Tuesday, April 5, 2016

APRIL 4, 2016

DAY # 593;  85th Week

HOURS. 6.8  hours

“A TURN FOR THE WORSE”.   I’d Love to say that last week was an opportunity to tie our shoelaces and really do some great Workouts.

It didn’t.

DISTRACTED!   And my program really went poorly this week.  I will do better this week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


MARCH28, 2016

DAY # 592;  84th Week

HOURS. 11.8 hours

RATING (gain):  1446 (0)


“something Different”.   We have used our blog as an opportunity to say (as I see it), things I have learned of chess, to express ideas that inspire me, to focus on an important idea, or to philosophize in a place less contentious and argumentative than the Chess.com Forums.

With apologies to however reads this; the point of this blog will be to document progress, and a failings in my whole improvement program is a certain amount of accountability.  Yes.  I keep track of my progress, but there’s not a weekly evaluation of what is working and what is not.  MY blog will become the place for us to summarize what I need to do- to give place to goals, and to inspire me to evaluate and change.

“We continue to Motivated by something that happened Just over a week ago…”  so after a lengthy back and forth pm at chess.com.  I Played on SATURDAY MARCH 19, the strong player; International Master Trener $40 in certain loss to gain insight into my game and to see at a longer Time Control that I normally play if I could keep up with a talented and strong Human player…

The results were embarrassing, No HUMILIATING.  Basically I barely got a game- after a brief amount of Theory in a French opening I thought I knew somewhat well- I ended up take a poison pawn and losing both a piece and a defender.  White invades and quickly wins; when my passive defense fails to see a Mate in 1!   I knew I was Tactically bad at times, and had a tendency to blunder- but this game proved I need to Deeply work on seeing big threats,and keeping all my pieces Safe.  You can’t play an interesting game with a very strong player, if you Give him your pieces, and allow him a quick mate….

I’ve Decided To approach this by looking towards my Chess Activities, and setting Goals that I think will help.  By reaching for consistency in my program- I can work on increasing my tactical Good sense- and strive to study/play my tendency to blunder. 

ACTIVITES that will help me Blunder less and Win more!  (As of Saturday Night)

1).  Memorize a Blunder Pledge ,establishing what is good thought process. and do so Three times a week…..                                              Not achieved.  2 times

2)   Go over Tactics Puzzles.  Stay sharp on what is a Definitive move in a chess game.  25 puzzles a Time and Four times a week….        Not achieved.  3 times and 88total

3)   Play Titans (hi Level).  To work towards making less Material Losing moves;  3 games- 3 times a week….                                            Not achieved.  1 times and 2total

4) Play Live Games.  to play human and equal competition, please play 12 Live games on at least 3 separate times.                                        (mostly) achieved!  3 times/ 8games

We are Clearly Concentrating on Live games (especially at FICS where I want to get a solid rating)- but are doing Very poorly on Titans.

THE WEEKS distractions!  Per this calendar Date, NOW is that time when we should be catching Calico ( a very pretty FISH that also goes by the ugly name “crappie”), like crazy.  As one of my oldest and most avid hobby (perhaps even more than chess, itself)- fishing remains Important to me- when the fish are biting!

Oc. What do I say, when my normally very effective fishing trips becomes dismally uneffective?  And that each fishing trip is a more than normal drive that takes lots of time away from chess.

I can really only say, that a certain amoun of tolerance is needed. Its Good that I can have a study program this time of year- and Better that’s its actually Not that Bad. Time wise we are above our average effort.  And as said, still meeting some of our goals.

We are doing very little Book Learning.  Book Learning on things like Positional chess and Endgames have always been a little harder for me.  Tactical puzzles squeeze into small units of time well- require no set up of a board, can be easily paused when someone needs my attention at home, and are very straitforward to understand.

On the Other end of the spectrum Annotated games are nearly an opposite – so its not suprising that I find it hard to obsess on this kind of study.

But “Book Learning “ has a bery peculiar function in chess.  While it may seem that Blunders and tactics explain many games- “technique” and “Positional understanding” underly every move of a game, and create something of a Potential Energy of ones chess strength.   With good book learning- blunders become less disastrous,  the point of openings and the concepts of the endgame become clear, and straitforward and you can effortlessly prevail, in what another players struggles at.

In short, its important and I know it!  I just need to make Time for it- and if I continue to put it last on a list I never complete, I don’t need to ask why I see no serious rating improvement.   We had no book learning last week- and need to change it.  Even if it occurs weekly this is an deep investment that will someday pay off.

We need to more thorough track Blunders!  How often do they occur in our games?  How frequently are we making them in tactical .  We don’t know & we haven’t been doing enough due diligence to find out.

But I believe improvement will be more incremental than revolutionary- so we need to work on this. 

SUMMARY  in this coming week, I want to make improvement in both of these topics with a solid session of book learning, and a better understanding of how often blunders are happening in our game.    

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


A couple weeks Back, I got a Bad flu!
You know the kind of flu that sends you strait to bed for hours at a time….

Anyways… I did quite playing chess for a few days-

But I’ve been struggling to get better (bronchitis)- and it all begs the Question:

Should I be Giving up on chess, while I am hacking and coughing; and Struggling to get enough Sleep?


I’m a fervent believer that getting good at chess (as an adult) is a long term project; where you may slug along for quite a long time not quite conquering your weaknesses, --- failing to similar issues of fuzzy calculation, tactical blindness, and a poor judge of what is and isn’t a sound attack…. But in all that, your slowly developing a web of experiences, and athletic strengthening of your focus,  a slowly developing “repertoire” of dashing tactics – All THAT matters…..    and as for the LOSING?

