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Archive for January, 2010

Live from Colley’s, 1/11 Version

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

So, another night for Twin Cities Chess Club at Colley’s.

Tonight it was fun, as all of us were present at some point Saturday’s tournament. We had a look at the beautiful Gelfand-Nakamura game in Round 5 of the World Team Championship. Go Nakamura! From there we, as a group, played through a game from Saturday’s tournament.

Then we all just talked for awhile as a group, and then had a G/10 ladder event. Can’t say that I won any games (my perfect record at Quick remains – no wins!) It was still pretty fun to descend down the ladder.

A little more chat, some consolidation of my games from the tournament into ChessBase (since I still don’t have my 2009 Light Premium running,) and then it was a little over three hours later.

Shameless plug: Come on down to Colley’s Chess Cafe on Monday nights! (Or Tuesday nights. Or just stop by!)


Personal log: I’m deeply considering attending the tournament down in Decatur this Saturday. A lot of us are. :)

Originally I wanted to go to the fun event in Peoria on Sunday at Hardee’s, but I’m attending a hockey game instead. (Another nice thing about Chess: Nobody ever went to a fight and a Chess Game broke out. Though the reverse has sometimes been regrettably true…)

Then Monday is the MLK Scholastic tournament, and I’m working the floor there.

I am taking Tuesday off, too, and am going to a play with my Mom.

Then the following Saturday is another tournament I’m assisting at.

So it will be a busy couple of weeks for LaughingVulcan. The blog may suffer a little… but it can.

If you’re out there reading, I’d appreciate a comment saying you are. (Note: NO commercial spam links allowed or obviously spammy email addresses.) But I appreciate knowing I’ve got actual readership. :) Until I hear from you

Enjoy your Chess!

Near Rumination on Northbridge Tournament. Moo!

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

My first Regular time control tournament was played at Northbridge Baptist in Normal. It was a four round G/70 with 5 second delay. There were about thirty players total, and it really was enjoyable. Jeff Smith did a great job directing, as did Victor Mata (assistant TD and house player.) I arrived just in time to check in for Round 1.

During the tournament itself, I did some blogging in between rounds. Here’s what I wrote then:


Round 1 is complete. A loss against a 1500 I didn’t know. The critical error came in the midgame when my Queen was vulnerable and I tried to find a way to save her. [Ed. note: I do need to verify that…]

I consider it a very good game, and I was more or less on time with the other player. When I was finished it was great fun. eNotate is working very well.

Round 2, and another loss against a local player I have known somewhat for some time. He’s rated 1484. I was playing White, led into a Giuoco Piano, and I think I got too cute by half. I kept ratcheting up pressure, giving him much of nothing. But I ended up having my Queen trapped, and it was a very quick loss thereafter.

So now I’m in between rounds with 35 minutes to go before the next round. The playing facilities are very nice. The playing room is their main sanctuary space, and their multipurpose room is the skittles area. It is an enjoyable environment.

There are many players here today (about 30.) Many of them I have known for over a year – I can count six that I know well, and another few that I know from the scholastic circuit.

A lot of people are playing skittles games or analyzing their past games. I am not, myself. That’s a tradition that goes back to Speech & Debate in High School. During a S&D tournament, one can review the judge’s notes and try to adjust one’s performance in-tournament. But I never did…. Some of it is that I like the downtime away from the chessboard (and I feel like I’m playing enough chess today.) The other factor is that I don’t want to end up correcting my play, only to have that give me other weaknesses. I can always analyze my whole performance later.

It may seem odd that I’m enjoying myself, with two losses so far. But the reality is that while I want to win, I remind myself of my primary goals in playing chess. Winning is not on to of that list. So, if that means I lose a game or games I still haven’t lost, if you follow. Thus I really am enjoying myself.


Round 3 was another loss to an 1184 player. (Actually, the brother of the player in Round 2.) I had a few other things to accomplish, but I think I felt like I was stronger than this. It was still a very good game, we worked it down to the endgame and the other player had a Knight advantage. I think I was actually winning at one point. But three losses in a row – not good.

Then in Round 4 I scored my first tournament win against an player rated 906. It was a Italian Game, Two Knights defense. I actually blundered by playing 4. Nc3 instead of 4. d3. So the other player got to equalize by forking my Knight and Bishop with a pawn, but I recovered well. A few moves later I went up a Queen. But again, on move 17 I made a less-than-optimal play.

Northbridge tournament, Round 4, after 18. ...Ke7

Northbridge tournament, Round 4, after 18. ...Ke7

I went straight out for 19. Rfe1+. Although I’m not hurting, the best response would have been 19. …Ne6 – breaking up the attack somewhat as then I’d have to shift my Queen. I was lucky – the other player played 19 …Kd7. That allowed me to continue my assault and go up a Rook. Mate came on move 25.

