Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Another All-to-short YEAR has skedaddled past!  Perhaps its time to reflect on new challenges and recent victories, and perhaps its time to get rid of old calendars- filled with doctor appointments I’ve struggled to remember.

I’m not sure, exactly.  What I DO know is that once per year.  There’s this annual custom that seems a perfect fit for the improving chess player.  Buy a book- and study like mad for a few weeks (well, perhaps a few days)… and supposedly you’ll be a grandmaster by morning.

Of course it never works that way

It’s an idiotic notion to think that a few speculative hopes on new years change the tried and true (and failing) chess games.  IMHO.   In fact I seriously thought about not mentioning it and looking for some other better blogging subject.

But in the whole, I’m far too bad at this chess improvement stuff to ignore the call to revitalize my chess improvement effort.  In fact, I think chess improvement follows your general chess, itself.  Easily begun as some kind of hopeful and doubtful ‘charge’ by a few pieces into a position, with far more defensive resources than either player immediately realizes.

Is it just me, or does it seems like that the moment I get some kind of big offense planned, I immediately start losing!?

But I still think you must try to improve TO improve; you just need to realize that if you’re NOT very diligent, you’re going to botch it up.   You are going to fall into the trap of being an ‘Improving’ chess player who has a few extra activities than your more relaxed and less high strung blitzing buddy. 


In chess circles as well as lots of other circles I’ve begun to appreciate how huge of an impact this whole “deliberate practice”, apparently there was some really big studies that proved that better masters practice better.  And went on to describe an interactive study, one in which you immediately start working on your mistakes.

First, a big shout out to George of blunderprone; who was fairly impressed by the whole study.  Second, a good link


Now not to be Debbie downer or anything; and I think A LOT Of any method that says to slow down your chess and try to figure out how your screwing up (rather than to internalize it; make a nearly impossible to change habits and hope to win your blitz games on time)

BUT, there something about this approach I THINK needs done carefully.  The point of chess is to make the best possible move you can find; but the quest for perfection is useless, silly and above all futile!

In the same way, we can way over-do this focus on our mistakes.   If in fact we can obsess OVER our mistakes SO much that are spinning our wheels.  Look at it this way, in music teacher does indeed guide his/her student to carefully and deliberately perfect the song, but lets not be ridiculous.  The teacher is not standing over with ruler smacking fingers!  because better or not, everything a student plays is going to fall far short of awesome.

I also wanted to add, that’s there’s maybe a bit MORE of ‘self help’ sort of vibe going on here- than I necessarily would embrace.  Even the Buzzword is a bit cryptic and cloaked.  I mean if it all helps you find enthusiastic about adopting it;  but I would prefer another way to say.  Call it; Practicing Not making Mistakes- and there’s no need to add a catchy acronym.

Fact is the idea of working on your mistakes is HUGE! and as soon as you get back into your comfort zone; and playing habitual ingrained chess, chess improvement is nil.

That said, enthusiasm is HUGE in this big effort called getting better at chess… and it’s a Long, long road to hoe so if it helps…. 

This occurred to me a good while ago in my tactic training but I think it is universally true for most of a good training program, and now with all this hubbub about fixing your mistakes.

So like I was saying, the Big point (or a Big point) about catching your mistakes is to slow down enough to find them and (hopefully) working on catching them.  On the other hand, you can start to slid into the whole impossibility of chess.

Fact if you have dozens of particularly moves in every position and to all THOSE positions.  To be slow and careful means to carefully consider all of them RIGHT?  Unfortunately in no time flat the possibilities are endless.  PEOPLE are not computers- they cannot determine every possibility and should not NORMALLY try.

Combinations only work because there consequences of a capture or a threat drastically trim the Tree!   So the key skill is learning when to calculate deeply, in tactical positions,  but in other places, we must be directed by more abstract ideas.  

So the point is in quite a few places an intermediate/beginning player needs to be more aware of the possible variations.  But this can’t be indiscriminate.  There a clues when the calculations should go longer and more intricate.   And moreover there is a lot of value of making a shaky half- learnt pattern firmer.

