Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wish List

Here are just a few of the tempting titles to be released next year. My overall ambition is to read (some parts) the books already collecting dust before buying a new one but that is an "ambition" worthy of a politician hunting for voters.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy New Year!

The Holiday Season has been pretty lazy but the New Year waiting around the corner is a reminder to get up to speed with my chess training. I will take a short break from the Team4545 League and instead join some ICC tournaments. The Team League is great fun but scheduling the games is a pain due to the time zone differences.

The top priorities for the immediate future is to digest more annotated master games and to become more confident with the black pieces.

One of my chess mentors suggested that improving my ICC rating by on average three points per game played would be a reasonable expectation. That is great news!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Knocked out of the Play-off

Well, our team was already down by 0.5 - 2.5 when I was to play my game. For some reason my mind was totally set on playing black. Anyhow, we had a fun battle and I probably stole half of a point in the end. I will post some notes in a day or two.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekly Training Log (week 3)

December 14 - December 20

Daily Tactics
Daily Fischer Challenge
Chess Book Reading Group Meeting
Slow Game(s)
Reading about the Colle

Chess Exam

This fine book just arrived at the local Chess Store: Chess Exam: You VS. Bobby Fischer: Matches Against Chess Legends, Play the Match, Rate Yourself, Improve Your Game!

60 positions for you to analyze and your answers can be used to give you an evaluation in different areas of the game.

A Stoyko exercise per day might keep the Patzer away!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Seeking Slow Games

The Team4545 League is heading for play-offs but none of my teams are invited. Shame on the Rules! Anyhow, I need my weekly dose of slow games so I would like to ask if somebody would be interested in a few games? Maybe even a Match Series?

I have a slight preference for ICC but FICS is OK. A starting time such as 15:30(EST) works fine for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chess Books -- A Waste of Time?

Here is a copy of an email I sent to a handful of skilled chess players and chess coaches:

"Hi Coach, I just discovered some interesting reading on Chess Improvement:

Rose's Rants at Chessville (

The following statement was interesting and amusing: "Kevin Spragget recommends that until you achieve master strength you need only about 25 books."

I am, as you know, on a limited quest for chess perfection. My Long Term Goal is to reach an ICC rating of 1700 within five years. I would like to ask for your "guesstimate" of the number of books needed to reach such a goal. Furthermore, if I may, I would like to have your input on which books to read for a geezer on his way to 1700.

To create a book load list might help me to be focused so I thought I shopuld give it a go!"

I was kind of surprised by the answers. Almost all of them responded that books might not be the best way to improve. One GM responded that almost any book would do the trick as the important thing was to read it in a proper way.

Anyhow, since I am addicted to buying books I would like to post the questions:

1. How would you like to design the required reading (ten book or less) for a 1700-player-to-be?
(i.e. One book on openings, three on strategy...)

2. What titles would you recommend?

note: Extra credits for a suggested list of three books for the 1400-player-to be (which happens to be my goal for next year )

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekly Training Log (Week 2)

December 7- December 13
Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book: Preface, Introduction, How to read this book, Mates with 2 major pieces TEST 1,2

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Mate with queen and king and play on ICC with KQK robot

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Mate with rook and king and play on ICC with KRK robot TEST 3,5

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Practice the mate with rook and king and Mate with queen and king on ICC TEST 4

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Stalemate Alert!, Summing up, TEST 5

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Review and reread Part One including mate with queen

Daily Tactics Reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course book:
Review and reread Part One from mate with rook and stalemate and TESTs

Please note that both ICC and FICS have "bots" for endgame training.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Chess Study Buddy Reading Group

A few fellow chess improvers took the bait and decided to join the Online Reading Group. There is plenty of room for more group members. We have decided to study Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master

Why join the reading group? Well, it might be fun and it might be the whip and carrot you need to really study the important concept of endgames.

How will it work? We decide on a fairly slow paced schedule for reading the group and "meet" online using, say, Skype +ICC (or FICS?) for conference calls and discuss interesting sections of the last reading assignment.

Doesn't that sounds like fun?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Tough Nut!