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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Current Status

Well this journey has some real ups and downs. The last few months have been very personally tumultuous for me. This led me to withdraw from a lot of my online chess activities. I stopped playing my regular games and withdrew from all the leagues I was participating in. I also stopped most of my chess activities in general such as reading or tactics training.

Recently however I have been feeling more able to get back to it. I ended up playing a tournament here in Taipei this last week. It was a 2 day event with slower 45 - 30 time control. The entry fee was higher than usual and the prizes were as well. The hope was that this would draw more serious players. For whatever reason it didn't end up changing much. Still pretty small and mostly kids from the chess school hosting the event.

So in the time before the tourney I started spending significant time training again. Doing tactics and studying openings. I decided to make some substantial changes to my repertoire. This had some negative effect but I had fun with it anyway.

Overall, I scored 2.5 out of 6. I was fairly satisfied. The draw was a good game. The two wins were against weaker players. 1 loss was against a strong kid who ended up taking 2nd behind a strong German adult player. That one I mostly attribute to an opening disaster. I decided to play the Sicilian in the tourney but didn't successfully memorize a reply to the Morra, so I got blown off the board in less than 20 moves. Playing too fast was also a significant factor.

The second loss I attribute to pursuing the wrong plan of a kingside a attack in a position with the queen's traded and not enough weakness to justify this approach. The last loss was being distracted by stuff in life and not having my head in the game, playing to fast and screwing up my opening.

One win was a kind of model game in a king's gambit where he let his queen get sidelined in a quest for material and I delivered checkmate. The other win was weak. I blundered away my attacking pawns but the opponent blundered away a piece. The win was easy from there.

As usual, the tournament has lit my spirit for chess activities again. One problem seems to be that I don't have enough tournaments so I sort of lose spirit in between and stop training much. So one thing I have done is to look to see if I can schedule more tourneys this year. There is the Asian Dragons tourney here in Taipei which is actually a more serious FIDE rated tourney. I might get a chance to travel also to some nearby Asian location with bigger tourneys like Hong Kong or Japan. I will also see about keeping my hand in with some of the smaller school tourneys here as well.

As far as training goes, been watching Daniel King Power Play 2 on building an attack. Been working through Fischer's 60 Memorable Games. Doing tactics at chess tempo. Other miscellaneous. Am trying to be more focused and regular. I want to work on finishing one book or DVD before moving on to the next and gradually working through the library of materials I have accumulated.

Hopefully, this go around I can keep more focused and serious if have real tourneys to look forward to.

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