We’ll only do the latter (pattern strengthening) by being quick and confident.  But we ought to get in the habit of putting the brakes on the speedy thought.   There’s a clear difference about how quickly we see a pattern and how methodically we handle the thought process to the move.  We cannot calculate out every possible combination but we must be strive to be aware of all reasonable candidates and their consequences.    This is the long part.   If we recognize patterns quickly and work to be accurate, fixing our visualization errors; and then focus on catching blunders and seeing more insightfully, I think one could improve quite a lot.


Lastly I had a big discussion with a good chess friend, and who was the better chess player.  My friend and I have played a LOT of chess; much of it not recorded or noted.  But by my records I’m a few games ahead but not by many.

But it was bit off when he was talking about how I was the better player.   The greatPatzer doesn’t consider himself that awesome of a chess player; (the very point of the title, actually)… but it wasn’t so very clear that I was a worse chess player Either.

(this is relevant I promise)

And we started talking about HOW we might compare pawn to queen.   I think that breaking it all into tiny parts was a little off; and I agreed that Thought process, ALONE, was the chief determinant of chess strength. 

I think that there’s something more intricate at work.  And I read a fair amount of literature that has talked about how chess is a sport/science or art.  And I think it was this breakdown that made the best way for us to compare each other.

But I occurs to me, that as we improve we can work on each of these aspects of our play.   We can gruel over puzzles until we’re blue in our face (SPORT).  OR perhaps we can look over intricate positions ever looking for those tal-like shocking moves that change everything(ART)….

But I think it’s the SCIENCE of chess that makes the most to work on.  And in science where we work to distill the behavior of something to its abstract laws.

And this goes beyond just noticing the mistake the hoping through repetition and incessant practice to avoid them- it is to take your best play and distill it to abstract concepts.  And in this we ought to be very DELIBERATE about it (old school meaning now as in – as in “carefully thought out and done in detail”).   Everyone has their take at the moment; at what makes for good chess. 

my twist for the day is that I think, your chess won’t get better until your understand how your patzer’s move violate Basic chess law! 


LAW #1.  if your kings not safe, it had better be safer than the opponents king or your going to lose!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


“LET US BE IMPS”.  First I want shout out to blunderprone whom has shaken off some rust, picked up his resolve, and called us to Great Deeds.

In the Olden days, They was the Great Knights errant! Doers of Great deeds of Tactical mastery.   But as their exploits are write in lore; and we seek further improvement… we ARE to be called to be ‘IMPS’. SO Lets us stoop to whatever metaphor it takes to get better at the royal game. LOL.

Indeed, the deeds of the knights errant are now, as they say.  “in the news”.  Blunderprone is pondering them AOX is mining salt (perhaps), and untold others are either planning at mastering thousands of puzzles are striving to explain why that might not be the best course.

As for me, I too am conducting a regimen of tactical puzzles;  but I hasten to add; that perhaps this effort might fall short of others.  I’m totally aware of the ability of the PC to create a more intense tactical challenge—but I think its important to balance out the effort.

Basically in a chess game; tactics is neither nothing or everything.  It is one factor among many.  Pattern recognition is a great asset; but in truth thought process is more likely to the critical skill. And having an methodical, patient mindset is one of the biggest hallmarks of a really strong chess player.   In that Light, then, the Blitz effort at chess tactics can be light and distracting.   

So I will continue on.  Right now I’m crunching an easy book.  Heisman’s big recommendation, “Bains Tactics for Students”.  Easy enough to be done without a solution key- I’ve noticed Room for improvement.   With typical times bouncing from 1 to 10 seconds; I’ll come to something harder, flounder a little and get weird ideas.   There’s just enough hints on the side of the puzzle (yeah, if you’re going to do bain right, you need to hide the variation on the left with your hand and use some self-discipline).

And that is my salt to the soul.   There’s no need to do zillions of puzzles a day.  If you get caught in slow or refuted puzzle- you need to stop think carefully about WHY you played it wrong. Maybe make a little remark in your study notebook (the STUDY notebook, every imp ought to have one IMHO).   Any ways that is my speal, I’ve nearly completed a pass through bain.  I vow to neither obsess nor ignore the knightly tactic deeds.

