Monday, 27 November 2017

The Heusenstammer Sparkassen Open

Wow - quite a success story!  I guess I never played a tournament with such a success - and actually never with such an "ease". Actually, I recognized this "ease" quite a while ago:  almost no time trouble, no total loss of control in terms of completely wrong decisions any longer. And actually even one of my chess pals recognized this "ease" - thanks for letting me know RB!

However (and of course), during these 7 games there was one game (but actually only one - which as such is a success) that I am actually not proud of:  I achieved a totally won middle game against a 2250 player. I knew I had a winning position, not too straight forward, but definitelly winning - even against a 2500 player! I had an extra passed + protected pawn and the machine evalutes the position +1,5 for many moves...


.... I lost!

Whereas I played by far the best tournament ever, this one loss was the most painfull since a decade or more (no exaggeration)! 

A very interesting thing happened at the board: Psychology kicked in! Very hard and not to my favour at all! All of a sudden I was nervous like a 14 year old before his first kiss; afraid of winning, making a mistake, throwing away the safe full point. All of a sudden I only saw threads against my position - and not a single clear plan or good move for my own position.
It was a healthy loss - because everything I can so easily teach my son was ignored by myself so foolishly. A good reminder to stay cool and - if anyting fails, stick to my PAT! Which for sure would have given me a good basis and routine to keep my first thoughts on ACTIVTY rather than haunting ghosts...

Friday, 24 November 2017

Comps have their own way... Round 2 in Heusenstamm

After 3 of 7 rounds at the Heusenstamm Sparkassen Open I am pretty satisfied - no real mistakes and a decent game against a 2300 guy: I managed to keep the game within the higher end of the drawing-range with a minus on my side of 0.3 to 0.45; juuuust enough to survive. Here´s the final position:
(White sacrificed the exchange some 3 moves earlier - in order to escape the draw.)
Black´s last move was Rxa8 - offering a draw; which was accepted by White.
When I entered the position into my comp - the machine gave Black a decisive advantage of +2!
I was shocked - believing that I made a big mistake by offering the draw (too early)!!!!  But then I kept making the moves suggested for Black (and ignoring the suggestions for White) for some 20 moves - the position as such didn´t really change, but the machine keeps his evaluation error at +2...   strange...

Monday, 20 November 2017

Back on stage - Starting some last-minute preparation for the Heussenstammer Sparkassen-Open

After some really heavy 3 months (of additional work) I am finally able - and more than just willing - to dedicate yet again some time to Chess. Although I kept my (almost) daily dosis of CT-ART alive and managed it to an all time high of 2527. However, I am well aware of the fact that this is by far not enough to increase my real rating.
Actually, I am somewhat "nervous" whether I will be able to keep my current rating and I wouldn´t be really surprised (or disappointed), would I drop some points...
But here we go, yet another attempt to push myself into new hights!

Next to repeating some variations with Black - which is something I will have to do throughout the coming days again and again (hoping that these few days will at least help me to survive the openings), I followed Sämisch versus Nimzowitsch in "Chess for Hawks", where the following position caught my attention (Black to move):
His knight is somewhat x-rayed by the white queen. Knowing that, Black´s move is a surprise (and not the best according to the computer): Bd6.    At first, it seems like this is even worsening things - as after e4 and Nf6 both black´s minor pieces are attacked! Sämisch definitely anticipated this and had the following position already in his head:
Hmm - Lakdawala (author of Chess for Hawks) concluded
1) Two healthy pawns; including an intruding and connected passed e-pawn
2) Control over White´s second rank
3) A massive territorial advantage
4) Most importantly - totally immobilized White pieces

Well, I can give four times "yes" - for sure. But that is "now" - I am, unfortunately, pretty sure that I wouldn´t have considered sacrificing my knight...   8-(   Still so  much to learn....  8-(

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Wiesbaden Schlosspark-Open 2017

Unbelievable - I play 3 to 4 hours very very good and then:

Here we go - round 5 (Black to move):
Actually, this cannot be lost - never! Not even after the silly Nb5 (allowing Nf5) even then it is still CLEARLY won. But I fuc... it up second time!

aaaaand the blunder in round 1 (White to move):
I saw that after I take his rook, he will sacrifice his second rook - but I can simply hammer into h6 an have a clearly won endgame; but gone for a different move. Can anybody tell me why?

