maandag 12 juni 2017

Lichess

I made an account on Lichess so that I can test how quick I can get to 2000+ rating, if I can get to 2000+ that is.

Any bets on how quick, or not at all, I will reach my goal?

Have fun playing chess!

maandag 5 juni 2017

The never ending study

What do you do when it's a heatwave, when even lifting a finger breaks you out in sweat? How on earth could you then focus on chess when your brain is fried by the sun? Praying your home owner gives you airconditioning? Will not help at the moment you need it namely right now.

So with the braincells who still wanted to work, many were on heat strike, I thought why not rewatch the broadcasts of the US Championship 2017 on you tube? That way you wont have to move and you still get great chess entertainment.

So for hours on end I have been seeing Hikaru, Fabian, Wesley, Ray, Var, Nazi, Irena, Anna, Tatev, ... at work while their labour was picked at by Yasser, Jennifer and Maurice. Interesting analysis of positions by a human (Yasser) and a machine (Maurice explaining). It makes me wonder how some become so good at it while many can only shake their head and wonder why they not have that skill?

Practise makes perfect they say. play a lot and even more. But a human cannot base his chess moves only on brute force analyse the entire game like a computer can. He needs knowlegde to base the soundness of his moves and we know that there is plenty of chess knowlegde. So to become good one has to do lots of work, not only during the game but also when not playing.

Studying chess theory for many hours, not only openings- but also middlegame- and endgame techniques, You can study them out of books, or with video lessons or by the explanation of a chess teacher. Doesn't matter how you study as long you do study and try to learn al those techniques so you can remember them by heart.

You will not need  every technique all the time. Sometimes it can take ages before you can apply a learned technique during a chess game. But when the time is there you must know the technique and apply it correctly.

I am lacking in both fields, I have plenty of chess knowlegde, like many of us patzers do, but still there is plenty to learn.  I am also lacking in applying it all the right time and in the correct way, when the position on the board demands it.

To say it with the words of the great chess trainer of India, GM RB Ramesh:

" Progress in chess involves continuous self-introspection, learning new skills and unlearning bad qualities in our thinking process"

Especially the word "continuous" is important here. It"s a never ending chess study, there is always room for improvement.

Have fun playing chess.


donderdag 25 mei 2017

Consistency

Consistency

How come that I one day beat a 2000+ elo rated player and the next day I have it extreme difficult to draw a 1400+ elo rated player? How comes that my playing strenght fluctuates so hard?

Where is the consistency? How does one be consistent? Is there a handy tool to learn to be consistent?

Is there a book that handles this topic consistency?

Please help!

Have fun playing chess.

maandag 15 mei 2017

Question Time

Last friday evening nothing stood on the program of my chess club. So we gathered just to play some blitz and have some conversation between a pint of beer or some cool beverage or some coffee or hot chocolate.

I saw my chance and ask our best players the question we, patzers, want to know.
What does it take to become a 2000+ rated player. Our 2394, 2180, 2028 and 1980 rated players answer the question. What follows is a summary of what they said.

1. Make no one move blunder

Think always minimum 1.5 moves ahead. Your move, the BEST answer of your opponent, your BEST reply. 

2. Boardvision

Always know where the pieces stand and what they are doing.

3. Patern recognision

Knowing paterns, like for example the basic mates, helps you to come up with best moves. They are you guidance to find the best moves.

4. Know the tactical devices

Knowing the tactical devices like pin, skewer, double attack, magnet, luring, ... makes your play more active and makes it easier for you to find combinations.

5. Last but not least ... don't be affraid and have fun

Don't be affraid, play your game no matter against who you are playing. Have fun playing chess.

Have fun playing chess!!!

maandag 8 mei 2017

My new favorite chess author

Forget about Jeremy Silman. Forget about Dan Heisman. Forget about John Nunn, Forget ...

Here is ...

Charles Hertan


Fide master from Massachusetts who has been teaching kids for more than thirty years. He has written a chess book for advanced players called Forcing Chess Moves: The key to Better Calculation, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Chess Book of the Year Award and won the Chesscafe Book of the Year Award.

Charles Hertan is the perfect chess teacher for kids. He has a great grasp of the material and, even more importantly, he makes learning chess fun, and understandable for kids of all ages.

Many of his books may have "for Kids" in the title but are also very readable for adults aswell. I as a 44 year old adult love his writing. Maybe I am still a big kid. Or it is the fact that my motherlanguage isn't english that makes his books so intresting and funny to read.

Have fun playing chess!

woensdag 3 mei 2017

Help wanted

A. Team competition is over

My chess club, Rokade Westerlo, has had a good team competition season this year. 