“A Lonely Road; Seeking CHESS Correspondence”

I need to make it clear, that I fought off this good advice for a ridiculously long time.  done ALL kinds of things BESIDES correspondence gaming; to allay people and myself that I am trying HARD enough to improve.  In the end I’ve failed- so In short, in for a penny, in for a pound.  I immersed in like A lot of correspondence games.  And let me tell you! How different it all is.

“the differences of Chess by the day from all other things….”  So you’ve worked REALLY hard to keep a memorized opening of Colle Zukertort, studied the likely opening traps and got most forks and discovered attacks down to 35 seconds (or less)!  Great!  BTW.  All that is now COMPLETELY irrelevant!   If there’s one thing (well three things) you don’t need to do in correspondence chess; it’s..

memorize openings
look for cheap tricks
instantly recognize tactics!

Well not that I had a big ole repertoire memorized, but tactic training was a big deal for me.  Of course I’m making it seem like tactics don’t apply- and of course they do.  But everything is a bit different in CC.

“… so why do it?”.  so look AT it this way!  If the Point of chess TACTIC training is to make unobvious sacrificial and maneuvering kinds of tactics very obvious and easy to see- (and it is I think if you do enough of them- and study how they REALLY work)…  What Else are you supposed to do  in a chess game....

Well, Positional Chess Right?  making sure your peices have activity and you are progressing towards a tangeable advantage.   THOSE are the things you need to obsess on in CC.   if you Don't obsess on them and fall into somekind of tactical disadvantage;  your opponent definitely has the time to work out your demise.

So in the end,  Chess correspondance is about the Thought process and about making a bad thought process better; by REALLY taking time to study out the moves.  


 I said I really fought the advice to play cc, then I  lamely blamed my reluctance on my supposedly great bitz skills of quick tactics, and opening repertoire.  That was a really silly copout.  Actually I’m really bad at blitz.  

But CC has its own unique challenges and one of the worse is RESPONSEABILITY.  In short, during the normal chess world, You’re free to play obsessively till 3am one morning then to bing Doctor episodes or whatever for the next several nights.  Blitz works in well on the binging; cuz you potentially can go through a lot of opponents with 5 minute games.

But in the world of CC- things are different!  Since moves take days, even if you’re ready to belt out several a night, you can’t count on your opponent to do the same.  But neither can you just tune out on chess for a few nights.  And that’s my (once secret) real reason why I held out on CC.

But here’s my last thought (on a long enough blog) about that.
I’m canning that excuse! 

Yes it will hurt the effort to catch walleyes in December and catfish in Auguest- bing watch doctor who, and look for messier objects in the spring (amateur astronomy).   But getting better at chess has become fairly important to me.  NOT merely improving a number-- but as the dude in blunderprone’s cool link says


“Do not worry about your chess strength. Forget about your opponents. Instead, make the mastery of chess your aim.”

I can’t say enough for that statement.  And I really think careful slow correspondence chess is a big part of that.  BTW to those that are interested.  I’m not ‘greatpatzer’ on  but I am there.  It’s a good place to play correspondence chess (they call it turn-based chess).  I’m ‘joliepa’. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Damianco defense (gambit)

GAME #1  (Sunday Dec 14) of the WARREN chess club

            theGreatPatzer vs Micheal
1.      e4              e5
2.      Nf3            f6?
3.      d4              e6
4.      dxe6           dxe6
5.      QxQ          kxQ

It turns out that this is in fact called the Damianco Defense; one of the oldest openings in chess.  It was named after the Portugese Master Pedro Damianco (1480-1544) who condemned it as weak.  The great chess publicist (and player)  Howard Stauton referred to the f6 move as the Damianco Defense- though he probably meant the Sacrificial Attack Nxe5.  (

I kind of wished I had the boldness to play Nxe5; instead I spent last night analyzing it with my sparring partner.

