Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Some new arrivals and an update

We went to visit family in LA, so I didn't get any chess related activities in over the weekend other than to finish my initial look through Andy Soltis's latest offering What It Takes To Become A Chess Master. It appears to be a nice complement to his earlier work Studying Chess Made Easy where Soltis gives specific advice on how to study and improve. He does give some advice in this book on how to improve the traits and habits being discussed, but not nearly as detailed as the earlier work. I think he does raise many good points though and it is a good addition to my collection.

In addition to Reti's Masters of the Chessboard, I also picked up Kasparov's latest tome in kindle format as it was being sold for under $14 versus the roughly $30 for the hardback. I might eventually get the hardback to complete the collection, but it seemed like too good a price difference to pass up and I wanted to look at more chess books for the kindle. As I stated in the earlier post I had also picked up Chess Secrets: Giants of Innovation. It's formatting looks pretty much the same as the Kasparov book which makes sense since they are both Everyman products. The diagrams are pretty clear and the text looks nice enough. Having a second look at the Reti book I noticed that the diagrams seem a bit blurry, which I didn't notice the other week. It isn't so bad that I can't stand reading it, but it is slightly annoying.

Some other physical books that have arrived recently are the latest entry in Artur Yusupov's book series, Chess Evolution 1, The Grandmaster Battle Manual by Kotronias, The 2nd volume of Donaldson and Minev's massive work on Akiva Rubinstein, the latest edition of Anand's game collection for Gambit, and Grandmaster Versus Amateur by Shaw and Aagaard.

On the training front I have been doing a minimal amount of tactics (10-20/day) on chesstempo and am back in the mid 1800s standard, and I have started a series of correspondence games on schemingmind. The main thing I need to do with the correspondence games is keep the amount to a manageable level. It is easy early on the start a bunch of games, but as they progress it gets difficult to keep up with all of them if you have too many going. I have been thinking of jumping in to one of the 45 45 leagues (ICC, FICS, or playchess), but I am worried about whether I can work the games around family obligations, plus the inevitable interruptions that come with having a young child if I play the games at home. I will have to discuss with my wife if she is willing to let me do that one night a week. Perhaps I can play them from work in the evening in order to concentrate on the game.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mason - Tarrasch, Hamburg Chess Congress 1885

I played through another game from Tarrasch's 300 Games tonight (Game #65), playing solitaire chess while I did it. I took an extra point off if my move changed the evaluation of the position to the worse, for example from += to =, and I gave myself a bonus point and didn't count it wrong if my move evaluated better than Tarrasch's move. If the move evaluated pretty much equal to Tarrasch's move then I didn't count it as wrong as well. I seemed to be doing fairly well, starting off my game at move 9, but I hit what seemed like a rough patch on moves 33-38 though my wanting to play e3 on moves 36 and 37 seemed to evaluate much better than Tarrasch's selections. I did have a few spots though where my move swung the evaluation, with one case being my moving a rook to the square just vacated by Mason's bishop on move 42. I guess I could claim time pressure, but I completely spaced on the bishop. I gave myself 30 minutes, with a 1 minute increment. Other than the oversight on trying to play 42..Rd1, the one move that bothered me was not playing 15..N:e5. It seemed to me that white would be able hold onto that pawn. I didn't see him interposing the rook between the queen and pawn like that allowing me to pick up the pawn. Overall a fun game to play through.

Not a bad start after not looking at a board and pieces for close to a year.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back from my vacation

I have been pretty busy most of the past year and haven't spent any time on chess, but now I am getting back into the swing of things. It is kind of like the Godfather movie where Pacino says "Everytime I think I'm out they pull me back in." So it is with chess and myself. I have the bug, and so no matter what I eventually find my way back to the game. The main focus at this point I think will be consistency and quality of training rather than quantity, and hopefully I will avoid burn out and then be less likely to let life carry me away from the game. So I should be posting here regularly again.

On that note, today I purchased my 1st 2 kindle based chess ebooks. Russell Enterprises's algebraic edition of Reti's Masters of the Chessboard was priced at $7.49 I believe, and Pritchett's Chess Secrets: Giants of Innovation. I'm surprised at how well the Reti book looks on the kindle. I will take a closer look at Pritchett's book this afternoon. My earlier worries that the format wouldn't work for chess books seems to be unfounded. My bookshelves are probably cheering, but I imagine my bank account will not be.