"...a Chessmaster should be a combination of a beast of prey and a monk."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A game I'm proud of

Sometimes it seems like I mostly have posted losses here on the blog.  Tonight I actually have a win.  This is another game from a slow chess league game on chess.com.  Basically, the reason that I am proud of the game is because I feel I put in a good effort throughout the game.  Sometimes it seems that the planning a game during the week with an opponent doesn't work that well for me, because it seems like fairly often I'm not in the best mood to play when it is time for the game and so sometimes it seems like I don't play with the best attitude in some way or another, depending on the situation.  So tonight I had two kind of attitude problems.  One was that I was for some reason feeling quite tired and drinking a bunch of iced tea which can usually get me revved up wasn't quite working.  The other was that my opponent was lower rated than me and I felt determined to get a win.  This is usually a very bad thing.  Basically instead of looking to play the best I start expecting a win and that's bad news.  Tonight however I was able to put both of these aside and I really did the best that I was capable of.  I'm certainly not saying it's an amazing game or anything but I feel quite happy that it felt like a tough struggle and I persevered till my opponent made a blunder.  Another thing is that at the end after I had already won the rook, but he put his queen on my second rank, I was actually looking at moving the rook to the seventh to attack the king, but of course that would have allowed him to mate me due to the pawn on h6.  This is another weak point for me, when I feel I have achieved some decisive advantage I often let up a lot mentally and just start looking for ways to end it quickly without paying attention to the opponents possibilities.  Here I kept thinking about his threats and as a result found that quick win.

Ritarix (991) - JabotScrob (1258)

Result: 0-1
Site: Chess.com
Date: 2014.06.28
[...] 1.d4 ♘f6 2.♗f4 g6 3.e3 ♗g7 4.c3 O-O 5.h3 d6 6.♘f3 Here I decided to try to push the f-pawn and go for a kingside attack, something I have used against my regular chess partner RudiV who employs a similar London type setup. 6...♘h5 7.♗h2 f5 8.♘bd2 f4 9.♕b3 ♔h8 10.O-O-O fxe3 11.fxe3 b6 12.♗e2 ♘c6 13.g4 ♘f6 14.♘g5 d5 15.♗e5 This seems to be a mistake to me but I'm not sure I have a great reason. In general I prefer bishops to knights and will often look for chances to trade my knights for their bishops. This is likely an exaggerated issue in my mind, but I'm not sure he is gaining anything by this move. 15...♗h6 16.h4 I had overlooked this possibility. 16...♘xe5 17.dxe5 ♘xg4 18.♗xg4 ♗xg4 19.♖dg1 ♗c8 20.h5 ♖f5 21.♘df3 I'm happy with the following sequence. I felt a bit stumped by his move at first, but then I worked out the following sequence which nets me a pawn and takes off a significant amount of pressure on my king's position. 21...♖xf3 22.♘xf3 ♗xe3 23.♔b1 ♗xg1 24.♘xg1 Seems to me taking with the rook is better. 24...g5 25.♕d1 ♗f5 26.♔a1 ♗e4 27.♖h2 c5 h6 is probably better. I was looking at winning that e-pawn. 28.h6 ♕c7 29.♕h5 ♕xe5 I'm not sure if it's actually a good move, but at least Qf7 threatens something instead of losing a rook. To be honest while I was looking at this I'm not sure I really saw that. I think I thought to myself "Qxh2" but that's game over. Whether I would have seen my error if he actually played Qf7 I don't know. 30.♘f3 ♗xf3 31.♕xf3 ♕xh2 32.♕d1 ♖f8 33.a3 ♕g2 34.♕a4 a5 35.♕d7 Here's where I looked at Rf2 but then realized he could mate me. I'm happy I kept my head in the game. 35...♕e4 36.♔a2 g4 37.♕c6 g3 38.c4 g2 39.cxd5 g1=♕ 40.d6 ♕xc6 41.d7 ♕xd7 42.a4 ♕d5 43.♔a3 ♕e3 44.b3 ♕dxb3#
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Aquarium 2014 publishing

One nice feature of the new Aquarium is that they updated the publishing function so now there is a floating board that moves down when you scroll so you don't leave it behind while reading the moves.  I remember this being one of chessadmin's major issues and I agree this is a big improvement.  Here's an example from a recent game I played annotated by Houdini 4.

