Saturday, February 03, 2007

I've continued my streak...

But it's slowly puttering out. Now that I'm challenging people at FICS that are at my own rating (about 1700) I'm not winning quite as often. But I am enjoying the games when I can fit them in. Just advice to parents among the knights, the college process is hell. First there are the super-long applications. Those take about a month each to really do well. So that was a huge section of time just cut out of my day that I really didn't plan on giving away. And then there's the financial aid. I really didn't do much on that (my parents did) but that takes at least a week to two weeks to finish. And then there's scholarships. I doubt they're the final work-intensive step in the process, but I sure hope they are. There's a lot of them, and almost all of them want some sort of long essay and the same information you've given before, except on a different form. Sort of tiring. Thank goodness for track and field, or I would have no social life.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Recent Game and Another Update

I just finished a game at FICS that was pretty interesting. Granted, it was a situation of opposite side castling, but the advantage swings from my side to my opponent's fairly regularly. We both made pretty boneheaded moves on a pretty regular basis. I eventually won, but I could have finished him off much earlier, and he could have said the same. Here is:

Generalkaia - NN, 1/15/07, FICS

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 d6
3. d4 exd4
4. Nxd4 g6
5. Nc3 Bg7
6. Be3 Ne7
7. Qd2 O-O
8. O-O-O

This is an interesting position.
Clearly, both sides will be vying
for the attack, as the kings are
castled on opposite sides.

8. ... Nbc6
9. h4 a6
10. h5 b5
11. Nxc6 Nxc6

I personally like my position here, and
I think most of the Knights would agree
that white is winning. However, I found
it difficult to convert at this stage,
I had lots of good ideas but I had a hard
time calculating everything to satisfaction.

12. Bh6 Bg4
13. Bxg7 Bxd1
14. Nxd1 Kxg7
15. hxg6 fxg6

Here, I am still winning but I show in the
next few moves that I have no idea what I'm
doing. I try to continue with the pawn
rush idea, but 16. Qh6+ Kf6 17. Qh4+ is
much more promising.

16. f4 Ne7
17. f5 Rh8
18. Qg5 Ng8
19. Qg4

I've blown my attack, and here is where he
takes the initiative and starts stretching
my forces thin.

19. ... Qf6
20. Ne3 Ne7
21. Bd3 Raf8
22. Rf1

I'm barely holding on, just making moves
that vaguely make sense. At this point I
felt trapped by my own position and very
much on the defense. Luckily for me he made
a few slight mistakes in the next few moves
that tipped the game in my favor.

22. ... Qd4
23. Rf3 d5
24. fxg6 Rxf3
25. gxh7+

This was his fatal mistake. I am now back
at material equilibrium and am on the
attack. Hasta la vista, baby!

25. ... Kf8
26. Qxf3+ Ke8
27. Nxd5 Nxd5
28. exd5 Qe5
29. Qe4 Qxe4
30. Bxe4

After this, the game is basically over, my
bishop is much more powerful than his rook,
and once I advance my pawns the game is
just technique.

30. ... Ke7
31. Kd2 Kf6
32. Ke3 a5
33. a3 b4
34. axb4 axb4
35. c3 bxc3
36. bxc3 Kg7
37. c4 Rf8
38. Kd4 Rd8
39. c5 Kf6
40. g4 Kg5
41. Bf5 Kf6
42. c6 Kg5
43. Kc5 Kf6
44. d6 cxd6+
45. Kd5 Kg7
46. c7 Rf8
47. c8=Q Rxc8
48. Bxc8 Kxh7
49. Kxd6 Kh6
50. Ke5 Kg5
51. Bf5 Kh6
52. Kf4 Kg7
53. Kg5 Kf8
54. Kf6 Kg8
55. g5 Kh8
56. Be6
{Black resigns} 1-0

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I won't say I'm officially back, since I tend to say that and then disappear again the next week, but I have played about 10 chess games in the last 4 days at FICS. I logged on the other night just to test the waters, and I immediately felt that satisfying feeling that chess gives me. Especially when I'm winning. Which I have been doing fairly often. My rating has risen from about 1590 to 1650, but that's mainly because of the high RD. I find it really refreshing to come back to chess after a long hiatus, because I can see moves more clearly and enjoy myself more. SO.... I am considering jumping back into the 7-Circles program. I think I'm going to modify it, like so many knights have before. I think I'm going to go with the Repeat-Until-Perfection modificiation. I have a book of 365 mates, which is divided into 5 sections of increasing difficulty and 3 test sections, so I plan on doing a Until-Perfection Circle with each of the 5 sections and finishing it off with the 3 tests to see how I've come along.

