Friday, December 01, 2006

Mate Pattern

Here's the crazy mate pattern from my game last night. I completely overlooked that it was a checkmate. (I suck at chess)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I updateded to the new blogger but its not updating the feeds... hmmmmm.





Friday, July 07, 2006


Been a while. I'm still playing G/70 every Thursday in the club. I'm beating those lower than me and losing to those rated higher than me. The club has relatively few people that show up regularly and its a little disappointing. Also, if you're a member of a club you should seriously consider sending a thank you card to the TD and club officials because chess players are 1) Cheap and 2) insane. And this is based off a sample size of 11 people so I can imagine the kind of social misfits a larger club has.
(And no, I'm not saying all chess players are social misfits or insane... but I bet chess has a higher percentage than most hobbies. (I'm sure most of you out there would agree with me)

Monday, June 19, 2006


I lost another one last Thursday night at chess club against a 1600 player. Missed a simple little bishop fork that lost my knight for two pawns. In the ensuing engame it was B + 2 pawns vs 4 pawns and I lost it. He played well and I've yet to put it in Fritz but I bet you I had a good drawing chances.
In other news I finished out around 450 in the blogger tournament (out of 2200). With blinds at 100 /200 the person to my right raised to 1200 and short on chips I pushed all in with 10 10 (about 3000 more). Another person ended up going all in as well, never a good sign, and the original raiser called. So it was 10 10 against Q Q and A K (original raiser had AK). I didn't get lucky.
My World cup picks are doing okay, Ecuador suprised everyone. I took off work for the first US game and plan on doing it again this Thursday.

Friday, June 09, 2006

game and world cup picks

It's true, Don's license plate does say 1. e4. The strangest thing is his rear license plate says 2. f4, who'd of thought he's a Kings Gambit player?

Just kidding about the f4 bit, but he does have some kick ass bumper stickers.
I lost my rated game against him last night (see his post here). I felt like I played okay, I was just outplayed. I've been having fun the past few weeks at chess club, one game a week 15 minutes from my house is a lot better than 3 games on a Sunday 125 miles from my house (one way). (Last weeks game, which I was going to post, was a draw... it was an exciting endgame for me but Fritz pretty much said the last dozen moves or so were equal so I didn't bother posting it (wouldn't be very exciting for anyone else).
After finishing Logical Chess last friday I've been kind of light on chess study, or playing. I haven't started any new games on in over 2 weeks and I don't think I will, it was taking up to much time and I was just blitzing the moves out anyway.
Even though I've slowed down on my chess study, "correspondence games," and even ICC games (0 games all week), over the board is different because its just more exciting. With that said, I plan on playing in some weekend swisses if they're semi close to my house (and don't have a friday night game... why would you have one game on Friday that starts at 8, that makes no sense).

Don't miss chessjamp's blog, its quite good.

My world cup picks:

Group A


Netherlands (tough choice here)


UNITED STATES (haha, I have to go with them but Czech Republic will probably go through)

Brazil (they will NOT win it all, I don't care what you think)
Australia (tough choice, but I have high hopes)

France (I've heard some people say otherwise, but I think this is a solid pick)


NOTE: I know absolutely nothing about soccer excpet what I've learned by playing FIFA on my pc, but its fun to pretend.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Just heard about this, here's the required post (winner gets a trip to the WSOP main event, but there are other prizes, its free, you just need a blog two months old and to have a post about it):

Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 8663319

Sunday, May 28, 2006

FICS Round 6

Here's one key moment in my game today. A moment that highlights my biggest chess problem (lack of a plan):

I'm black and its my move.....

What would you play and why?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Tournament Game

I played a rated game in the local chess club this past Thursday thanks in no small part to the efforts of Don.
I've analyzed the game and was going to post it but I've decided to just use a diagram or two.

I was white against a person rated around 100 points lower than me. I've played him twice before in friendly games and in both games he was probably leading at one point before blundering.

I played d4 and, with me to move in the following position....

I played Ne5??

For some reason I had visions of an attack that wasn't there. I should've played Bd3 and castled before I did anything stupid (or better yet, just not do anything stupid). He played Qa5 and I'm down a bit.