I have to confess feeling a little sorry for my opponent. She was a 5th Grade girl who finished 0/4, and the only player with a 0 score. But she played well against me, and it was an honorable game. Also, in the chess world if you’re going to enter the kitchen of tournament play you take the heat. And I did feel good about my first tournament win ever, and don’t feel I have to apologize for that.

So, about twelve hours later my record was 1/4. There was one other unrated player there… someone provisionally rated 2058 after the tournament – 7 games total. So he took home the trophy for Top Unrated. (Then again, did I really want a trophy for one win and three losses???? ;) OK, honesty time…. Yes I did. :D )

Even without the trophy I very much enjoyed my chess. Today, after shopping and other personal tasks, it will be time for deeper analysis – but I’ll have to use my other laptop for that work. Tomorrow night it’s again TCCC night. In the meantime

Enjoy your Chess!

First Regular Tournament Complete, Plus: eNotate!

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

My first regular time control tournament is complete, 4 games of G/70 with 5 second delay. 1 win out of 4 games, about a 30 player field. I knew some, but not all, of the players. Not skunked!

I’ll write more about it sometime tomorrow. In a nutshell: I had a wonderful time, and Jeff Smith ran a great tournament!

eNotate usage: 4 rounds of G/70 with 5 second delay… Battery: 70%. Impressive! (I did reset the power settings to dim the display after 15 seconds and power the unit down after one minute. I think that certainly helped. Plus the fact that I never hit true time pressure in any of my games, and neither did my opponents.) I already got my games copied to an SD Card and then migrated to this computer.

Note: Windows 7 does not seem to want to connect to the Axim PDA at all – but I believe this is the fault of the Windows Mobile connection software and not the PDA itself or the cradle…. I have read a lot of problems with getting older PDA devices to work with the Windows software. Emphasis here is that I did get the games over to my laptop, but it took an SD card to do it at the moment. And double emphasis that the eNotate system is very good – still NO faults with using it. Thumbs way up on it!

In Windows 7 news, I’m also having lots of trouble getting it to recognize my near-new Sony MP3 player. (Sony says I can add music using Windows Media Player but they haven’t written a driver for the MP3 player for Windows 7.) I also had trouble installing the device drivers for the Targus Card Reader I just bought – though I can use the thing now. Although I like my laptop very much, so far Windows 7 is earning Epic Fail after Epic Fail in my book – I can’t see why it’s getting such impressive reviews. :(

Hardware trouble aside… I enjoyed my chess very much today. I hope today was a day where you could

Enjoy your Chess!

Test and New System

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I ended up getting a new computer to post with, running Windows 7.

It turns out that ChessBase Light Premium 2007 apparently won’t load into Windows 7. I’m not sure if this is entirely a limitation of Windows 7, if it is because I’ve installed my copy on two computers already (one deceased, one flaking badly,) or if ChessBase has decided that with the release of CB Light 2009 to disactivate all new installs of CBL 2007.

I do know it’s making me frustrated, because I bought CB Light Premium less than 6 months ago. :( But, as I wait for CB Support to respond, I decided to download and install CB Light 2009 (not premium.) I’m hoping they’ll give me a break on purchasing it. It really is nice software.

But my experience with Windows 7 in general is: Looks cool. Stuff built in is mostly great. Support for add-in applications (like Windows Mobile Device Manager for PDA connection and trying to link my 3-month old MP3 player in… Epic Failures and many headaches.) And, overall, Linux generally does an OS better. But ChessBase only runs in Windows, so what will I do???

But I’m customizing my setup, including ChessBase, making it similar to (but different from) my old layout. And in the interim, I’m going to try inserting a random diagram here with my new settings as a test. I may be editing the diagram below later, to perfect my diagram setup before I get into posting diagrams regularly….

Test Picture

A test image from ChessBase Light 2009.

Second test image:

Second Test

Second Test image... I think this has got it! :)

Off for a few days…

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

It’s Tuesday night as I write this. Though you’ll be reading this after Wednesday morning.

I can no longer call myself an unrated player. The four round Quick tournament I played in last month has finally been processed – my Quick Rating is provisionally based on four games at 999. (Four losses, no less!) So I’m on the board, so to speak. It becomes official on the next rating list. In other news….

I will play in in my first regular tournament this upcoming Saturday.

Tomorrow night I’ll be doing some final tactics and openings practice – I do not plan on setting up a blog post for Thursday AM. Thursday and Friday I may be online at the USCF Forums, but pretty much I’ll be giving myself a couple of nights off from Chess, Blogging, and the whole nine yards. (Resting up for Saturday! I’ll just be doing some personal meditation and motivation for myself.)

So, expect a post sometime on Sunday about how I did in the tournament, but not much – or anything! – before then.

Originally I was going to go and play tonight at Colley’s, but after dinner I find myself tired. Paying attention to that is a key in getting myself ready for Saturday. So I’ll be home tonight, mainly just resting up. Maybe a little tactics drilling on the tactics servers (Chess Tempo and Chess Tactics Server on the sidebar.)