JabotScrob (1251) - Dragox92 (1440)

Result: 0-1
Site: Chess.com
Date: 2014.06.21
Game analysis
Processor: AMD A10-5700 APU with Radeon(tm) HD Graphics (@3.39GHz)
Engine(s): Houdini_4_Pro_CA_x64A
Analysis time: 0:53:24
[...] 1.e4 c5 2.♘f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.♘xd4 ♘f6 5.♘c3 g6 6.♗e3 ♗g7 7.♗e2 O-O 8.f3N
8.♕d2 ♘c6 9.O-O-O ♘xd4 10.♗xd4 ♗e6 11.h4 ♕a5 12.♕g5 b5 ...1/2-1/2, Shirov Alexei 2685 - Topalov Veselin 2750 , Madrid 1996 It (cat.17)
8...♗d7 9.♕d2 ♘c6 10.O-O-O ♖c8 11.g4 ♘e5 12.h4 h5 13.gxh5 ♘xh5 14.f4 ♘c4 (14...♘g4 15.f5 ♘xe3 16.♕xe3 ♔h7 17.♔b1 +0.60) 15.♗xc4 ♖xc4 16.f5 ♕a5 17.♔b1?!
17.♖hg1!?17...♖xc3 18.♕xc3 ♕xc3 19.bxc3 ♘f6 20.fxg6 ♘xe4 21.h5 ♘xc3 22.h6 ♘xd1 +0.91
17...♖xc3!18.♕xc3 ♕xc3 19.bxc3 ♘g3 20.fxg6 ♘xh1 21.gxf7 ♔xf7 22.♖xh1 ♖c8 23.♔b2 -0.09
18.♖hg1!18...♕e5 19.h5 ♖fc8 20.hxg6 ♖xc3 21.gxf7 ♔xf7 22.♖xg3 ♕xg3 23.bxc3 ♕h3 +1.03
18...♕e5 19.fxg6?!
19.♗f4!?19...♕xc3 20.bxc3 ♘xe4 21.♕g2 ♘xc3 22.♔c1 ♗c6 23.♕g5 ♖xf4 24.♖df1 ♗f6 -1.29
19...♘xh1 20.♕e2?! (20.♖xh1!?20...fxg6 21.♕d3 ♖fc8 22.♗xa7 b5 23.a3 ♖xc3 -2.66) 20...b5 21.♖d5 ♘g3 22.♕g2 ♕e6 23.♕xg3 fxg6 24.h5 ♗e8 25.hxg6 ♗xc3 26.bxc3 ♖xe4 27.♕h2 ♗xg6 28.♖g5 ♖xe3 29.♕h6 ♔f7 30.♖xg6 ♕xg6
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Chessbase 12

I've been buying software again and thought I would mention some things.

Chessbase 12 and Megabase 2014:  Basically, I was a little upset that Convekta's megabase seems to be missing games.  Basically, if you look at the beginning of the base, it's clear that the chessbase database has many more of the early games than convekta's does.  Also, when I would read chessbooks and look into the database to find the game record so that I could follow along, I would come upon games that were missing.  This included games from tournaments like Linares which it kind of seems to me like such a big base should have.  It's not so difficult to enter these myself while I am going over the game, but somehow it seems disappointing that this base isn't more complete.  These were some of the things that led me to try chessbase 12 and the megabase.

One thing that can definitely be said about chessbase is that it is much prettier than Chess Assistant.  Chess assistant looks like a program from the 80's or 90's not one from after 2010.

