More on Chess Lobsters and Maine

Apparently Susan Polgar is in on the act. She has this post about a rare genetic anomally found on a Maine Lobster.

FYI -- Jeff and Qxh7# are one in the same. I've changed the way I post to make it easier to coexist between here and another blog.


Club Night! Or..

How to get beat up by "old men" and lose your lunch money.

It started out poorly.. when the Illustrious Sci-Fi author, Kinzel, ridiculed my taste in fantasy literature then pounded me with his obscure opening.

I'd analyze but I think you can see I just frankly stunk the joint up and lost badly within 15 moves.

Then in the night cap (since the first game was so fast) Ed showed me how not to play the French Defense. I think in retrospect I shouldn't have played c4.. even if it did when a tempo at the time I played it. I made mistake after mistake tonight.

We post mortemed the game afterwards and think I possibly had drawing chances if I play the ending right, but thats ONLY after he missed the killer rook fork on my queen and bishop.

Just think.. I paid a dollar to sit in a cold church and take this abuse!

A Real Chess Post

When I was about 13 or so I used to play chess daily with a school friend. We both played on the chess team and we were very competitive with each other. We both wanted to be "first board" at the annual state championship. I can admit today that he was a stronger player than I was, (still is today too) but at the time I refused to admit it. What I do remember is he was certainly a better tactical player than I was. At the time I didn't recognize it that way. I remember thinking he was better at the "king pawn" openings. He liked to play the "Sicilian" and the "Ruy Lopez" and he would probably beat me 90% of the time in those openings.

Refusing to believe he was better than me, I adapted by learning to play "closed" openings. I would counter his 1. e4 with the French Defense, and I played 1. d4 to avoid the sharp and tactical Sicilian play. Perhaps he still won 90% of the games, but the games took longer and I felt like I won more often although I don't have any real record of what our score was. We literally played 1000 games from 7th grade till I graduated a year before he did.

I think the fact that he beat me so handily so many times has kind of handicapped me in a way. Because I never really practiced playing "open" tactical games since then. I've played games that I refer to as races. With pawn structures like.

Chess Diagram of FEN position 8/pp3ppp/4p3/2ppP3/3P4/2P5/PP3PPP/8


Chess Diagram of FEN position 8/pp3ppp/2p5/3p4/3P4/4P3/PP3PPP/8

The goal in games with pawn structures like this.. closed centers.. is almost always to mobilize your forces to one side of board, break through and conquer before your opponent does the same on the other side of the board. There's really nothing wrong with this and it can be exciting chess at times. However its often very strategic and not very tactical. Its about maintaining tempo and attacking the "right" square to make your break through before your opponent does.

When I started blogging and reading the "Knights Errant" blogs, and came into first contact with the MDLM credo I realized that I would need to play more "open" games in order to improve at chess. Its a tough process for me because opening play does make a difference at 1600 level. Not a huge difference, but you can lose in the openings. So learning all new lines of play has been as tough as studying tactics. Anyway I have been experimenting with the Benko as one opening that seems slightly more "open" without being completely outside my comfort realm. A typical Benko pawn structure looks like this

Chess Diagram of FEN position 8/4pp1p/3p2p1/3P4/4P3/8/P4PPP/8

Which still has a closed center but open play for both players on the queen side of the board. I hope to post a couple annotated games in which I played the Benko soon.

I still can't make that leap to playing 1. e4 though. I've tried it here and there in blitz and OTB but it feels too awkward for me. Like trying write with the wrong hand. Anyone else struggling to incorporate strong tactics into closed game play? I read all your comments so let me know.


Chess Players Key to WWII Codecracking

Churchill thought chess players had the right stuff.

Good chess players and those skilled at completing crossword puzzles were viewed as having the potential to turn their abilities to cracking codes. The Daily Telegraph was asked to organise a crossword competition to help them identify potential recruits.

I found this while looking at some Pearl Harbor related information and thought it an appropriate day to pass it on. Having spent 4 years of my own life on board ship I have an appreciation for those sailors in Hawaii that day. Fair winds.


Prawn to King 4?

It seems Olympia Snowe is all fired up about Red Lobster's and other bloggers are relegated to chess puns.