Regional team championship

In the regional competition (I think US players can compare this with a state team championship) the first team ended second in first division. The second team, the team I played in, became champion in the third division and promotes to second division. Our third team ended third in the fifth division.

National team championship

Here we only had one goal, namely to promote the first team to second division. 

The second and third team played in fifth division. Third team, our youth team, ended seventh. Not a bad result knowing that this was the first time that 3 our of 5 players played games longer then 30 0.

The second team ended fourth. Which is ok, but maybe next year we must think of playing for promotion to fourth division from the start of the competition.

Our first team didn't start that good. Losing 3 matchpoints in the first four rounds didn't give a good feeling. However, from round 5 to 10 all matches were won and so the team stood first after ten rounds. The final round our first team had to play against the second team in the standings. A draw match result was enough for our team. Helas, a draw was never in the books. Our first team didn't look back and got a surprisingly and big win of 5,5-0,5. Promotion to second division is a fact. The celebration party afterwards was fun!

B. Help wanted

Preparing for tournament


Now that the team competitions are over, and I am not playing in the club championship, I have plenty of time to prepare myself for the 40th Eastman Open International chess tournament Ghent  in july. 

However, I am not sure how one prepares for such tournament. I need your help.  Please put your answers on the following questions in the comments.

1. Openings

A. Openings are not important at our level. Only when you have more then 2100 elo it's time to study openings.

B. With the three golden opening rules, development, centre and King safety one get already far at our level.

C. Update the openings you already play with the newest theory.

D. Create an entire new opening repertoire.


2. Endgame

A. Just learn the basic endgames.

B. Learn the book 100 endgames you must know.

C. Learn the book Silman's complete endgame course.

D. I suggest you read ........chess endgame book.


3. Middlegame

A. Play over as much titled player games as possible

B. Play over as much titled player games as possible which start with the openings you play.

C. Read Reassess your Chess or another chess book that learns you a good chess thought proces.

D. Just learn tactics.


4. Playing Games

A. Don't play games while preparing for a tournament.

B. Play blitz games online, 5 a 10 games a day/week.

C. Play rapid games online. 5 a 10 games a day/week.

D. Play only correspondence games online.

Have fun playing chess!


woensdag 19 april 2017

Straight from the newsroom

Chess study

I have to admit that my chess study is almost nihil. One reason is that I am trying to implement what I learned so far from the book How to tune your chess tactics Antenna. I must admit, I am a slow learner. But this book has opened my eyes concerning my chess play, learned lots. The author Emmanuel Nieman is a very good teacher and writer. So far I can only give this book an A+, a must buy/read.

Another reason is that I got extra work at work. I am now also responsable for acountancy and human resource. Not easy jobs to get on your plate, certainly not if you know almost nothing about it and have to start learning those things from scratch. But it's fun learning those things so I dont complain much.

And third and last reason is that I feel very tired when I come home from work. If I dare to sit on my couch for a few minutes I fall asleep. But sitting in front of my computer I also notice that I drift of to dreamland instead of being focussed of what I am doing.

New rating

In Belgium a new rating list comes out every three months. The rating list of march made me drop three points from 1841 to 1838. Only three games were calculated since one of the team tournaments I played in ended to late to be calculated.

With a score of 2.0 out of 3 (wins against 1551, 1583 and a painfull loss against 1805) I expected to be about equal, but helas it seems that a win against 1550+ gives me considerably less points then that I loose points with a loss against 1800.

So now I am in doubt if my 7.0 out of 8 score I had in the team tournament that ended to late will be enough to win some ratingpoints. Will wins against not clasified, 1555, 1605, 1622, 1657 and 1703 rated players be enough to gain more rating points then I lose with draws against 1555 and 1747 rated players? Fingers crossed.

Rapid tournament

The past weekend I played in the rapid tournament (groups of 8 players, single round robin, 15 minutes per game per player) organized by my club. The groups are made by rating points, meaning that the highest eight ratings form group 1, the following eight the second group, ... .

With 1838 elo rating (national rating) I was second seed of group three (ratings between 1850 - 1720) which ment that I had good chances to end first or second in my group and get one of the two prizes for this group (first prize 40 euros, second prize 20 euros). I started well with 3,5/4 and got the sole lead. I misplayed a pawn endgame against the lowest rated player.

A drink and eat break of 15 minutes followed.

As usual, after the break I played a miserable game. Lack of focus? Still kicking myself when I think about it. Helas, this was against the co-leader and so my chances to win my group became very small. With another draw and win I ended my tournament with the score of 4 wins (against seed 1, 3, 6 and 7) 2 draws (against seeds 5 and 8) and 1 loss (against seed 4). A total of 5,0 out of 7. Not a bad score but helas a half point to short for first place. But good enough for second place and the 20 euro prize.

Have fun playing chess!!