What is really pissing me of is the fact that I play a very good game for some 3 to 4 hours only to throw it away with one blunder!
The only thing to be recognized is the circumstance that I fuck up very often in round 1!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Some work on the error database

I took some time to enter some of the games played during the last two tournaments into my personal error db.  It starts to crystallize; the main issues are two variations with Black and too passive play in case of higher rated opponents....

My main goal for the coming tournament (end of August) is to erase the former!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Vellmar - Conclusion

All in all, I managed to win some 15 rating points - not too bad, given that I didn´t have time for any decent and/or continuous training during the last months.

I had the chance to talk to the guy I played in round 5 - I posted the diagram yesterday: He made clear that the +3 evaluation of the machine holds only true if White pushes the pawns, but that things are not really that clear at all if White remains passive and keeps all his pieces tightly together - something the machine cannot really account for; and all of a sudden it takes the machine many many many moves to crack White open... That´s not an excuse for me chickening out (as the worst to happen would have been what I so easily gave without White having to fight for)!  But it provides some reasoning for the difference of my personal and the computer´s evaluation...

The most important take away from the tournament: There is one variation with Black which needs my attention; it was on the board 3 times during the tournament and I only achieved two draws. That´s not good enough and I actually already started to work on it!  For the next tournament - end of August - I will be BEST prepared to meet this variation!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Vellmar - Round 5

After a very long life-or-death struggle including pawn and even piece sacrifices by my 2200-opponent, where I managed to hit the best move (according to the computer) for some 10 moves in a row (which was absolutely vital), I reached the following position:
Yes - it is undoubted that Black is better. But how much? Is it a (very) clear win?  I saw some variations with queens leaving the board and Black losing the a-pawn... Actually, I personally gave it less than one pawn (i.e. about 0.8 or so) for Black and with some 12 minutes left for 12 moves I - once more - chickened out and accepted a draw.
Actually, the computer rates Black´s position at almost +3.0 (even now knowing the score, it seems a bit too much to me) - and what is even more astonishing for me personally, it doens´t really matter at all whether Black keeps the a-pawn or not! Important, however, is the fact that Black has to avoid trading queens (and even the computer needs some more 30 moves to make the victory clear); wheras trading rooks is cleary favouring Black...

Ok - I still need to work on my position evaluation ability (as well as on my self-confidence against stronger players)!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Vellmar Open - First Round

It´s black´s turn - I was black - I fucked it up!

As long as I fuck up positions like this, there is absolutely ZERO chance to reach new hights and increase my rating...    I saw Ng6 and Kg5, winning the game but IGNORED that Kg3 is possible (and I ignored that both Qf2 and even Qh2 are winning, easily).

How can this happen?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Friday, 21 April 2017

Grenke - Post Mortem III

Today I started with yet another Naroditsky - about imbalances. Although this young, talented and silver-tongued GM makes it very easy to listen, I lack more concrete games. Nevertheless, today he not only reminded me of Silman´s concept of imbalances, which as such wasn´t too bad a repetition, but also gave two nice examples from world-class chess.
Here´s Ivanchuk against Anand - Black to move:
Would you have gone for Bc4?  Maybe next time!  😉
I will (have to) go back to this game in a few months - just to be remind me of things...

In addition, I analysed yet another of my games played at the Grenke - both annotating them using CB13 and putting it into my Excel of "Pain" (storing/listing the top 3 mistakes made per lost/drawn game).

