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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chess status

Hey there, my millions of adoring fans!


Things chess-wise haven't been totally stuck but as theGreatPatzer puts it, I've been in a lull.

Right now, I am still playing 3 opponents weekly. One of these opponents I usually play a serious 90-30 game with and he is overall better than me, so it is a good challenge and I feel good when I do manage to win one. The other two I often play more quickly with. We usually set the time to 45 45 but generally play at casual chess speed. Stopping to think if we have something we want to think about but usually knocking the games out fairly quickly. One of these partners I very often get interesting endgames with.

Beyond that, I am doing one game in the slow chess league 90-30 tournament that is currently going on. Lastly, I am playing in the chess 90-30 on ICC league with one game every two weeks.

So in general I have cut back from when I was playing my regular games and 4 or 5 sections in various tourneys and often the 90-30 league on top of that. Various factors here but I just felt it was too much. To much of a pain to schedule them all, and then just ending up not being in a great place to play the games when I was supposed to.

I also still intend to play the Twin Ports Open that I posted about before. I believe the online sign-ups should be ready by now so I should be able to take care of that soon.

On the other hand, I really have been doing 0 studying. No reviewing games even just with the engine. No tactics. No reading books. I do read some articles on chess.com from time to time. I also have been keeping a vague eye on international tournament results but for the most part I'm not going over any games.

One thing that was a bit frustrating is that I had a total hard-drive failure a few weeks ago. I had some small amount of stuff backed up, but for the most part I lost about 1 TB of various stuff. Some of it I have been able to get back. Chessbase for instance offers a convenient place to download your online purchases when you want to. I was also able to contact Convekta and get my Aquarium 2014 and CA 14 with Houdini 4 back. (Peshka and courses I was able to get back on my own with my login). On the other hand, any of the analysis work that I did either by hand or by engine, if it's not posted here is irrevocably gone. Also, it seems pretty much all of my ICC games are gone. That's probably my only serious gripe with ICC. Chess.com you have to pay to have access to your game archive but at least they are saving your games for you. FICS also has a database where you can find a record of every game you have played on the server. ICC is substantially more expensive than both of these but doesn't save your game records. Oh well, it's not like a jewel of international chess culture was lost, but I did put a fair amount of effort into maintaining those bases for a record of my own explorations. I guess if I start up again, I will have to remember to back up my data. But regardless, the process of getting the computer set back up has been time consuming and has sapped my motivation to do chess work on the computer.

One of my other hobbies has also been coming to the forefront. This has been probably the major reason my study time on chess has disappeared. Still, I do enjoy playing still and don't see myself giving it up.

Lastly, as to the blog. Not sure where I am with it now. If I'm not studying or reviewing games, or anything else, then there is not much to write about. Also, I have been at my current rating for awhile now. Actually, I have dipped back down to 1400's on ICC after maintaining 1500's for awhile. So, all in all, I feel I don't have much to offer to other improvers or readers. So, hard to say. I will likely post on how I do in the OTB tourney, but not sure how likely other updates will be for awhile. Good luck and I wish you well in your improvement endeavours.


  1. I do some backups of "important" data on an USB drive.. but i dont save any chessgames. But peshka is a nice possibility to keep things, same to books at kindle, everything saved in the clowd.

  2. You have written about 85 posts so far. Try to imagine to reach 400 ;) :). Quite difficult, isn't it? I quit playing chess and studying books, analysing games, solving puzzles, etc. I decided there are much more important things than chess progress. I did not quit chess definitely - I still like to watch players while playing and read chess blogs. However I do not feel the buzz (the need) to play, compete or any other chess activies that lead to progress.

    It would be a good idea to see what are your priorites, values and life goals. If you feel chess is important to you, please remember VERY important thing: you can leave chess and come back as many times as you wish! Beside that you chess is a VERY broad topic: you can play, analyse, watch (games and films), read, solve, create, write or simply discuss. You can collect, study or make tests (experiments) related to chess. You can just choose ANY of the activities you like and do not be obssesed to your progress.

    Good luck in your life (with or without chess). And thank you very much for sharing your "chess thoughts" :). It was a pleasure to read it!

  3. If you're playing 3-4 serious games a week that's not exactly a lull in your chess practice, heh. I could probably sustain 1-2 of them at most and currently I'm at zero.

    Good luck with the tournament. I think blogs are useful for publishing tournament wrapups and analysis. When I do it, I have an incentive to annotate/analyze well and also think about how the tournament narrative plays out. Usually it involves me getting tired at the end of each game and towards the last round...have to work on that.

  4. @ Aox: yes, I also use dropbox for a few files. I think though for backing up the whole drive in the cloud will cost some money for enough space. On the other hand, the computer is relatively new (only about a year old) and I just didn't really worry about it dying. Also, It happened fairly quickly, over only 2 or 3 sessions where there were warning signs then total failure. I generally consider myself reasonably computer literate and can often figure out problems (consulting professor Google of course) but I wasn't knowledgeable enough to know that the strange sounds were so serious.

  5. @ Tomasz: Yes, I agree. I will never be a professional player so the main thing must be enjoyment and worrying too much about level is counter-productive. I also agree that it is always possible to take a break and come back.

    On the other hand, I think one of the great things about hobbies (many, though maybe not all) is the fact that there isn't some great fame or money involved but we still strive to improve. It's just a personal thing, but I get frustrated sometimes with myself for being kind of a butterfly with stuff. Floating from thing to thing. On the other hand, I don't see much value in chaining myself to something I'm not totally enthralled with. So it seems there are different issues to think about.

    But, of course, as I said, I am not giving up chess, it's more that I envisioned this blog as a place to record my improvement but also just any interesting tidbits from games or study, and I am not coming up with either right now so just seems the blogging will have to take a break for some unknown amount of time. Thanks for your comments.

  6. @ ChessAdmin: Yes, the games are still good, but compared with when I was doing a fair number of tactics problems, visualization training, reviewing pro games, analyzing any of my interesting games (not necessarily on the same day or week, but still) it definitely feels my chess has entered into a different more low-intensity phase.

    I will definitely be reviewing your tourney preparation tips which I have seen before but haven't had much call to use yet.