The Real issue with the defense of course is that playing the fpawn forward invites a sacrificial attack that opens the key diagonal h5-e8.
            3. Nxe5            fxe5
            4. Qh5+
There are only two legal replies and they both invite further attack by the White queen

4……              Ke7
5. Qxe5+         Kf7
6.      Bxf5+         Kg6
7.      Qf5+          Kh6
8.      d4
A key moment. It would almost seem that black is mated but for the fact that a pawn can step in a offer a little defense
………            g5
9.      h4              Be7
There are a number of replies, but I think the double check is best as it makes the King move!
10.  hxg++        kg7
11.  Qe5+         Kg6
12.  Qxh8(R)
There are a number of poor moves here; (Bf6 Qxh7#, Ng6 Rh6#). The only made that kept black in the game (that we saw) was Nh6
………            Nh6
13.  Bf7+          Kf7
14.  Qxh7+       Ke8
15.  RxN           Bf8
16.  Qh8           d5       
17.  Rf6

Black is only down a knight for 2pawns! Nevertheless he is under serious attack
……                Rf6
18.  Qe7           g6
19.  Kd7           Rf7
20.  Nc6           Qxf8
Ok, move 19 and 20 are pretty weak moves for white.  But there was a pretty serious attack building against the king and it defied 2 patzers* to figure out any clever way for black to defy the coordinated white attack.

4……              g6
5. Qxe5            Qe2
6. QxR             Nf6
In this variation the queen grabs the rook and Black tries to hold  the game.  Black can’t easily attack the Queen but he can immobilize it, and black has counterplay!   My first thought is d4 (though there are issues- and I’ll compare it against another move)
            7. d4                Nc6
            8. Bh6              Nxd4
            9. QxB             QxQ
            10. BxQ
White may feel he did good because he’s grabbed a rook and now is trading pieces, but black can offer a complication of his own
            …….               Nxc2+
            11. Kd2           NxR
            12. Bg7            Nf7
            13. BxN           KxB
            14. Nc3           d6
            15. Bf4 Nb3
            16. BxN
White sticks to the plan.  Save pieces exchanging when possible and though black briefly gets his piece back, it gets trapped on the back row- and white is one minor piece ahead.

This is definitely NOT I think the optimal play for white; in his quest to quickly exchange with d4-Bh6  he misses the fact that white has time to play for a rook attack of his own.

Instead, white should play with to reduce complications….
            7.c3                 Qxe4+  (white has made a passive move so why not!?)
            8. Be2              Qc2
            9. O-O
The kingside castle will diminish any possible counter-play nicely.  Does white have enough time to bust his Queen out of their?
            ……                Ke7    
            10. g4              b6
            11. g5              Qf5 
            12. Qxf6          QxQ
            13. gxQ            KxQ

Now white is a ROOK ahead has a good file for his rook and will get his bishops in the game.

MORAL:  Black is just unwise to allow for the opening of the diagonal in the first place.  Black will have to play pretty accurately to stay in the game.  For him, the best idea is to play the less forced g6.  yeah he seems to be giving away material with the obvious attack Qfork- but white will have to play accurately after the thematic Nf6 (similar in fact to the poisoned pawn variation of the French).  His best hope is that perhaps he can play for a swindle-If white plays slowly on these calculations- perhaps black can encourage white to go into time trouble. 

For white, the strategy goes two ways.  while keeping a good watch on the clock; he needs to play more slowly during complications that follow Ke7- black has loosened his king, and if white plays slowly to develop his forces with tempo; white can gain unstoppable mate.

On the other hand, if blacks plays g6- white grabs the Piece that carefully considers the consequences.  “When your ahead, beware of Complications!”.  Carefully confirm that the Queen is safe and safeguard your position against the counter-play that black has. 

THE QUESTION of sacrificial attack!:  This is the kind of game that I struggle with OTB.  While the pattern was clear and I truly saw a King attack/ rook fork; the issue is whether I can accurately enough calculate the resulting position.  G6 is THE main variation to consider.  It was clear with Ke7 that white could develop with tempo and most likely gain enough compensation from losing the knight- but It wasn’t clear whether Black could trap white’s queen.

My hope is that by examining the pattern closely- I’ll be in better shape to calculate a similar sequence. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

the GREAT PATZER on tactics


  For a chess Amateur, Chess tactics should be his FIRST name, and his SECOND name ought to be chess Tactics, and his LAST name really must be tactics too!”