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Grenke - Post Mortem II

In February I had to stop any chess training activity due to a second job I took. Nevertheless, I continued with CT-ART. However, I fell down some 100 rating points once I stopped my intense daily training efforts - aaaaaalll the way to about 2330.  At a first stage, I was able to climb back to about 2360 by March. Now, I am back on 2400. That is somewhat motivating...  8-)

On top of today´s tactic session I analysed one Grenke match. Believe it or not, for the first time since about one year I used ChessBase to save+comment the game!  At the end of the game I wrote down the three most important things to remember! I then copied this into my Excel-sheet used to gather data in order to recognise patterns of improvement and/or continuous mistakes...

Here is a nice position of the game I analysed today - White (me) to move: There is one clearly winning move and I am a bit proud that I found it during time pressure - I was playing a 2300-FM:
However, with a cleary won position but only about one minute left for some 7 moves, I chickened-out and drew a few moves later...  8-/

I called it a day after I consumed some Naroditsky...

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Grenke - Post Mortem I

I went through 3 different variations I was faced with during the tournament and had them analyzed by Stockfish and Hiarcs before I hammered the most promising lines into CPT. This actually took me some 3 hours this evening.

A chess pal of mine - LdV - once indicated that after chess tournament he has enough stuff to work on and analyse "for months"; whereas in the past it took me not even a full week before I "moved on".
However,from now one I will spend more time on the post mortem of a tournament and digging into the opening is just one aspect:

  • I will also get back to the database I created to document all the mistakes I made during the game. (Something, I have to admit, I didn´t follow up decently enough.)
  • I will also spend more time trying to understand PLANS behind moves prioritized by the engine(s) instead of simply taking for granted that other moves are better: maybe I will even write down these moves and plans - annotating the game!
THESE ARE the reasons, why the headline indicates, that the post mortem will take me a few evenings...

GRENKE Open 2017

A very impressive - and German biggest - Chess Tournament has seen mixed results of ChessMonk:

Very similar to my last tournament in early January, I managed to dominate the game in 6 out of 9 matches but failed to cash-in the full point way too often: Against two weaker players and even two FMs I only managed a draw in CLEARY won positions. This is simply not good enough to increase my rating!

In two matches - one against a 2200-dude and one against a 2150 guy, I was simply performing badly. In the first case based on insufficient opening knowledge: a gap I already closed the very same evening! And in round 9 I oversaw two very very simple threads in an otherwise very pleasant position. My position was good enough to absorb the loss of the first pawn (again showing that in generall I can easily keep up with these guys), but losing the second pawn in the very same silly manner was too much...

So just like my personal summary of the Staufer Open, I - reinforcingly - conclude:
  1. I am very very close to reach 50% against "weaker" FMs but I really have to stop allowing them to escape with half a point - I have to stop to "chicken out"!
  2. I manage to control the board and the direction of the game pretty well and pretty constantly against weaker players, but then fail miserable at a certain point. Up to now, I cannot recognise any pattern why I start to make bad moves all of a sudden once I reach cleary won positions! (However, one alerting pattern is shining through: I am weak at spotting tactics against me. And once they hit me like lightning, I am not really able to calculate the consequences well! I tend to - heavily - overestimate their brutal force and falsly start incorrect defensive measures.)
  3. No real time trouble occured. (Yes, there was one game, but time trouble only started with the last 10 moves due to heavy tactics against me being involved.) It seems like I established reliable positional understanding of where my pieces should move to, without having to overly invest time.

Although openings weren´t really the issue, one of my pillars of the coming weeks will be to intensify the usage of CPT in order to gain more confidence getting out of the opening - even against titled players - both without disadvantages on the board and on the clock!
The second pillar will be positional/tactical puzzles!

BTW: My son did remarkably well - making any of my own blunders somewhat less important... Lukily, he get´s closer to my own performance and since he is playing some of my openings, too, I am eager to see us starting to work together trying to improve our chess...

Thursday, 30 March 2017


Believe it or not: I took the special offer to go for the complete 15h selection of "The Naroditsky Method".
I am not really convinced that the rather passive way of watching/listening makes you a stronger player. Nevertheless, I expcect some new insights, thoughts, concepts which will both deepen and broaden my understanding.(And if nothing else, I simply bought world-class games commented by a world-class player. This by itsself is a value.)