  • LOSING IS A TEST OF CHARACTER:  I’ve often thought that LOSING was something that divided the COMMITTED PLAYERS from those who just had whims or those that just like the feeling of BEING BETTER than the opponent.
  • LOSING A HARD FOUGHT GAME SHOWS US WHERE OUR EARNEST THINKING FAILS:  If we work to play SLOWLY and CAREFULLY outright blunders and Oversights DIMINISH.  Instead more fundamental errors APPEAR.  Places where we become PARALYZED or slowly INVADED & INFILTRATED.  
  • OFTEN, LOSING imparts a small PYCHOLOGICAL ADVANTAGE.  When one is prepared to lose but determined to fight for it- they sometimes can find smaller errors that their more confident opponent will miss.  Again this is all how you view your situation.  Some people do really poorly when they feel like they are not winning- but if you can get beyond this mindset….
  • LOSING teaches us to be patient, and humble in our thoughts.   Losing can teach us the IMPORTANT principle of LOOKING FOR WEAKNESSES in OUR MOVES.   I’m convinced that personally I don’t do NEARLY enough thinking about how a MOVE might lose.

Friday, January 15, 2016

MY SYSTEM of Chess improvement

My blog has been pretty quiet!  Apologies (sort of)  truth is… its not so easy to keep up at the blog- and some winter illness has made my prioritize my efforts.

I was reading among the ‘Advertising’ of GM Smirnov… While his self- promotion (and High prices!) is kind of a turn off… he published an very interesting interview with a student.  One of the things the student said, I think rings Very True, about Chess improvement. And is worth Emphasizing (and reiterating)…

ANY CHESS IMPROVEMENT PLAN THAT WORKS NEEDS TO BE PERSONAL, It needs to be a Sincere adoption of what the Chess Student really believes Works..  because More than anything Chess Improvement is a matter of a REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE of our thought patterns.   If we are to shore up weaknesses- we must start seeing that 2+2=4.   BASICALLY WE’VE SPENT ALL OUR DAYS, SEEING IT AS 5.

…. There’s Irony in GM Smirnov- man who HAS the SYSTEM (“YOURS FOR $99.99!”)- Iterating the truth of the importance of a personal approach to chess improvement.

In Short, you can buy What you want to buy; but it doesn’t do any good to Passively Browse the Material.   IF YOU GOING TO LEARN IT, YOU MUST BECOME THE BIGGEST PROPONENT OF YOUR APPROACH TO CHESS IMPROVEMENT.  So what’s My Angle?   What my Current and Personal approach and how to further Evolve in this game?....

….. “IF YOU GET AN ADVANTAGE HOLD IT!”….   So you Might ask (and Should really)- What is Your approach to Chess Improvement?  What is the Current Situation.   Realizing that the core of a Good Program is optimism and Determination-   My deal is that its important to understand whats Going well, and Build from that.

And what recent games Have REALLY emphasized is the Importance of Holding ON to a AN ADVANTAGE.  Theoretically, Advantages come from bad moves from the Opponent- but practically- One has to Find it, play it! and HOLD IT!!

It’s the holding on- that difficult!  The Equilibrium of a position is that often in seizing an advantage (and by that I often meaning gaining material)- things get out of place, less active and the opponent can gains some chances. 
Even In  Good moments less than forced check mate, allow the opponent the opportunity to try to throw chaos and problems in your plans.
SO you Must Work hard to make sure You’re snuffing out the Opponents chances. This involves
  • UNDERSTAND your Opponent Advantages (and seek to destroy any future counterplay!)
  • MAKE EXCHANGES Forceful!  Weakish offers of exchange are almost an insult to the Opponents Intelligence!  (yet how many players comfortably ahead make them. Like How DENSE do you think the opponent is).
  • PRESS for Game Ending Play BUT
  • DON”T be Wild, DON’T Gamble…
  • Its better to have a firm, resolute and bulletproof plan- than any no Plan or A WILD ‘ALL OR NOTHING’ kind  of play*
  • Take time in simple spots to Carefully assess the plan (too Many chess players only try to deal with rigors of calculation After things have become Undone)…. But the problem, then, is that often they are all USING MASSIVE amounts of time- when there is in fact, play has become forced.   Big Thinks in forced play that is caused by a misplayed variations- is actually “AGONALYSIS” that is often More Harmful than Helpful.  Instead…
  • WHEN THINGS go wrong- the first calculation should be “Is there A reason to calculate deeply right Now”
  • The Magic Rule is ….” If your UP on material- Play As safe as you can Without blunting the beauty of any tactical Victories- IF your IN TROUBLE, Gamble”!

The ‘Magic Rule” IMHO, then is the PRIME REASON why Holding the advantage is so Instructive.

IF your HAVE an advantage; you Have the time and ability to deeply assess your Opponents play.   as Important as it is To find your own 2+2=4.  Chess is a Battle of Minds!  You have to Learn to “set up” your opponent to fail.

Deeply understanding how to do this, is to deeply understand the nature of chess advantages itself….


One Last Point about this!  Its not Clear to the beginner that one player Can (and should!) Set up his Opponent to Fail!  (Instead it is usually thought of as a race between both sides to the winning blow).   This INABILITY OF A WEAKER CHESS PLAYER TO PREVENT THE OPPONENT FROM SUCCEEDING IS A MARK OF A PATZER.  (one of the reason why strong players get so little out a chess game from the beginner as well….)

By Working on understanding how to ruin the opponent’s game under the Best of Conditions (when your ahead)—  Your Working on how to understand HOW To do that – All the Time- and how to go Head to Head against a strong player.