Not exactly Magnum PI

I'm no Dick Tracy, but this Maine PI has a hot & sexy chess playing partner. Looks like an interesting tandem.

Maine Chess Champions

Maine Chessplayer of the Year
2006 Leroy Doucette
2004 Ralph Townsend
2001 Ruben Babayan
2000 Ruben Babayan
1999 Jon Buxton
1998 Joe Wrba
1997 Ruben Babayan
1996 tie Gary Mitchell, Ruben Babayan
1995 Michael Moore
1994 Joe Robillard

Maine Closed Champions
2006 Joseph St. Pierre
2005 Joseph St. Pierre
2004 tie Jarod Bryan, Ruben Babayan
2003 Jarod Bryan
2002 tie Ralph Townsend, Ghezai Menelik
2001 Timothy Bishop
2000 Ruben Babayan
1999 Stanley Elowitch
1998 Jarod Bryan
1997 Ruben Babayan
1996 Chandler Yergen
1995 Aaron Lewis
1994 tie Timothy Bishop, Chandler Yergen

Maine Open Champions
2001 tie Henry Terrie & Braden Bournival
2000 tie Stanley Elowitch & Roger Pedersen
1999 Stanley Elowitch
1998 John Curdo
1997 John Curdo
1996 Jarod Bryan
1995 April Yergen
1992 Jarod Bryan

Maine High School Team Champions
1992 Monmouth Academy
1991 Monmouth Academy
1990 Monmouth Academy
1989 Monmouth Academy

Maine High Individual Champions
2004 Vassil Kakaradov
2001 Sean O'Brien
1999 tie Isaac Marnik, Josh Clapp
1992 tie Stephen E. Smith, Micheal Rickert
1990 Adam J. Schaff

Maine Junior High School Team Champions
1988 Monmouth Academy
1987 Monmouth Academy

Maine Junior High School Individual Champions
2006 Andrew Babbitt
2001 tie Kevin Townsend, Nick Ciomei
1999 Ben Mohlile
1992 Gary Hooper
1988 Adam J. Schaff

Maine Elementary School Team Champions
1985 Monmouth - HL Cottrell School

Maine Elementary School Individual Champions
2004 Keji Xu
2001 Amy Ouellette
1999 Michael Ennamorati

Maine Chess League Champions

Please provide more information if you have it. I've put in what I was either part of, or able to find. Links to other documents (USCF Tournament Crosstables, Newspaper Articles, etc) are appreciated.


Side Bar Maintenance

I removed a couple of 404 blogs from the sidebar. Sorry guys.
Some of the "less active" got moved back up to the normal blogroll, and some of blogs got moved down to "less active". I will spend some time soon figuring out if I am missing any of the blogs I see frequently from my lists. Obviously, I'm not as dedicated to maintaining my links as DG.

If you have a chess related blog and you'd like to be linked to from here leave me a note and I will check your site out.

Additional Side Bar Links

I've added a section for links to Maine Chess Player's blogs. Your blog doesn't need to be chess specific to get a spot. If you want to be on my sidebar and you play chess in Maine let me know!


Maine Doctors + Arts & Crafts + Chess = Perverse?

The larger pieces — the king, queen, bishops and rooks — were doctors, and the pawns were patients, all dressed in hospital gowns with their little butts sticking out.

I wonder if the Waterville chess club's very own doctor was the man who commissioned this lady's work.


Return to Waterville Chess Club

So last night I went to the club for the first time in about 9 months. Must be winter again. I was a bit late and ended up the odd man out, so I watched the games until one finished and then I played a bunch of blitz games with a couple of folks.

They roped me into signing up for the "club championship tournament" which is apparently a double round-robin format G/90 time control. Basically the goal is to play all your games by some date in March informal pairings. Just grab someone each week and try to get a game in. Gives me something to be focused on though, a reason to put effort into chess. We'll see if I can stick to showing up every week though. Sometimes that commitment is tougher than it should be.

Meanwhile I observed this position in a post mortem last night and thought it was fun.

Chess diagram of FEN 2n4k/4P2p/5P1P/7K/2p2B2/2Pr4/8/6R1
Black to Move

Is it a draw?

