find myself blitzing the moves. Driving myself into bad situations with little or no thought, losing the games eventually after desperate struggle for counter-attack. And because CC games usually last for weeks, one bad day is often enough to lose several or even most on-going games at once. The seeds of destruction are sown in one day, and harvested in one depressing string of lost games a week or two later. It only takes one day of not focusing, being tired, or one session of drunken chess late at night.

It's not like I had not been here before. It's almost a habit to blunder a batch of games, then making promises of not doing it again. Ever. Then you go do it, of course. When will I learn? When will I take the time to recognize critical points before it's too late? -When I'm not cramped yet, the kamikaze-bishops are not targeting my castle, my counter-play has not been stifled... It seems I play with full focus only when the position is already badly complicated or I'm down. That's plain stupid. I should never let the game go there in the first place. Well, okay, that's impossible, but I should at least make an effort towards that. So I could say to myself: "Okay, the game is about gone, but I did my best to avoid it." Now I just blitz away all the 'easy moves'.

Good news is, now I do recognize when I'm cramped, counter-play is nonexistent or a sacrifise is just about to open the gates to hell. It wasn't like that just a few months ago. It's just that it's too late when I do. I guess I really should look into the concept of prophylactic thinking...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

30 000 Problems Done at CTS!

It's been a long and rocky road. I started doing tactics at CTS last August, and I had not really done any before. 1050 was my score for the first day, on which I did around 700 problems. The first hundred points was pretty easy, and around 1200 it started to become more difficult. Now, 5 months later, I'm almost 400pts higher. So you could say It's been beneficial. The aim is to break 1600 during 2006, which I think is possible if I just can keep on doing those tactics regularly. But there's already been a couple of longer breaks, so it's possible I'll lose the motivation somewhere down the line. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Current status

Ok. Maybe I'll get this blog going at last. - It's gonna be some kind of a documentation of my progress on learning chess, also serving as a backup for my personal notes along the way. I started keeping a chess diary right from the beginning, updating it almost daily. Unfortunately, a computer crash wiped all that clean and I lost everything.

To make a long story short, I started chess about six months ago, after watching the Garry Kasparov document "Game Over." And like so many others, I quickly became hooked. Now the addiction has overtaken all my waking hours, and to be frank, pretty much the rest also.

Ok, to get things rolling, here's my current stats for the interconnected beast to devour. I'm gonna try to document all stats I might some day be interested in:

CTS rating: 1445 tries: 29780 success: 76.0%
RHP rating: 1544 games: 69 won: 39 lost: 28 moves: 2553
FICS blitz rating: 1029 won: 32 lost: 33 best: 1055
FICS standard rating: 1381p won: 6 lost: 6

As can be seen, the faster I play, the more I suck. Hopefully that'll change as I get more experience.

At this time I play almost exclusively correspondence chess at Red Hot Pawn as wormwood. I study mostly tactics at CTS (also as wormwood), trying to get 100-200 problems done a day, with occasional slacking of course. Sometimes I blitz at FICS as wormstar. In addition to that, I'm going through Alburts endgame book "Just The Facts" and Chernev's "Capablanca's Best Chess Endings" to get some kind of initial coverage on the theory. I'm also going through Fischer's "My 60 Memorable Games."

I guess that's it for now. Short is sweet. Hopefully I'll keep this blog updated from time to time.