Here is a new game (So against Aronian - commented by Naroditsky).
Black´s a6 was played to prepare b5. How should he continue (to get b5 played):
Well, would you have went for Ba5? - Aronian did!  8-)

What is somewhat outstanding is the fact that Naroditsky - just like Ramirez - is able to talk about his thinking process and/or the plans/ideas of a move so freely that it is really a joy to listen!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Journey is the Reward

The initial journey as such, which began pretty much one year ago and which was supposed to ELEVATE my chess rating within one year, has come to an end.

Per week, I spent roughly anything between 5 and 12 hours on chess --- EXCLUDING some weeks (I guesstimate about 8) without any chess at all (e.g. due to illness or the additional interim job I took during February and March). On the bottom line, in terms of my rating, hardly any movement kicked in. This fact is VERY disappointing and somewhat demotivating: I simply missed the target!
However, my time management has increased drastically and my repertoire with Black has changed - definitely for the better! I find it (much) easier these days to find a plan and my intuition has become much better: although I still might lack the right plan, I have a pretty good gut feeling when a move is "rather odd". In many (almost every!) tournament in 2016 I was able to draw against FMs or even IMs --- this might actually be the only trace indicating that my game as such did improve!
Subjectively, I would also say that my ability to analyse/comment games has become stronger.
So, broadening the perspective and not focussing on the rating only: There is improvement!
I played some 10 tournaments and in general my rating gains were never as spectacular as my rating losses; i.e. I tend to fall lower than I can jump high (one simple explanation is my fear of losing, coupled with offering/accepting draws against higher rated players too often)...  I recognized that my "bad tournaments" are always "really bad" - some 50% of the games are suboptimal. So in these cases it is never about one or two games but rather 4 or even 5. I have no explanation for this other than it could be due to being "over-played" (i.e. too much chess training and too much chess tournaments in too little time; I might have simply ignored the fact that high intense training/competition phases ALWAYS have to go hand in hand with well-balanced phases of relaxation/pausing. But that is rather a "common sense" statement and nothing I can really prove...
Amazingly, working on (my) openings seems to be and stay a constant: there will never ever be a time where I can skip focussing on improving my opening repertoire!
Hence, the plan is to give it yet another year with intense training! However, this time the rating really has to get up! The target is a gain of 50 rating points (which, all in all, wouldn´t even result in an all-time high --- sad sad, but I will focus on the journey not on the reward)!
The way to get there:
  • Continue with my training efforts, some 5 to 10 hours per week.
  • Play somewhat less tournaments; some 5 to 7 per year.
  • Sundays (if there is no league match or tournament) will be spent practising end games. Ideally with my son --- this will help both of us and perhaps makes it a bit more fun+motivating.
  • Saturdays will be spent with going through my dairy! Yes - I will simply go over all relevant entries of my blog again and again: It will remind me of all the things I (once) learned and I will go through each of the puzzles that I uploaded and solve them yet again! This shall improve my pattern recognition and assure that conclusions drawn and stuff learned before doesn´t get lost but is reinforced.
  • Mondays - Fridays will be spent with solving puzzles (= pattern recognition), my openings and with analysing/documenting past games/mistakes!
  • Draws will not be accepted so easily if the position shows upside potential!
  • During training sessions as well as played games I HAVE TO work harder on digging deeper into the lines (my calculation depth has to increase - I shall not evaluate a position/variation too soon).
Maybe, the above (revised/more strict) schedule is also an important outcome and a clear positive indication of ChessMonk´s achievements...  8-)

So, feel free to accompany (and even comment on) my journey!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Fun + Duty

Today I did a heavy online blitz session!  I know, I know (and my former coach often enough told me so, too): it is not really helping with anything and actually somewhat lost time (time that should have been invested into decent training), but I enjoyed it... 8-)