I played a couple more inaccurate moves that traded two minors and in this position:

I played 19. Rxd5, a move that I calculated out and thought would be okay with me getting 4 pawns. Why four pawns you ask? Because after 19. ... c x Rook I would've followed it up with the big stinker 20. Bxb5+. and throwing the game away because 20. ... Ke7 protects everything and after 21. Qxd5 I've got nothing but two pawns for my Rook.

19. Rxd5 cxRook needed to be followed by 20. Q x d5 and the fork on the B and R keeps things equal.

Well, my opp didn't play 19. ... cxR (thank goodness) and instead played Be7 (Fritz' prefered move by the way) and after an error next move I ended up winning the end game (I was up three pawns). I could've won earlier but missed a tactic because I was trying to "simplify" down to the won endgame.

Good result for what could've been a real stinker.

((in the interest of full disclosure I should add that Rxd5 could've been played two moves earlier to good affect))

Friday, May 19, 2006

Chess for Zebras

I just wrote a fairly extensive review of Chess for Zebras and I lost it because of damn blogger... that'll teach me to write a long post without saving.
Anyway, a shortened version of my post.

Bottom line: I was to low ranked to get a lot out of this book, I think you should be at least 1800 or, as the Kenilworthian says about it in this post "I may, in fact, be its [Chess for Zebras] ideal reader, as an academic who works with theories of education and has a 2000+ rating that has not changed in decades (and which he would sorely like to improve)." I agree with that, a higher rated person who is either stuck at a certain rating or in a slump for no obvious reason.

Part I: less than a third of the book: Little chess, high on psychology. It gave me things to think about and was quite good even though actual chess analysis was almost non-existant.

Part II: The majority of the book, about 2/3, and lots of chess realted information. Best part was the discusion of "Doing and Being" i.e. don't force anything even if you are in a better position. Nothing new in that but the way he explained it was really good. (I should add that a lot of the analysis was over my head, the variations where to long and usually ended with "keeps up the pressure." or something similarly beyond my grasp... At my rating I need a book that says, "And this keeps up the pressure BECAUSE...."

Part III: Specifically about black and white and does white have an advantage in the beginning of the game. Good discussion of what Rowson calls "Plusequs" and how chess writers can easily say something is slight advantage for white but its hard for white to actually prove it.

He spoke about opening study and why adult players like to study openings (because its easy to measure what you've learned, among other things). And how extensive opening study really only matters at the elite GM level (although to a lesser extent it helps 2000 + players as well). What he had to say on this topic was quite good. (note: he had nothing against adults studying openings, just adults spending all there time on the openings. Your normal comments by a lot of coaches but Rowson has a good way of discussing these things).

Another thing I liked in the book was when Rowson talked about other GMs and his students and what was said about certain moves or said at certain times. This, combined with the first part of the book, made it seem almost as much a nonfiction book as a chess book. Which I liked, even though the first part was a little "academic."

To sum up: Don't buy it if you're not above 1800, but if you have a moment in the book store or library you should pick it up and browse through it. I got something out of it, although probably not 30 bucks worth of something.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Now for something completely different

I really want to change my blog's title to "Knight on Fire" and use this as my theme song (and movie):
Click here for my new theme song and video.

If I can find that guy's outfit then I have a new halloween costume...

Monday, May 08, 2006


I played in another OTB tournament last weekend. I did okay except for the following game: GAME
During the game I thought I had a good position but Fritz put me down a pawn for most of the match, sometimes closer to 2 pawns down. My main problem was failing to castle and ignoring my opponents threats. I took over 60 minutes for the entire game and I felt pretty good about that, even though I lost.

I'll let the game speak for itself.

I also managed to find myself in a used book store and bought an older copy of Chernov's Logical Chess, Move by move for a $1 so that will be my next book I go through.
There was something else I wanted to talk about.... darn, I'm getting old.

