Broke 1400

I’ve officially broken 1400 with a rating of 1407 on PlayChess!

Chess Software

One thing that is lesser known is that I am studying to be a software engineer. Here is an honest question. I have already received various answers, and I am curious as to what yours would be.

What is one feature in chess software that the programs you are using currently lacks, or what two pieces of software would you have combined to make your training efforts easier?

The ELO graph has been updated with this month’s average! I have improved.

Also, my final scholastic tournament begins tomorrow. I am hoping I can at least win the region this time around.

As far as training goes, things are steadily rolling along. I haven’t had a lot of time to train lately because of school and such, however, I will be importing all of the CTB exercises onto my TI-89 calculator so I can train during the day. Hopefully, things can go a bit faster that way!

Back to Annihalating

Now that I have begun doing those warm-ups mentioned earlier, I am back to winning over half of my games. Here is one I played against Covak (1411) just moments ago. I had played him 80 games earlier with the result being a draw. During this game, with the aid of tactics, I was able to pull off a win.

Covak – Copeland

1. e4 c5 2. Bc4 Nf6

I believe Nf6 is the best possible defense when faced against 2.Bc4.

The move protects against pressure from the possibility of 3.Qf3, and at the same time attacks white’s precious e-pawn. The most typical of white’s responses is 3.e5 to attack the knight. However, this is debunked with 3…d5.

3. e5 d5 4. exd6 Qxd6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. O-O Nc6 7. Re1 O-O-O 8. Bxf7 Nd4

I willingly allowed Covak to take my pawn with his bishop. I had something in store for him later down the road.

Notice the pressure that keeps building more and more around his king.

9. d3 Bxf3 10. gxf3 Qc6 11. Re3 g6 12. c3 Bh6 13. Rxe7 Nxf3+ 14. Kg2 Rxd3!!

Rxd3 was one of the most brilliant moves I have made in a while, and it demonstrates that I am growing steadily as a formidable tactician.

Sure, his queen can take the rook. However, this would be followed by 15…Ne1+!, and he loses his queen (or possibly the game if he didn’t move his king to f1). From that point it would likely steadily go downhill for him as there was so much pressure built up on his king. Covak’s response was…

15. Qe2? Nd4+ 0-1

While 15.Qe2 wasn’t his worst possible move, it certainly wouldn’t win him a prize either. 15…Nd4+ wins the queen with a gain of six points. It also wins black a seemingly hopeless position. At this point, Covak ran out the rest of his ten minutes of the clock, perhaps hoping I would disconnect or would have ISP trouble. However, this fortunately did not happen. I gave him a negative evaluation for wasting almost ten minutes of my life. Had he continued (most likely with 16.f3), I would have given him, as I always do to opponents that blunder and keep going, an applause for effort.

SGM Bobby Fischer

Yes, it’s official. Bobby Fischer, possibly the greatest chess player ever to live, has passed away.

Let’s not remember him for his strong personality and antics, but instead of what he did for the game. Mr. Fischer greatly helped chess evolve during the 70’s, and many modern masters look up to him. At least three opening lines are named after him. He won over 400 tournaments during his career. He invented the Fischer clock. He invented Chess960. His game with GM Spassky was the most documented chess game in history, and that single event thrust chess into a golden age. Most modern GM’s would not be where they are today without Robert’s contributions to chess. In fact, chances are the Knights Errant would not even exist. Without him, chess would likely be on the same level now as American bowling is – played, yet all but forgotten. Fischer’s very death is symbolic, as he died at age 64 – the same number of squares on a chessboard.

We owe Bobby a great debt. Let’s pledge never to forget what he did for us.

I’ve been working around how to fight my recent ratings drop. For some reason, I was doing tremendously well on PlayChess while working on my second set of problems. I went effortlessly with an eight win streak. I was easily able to compete with players rated 500 points higher than me while I was working on those problems. Now, I’m nothing but a nuisance to them again.

My conclusion is that the second set of problems in particular is no doubt the best I’ve come across for raw tactics training. To see if my tactics vision was getting dull again, I just did a circle through those 120 problems in the second set. I wasn’t surprised to find that it was taking me abnormally longer to finish them (although I finished with a score of 91%). When I say abnormally long, I mean ten seconds or longer. This is unacceptable. From now on, I will always do one circle through them before I move on to my main problem set. This will not only serve as a warm-up, which I also think is very important, but it will keep my tactics vision sharp!

UPDATE: After doing warm-ups with the second set, I am back (for the moment at least) to constantly winning again.

I have finished my twelve circles of CTB problems 241-360 and am now moving on to problems 361-480.

Sadly, I have to say that during the course of doing this set of problems in particular, my PlayChess rating has dropped by 150 points. This is very discouraging to say the least, but I’ll stick with it. I’m considering doing one circle of problems 121-240 every day to somehow compensate for this.