In addition, I did yet another 6 Aargaards and FINALLY completed chapter 1.
Here´s a nice one - White to move (I went for c4 - which actually was the move played by White, knowing that the chapter is about tactics and having a deep look into Kb4 first; but - like soooo very often - I didn´t calculate far enough):
It is amazing to see the resulting position...
...and the judgement of Stockfish 8: +2!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Closing the Gap(s)

As indicated earlier on, I spent this evening with CB13, MegaBase2016 and Hiarcs to FINALLY get a grip on two lines with Black: it was overdue (as I had to learn the hard way in yesterday´s game)! Actually, I even hammered the stuff in CPT!
In addition, I picked up Aagaard´s "Grandmaster Preparation - Calculation" again! (Actually, it is RB`s book - he lent it to me and I better get a grip on it so that I can return it timely.) I went for 6 puzzles; here´s an interesting one which I didn´t get (White to move):


Since my last entry I was VERY BUSY being a (part-time) Lecturer for Business Psychology, teaching Bachelor students at a private university - next to my full time profession. Hence, I simply had to stop any chess training activities (and prepare the lectures)! Actually, I didn´t even have the time for online blitz! However, I managed to continue some work with CT-ART 4.0: After I fell down some 80 rating points there (within the first two weeks), I recovered in parts and I am currently at around 2370.

Yesterday was a league match - the team as well as I lost. I fooled myself within the opening, silly, but forgivable. But later on I put my rook and a deadly (i.e. dead-end) square and never recovered... The good thing: Already yesterday I started to work on the opening gap --- so, indeed, I am back! And from now on I will stop counting days...

...still determined to reach NEW HEIGHTS!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Day 297 / 68 to go

Yet another tactic day - with the currently "usual" mixed results. I slipped some 15 rating points at CT-ART based on fat fingers: I simply dropped the piece one square to early two times...  Only happens using my mobile but never during a real game, so I am rather relaxed about it.

Then I dedicated my time to 8 Aagaards but only solved 6. Actually, I have reoccuring deja-vu moments: I am pretty convinced that some of the positions to solve are also in his other book (the one i started my journey with). But since I don´t konw the solution by heart, it is ok for me.  I guess I will start each chapter all over again, until I am able to solve all the puzzles in one chapter without any mistakes (but not necessarily in one single go).  Seems to be a nice challenge and should be useful for my pattern recognition (at least that´s what I hope)...

I caught a cold - let´s see how I can proceed the coming days...

Monday, 23 January 2017

Day 296 / 69 to go

Hmmm - wasn´t my day today: From 9 Aagards, I didn´t get 4, two of which had no "sudden death". So I was too focused on a quick win and "gave up" once I recognized that I cannot find it...  (At least I correctly identified that there was no quick win as such. But yet again, it doesn´t really matter: I simply didn´t find the right continuation or made insufficently correct judgements about the position as such!) Here´s one of these (Black to move):
Of course, I can identify Black´s clear advantage and even the correct move (Nh3) was on my shortlist, but... 8-/

My absolute favourite of the day (White to move):
The surprise Nd6 is a clear match winner!

Earlier today I did some CT-ART puzzles and kept my current rating. These days, I cannot hope for more (as I get 0 to max. 1 rating point for solving a puzzle, but lose 3 to 7 points for every miss)...

Free ticket for the Magnus Movie

There is a high chance that you qualify for a free ticket for the Magnus Movie shown on 03rd Feb in Langen!

Get in touch with me to find out more!
(I  will repeat this offer the coming days and will let you know more about the donating chess club - due to its 60th anniversary - soon.)

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Day 295 / 70 to go

Ok ok - the plan was and still is to go for 10 Aagaard´s a day, but tonight I only managed 6! I am dead tired and it wouldn´t make any sense to force myself into another 4...  However, I got them all correct!

Good night!

