Monday, April 30, 2007

Bad Times In Blitz

I guess I should record the bad things too, so the 'diary' wouldn't give too optimistic picture of my progress.

A couple of weeks ago I hit a bad day in my blitz project. I was just about to cross over 1300, when I got stuck into a huge losing streak. And like an addict I thought "just a couple of games more, and I bet my luck turns around again." No need to say, but it didn't. I just kept losing more, and after three days I was down to almost 1000 in ICC 5-minute. I tried taking a couple of days off, but it was no use. I just couldn't do anything right anymore.

The reason was the same as always, having trouble sleeping. When you sleep 3 hours a night, it's best to step away from the board. To make a long story short, it's taken me two weeks to get into any kind of shape. Still a couple of proper nights-of-rest shy from being fully awake, but hopefully I'll get more sleep this week.

So, I've been playing just for fun, completely ignoring the horrible results. Even CTS went from 1650 down to 1580, and would've gone lower had I not stopped doing it. I was losing about 15-16 out of 20 games every day, so that's what kind of a slump we're talking about.

To get some benefit from the 'down time', I've been spending it getting used to the Dutch Leningrad variation and it's white mirror image, the Polar Bear. Both openings give very lively and tactical games, at least with my suicidal attacking tendencies. And as I've never played the Dutch before, all the positions looked just confusing and random at first, but it's all slowly making more sense now.

I've also started gathering data on my time managment, as I realized losing on time is still my worst problem in blitz. The idea is to track the amount of games I finish down on time, and hopefully reach at least a 50-50 level, the bare minimum to keep statistically up with my opponents. So every time I finish a game considerably up on time, I'll give myself a big pat on the back, even if I lost the game. So far I've even won a couple of games on time, which is a good start. But I'm still just way too slow usually.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

ICC 5-minute Blitz 1202

Another hundred broken, and it's going better all the time. Slow but steady improvement, less and less panic, less braindead blunders, less losses by getting flagged in a won position, better endgame, more reasonable openings. And I'm getting more and more sure that reasonable is the magic word here. simple, reasonable moves, avoid crazy complications, don't shy away from exchanges unless it's a really bad one.

But I'm still lousy at staying out of trouble, always drawn to that excellent crazy but very difficult move instead of the practical one. I think I should probably aim for getting into endgame as fast as possible, playing that simple, solid chess. Let the opponent trip with the complications.

ICC 5-minute: 1202, 215 games
CTS: 1643, 82692 tries, 77.6%
RHP: 1840, 223 games, wdl 152-12-65

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

ICC 5-minute Blitz 1100

Okay, I think I'm starting to get the hang of this blitz thing. Just broke 1100 for the first time after starting 5-minute blitz on ICC. That's +200 points from where I began. Now it seems I can actually win most of those 'won' games, and I don't panic nearly as much either (although there's still a lot to do on that area). From the last 20 games I've won 15 and lost only 5. Starting out it was around 15 losses for every 5 wins, so clear improvement there. And what's more important, is that none of the losses were flagged in a won position.

ICC 5-minute: 1101, 185 games played.