Mate in 1 problems vex World Champ

Perhaps Vlad should take up the MDLM Mantra and start visiting the blogosphere daily. It seems a few rounds of knight sight, and a couple thousand mate in 1 problems would go a long way in improving his chess.

Patrick points out
Chess diagram of FEN 5N1k/6pQ/7p/4P3/pp6/4q3/1P4PP/2b4K, final posistion from Deep Fritz vs. Kramnik Game 2, Nov 2007 vs. Qxh7 Profile Picture


Seriously though, I think this really illustrates why man is doomed to fall by the wayside to machines in chess. Machines just don't miss mate in one. Human's no matter how talented can over look mate in 1, or hang a rook. Computers won't.


Updated Template

I've moved to the blogger beta. Took a couple hours to get my template straightened back around. I've been adding labels and such. I hope to be able to tag posts with labels and make the blog a bit more organized. Just FYI, if you use blogger and have made significant template changes be prepared to work at it for a while when they make you switch over.


Eat Maine Lobster and Play Chess

Some experts say these are the things necessary to keep a keen edge and having a successful career. Work overtime or go play some blitz on FICS? Well you could make more money with a few hours on FICS, at least over the course of your entire career.

On a side note, playing fellow bloggers in blitz games on FICS is always a humbling experience. Grats CD, nice fork.

Chess diagram of FEN 2r1k2r/pp3p1p/3Np2p/1q2P3/3p4/1Pb5/P4PPP/R2Q1RK1


An easy one

Chess diagram of fen position r3kb2/pp1b1p2/1q2p3/3pP2Q/1P6/P4N2/5PrP/1R2KB1R

Black to move

White misplaced his Queen moving it from h6 to h5, and Black goes from an =- position to ++. Can you convert it?


Typical Error

Chess diagram of fen position r1r3k1/4qppp/2p5/1p6/Pp1Pp1b1/1BQ1P3/5PPP/RR4K1

White to move in the above position. I just wanted to share my erroneous thought pattern.

I can see that b4 is attacked by the b1 Rook if I clear the b3 Bishop. I also see that the b3 Bishop is able to give check. A move earlier I realize then that black cannot capture the b4 pawn with the Queen.

Somehow in my convoluted mind this gets twisted into thinking I can capture b4 with my Queen and when recapture Qxb4 I will win the Queen with Bxf7+ .... Rxb4. Failing to realize that I'm in fact giving up a Queen and a Bishop in order to capture only my opponent's Queen. This type of error is one that often finds me on the down side of the tactical equation and I've given up several points from solid "positions" due to tactical blunders like this.

Elimination of them is not so easy as recognizing a pattern of behavior though.
As diagrammed with Steve Eddin's Chess Diagram from FEN script.


Chess with Deer?

This Maine huntsman is engaged in a tactical game for life and death with a White Tail buck. I used to play this variety of chess, but frankly its too cold and wet out there for me to really enjoy a deep think. I prefer to stay at home and play indoors these days.


Jackman Maine, Beer Chess Capital of the Universe?

I tripped across this Maine/Chess connection which could lead to some seriously bad chess... but may explain the Toilet Gate fiasco on the world chess scene recently. I can see this game increasing liver transplants among the chess playing populous, however I've heard the amount of pre-arranged draws and unfought draws is significantly reduced.

I can certainly understand how this game was invented in Maine. What else are you going to do around here when its 10 below zero and snowing. If it was invented anywhere else on the planet I'm sure at least the quality of beers used would be better.


"Of the Year" Awards

I recently found this list on the British / English Chess Federation website. It makes for a nice recommended reading list for those interested in improving at chess. Year end awards are often over done, but its also a nice way to look back and remember just what was going on during each year. Like a little refresher course on modern history, this time with a Chess slant.

Hat-tip to Mig for highlighting the 2006 Book of the year.


Does Chess Publisher make it easy to post games?

Well... this is a test of that question. I liked the look and feel of my self published games using the Java Applet but this could be superior.

It seems you have to format your PGN like Rae1.. not Ra1e1 which is how PGN is reported from timeforchess.com. Really makes it easy to add games to your blog though. Great JobChess Publisher.