Botched up quote of some wizened and very strong grandmaster in Russia.  (although everyone knows the Russians obsessed on Endgames, just sayin’)

Tactic Principles!

Tactics has a near and dear place in my heart and back in August when I started this I said to myself.  Self which tactics book ought we really learn to master?  And after some trying and thinking about it; I settled to Susan Polgars, Chess Tactics for champions.

After a short while of just blitzing off puzzle after puzzle, my analytical self, starts asking SO how are we doing, and I realize I’m going to have to have a real system for going through these tactics.  After a bit of reading and studying I settled on the following thoughts (with lots of influence from the famous PA chess coach Heisman)

  1. Chess Tactics need timed.  The idea is to “see” the puzzle- and when we do that, solving the chess tactic is very quick*

  1. Chess Tactics need to be recycled.  I think one of Maza BEST ideas.  If we are endlessly covering different and diverse patterns- how do we expect to internalize the patterns?  Learning (at least for an old geezer) means repetition. 
if we feel like we’ve really mastered the pattern- that we could see discovered attack in a millisecond, then this is one less thing to strain about at the chess board.  Both in seizing opportunities and perhaps more importantly in not Giving the opponent the opportunity.

  1. Chess Tactics need to be (Relatively) easy.  As I said I had a choice of tactic books including the venerable Reinfelds 1001.  While his selection seemed wide and his insight was rather deep.  In many it just wasn’t easy enough.   I found myself trying to understand the answer (unsuccessfully) on several puzzles (as in a significant percentage), where did the opponent reply THAT way?  What if the opponent Declines to take some kind of careful baited trap?  

So I had the book, I had the program (roughly) in hand.  I was going to go out and go through polgars book several times and look for improving solution times.  For a while I went through the tactics.  I made one spreadsheet, got some answers that dumped it into another.  After a little while I became more concerned that the analysis was a little weak.

Analysis presented PROBLEMS!

So the original idea was to get the book, look at the puzzle hit a timer and click it again when I noticed the solution.   Take all results and average the results.  After a little while it became clear that this simple analysis isn’t really that ideal.   Yes!  We want to solve problems Quickly, but mostly we want to solve problems accurately and even worse (from a personal point of view), is to Nearly get the solution, but stumble into some kind of variation that doesn’t work.   Chess is a little cruel this way- Having not a clue, is usually worse than seeing it wrong- as the tactics are almost always disadvantageous when botched- when the “I don’t get it” answer means you merely miss the opportunity.

So how do we fit IDGI, Refute and yes even “almost answers” (including those where It takes forever to get the answer)- into a system of times and averages.

The answer I think is to realize that what you want is Statistics and not Averages.   You want to see How many are solved quickly, not so quickly or just accurately solved in any time.  To do this means Subgrouping the problems of course, but this isn’t hard with the polgar book- each chapter is 25 puzzles excepting for the first 3.  so we can group to 25puzzles.

And then lastly and nicely if we just sequentially order the sets, from first group to last- and then from first pass to second and to third (and some fourth)… after a tiny bit of math I’ll explain to anyone who really wants to go into it--- you get

Dark green is puzzles done rapidly, light green is puzzles done medium speed, and lastly those that take took the longest.  For many puzzles- between 30-50 seconds.

And now the two lines.  Yellow is a running average on quick response, and on average we have gone from 35% to 55%. Red is a running average on puzzles done within the slow time frame.

What does it MEAN?

What does this all mean? As I see it.  I’m getting more improvement in solving some problems much quicker, but accounting for that. There hasn’t been too much improvement in getting things done quickly.  You need to bear in mind, this isn’t as depressing as it might seem;  clearly MORE PROBLEMS are quickly recognized by their tactical pattern.  I’m Gaining, on ones that I struggled to see at all in the beginning.  I see about as many MORE of those I lost to the ‘easy’ category.