And the reason I've taken such a long break from chess is RUNNING and COLLEGES, two big parts of my life that are only now starting to slack off. If you want to read about my successful Cross Country season, I have a blog recapping the season at Carrillo Cross Country. College-wise, I've applied to four colleges and, at this point, really want to go to Santa Clara University. I've also applied to Cal and UC Davis and wasn't accepted by Stanford. So, that's a review of my life for the past four months or so, and I'm just finishing up my SCU app right now. Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Breaking 1600 at CTS

Well, I was finally able to break 1600 with my huge RD about a week ago. It was exciting until I began to lose points and settle back at my regular 1560-1570. Well, I am going to be teaching chess again this winter, but I won't actually be able to play very much, due to cross country and a big homework load.

As a side note to transformation: In case you read this, you might want to change your settings to allow others to comment, as currently only your "team members" can write comments to you. Thought I would let you know in case you read my blog.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Running and Chess

As many other bloggers have noted before me, there are parallels between chess and sports. I am getting very serious about training for running for Cross Country and Track for my school (I run the mile and two-mile). Right now we are focusing on ramping up our miles at a moderate pace (6:30-7:15 mile pace or so for 7-15 miles), just to build endurance. Later on we will build our anaerobic threshold, VO2 max, etc. using interval and tempo training at the right time in the season. Then of course come the meets themselves, which test the training. This is similar to chess. We train the strategy, opening, tactics, and endgame portions of the whole shebang to improve. But seeing the parallel to chess, i guess you could say that interval training is most like cts. you are just able to go faster. it is of vital importance to train every part of you game/body so that you can perform at peak level. i'm not sure what else i can say, but i also think that it is very important to get in lots of quality training, challenging yourself to improve, before proving your mettle on the chess board or at the track. Just some thoughts from generalkaia. Let me know if anything sounds vaguely correct here. :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I've hit the 2,000 mark on CTS. My rating, as it stands now, is 1554, and my success rate is 60.9%. I am just focusing on raising the percentage at this point, but my rating has pretty much stayed put, fluxtuating around 1560. I am now taking more time to get each problem right, and I was at a 80% success rate for the latest session. So, overall I think I will see improvement soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

CTS and Mastering Chess

Well, I haven't been doing so hot on CTS lately. Trying to get every problem right isn't helping my percentage or my rating. Something needs to change. It's frustrating that neither are improving, you would think that I would at least be able to improve the percentage, but I can't.

On another note, I think that CTS is highly beneficial to chess skill. As Tempo has theorized and experienced himself, it makes a difference. And now, a new article in the August Scientific American confirms what tempo has been saying. The article states that "much of the chess master's advantage over the novice derives from the first few seconds of thought." Thus, CTS would train you to spot things quickly in a position and to store lots of positions in your long-term memory. Again, just like tempo thought. Just thought that I would bring that up.

Also of interest to all of us amateur chess players, it has become evident (again, according to the article) that there is no such thing as innate talent, only hard work can get you to the level of chess expertise that you desire. There is a so-called 10-year rule that says that it takes "approximately a decade of heavy labor to master any field." That means that you constantly have to challenge yourself and fight the instinct to settle into a groove of moderate ability.

I thought that I would also mention that the article talks about chunking, as in groups of information. One theory is that chess masters are able to store thousands of chunks of information, like the fianchetto position in a certain opening, for example, and know intuitively about that aspect of the position. The thousands of chunks that the masters have allows them to memorize positions in under 10 seconds when presented to them for the first time. A novice, which doesn't have nearly as many "chunks," thus has a harder time with setting up the position perfectly after 10 seconds.

I thought that this would be of interest to everyone. :)

Well, I recovered from my little dip in both rating and success rate at CTS. I am back up to 1565 and have got my success rate up to 59.1% from 57%. It's getting hard to change it. :)

Another Update:
I just passed tempo on the CTS rankings! But then again, I won't be getting even close to 1600 like he did. Also just discovered the message board there. I'm liking CTS more and more! :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Change

Well, with my CTS success rating dropping from 60% to about 58%, I tried to focus on just getting the problem right, no matter how long it took. But then my rating started to fall too. So, I need to give the technique more of a try, but it's been discouraging thus far. I think I will consider 10,000 tries on CTS one circle, similar I think to what tempo has done. I may be nearing 1,000! Alright!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Base Rating

I seem to have established as a base rating on CTS of about 1560. So, I just need to see if I can actually improve on CTS and then transfer that to the chess board! According to tempo, this should eventually happen, but it may take a very long time (10's of thousands of problems if he is any indication). I think that I can make it happen, just by chipping away here and there. I think that CTS will be my 7 circles. I guess I could be considered back on the quest. I'll look at making an official plan in the next few days.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Well, I have definitely noticed that it can take a while to get used to the CTS format, but once you do, your rating improves by about 10 points at least. I'm starting to get hooked. What really helps me do better, it seems, is when I actually get into the problem solving and make it sort of a competition. I pump my fists when I get one right just to get that little surge of adrenaline. It seems to work for me, but they probably wouldn't like it if I did that at an OTB tournament or something. ("What a move! Alright!!!") But CTS can get a bit addictive. As Tempo has likely discovered. :)