Days 293 + 294 / 71 to go

Friday I didn´t do anything decent apart from playing some online blitz. It is a bit strange - at least for me - that I have ZERO progess there: I am still on the same ratings there, although I have done some intense training by now...   Hmmm

On Saturday I did two sessions with J.Benjamin´s "Liquidation on the Chess Board".
(It was one of my x-mas presents from my parents.)
I actually did it together with my son. We finished the first chapter and did half of the puzzles of that chapter. The plan is to do that from now on every weekend/Saturday and get ALL the puzzles done.
This doesn´t only sound like a good plan anyway, but also like a nice "father+son"-thing!  😉

Friday, 20 January 2017

Day 291+292 / 73 to go

On Wednesday I, indeed, did the 10 tactic puzzles as well as additional stuff using CT-ART 4.0! And all in all I did quite well. However, on CT-ART I only receive about 1 point for solving a puzzles correctly, whereas I lose about 7 or even 8 rating points whenever I don´t solve it. Hence, I don´t make any progress these days: I am more or less stuck at 2450...

Yesterday, I came home from work at 23:30!  Yes, no kidding: I was in the office until about 22:45...   8-/
I forced myself into CT-ART and at least managed not to lose any rating points...

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Day 290 / 75 to go

Today was TACTICS day!

I worked on 9 puzzles in Aagaard´s CALCULATION - but missed three (the last ones). Not sure if it was due to the fact that I simply made too much and wasn´t fresh enough anymore, or because it was simply beyond my abilities. However, the plan is to increase from the usual 6 puzzles (which I went for throughout Smith´s book) to 10!
Although all three are "nice" - here´s my favourite (Black to move):

I like it, because it is so tempting for White to believe "YES - I got you!" but yet so wrong!  😏

In addition, I spent quite some time on CT-ART 4.0 (actually, I did so before I started with Aagaard) - but only made some 10 rating points (to 2460)...

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Day 289 / 76 to go

After having finished Smith´s work last week, the plan was so start with Ouderwerding´s two classical works.
However, my pal RB lent me his book from Aargaard, "Calculation"  - THANKS DUDE!
​So I started with this tonight.

It is interesting to notice that Aargaard seems not to be a great supporter of "analysis trees"! But I will keep relying on my PAT. A nice help during games could be his advise to ask yourself "What is the drawback of my opponent´s last move?" (Although it seems clear to do so, I like that sort of questions.) Here´s a nice one - Black to move:
It is a "quiet" move - not winning the game by brutal force but making sure to continue with a certain edge...

During the day I did some tactic puzzles using CT-ART 4.0, but instead of going up, I yet again dropped a few rating points to somewhere around 2450... I am not amused!

Finally, I called it a day after diving into one sideline with Black - and hammering it into CPT.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Day 288 / 77 to go

Today we had a team league match. Unfortunately, one player got sick so we were one behind already from the start. My son played a very nice game against a 2100 dude and crunched him. We actually had very good chances to beat the other team, but only managed a team-draw...  8-/

I came out of the opening with a slight edge, but made two moves which weren´t the best and the game went into the drawing range. Then I went for a positional pawn sacrifice which put me back into the game. My opponent then counter-sacrificed the exchange for two pawns, giving me nice edge of 0.4. But yet again, my judgement wasn´t solid enough and within one move it slipped back to 0.0. Worse, just another move later I blundered and should have lost. But due to the severe time trouble of my opponent he didn´t see the winning move and agreed to draw...   The result as such is a fair representation of the game as such, but the quality was rather bad!

So all in all, I really have to work HARDER on my middlegame strategies/positional judgements!

Day 287 / 78 to go

Easy - I took a day off (went to a b-day party and watched two cool movies with my son)!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Day 286 / 79 to go

I spent most of this evening with Queen versus Queen + Pawn --- . To be honest, it wasn´t clear to me that there are CLEAR winning chances for the side with the pawn, especially with one of the central pawns. I guess, I would have settled for a draw easily withouth this knowledge. Even worse: I guess I would have even offered a draw had my opponent the pawn (which shows even more that I had no clue)!

 Smith taught me about the winning and drawing motifs if the g or b-pawn is concerned - very instructive. I believe there is a high chance that I will keep (i) the key squares principle and (ii) the "run away king" in mind.

