Wednesday, December 07, 2022 11:03

Archive for February, 2010

So very tired… but Happy! (IVCC Winter Tornado!)

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

I traveled up to Oglesby today (just a tad over an hour’s drive North of me,) and played in a 4 round G/80 tournament today.

My final score: .5 for 4. My second round was a draw that we actually worked down to King versus King. While a theoretical draw, brief post-analysis following the round showed that both my opponent and myself missed wins arising from being able to go Rook up. But oh, well.

I had originally planned to take a fourth round 1/2 point bye, but I got to talking pre Round-3 start. Part of me feels I should have, as I was tired enough that I dropped my Queen on move 6!!?!?! But, even Queen down, I held out for 66(!) moves before resigning.

The other interesting thing that happened… my Chronos clock died at the end of Round 3. (Batteries. I haven’t replaced them in a couple of years.) My opponent was going to call the TD over, but I could see the win he had, he was good enough to make it, and I resigned.

Thanks to Ron Suarez and the Illinois Valley Chess Club for running it!

New Video

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

I’ve gotten a new headset microphone (pretty simple – a $25 Logitech model,) and have now broken it in with a new video over at The video location is here, and the game referenced (an Ammonia Opening) is now up here.

Enjoy your chess!

From Off Blog to Off Physically

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I’ve been down with a bad cold since Tuesday afternoon. Almost off work yesterday and today (spent an hour both days doing absolutely necessary things then getting out.)

So now I’m lying in bed with my laptop. How does one enjoy one’s chess when sick?

Well, there are things which can be done. For example, I call up Fritz 12 and run it in “Friend Mode.” Fritz has various training capabilities. Among them are “Sparring Mode” and “Friend Mode.”

Training modes in Fritz 12

Training modes in Fritz 12

In Sparring Mode (as I understand it,) Fritz will occasionally make deliberate moves which will allow the human to take tactical shots.

“Friend Mode” adjusts the playing strength of Fritz according to your wins and losses. On choosing the option, a window opens:

The "Friendly Game" Mode of Fritz

The "Friendly Game" Mode of Fritz

What this window tells me is that I have played 37 “Friend Mode” games against Fritz, and my win percentage is 39%. It also shows my current handicap. While I can adjust this up or down, it keeps track for me. If I win, it decreases the handicap and Fritz plays stronger. If I lose, it increases the handicap and Fritz plays weaker. While this can lead to some odd situations (like when I see Fritz has a win on the board I can see, but it intentionally plays a move by which I can draw,) it nevertheless allows me to not have to always experience the futility of playing a computer.

The mode is designed to be a “friend” against whom you both win and lose against. (It also has the side effect of ‘progressive resistance’ training – building up a player’s strength by presenting challenges just above one’s current playing level.)

So, even when down-and-out, I am able to enjoy my chess. Until I return from my sickness, I hope that you’re able to find ways to

Enjoy your Chess!

Been off for a few days…

Monday, February 8th, 2010

…enjoying my chess, of course! ;)

I’m publishing this tonight; next update maybe tomorrow live from Colley’s, or possibly Wednesday morning. But since it’s been more days than I’d like since I’ve posted, here it is.

Friday was a very hectic day at work, lots of stuff to do and then getting off early. (Got off early to go and prep for Saturday on Friday evening…)

Saturday it was working the computer room at the Colene Hoose elementary school tournament. Just didn’t have time to create a blog entry from the tournament room; doing other stuff in the lulls between entering results and pairing, plus picking up some good WinTD tricks.

Sunday was pretty much a rest day. Did some errands, laundry, and didn’t get to the most important bit. A little bit of chess, but not much. Which was OK on the Sabbath.

Then it was today. “Work” was attending a class on Advanced Excel for Power Users – which I loved! – and then tonight it was the usual Tri-City Chess Club night at Colley’s. Played two games, a casual game that I was clearly lost in before my opponent blundered. (Hey, I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, burned it, and then been there all over again. Multiple times.)

Then I had a G/25 unrated game that I felt reasonably good to draw. I think I should’ve been able to convert it to a win, but I’ll take the draw. Maybe more on that later.

Lots of good conversation and camaraderie! Thus, it’s been a wonderful few days of enjoying my chess. Hope in the interim you’ve been able to

Enjoy your Chess!

Making a Chess Screen Saver dream come true…

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

The last couple of days I’ve been playing around with an idea and making it real.

What I wanted to do was have a screen saver that would present games where the moves would be animated on a board. (Historically significant games, games with openings /tactics / endgames I’m working on, my own games, whatever.)

ChessBase has the capability to take a game and create an HTML/javascript replay, and an option to animate the board in replay. (For an example: )

Then a bit of careful Googling led me to Web Screen Saver 2010. A quick install later, using ChessBase to create 50 games from 1700-1863 to start with for display, pointing the screensaver to them, a little more configuration, and voila! I now have my chess screen saver.

When running, you don’t see the browswer frame – it’s all full screen. It’s also interactive – I can click on the moves and replay them from that point. (And I’m not sure if it’s bug or feature, but clicking correctly stops the replay until the next game in the screen saver loads or one manually refreshes the page – I can actually manually step through the game. I’ve configured the program that mousing and mouseclicks don’t wake it up, but pressing any keyboard key.)

The screen saver program is good enough that I’ll be coughing up the $19.99 for it. ;)

Having historic games replay on my computers when they’re idle is another way I’ve found to enjoy my chess. Creatively adapting existing solutions is yet another way to

Enjoy your Chess!

Two tournaments in three days!

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The second was our monthly G/10 Blitz tournament for Tri-City Chess Club, last night. Went 1 for 4 (again!) My win was against an opponent who had a full and tiring day and then dropped – but I’ll take the win with gratitude. :)

The other thing to note: I learned that it is entirely possible to use eNotate to record full games even at G/10. That I went out of time wasn’t because of eNotate. I have *so* got to make a video about that, but it’s move tap-tap, move tap-tap, move tap-tap. With the 3 second delay I lost little, if any, time to recording. I’ll acknowledge that twice the tap-tap led to recording a wrong move, but undoing that was the work of about another 3-5 seconds.

My operational theory is: Blitz chess can, if you record your games and record enough of them, eventually reveal patterns of how one reacts to a given position. The eventual improvement goal is to learn how I see the board and react instinctively, in order to change how I see the board and thus change my reactions to something more winnable. (Not to mention to show myself where I am recognizing patterns appropriately and positively reinforce where I’m moving correctly.)

But, at any rate, chalk up another good thing about eNotate. ;)