On the other hand, I have some complaints about chessbase.  It seems to me to be buggy.  One of the most major things that bothered me while using it was that I was copying some of my own games and chessbase somehow messed up and changed the names of one of the players on several game records.  This seems like a serious problem.  If I can't trust the accuracy of the copying function then I will have a hard time using it and will constantly be worrying if something has been changed by the program.

I also have a complaint about the opening reference function.  In general I found the tree function much less helpful in chessbase than in chess assistant.  One of the things I like most about having a big database like this is navigating these kinds of trees back and forth and seeing what the different options that have been played are.  I like to do it both with megabase and with my own games database to kind of review my repertoire and look at success rates.  The first thing that is not so much a bug as it is just different implementation is that in chess assistant I can actually call up a window with the tree in it that is separate from any game.  Then I can navigate the tree and easily call up a list of games from any position.  It is obviously possible to do these things in chessbase also, in fact there is usually a small window with a games list automatically registered next to the tree window.  It is also easy to order this list by elo of one of the players.  Still, in general I did find it less convenient more akward that I couldn't call up the tree independent of a game, and that navigation of the tree automatically writes variations to the game.  I prefer the chess assistant format where the tree is separate and can be independently navigated and then when I'm ready I can call up the list of games.

Another problem with the tree was that it didn't seem to be accurate.  I have been trying out the English opening lately and recently after getting my games into the databases I was looking at the tree of my white games, and at the first move there was no c4 move shown.  I forced c4 on the board and then the list of games showed up, but when I left and came back the same problem happened of no games showing up for c4.  In this case I only knew it was inaccurate because I knew I had played those games and that I had just loaded them in the database.  So again, it's a confidence issue.  It seems that if this happens in a situation that I know it's making a mistake then it is probably going to do it when I don't know it's making a mistake and that would be worrisome.  To be fair under the opening report function instead of the opening reference section it was showing those c4 games but still that's a pain in the ass.

Another complaint is that when navigating the tree, the success rates stay the same.  So they show a percentage score for white whether it is white or blacks move.  I much prefer the chess assistant format which shows not just a percentage but actually a graph for every move that shows how many win lose and draw.  And something I really like, it changes when it is black to move, showing the wins as black wins, so when you are looking at the score you are really seeing the score for that move, rather than the score for white in that line.

Lastly I would say the tree is slow because it has to search every time instead of having the info prebuilt like in chess assistant.  So every time you make a move, you have to wait awhile while the tree list loads and gets the true number of games registered for each move.

One more thing about the tree actually, sometimes when you are navigating the tree instead of showing the most common move at top, it flips the list and shows the least common at top.  It's annoying.

Also, in terms of managing my own games, I found the process of creating a "my games" "my white" and "my black" databases much more of a pain in the ass in chessbase.  I feel like I spent a lot longer trying to get the games arranged to my liking in chessbase.  While it takes a minute in chessassistant it is basically pretty easy.  One thing that helps here is the cascade setup where I have a number of small windows with game lists that are easy to move around and jump back and forth with especially with the database list window on the left.

Another complaint is the filter function on the database.  If I go into position search and setup the first move of the English opening (maybe not the best way to do it but I was looking for alternatives to the tree function) and then search, I end up with an empty list.  I have never figured out why this is.  My only guess is that somehow it is too big a list of success, but that's just a guess and I don't even know if it makes sense.

I do remember some sundry other error messages and annoyances with chessbase but they're not big enough to mess with. 

A last point I converted a chessbase base to chess assistant format a couple of years ago and found in the tree that there were many games that were registered as ending without a move.  At the time I took that as evidence that the conversion process had been faulty.  This is not true though.  There are many non-records in the system.  I just looked and found 4,600 games that ended after white played 1e4. In the base I converted before I found 60,000 games that ended with no moves at all.  It's hard to see this in chessbase because it doesn't want to give you a tree for the first move.  So it seems I might go through the process of converting again, although it was a major pain because the file was too large to handle as one thing and I had to do it in pieces last time.