Change in scope

I've changed the description of this blog to more accurately depict what I like to post about. I often want to discuss my games, and my journey to improving at chess. Other times I'm less inclined to push for chess improvement but like to post interesting tidbits about chess I see on the web or chess events in Maine. I hope this will continue to interest the few readers I have.


Pumpkin Chess?

It seems a Floridian gardener has visited Maine and found reason to mention his trip in his blog.

I liked the pictures.


World Championship United, for now

Well in a match that will be more remembered for the .potty conspiracy, held in about the most remote part of the world imaginable, FIDE has finally managed to unite the Chess Crown and we can once again say we have a true World Champion.. Vlad Kramnik. Congrats to him. He fought through alot of adversity in the match, and I'm even gonna put myself out there and say I don't believe he was cheating when he used the bathroom 50 times in 4 hours.

So until, another fued breaks out, FIDE has managed to provide us with a single, unified chess champion. This is good news. Now lets work up a GOOD system to determine a challenger, and make it a cycle that can be played out over and over again. So that we can get back to exciting, interesting, high caliber chess again


Players poopoo on match

New York Times reports that Topolov is upset with Kramnik's lack of bladder control.

Seriously I think I would be upset too if my opponent had to use the bathroom 50 times in a game. The unsaid allegation of course is that he is using some sort of computer or communication device while in the bathroom and not on surveillance. If Kramnik truly is using the mens room 50 times in 5 hours I would be concerned about it too. Oh well, such is the chess world we live in today.


Championship not Super Bowl

Just in case you were tempted to call the Topalov vs. Kramnik match the "superbowl of chess" this article warns you of the dangers of trademarking. Wouldn't want Kirsan and FIDE getting sued by the NFL now would we.

Seriously, Kramnik is a match play giant. Just as he surprised Kasparov in their championship duel in 2000, Kramnik has jumped out to a large lead. Just as in 2000, Kramnik is the underdog. Kramnik's play style is to tend towards precision rather than dynamic play which makes him tough to beat in a match. They say he is a drawing master, but if you make a mistake he will make you pay for it. This match so far is giving me a great deal of respect for Kramnik. I think playing "match style" championships is a completely different game compared to "tournament" style championships.


More Maine Chess! Congrats Ms. Bryan

This essay details a young Maine girl's trip to a national chess tournament. Apparently the experience has really given her an even bigger appetite for the game. When I played Scholastic chess in Maine (ahem 15-20 yrs ago) there were 3 or 4 fairly strong young women who I had to compete against. I'm glad to see the scholastic chess, and women's chess is still going strong in Maine.

This state is difficult to find tournaments in, due to sparse population and winter road conditions. However, theres nothing better to do on a snowy day with temperatures hovering around 0 F than to play chess. I would think Maine would have a stronger chess following.

My original purpose in this blog/website was to try to post some historical information about the Monmouth Chess Teams I was a part of. This post brings back a bit of that desire to chronicle some of the moments that made chess such a big part of my life. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Margaret.

Hat tip to: Chessmaine.net as well for the Polgar tournament coverage.


World no longer like Chess?

We often see things compared to chess. The football game was like a chess match between the two coaches. But this U. Maine Preque Isle student's article says the world is no longer like a chess match between two world powers. Apparently there are too many players today.

Personally I just think Osama is a patzer.


And I thought I was indefensible

Apparently this blogger disagrees. He has other posts about backwards pawns too.

MF Yanks worship Caissa, while cruising to Playoffs

As I mourn my redsox this September the Boston herald decides to illustrate the MFY's composure with this statement.

While pitcher Cory Lidle gave the media a vague-sounding medical dissertation about how his fingers are hurting because he’s throwing a splitter too much, backup catcher Sal Fasano and pitching coach Ron Guidry were enjoying an intense, quiet game of chess.

I bet if Curt Schilling played Chess instead of video games the sox would still be in the post-season chase!


Unification? Whoopty doo

So there's this big match coming up. I guess I should be thrilled, I've kind of followed the destruction of FIDE since Kasparov initially split 15ish years ago. However, as long as Kirsan the criminal is president of FIDE a dubious cloud will hang over any championship.

