Archive for March, 2010

Just arrived: The Sorcerer’s House

Gene Wolfe’s new book has arrived! It’s already available in the United States but not yet in Europe. I have ordered the signed limited edition from PS Publishing, it looks very pretty although I am a little surprised by the quality of the book itself. The pages are glued and not sewn and the paper itself is not the best. However, I can’t wait to start reading and fortunately I have a week off – the timing couldn’t be better.


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STTourney: a missed chance

No luck yesterday, I played against an ELO 1970 player (although I wonder what his real rating is; it’s definitely lower). After the opening phase the game was equal and I had a good feeling. Rybka however thought that I was worse most of the time – until my big moment of fame. I found a nice tactical shot and could have checkmated my opponent in a couple of moves. After missing this opportunity I was at least up in material but blundered it all by underestimating White’s chances.

This was a tough lesson for my ego. To lose a won game is really a pain and I am sure that I will never forget the move that would have won. You can replay the game here: http://starke-muegge.de/chess/2010_03_01.htm

To rebuild my ego I played some shorter games (G15) but the short time control is not good for the quality of my chess. Too often my intuitive moves are not good enough and run into simple tactics. I will have to start some kind of tactic drill to improve this area!

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STTourney: ScotchYeti plays tonight

According to my study plan, I try to play at least on longer game per week. A good opportunity is the monthly STtourney on ICC (http://www.chessclub.com/activities/sttourney/stcross.html), which allows you to play a G60 game (almost) each Tuesday. After one win in round 1 and a loss in round 2 I will very likely play with the black pieces tonight. Wish me luck! I am currently in the process of changing my opening repertoire so I have to rely very much on my chess knowledge. The good thing is that this will get my opponent out of book early. The bad thing is that I will have to spend more time on "common" moves. Well, this is how it goes.

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Systematic chess training

Some months ago, I was fortunate to meet a real chess enthusiast online: Paul (he has his own blog here: http://pablito15.wordpress.com). Quickly it became clear that we share similar ideas about chess and we both agreed to start a partnership. We will study together, play friendly games, annotate them and help each other to indentify weaknesses. This has turned out to be very useful, for both of us. First of all it helps to stay focussed. If you have someone behind you asking questions, you are pretty much forced to do some work. Second, you have the chance to agree on variations you would like to play. This will help to study openings better and it gives you the chance to play the openings from the other side as well.

To give my study a better structure, I came up with the following plan:

  • Tactics: 5-15 daily (using CT-ART)
  • Strategy: Study Soltis’ “Pawn structure in chess”: 1 chapter per month
  • Strategy: annotate 1 Master game per fortnight
  • Opening Study: play through sample games in the openings I play
  • Opening practice: play 15min-standard games on ICC to get used to my opening repertoire
  • Endgame: study Silman’s Endgame course
  • Self-improvement: Wednesday night play 2-3 fixed opening games with Paul (G20+10)
  • Self-improvment: annotate all long games played by me
  • Calculation: play regular correspondence games with Paul
  • Practice: play at least one long game (G45 or G60) per week

In addition I have joined the local chess club Die Klagenfurter and I hope to get a chance soon to play some serious games and to finally get an official ELO rating. It’s hard to tell how good my chess is and I am eager to compete with the local players. Playing online gives a hint (I am currently at 1550) but nothing more.

The next months I will take it easy and just get things rolling. Later this fall I will try to become more active in the chess club, hopefully play regulare games in the lower league, and see if the study plan helps me to get better. Next year I will try to play in local tournaments. My goal is to become a 1800er player within the next 4 years.

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