But Also and importantly perfection is difficult.  A few of my puzzles continue to daunt.  While some of these puzzles had been unsolved or worse (refuted) time after time, Some of the puzzles are just hard enough that there is a substantial effort to solve them.  I’d like to  say that in time I will as well conquer them

But realize that we’re in fact contrasting board vision and pattern recognition.  NOT the same thing.  In fact, I really think pattern recognition is easier to improve in and probably has the bigger effect.   The way I see it , board vision is the big internal chessboard- but pattern recognition is the Alarm buzzer that your going to do something bad, or that great chess is headed your way. 

Early indications are general the “I don’t get it” stupor is the first to go away; with some puzzles continuing to be taxing after several passes.  Unfortunately, the ‘Refute’ is the most stubborn issue to address; and the illness of picking the WRONG variation with the right idea-tends to bounce around between some of the trickier puzzles.   (In response to that, I have tried to temper my timer inclinations.  Stopping the clock and doing a blunder check on my OWN time).

Thank you!

That enough for now and again a big TY to several bloggers who have taken the time to comment and explore their thoughts.   The idea that one blogger would inspire others to write, and explore each other ideas is I think one of the Great upsides to blogging.

I’d also quickly add, that while many pursued chess tactics; probably the guy that used this approach the most was a blogger called “Empirical rabbit”  (
 starting out with Maza Circles he mixed it up with a few ideas of Heisman and came up with almost exactly this system.

I’m not entirely aware of how he handled inaccuracy.  And I’ve been cautious to go with the strict timing method; because of fears of getting refutes and quick thinking.   But I agree with his premise, obviously find his method sound and very much modeled my system on his.  We even did the same Tactic book!

Friday, December 12, 2014

I think its rough being LOW RATED…

In a massive search for similar minds in the Blogosphere of chess; I am struck by the webs of dusty and inactive blogs.  A Great deal of people who have enthusiastically blogged in pursuit of higher ratings seem to have left their efforts; while there games, there thoughts and strivings remained preserved; like ancient creatures in amber....

With allowances to the possibility that these people have merely blogged elsewhere and the idea that a new generation of chess improvers isn’t as taken on chess bloggers as the “Knights errant”-  I wonder if in face some of these people have been daunted and even beaten by the feeling that they could NOT achieve they chess improvement they sought. 
And yet we must emphatically ask, what is exactly WRONG with being at the chess level we are at, or at least satisfied with a small rise?   Lots of chess greats linger on competitively.  We don’t think bad of Nunn and he’s increasingly large library as an accomplished author even though its been years, decades since he was the great English Grandmaster sensation and what of , old names like Karpov and Shirov that still play a few great games in the occasional tournament, though both have long ago stopped improving. 

So in FACT, Is it really the lack of Chess improvement that is SO embarrassing?
I remember finding Facebook’s chess app about 6 months ago.  At the time I had a stable score at, and playing like rated opponents I rarely encountered comment.  But Facebook of course was a different animal, and as I often do on blitz games I feel into an early losing streak.  Of course, facebook reads initial losses rather harshly and my number dropped well into the three digit numbers.

Facing another opponent who went for a bizarre and crazy opening I was out of my element; and not doing so well.  But he had shown some weakness too and I felt like in each succeeding game, I felt like it was inevitable to play someone that was pretty tactically weak.  I suppose this is, at least, as good of an excuse as any other too explain the mistake.

 One of the attack the guard problems, with his queen dangling in a jangle of uncoordinated pieces.   But I was wrong!  As it happens, I’d only seen about half of the solution and my opponent , I think, didn’t even see my attempted combination.  No doubt he pigeon-holed me as a very low rated indeed.

boy are you dumb” he writes.  I resign. :(
So here’s the Point.  I think its real rough being ‘low rated’.  Maybe we shouldn’t care.  Maybe we should just arbitrarily make up higher numbers to make us feel better (actually not far from my answer to the dilemma).  But the fact is , perhaps, short of 1500 we really feel pretty dumb and untalented.  There is the daydream- that a major amount of interest ‘entitles’ us to something decent –say 1500 (a number of your choice).