I guess we can all hope for some good Chess. Starting Sept 23rd Topalov and Kramnik will play a 12 game match in Elista, Kalmykia. Topolov is the FIDE champion having won a tournament for the title early this year. Kramnik holds the "Classical Chess" title when he won a match vs. Garry Kasparov before Kasparov officially came back to FIDE. This match is supposed to unify the titles and again bring the Chess Championship title under FIDE and Kirsans control. I think there is still some animosity about who gets a "title shot" and who doesn't since Kramnik has slid down the world ranking list since he defeated Kasparov.

At least when this is over I will hopefully be able to just say "The Chess Champion of the World" and not have to launch into some lengthy explanation.

Paranoia over the board

This post at the Boylston Chess Club blog revels in a rules changes that mandates a player must move and then write down his move, not vice-versa. Apparently it is "note-taking" if you write down a move before its made. Honestly this doesn't send my blood pressure sky-rocketing to dangerous levels.. but I think its a pretty weak rule.

First let me decribe my typical move process.

1. Write down opponents recently made move
2. Analyze position
3. Select a move
4. Write down selected move
5. Perform "blunder check"
6. Make move
7. Press clock

The action of writing the selected move, then performing the blunder check breaks your train of thought enough to sometime catch overlooked and often obvious mistakes. I find it a useful tool. Its also a tool that may come into play once every 2 or 3 games. I do on occassion change my mind after writing down the move and performing the blunder check, but not frequently enough that it should bother any one.

And that brings me to the real issue I have here. Why does any one care what I've written down. Look at the board and the position instead of what I am doing. That is what chess is all about. It was brought up that people could potentially come to the board and write down reams of notes that they had crammed just prior to a game. To this I call hogwash. In all the tournaments I've ever been a part of I've never seen anything even close to this.

I'm unsure where I actually stand on note-taking .. I mean actual note taking .. not just writing down your move before the move is played. It some respects I don't see the problem with someone writing down a line as they work it out at the board. Its their time on the time control. Why should someone who works better on paper be penalized over someone who works best in their head. Come to think of it, I don't like when someone looks up and to the left during a game. That indicates the brain is accessing long term memory and gives me a distinct disadvantage. Can we outlaw that too?

Anyway even IF note-taking should be illegal I think tournament directors should decide what is and isn't note-taking on a case-by-case basis. This rule is a bit far reaching and misguided in my opinion. At least if it was a TD decision and I didn't like a particular decision I could just boycott tournaments directed by that particular TD in the future.

Anyway let the debate rage on. At least I've tried to formulate a counter argument and I feel a bit better about the whole issue now that I've said my peice.

Edit: For the record while I pre-write my moves, I never have attempted to "cover them up". Either way I direct you to my previous comment, "who cares what I'm doing, study the board bloke".


Oh Em Geee

I read Chessbase just about everyday, and they often have pictorial reports with stunning chess footage but this article takes the cake. I've played chess with an attractive female before a time or two... but not with anybody THAT perky.

Just a fair warning, this could be concidered unsafe for work content.


Crushed by a Patzer

Just thought I would post a note so people can see that I'm still playing a bit. Our very own Irish Patzer laid the smack down on me in this Time for Chess game. Hope everyone's studies are going well. Maybe once it gets a bit colder outside I will feel more like cozying up with some problems again.

[Event "Challenge"]
[Site "http://www.timeforchess.com"]
[Date "2006.07.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Stonedog"]
[Black "St Patzer"]
[Result "0-1"]
[GameId "2243181"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nb1c3 Bf8b4 4. e3 Ng8f6 5. Bf1d3 dxc4 6. Bd3xc4 O-O
7. Ng1f3 a6 8. O-O b5 9. Bc4b3 Bc8b7 10. Bc1d2 Bb4d6 11. Bb3c2 c5
12. dxc5 Bd6xc5 13. e4 Qd8b6 14. e5 Nf6g4 15. Nf3g5 Bc5xf2 16. Rf1xf2 Qb6xf2 0-1


Sloan and Moan

The Sam Sloan fiasco is crazy. I think he is likely just what the USCF needs to get off its duff and change some things that need changing. No one is asking you to let your kids spend the night at his house. If you don't trust him with your kids, don't let your kids be alone with him.