In addition to yesterday´s thought about focusing more on my own game instead of too much wandering around, I was and still am impressed by the following comment: Magnus Carlsen gets more exhausted than his rivals after a game and it would be good to learn how Carlsen manages to give everything!
This might be an important "picture" for me to keep in mind:  In the coming games (especially in the afternoon rounds) I will try to GIVE EVERYTHING and get TOTALLY EXHAUSTED!

Herewith, I finished Smith´s famous Pump Up your Rating! It is really a good book.
Next I will work with Outerwerdering.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Day 285 / 80 to go

I spent some time with CT-ART 4.0 but didn´t really make any rating-progress... 8-/    I guess I am not yet really fully in a decent training mode...

In addition, I advanced with Smith´s book: I take three hints with me.
1) I should use a real chess board more often. Especially for practising openings and endgames.
2) I should start asking myself "why this move now"/"what is the purpose of this move" more often while practising opening and endgames!
3) I should stop watching other games while my game is still on.  I remember that coach gave me that advise about one year ago. And I remembered that I did decrease the time I was wandering around. I don´t know for sure, but I believe that it actually did have a positive effect on my game. But for some reason - at least during the latest tournaments, I constantly was looking at my team mates games!

These hints will now make it into my Summary of Training Achievements!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Day 284 / 81 to go

Today I did some tactic puzzles using CT-ART 4.0 --- but fell below 2500 (some of the stuff was way over my abilities; maybe, using a board and taking more time I would have achieved more; but on the train using my mobile: no chance).
As indicated before, I limit the difficulty level to the margin 30-130 and I had the engine pick the themes randomly. THIS WAS A MISTAKE - at least according to Smith´s Woodpecker method! From now on I will
decrease the difficulty level to 100
have the puzzles ordered by theme.
This (according to Smith) will assure that I will easier remember/recognise/internalise the themes and motifs!

Then I advanced in Smith´s book. Did you know about this THEORETICALLY DRAWN ending? Black to move:
Actually, I didn´t. But it appears to be rather "straight" forward and something easy to remember...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Day 283 / 82 to go

I started with 6 (4 tactical and 2 endgame) positions at Smith´s book, solved them all (but not in each and every variation to the very end) and should be able to start Chapter 7 within the coming two days.

Then I went back to my database (variation with Black). To be very honest, I guess I know only half  (or even less) of the possibilities Chessbase 13 offers...😕

I closed the training day with two Lommers. BOTH were incorrectly set up in the book!!! My coach told me that this would happen every now and then throughout the book, but not that it would happen twice in a row! So it took me some 20 for each position before I gave up, only to find out (and have it confirmed by an engine) that the text is incorrect. Hence, my analysis as such was correct and I correctly didn´t find the desired solution according to the book, as the book is simply wrong...

(I guess tomorrow I will add all those louzy games to my "Mistake db".)

Ah - by the way: I bought the highly praised newest book by Gelfand "Positional Decision Making in Chess" for my eChessReader-App "Forward Chess". So that I can use public transportation time for studying. But, what a disappointement, this book is pretty useless and much more a special edition of Gelfand´s best games - something I am not interested at all. (A pitty, Aargaad gave his good name as chess author for Gelfand´s work: it is so misleading the way the book is offered!)

Day 282 / 83 to go

As indicated yesterday, I created/worked on a separated DB for one variation with Black.

In addition I continued with Smith´s book solving some middlegame puzzles. Actually, I did a repetition of those positions I was working on some 3 weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I still wasn´t able to solve all the 6 positions straight to the end. Actually, I couldn´t even remember the correct first move for one of these...
But as indicated on training day 258 (see the position there): even Axel Smith faced the same problem!  😉

Monday, 9 January 2017

Day 281 / 84 to go

I went to the movies with my son - we saw the Carlsen documentary --  not bad (and motivating my son)!

In addition, I created my very first database for one variation with Black, but didn´t finish it 100%. Tomorrow I will pick up Smith again!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Day 280 / 85 to go

I spent the much of the afternoon and some time during the evening with one variation for White and one for Black --- using CB13 and my CPS. For the first time ever, I even used two Laptops!