Monday, May 01, 2006

FICS round 3

Here's a screen shot of my recent game on FICS

I'm black and its my move, he just played c5. I thought for a bit and played d4, which drops a pawn. I have no idea what my problem is, two games in a row I take my longest think over a move only to drop a pawn. It's a blind spot / serious problem that I have on any long game. Part of the problem is I have poor time management, I play way to fast and my long thinks worry me because I think I'll run out of time (which never happens). I need to force myself to take my time. I think I'm going to play some longer games on ICC and actively try to take all my time. Maybe G60 or 30 30. (Also, I tend to start surfing the web if my oponnent takes a long time, which isn't good at all).
I plan on playing in a OTB tournament this weekend so wish me luck.
(the above game ended in a draw, after the pawn loss I played for a draw and when it got down to N vs B my opponent blundered his extra pawn away (tit for tat) and offered a draw which I accepted).

Sunday, April 23, 2006

FICS Round 2 against Phorku

Click anywhere on this sentence for R2 of Fics league. I played fellow blogger Phorku. It was a crazy game until the end. (I just finished the game so the annotations were quick, but I wanted to get something down before I forgot).

edit: phorku's comments have been added in the above link.

Friday, April 21, 2006


I finally finished "Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking: From the First Move to the Last" by Neil McDonald. Its very good and I recommend it for fellow patzers like myself. At times it's redundant, but how many things can you really say about Nf3?
Does anyone know another book similar to that I might like?

In other news: I'm still playing the Center-Counter as black against e4 and so far I like it. With black against d4 I'm dying though, let me tell you. I think I'm going to go with d5 for awhile and see if I like that. Similarly, I'm liking the scotch but since I'm going to play d4 d5 as black I may start trying d4 as white. Perhaps not though, since that would be learning a whole new system, but it just blitz so I may give it a go.

On a related note: I need to stop playing so much blitz.

Friday, April 07, 2006

ratings slump

Graph of my horrible ratings slump at chessworld, the graph reads right to left, I'm currently below 1700 after a high of 1820 something. They use a "moving average" of your last 50 games. (the ratings at are inflated by quite a bit since I'm a solid USCF 1300).

Monday, April 03, 2006


Even though I hadn't played or studied chess in a while I decided to play in a tournament. I played 3 games OTB and here's how it went.

Game 1:
I haven't loaded it into Fritz yet or else I'd give a picture, but I went up a pawn early (move 11 or 12) and then up two pawns, and then I had a protected passer and then two connected passers and I ended up winning. He was unrated and I had black and played the trusted pirc because I knew I was rusty and didn't want to try anything new (like the center counter, which I've been playing because Celtic Death said I suck and should play it) (joke, but CD did recommend it and I like it in the handful of games I've been playing with it).

Game 2:
White, against an 1800, he played the Alekhine's defense (I guess technically I did since I played e5 on move 2). Regardless here's the postition I reached before meltdown:

It's my move (white). Pretty dominating huh? I made a series of mistakes which my higher ranked opp took advantage of and I resigned on move 36.

Game 3:
I'm black against a 1500 and the KIA. Another opening I wasn't to familiar with but I played okay chess until I reached this position:

My move (black). This isn't that bad and it's probably even, or close to it. I made a quick move based on a calculation I did several moves earlier, well, in hindsight its the stupidest move ever (h6) and drops a pawn and leaves me with a horrible kingside position which I never could recover from and I resign on move 36.

Both games I played openings I wasn't familiar with but came out of them with good positions without losing to much time on my clock. I applied what limited opening principles I have and did okay.
My problem was in the middlegame and coming up with actionable plans. I have no idea how to work on this besides play games. I need to play more and finish Chess for Zebras instead of another Ian Rankin novel.

Lessons Learned from this post: Read Ian Rankin if you like mysteries, but skip the first one because its a little slow.

Friday, March 17, 2006


White to Move (no brainer)

I missed the extremely easy move in the above diagram. Granted, it was a blitz game and I was down to around a minute, but that's no excuse.
I've played 3 games in the past 4 weeks (minus correspondence, which I don't count) so I'm sure that has something to do it with it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Here's a vaguely chess related comic:


Monday, February 06, 2006

teamchess time control

Apparently there's talk about the possibility of changing the time control for FICS teamchess games (since FICS teamchess is going to be seperate to ICC). Maybe even as long as 90 30. Of course, this was mentioned only once and I haven't heard anything more about it. BUT, 90 30 is way to much time in my opinion, and I hope they don't do it.