This is a win / win for the USCF general membership. Either he will change things for the better... OR ... he will make such a nuisance of himself someone will step up and do something about it and maybe THEY will then have the support to make the necessary changes in the USCF.



As I posted about in one of the first entries on this blog, I've burnt out on chess for the time being and moved on to another passtime. I'll be back to chess, I'm sure of it. I always come back to chess. And I am still playing games on www.timeforchess.com so if you want a game challenge "Stonedog" on that website.

In the meantime if people want to update their links to me as, retired or what not, concider yourselves informed.

Until I return... you can mark this move with a ?! as a dubious idea. Qxh7#


Falling Behind

Well, with work and play taking time away from chess I'm falling way behind in my training and blogging. The good news is I'm playing some thrilling games on Time For Chess.

Here's a Free Trial of Chessmaster if your interested. Ubi decided to send me the link in email and I'm gracious enough to pass it on to you LOL.

Anyway I will be posting some game results soon. At least the next episode in St. Patzer vs. Qxh7# will be ready for publication within a few days I'm sure.


Chinese only play Fischer Random?

I'm usually not big on decorative sets, but this one caught my eye while I was window shopping in Chinatown on my San Francisco trip. Did you notice the shopkeeper has the rooks and bishops mixed up?


Trip to San Fran

Well I just got back from a business trip to San Francisco. While I was there I dropped in on The Mechanic's Institute Chess Club for a visit. The club was a little slow when I was there, apparently Yermo usually gives a lecture on Tuesday's but he was already headed down to the AF4C's U.S. Championship in San Diego.

Anyway John Donaldson was there (and also kind enough to answer my emails) and he gave a lecture. The talk centered mostly around his performance at a local tournament. It was humourous, he talked about not just needed to win all 5 games over the weekend, but wanting to spend no more than 1/2 hour thinking each game so that he could conserve energy. The lecture summed up to be about the importance of the Maroczy Bind
position in GM chess, and the importance of NOT just learning an opening up to the "starting point". Basically he was talking about not learning the moves up to move 10 or 12 or 15, where the books say =+ or += then quitting. That's where your opening preparation should really be starting. Reviewing Database games, and finding out what the common plans for both sides from that position are. He was a very humorous and engaging speaker.

I also got to play a couple of games with the locals while I was there. A group of (apparent) Russian immigrants played chess there and they invited me to play a couple of them. Very nice men. The first man I played did not speak any English, but his friend did and he translated a bit for us. He was very amused to inform me that he was 82 years old and could still kick my butt! We played an odd French Defense where white fianchettoed his Queen's bishop. I was able to hold my own and win an endgame in that one after an interesting middle game with a lot of tactical threats but no real finishing moves. When I played his friend I lost on the black side of a Nimzo Indian.

All in all it was a very good few hours at Mechanic's Institute. I enjoyed the chess atmosphere and the friendly games. Not to mention the free lecture. I suggest giving a stop by if your ever in SF. Its on 57 Post St, right in the middle of the financial district.


+2 -1 =1

Click to Download the .PGN
Or click on the image to view the game with the Java Game Viewer

Game 4 of the St Patzer vs. Qxh7# series resulted in a win for me. It was an equal game until a small endgame error resulted in a decisive advantage. I'm sure he will get me next time to even up the match score.

Tactical vs. Positional

Click here to download the .PGN
Or click on the image to go to the Java Game Viewer

So I wanted to show a position from a recent game. On move 16 I dropped the exchange in a tactical blunder. Actually on move 15 I dropped a pawn but either my opponent overlooked it or decided to go for bigger fish. In any event, after winning the exchange my opponent made one critical mistake. Instead of making a freeing move to unbind his position, he went immediately for liquidation of the position.

The resulting trades left him materially ahead and positionally crushed. I've reviewed the game with Crafty which did not spot any chances for White here, but I think if I had held on to the exchange and achieved this position I win easily. It just goes to show that you can't rely on tactics or positional parts of the game alone to win. You need to meld elements of both into your style.


A Knight's Value

I was real glad I read King of the Spill's post about interference when I came across this problem. I don't think I would have found the solution if I hadn't. Thanks for the pointer!