I don’t think it’s a good daydream.  For one the Question of the number is Significant.  No doubt, some feel like that number OUGHT to be ‘expert’ 2000.  and maybe others yearn for master.  But the reality out there in blogoland and in the tournaments I see- is that quite a few people aren’t rising hardly at all.  Or at least if they rise, they only do so briefly.   Fact is more often than not, you going to play lots of games and lots of tournaments with little added number to your game

Am I , by my own feelings and others,  “too dumb” to be ‘good’ at chess?
 So desperate to gain the points! So, That you can rid yourself of the insecurities.

  You have to wonder when you see 10 blogs, 7 of which were class players and all of them inactive, and 2 of the 3 that are left are expert strength.   Of course, so goes the logic.  These guys ought to blog since they are clearly good chess.
But I’m sneakily suspicious, that the 2 guys left have in fact just saw through the game entirely.  I mean that, they have learned to enjoy where they are at.  They could pick bigger numbers too!   But they Blog despite the fact that they are playing against competitors that beat them too.

 I think they  are on an exploration of the mind and they avoid big insecurities about their chess.  And anyway, chess is hard enough- I think getting over the whole insecurity thing is part of the cure, of actually accomplishing the rarely achieved chess improvement.

I also wonder, a lot, whether the high rating, in fact reinforces involvement in chess;  With a high rating you become a commodity of sorts; someone who has insight into this difficult game called chess;  mild accomplishment gives one the opportunity to teach- which reinforces your role as a learner which deepens you whole interest in the subject.  but to be obsessed AND low rated.  That's devotion!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


“PATZER?”  -an Inept Chess player.
Derived from the German word, Patzen “to Bungle”.  Its just as cool insult some German dude gave someone many years back that sounded cool and went ‘viral’.
SO Lets face it – Chess improvement is very, very hard.  So being at the very humble rating of 1187- its likely, even inevitable that I will be rather weak for a very long time.  And this rather unmotivating thought is the key, no the BASIS, of my whole improvement plan.
The fact is during my 40year life, I have been interested in chess- off and on- several times none of which had any tangible increase in chess strength (to say nothing of a Chess Rating), the problem not having a sustained interest In it.  
The only three things that work; Study, Serious games, and Time.
In short- GREATNESS.  And so while Being a Patzer is inevitable-
Being a GREAT Patzer is not nearly as easy- but definitely Doable!
  and in recognition of this high aim;  I’m embracing the nickname and entering the World Wide Net so that I’ve said it loud and clear.  
And what DO I intend to do?  Well as of Aug 13, 2014- I was at an ELO of 1187.   It was clear to me, that as I trained some things would work and others things wouldn’t.  but what really wouldn’t happen- is for me to get some kind of slow assurance that yes, I am actually fractionally improving at chess. 
I NEED that kind of assurance.  Unfortunately its not very easy to figure out how to put any kind of chess study in terms of ELO rating;   Rating is a performance metric primarily and can’t be easily put in terms of tactical puzzles solved, games played, analyzed or annotated.
So what I’ve done is to simply guess a relatively low increase of Rating per hour; Keeping in mind some types of chess study might yield more or less ELO.
So the Guessed amount is 0.23ELO/hr with deductions for skipping nights.
As you can see we’ve done good, and had a recent bump in the curve; mainly because last week as did several G15 games on the ‘net- and lost less to my deductions for skipping nights.
Also note the line, my pace is as follows;
            1 year…          8/13/2015        1249.6
            2 year…          8/13/2016        1312.6
            3 year…          8/13/2017        1374.8
            5 year…          8/13/2019        1500.0
            10 year…        8/13/2024        1813.0
            13 year…        8/13/2027        2000.8
SO.  Well in advance of Retirement, If I can hold the pace- I can make expert. And that, with the relatively humble pace of 62ELO/year.
But the big DEAL here is track TIME in terms I can relate too.  And I am sure that if I keep rotating between well known activities that tend to increase chess strength- the ELO will eventually Catch up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Who am I? and what am I doing with that Pawn?  well, I don't know and that's precisely the point!  I'm a hopeless Patzer with aspirations of competency.  and by aspirations I mean that I really, really want to improve as a chess player.

So No doubt, many posts will follow, some of which will proclaim, what I want to do and how I want to do it- but for now I only wish to revel in the Crazy Title.