My vote would be G/60

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Teamchess games

In my last post Freydus commented about the Sicilian and trying the Scandinavian instead. He made some good points. A may start playing a few games with it and see what happens.

Here is my teamchess game that I lost from last night. Its just the teamchess page, I'm not going to annotate it.

And here is my teamchess game win from this morning. Also just from the teamchess page because I'm not going to annotate it.

I've been quite busy lately and besides games I haven't been playing much. Still plan on playing in a tournament next month so I should start making time for some longer games.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Here's a link to a very good chess column called Chandler Cornered. (It's also quite funny)

Also, from something C's Chess said a long time ago, coupled with what Blue Devil has said recently, I'm going to start playing the Sicilian. I realize that there are people out there who know variations of the Sicilian 20 moves deep, but who cares, the same can be said about the Murphy, so I might as well give it a shot (not to mention at my level I just don't think I'll see that many people who know it that well). Plus, playing different openings for a while, even if you don't stick to it, makes sense to me (this is what blue devil had mentioned).

Also, I'm playing the English as white (or the Bird's opening, one or the other, haven't made up my mind).

Friday, January 20, 2006


I was out of town for a week for work (damn job) and I'm trying to catch up to everyone's blog and I have things to note.

Make sure you read Bahus' current post titled "FANCY MOVE SYNDROME" which I have a bad case of and at leas now I know what to call it. (oh, you know you catch it every now and then too, it comes from to much tactics training and trying to find combos that aren't there).

The other thing I think is crazy is how much time really good chess players spend studying and preparing for tournaments, how much time do they really spend I wonder? Anybody know? I'm talking GMs and IMs and all the way down to FMs and such? Anybody?

How much time does everyone average a week studying and playing chess? (this includes you DG)

I would guess for me its about 10 - 15 hours a week, depending on how many long games I have... of course I'm playing in a tournament next month and it will be even more, but on average I would think 10 - 15 hours (an hour a day with extra time for games) (also, I don't include the times I play at work)

No teamchess games this week because of my trip (damn job).

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Teamchess game, pontification, and statistics

Here is the link to yesterdays teamchess game.

I'm really upset at the blunder that cost me the game. A Big lesson learned from this game: even when I think I have calculated a series of moves correctly, I need to stop after every move just to make sure that everything is still like I though it was. Of course I still made moves that weren't "best moves" but that doesn't worry me as much as out right blunders.

Here is a key position from the game (with White to move):

white to move (hint: and keep a small edge)

I saw the continuation that Fritz recommends but didn't think it was good and ended up playing a really bad move.

Anyway, chess is an amazing game, the more I play longer games the more I realize that tactics play, by far, the largest role in any of my games. "Chess is 99% tactics" is an understatement, in my opinion, and I need to stop playing chess like a scared little girl (or boy).

Chess for Zebras is in the mail and I look forward to that.

Statistics from my games at teamchess:

U1800, at 4th board for 4 games, average opp. strength: 1651

U1600, at 1st board for 4 games, average opp. strength: 1727.5

Crazy isn't it?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Teamchess Game and Comic

Here's a Big Nate strip from last week:

Sorry that its so small, I can't seem to enlarge it. But its called Big Nate and you can check out the week long chess storyline from last week at Its not too terribly funny, but at least its chess related. (The previous chess story lines have been funnier).

Here is my annotated teamchess game from today. Its a horrible, horrible game and I'm quite embarrased, but here it is anyway.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Two teamchess games

Here's the links to two other teamchess games.

A postponed round 2 game where I played a bad Smith-Morra Gambit but managed to get a draw.

And here's an U1800 win

So midway through I'm +2 -2 =2 ... not too bad.

I'm looking for a new opening as white, any ideas? I usually play 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 .... etc. etc. I want something different... anybody?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

U1600 R3

Here's the link to my annotated lose in Round 3 of the U1600 teamchess game. The highlight is below, with Black to play.

Black to Play

(its not that hard to see at all and I missed it!)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006