Overconfidence leads to bad chess

Click to download the .PGN file
Or simply click the image to go to the Java Game Viewer

Another tough loss at the club. Ed is a quality player and he seems to be just 1 step ahead of me when we play. I enjoy the tense games though. Good practice to go along with tactics training.


Behind schedule, but making some progress

Well I took a two week break in the middle of my cirlces but I'm at last making some progress again. I've supposedly learned 720 new tactics. That is pretty good I think. Now its on to Module 2.


+1 -1 =1

Or Click on the Image to go to the Java .PGN Viewer

So I finally evened up the score with St. Patzer. He made a whoopsie and fell into a pawn fork on his minor peices in the opening. So not a commanding, over powering win, but a win I will take just the same given my recent string of losses at timeforchess.com.

A quick synopsis of the game is, Patzer blunders the minor for a pawn. I quickly simplify the position with a bunch of forced trades. In the end its R+B vs. R and I use one of the R+B mating motifs to force a resignation.


Updated Template

I changed the template and made a .css file for my websight so that when I put up a .PGN viewer to showcase a game or two it kind of ties into this blog look and feel wise. I hope you like it. I'm not real artistic but the colors don't clash too badly in my mind. I had my wife check it out and she said it looks ok too. So I hope that means I'm safe.

Mores posts coming soon. I have to at least post my victory over St. Patzer since I posted the draw and loss I suffered to him.


The Ups and Downs of Chess

Click here to Download the .PGN File
Or click the picture to replay the games online

Posting a couple games to get back into the swing of things. Both of these were played at www.timeforchess.com which I have linked to several times.

The first game is the UPS... when I take advantage of a Class A Players endgame miscues and carry the day for a victory.

In the second game St. Patzer proves once again that if he is a patzer I'm a fish and wallops me good. See if you can find the moves he does in the attack from the position shown above.

Sorry about the lack of posts. I've really struggled to get back into the swing of things since my surgery. Its midwinter in Maine, I've had business travel, illness, and surgery so while the excuses are pretty good, in the long run I'm still making excuses for not sticking to my study plan. Tonight, going to the Chess club and posting these games is a step back in the right direction though.

Now... press "publish post" and go do a couple units in Personal Chess Trainer.

OOOOOOOO one more thing... my wife is from Alabama, so we are both big Crimson Tide football fans. So naturally I've been following Shaun Alexander since he came into the NFL (I even draft him in my fantasy leagues) well it turns out he is a chess supporter and enthusiast.



I've been home since Friday night in truth. I'm ashamed to admit that while I was away on travel I got sucked into a novel and have been reading during my chess practice time instead. I hope to be getting back into the swing of things tonight with PCT. Anyway, if I can tear myself away from Westeros and George RR Martin's characters I might get better at chess.

To the rest of you bloggers, WOW, when you take a few days off the amount of posts to catch up on is amazing.


Out of town this week

Well I got alot of problems done this weekend which is good, because I'm going to fall behind my Schedule while I'm out of town on business. I'm going to take some chess materials with me, but I won't be able to keep up with my Personal Chess Trainer Schedule.

I bought Chessmaster 9000 at WalMart for $9.84. Decent upgrade to the Chessmaster 5000 software I had, but wasn't using. I like the analyze game function. Of course it still thinks I'm a 1200 player, and I can't beat its 1500 level personalities.


I know this is a Chess Blog

But I just wanted to make a final salute to the Patriots. This years team faced alot of adversity and went down like a heavywieght champ should. Tonight's game was a tough loss and ended a record streak but instead of grinding on the loss I'd like to take a moment to remember all the big games they won over the last 4 years, and all the players that make it so much fun to be a Pats fan.

So here's to the MVP's: Tom Brady and Dieon Branch
The Consistent veterans: Troy Brown, Daniel Graham, Christian Fauria
The dynamic linebackers: Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel
The Prolific Front 3: Richard Seymour, Ted Washington, Jarvis Green
The outstanding secondary: Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy and Rodney Harrison
The Special Teamers: Adam Vinatieri and Larry Izzo
And The Coaches: Bill Belichick, Charlie Wies, and Romeo Crennel

Here's hoping next years Patriots can stay hungry and healthy and make one more run for the Lombardi trophy.