I then took the freedom to play some online blitz.
Tomorrow I will start analysing my mistakes and pick up Axel Smith again and practise my PAT/solvve exercises in his book.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Days 275 - 279 / Staufer Open

It was a Nightmare - from day 1 right through to day 4!

As we all know, pictures tell more than 1000 words, so, here we go:

Round 1 - Black to move (and win - whereas I didn´t see it and had to settle for the draw - AFTER I was presented with yet another clear winning position some 15 moves later, which even was spotted almost instantly by my son):

Round 2 - White to move (and get a clear edge of above 1.0 - but I didn´t even see it):

Round 3 - Black to move (and win - but I managed to fuck it up and again only get half a point):
I saw Bd7 and knew it is winning. But while my right arm was moving towards the board, I took the knight with my rook!!! Don´t ask why...

Round 4 - White to move (with a plus of 1.2 it is actually a win; guess what I achieved? But I have to admit that this is one of the positions I will have to dig into during a post mortem):
 Within this game, I reached the lowest motivational low I EVER - really, ever - experienced. I made some 20 moves in about 10 minutes and I couldn´t be asked to give a sh... about the outcome of the game!

For those being more into statistics: I assume having lost some 30 rating points. I drew 5 times (!!!) against opponents having some 150 Elo-points less than I did. 4 of these are part of the above compilation (ie. I should have won CLEARLY)! I won two games against lower rated dudes and lost two against higher rated dudes.

I "blame" it on the following things (no particular order):
  1. The slight cold I had.
  2. The 8 rounds played just a few days before.
  3. The sluggish training advances I made in November/December.
  4. The yet to be improved positional understanding, calculation accuratness and calculation depth
  5. The ongoing separation/divorce (with all the emotional and financial stress - which increased my insomnia even more)  
Nevertheless, I am highly motivated! (Is this strange?) Actually, I could start the next tournament RIGHT NOW, really! (Yes, this is definitely strange!)

The good things:
  1. I had my new opening for Black on the board 3 times and really learnt a lot.
  2. In addition, the above shows that I made it out of the opening and sometimes even into the advanced middle game pretty well and it was me to face the full point instead of my opponent! (On 7 out of the 9 games, I had clear/concrete winning chances.)

Days 273 + 274 / 91 to go

New Year´s Eve and 1st of Jan were left without any chess: as indicated before, we already drove to the next tournament in the afternoon of the first of Jan..

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Days 268 - 272 / Erfurter Schachfestival

For the third time my dad, my son and me were participating in the Erfurter Schachfestival.
And for the first time all of us finished with a rating plus! While mine was "pretty moderate", my son made some 60 points and my dad still some 15. So, all in all, it was successful. I fu..ed up three games, a winning-position against an IM (but I have to admit that I actually didn´t really understand the position and therefore didn´t even believe there was any chance for a win; I was sure of the draw, though) that I at least should have easily kept a draw. A painful draw against a lower rated opponent where I saw/calculated two plans but decided for the wrong one. And finally a loss against a 2100-dude where I repeatingly (3 times) drew false conclusions.
But, as indicated above, I continued my lucky streak of consecutive rating gains - although only by some 5 points.

Owing to the fact that my son made me inroll (together with him) for the Staufer Open starting on the 02nd Jan, a cold that I caught during the end of the Erfurter tournament, and, of course, New Year celebrations, the detailed post mortem has to wait until next week. Especially the loss against the IM needs to be analysed and reprocessed in detail...

Days 264 - 267 / 98 to go

Well, what can I say (write):  The x-mas season was simply a bit too stressy. I was working up to the 23rd while having two intense travel days on the 22nd and 23rd. Due to aforementioned "private inconveniences" the whole x-mas preparations (decorating / shopping / baking - yes, yes, my son and me spent two afternoons with baking very delicious cookies) took an awful lot of time, too...

During these days I was repeating some opening lines and did some CT-ART tactical exercises, but there was definitely not a single "real" training unit.