Circles Progress

After tonights session I have finished Tactics Module 1, Unit 36. According to Tchekov Mattenovich I've learned 480 tactics.

Update on the surgery stuff. I'm feeling much better, although I still have a bit of scar tissue in my cheek. The biopsy results came back and I should be all set, no cancer and stuff. Just the same, stay off the smokes and chew, only bad things can come of it.


PSA: Kids Stay Away from Tobacco

This is a public service announcement. Due to my previous usage of smokeless tobacco, I had to have a lesion removed from my cheek, lip and gum on Friday. Needless to say, since then I haven't done many tactics problems, the daze from Vicadin was a bit too much to study tactics through. I hope to get back on track tonight.

Anyway, don't smoke and don't chew or snuff. Its bad for you, and the operations (trust me, I only had a very minor one) to repair the damage the tobacco does to you, hurts like a son-of-a-gun. I wasted thousands of dollars on tobacco, and in the end I got to pay a doctor to cut a whole in my face.

Back to blog stuff, I will be out of town next week on business so after this weekend it may slow down around here a bit again. I also won't be able to work with PCT while I'm gone, but I will be taking my Palm and solving problems from 1001 Winning Chess Combinations and Sacrifices.


Walter Browne Tactics

Everyone has their favorite Grandmasters, as a youngster mine was Walter Browne. So after seeing Susan Polgar's post about strong American players today, he was the first one that came to mind. Here's some Walter Browne tactics on the web for you to solve.

I also was a big fan of Ilya Gurevich because I played in a tournament in Boston he was also in when I was 12. He has some noteworthy games on the web as well. I remember scouring Chess Life and Chess Horizons looking for his games every month.


What's the difference

Between this position I solved easily..

And this problem I was unable to solve in 2:30minutes

Both are mate in two, white to move. Both involve sacrificing a peice in such a manner as to clog up an escape square for the king. This is just one example of the kind of thing I was talking about in an earlier post. How you can solve some and not others.

... note: these positions are similar to positions found in Personal Chess Trainer. I remember the core part of the position but not the full position. One of the problems I've found with PCT is you can't pull up a specific position whenever you want.

Template Changes

I added an RSS 'Chicklet' for Bloglines because after seeing what Druss had set up I couldn't resist using it, and I figure if I like something, why not let other people know about it.

I removed the Technorati stuff because I didn't get how it worked anyway. I will say that this RSS stuff is handy once you take a few minutes to figure out how it works.


Todays Progress

About half way through the first module of Personal Chess Trainer. Module 1, unit 1 was mate in 1 problems. Module 1, unit 28 we are up to very forced mate in 4's and obscure (hard to spot) mate in 2's.

I find it interesting some of the problems I miss. Its hard to explain why I miss some problems and solve others easily. I hope to put more thought into this as I progress through the training. If I can figure out why I have difficulty spotting certain types of solutions I think it will be easier to correct the problem.


End of Knight Sight, on to Circles

So in the end I did the knight sight excercises 5 times over 14 days. 3 times I did the Concentric Squares exercises as well. It all got so tedious, perhaps I'm not as dedicated to this as I hoped to be. I also started doing some problems before Jan 1st. As a result I'm on Tactics Module 1, Unit 20 as of Jan 2nd. All in all I'm not upset with how much I've stuck to the original plan. Most of the other bloggers had the same issues with the pre-tactics exercises I did. I tried to stick with it, and ended up doing more than I would have if I hadn't.

So anyway, I have until May 7th to reach Tactics Module 6, Unit 51. Its a long steep climb. Its already taking me 35 minutes per unit. So to do 4.5 units a day will put me over the alloted 2 hours a day I have for this. I have to say, I'm already noticing mating patterns are burnt into my subconcious that were never there before. I believe tactics were/are the weakest part of my game so I've the utmost confidence that the next 126 days will do "something" for my chess strength. Which is more than I can say for the last 10 years of being stuck at the same level.

I just hope my dedication levels stay up. I've been known to quit in the middle of things before. My hope is that Personal Chess Trainer is simple enough to use, to make the problem solving fun and the learning will come naturally.