I am finding that getting prepped for my first regular tournament is yet another way to enjoy my chess. I hope in the meantime you can

Enjoy your Chess!

“Live” from Colley’s, Again!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Another Monday night, another meeting of the Tri-Cities Chess Club at Colley’s. The evening started off with fast blitz action and slow games alike, moderated by a couple of slow games with others. Five of us were present.

Mondays and Tuesdays are different environments at Colley’s Chess Cafe. On Tuesdays the play is lively and the talk is loud. Kids are playing and the din is something to behold. On Mondays it is (mostly) deep games and a lot more quiet. It’s also something of a more intimate atmosphere, at least for the time being.

Some players can’t take the volume. Others can’t take the quiet. Me, I like both in their own fashion. (Though I do admit that absolute silence doesn’t work for me – I’ll use my MP3 player if it is dead quiet in a playing room.)

Personally, I wish every player could take time to try both ways. Either may work, or both. At any rate, I had a fun time playing – I enjoyed my chess, and hope that you

Enjoy your Chess!

The Limits of Computer Analysis… or Human Analysis?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

On Saturday I posted about an adventure I had in the Graz Defense. Chris Morgan and I played our game. When we reached move 9. Be3, the position looked like this:

After 9. Be3

After 9. Be3.

I briefly looked at my alternatives, but had pretty much committed to 9. …Bxe3 when I saw the Bishop would be coming at me with the d3 pawn move.

I ended up losing that game, but got the privilege of running over the game afterwards with Chris and Joe Alford. (Analysis with Joe is quite a treat – he’s about the strongest player in Bloomington, if not the strongest.)

The conclusion of Joe and Chris was that this was pretty much the penultimate strategic moment. All of us agreed that the Bishop trade didn’t look like the best move. Among other factors with the recapture White gets to have the f file opened for him, and the Black Queen’s post on f6 is even less secure than it was.

There are viable alternatives for Black (some of which I didn’t really explore as fully as I should have.) It’s a simple enough question: Take or defend. Defensive moves involving my Bishop included 9. …Bb6, 9. …Ba7, 9. …Bd6, 9. …d6. We pretty much decided that was the priority, as well.

So I come home, upload the game to my database and start looking at it. Although I believe in the soundness of our analysis, I called up my analysis engine on the position. And it eventually chose as it’s first line…. Bxe3!?

I went ahead and plugged in all of the candidate moves, and used all three chess engines I’ve installed to this computer to analyze the position to between 12 and 14 ply. Almost all the engines agreed on 9. …Bxe3. Here’s a table showing the various candidate moves and their positional evaluations:

Human or Computer: Which is right? Responses to 9. Be3
Computer responses are postition evaluation/search ply depth. Closer to zero in position evaluation is better for Black.
Move Crafty 20.14Fritz 6Rybka 2.2n2Human RankdB Game Notes
Bd6.71/13.34/12.39/13Second Choice
Bb6.46/13.50/14.25/14First ChoiceNote 1
Ba7.41/15.25/13.20/13Alternate/Equal to Bb6Note 2
d6.50/13.34/11.19/12Near prime, tied second maybe.Note 3
Note 1: ½-½ Pena Gomez,M-Espineira Gonzalez,P/Poio 2001
Note 2: 1-0 Judd,M-Harding,H/Cleveland 1871
Note 3: ½-½ Makarova,O-Kozhamberdin,B/Orsk 2000

Note: The full game, along with Rybka 2.2’s analysis of that position and some of my other notes can be found here.

Now, to be sure, Fritz 6 in the table above finds 9. …Ba7 just micro-fractionally the best choice. Yet the one game my database yielded to me shows a win for White after 9. …Ba7, too.

There are other limits here as well: Note that we are talking about ultra-fractional points of a pawn in advantage. (.14 = 14 hundrethds of a Pawn in equivalent material advantage. OK, in all fairness the numerical evaluation doesn’t have to equal the same points we would use in calculating material advantages. But it is close, and Fritz’s difference was .03, and Rybka’s difference between first and worst is .25 – that’s small!) If the programs were forced to make the move at the point I stopped their analysis, taking the Bishop would have been their route.

What to make of this?

On the one hand, this could be the stuff that a Grandmaster might take seriously. (GM wants a draw in a particular round in a tournament, so finds this line where a human playing White would presume Black will not exchange. Yet by making the Bishop trade Black manages to pull out a draw – though it would take much more analysis than I’ve given to one move to reach that conclusion.)

But on the other hand, it is equally one of those times when you recognize your own limits as a player. Which means it’s time to switch the computer off and switch on your brain. I still agree with my fellow humans: I should have played one of the alternate moves there.

(And, for potential nit-pickers, yes the advice might be: Don’t play the Graz Defense! ;) )

When you play OTB, it won’t be Fritz, Rybka, or Crafty playing your opponent. It will be you. If you ever reach this position as Black, do you take or do you defend? This is one of those times when you choose the line that will best help you….

….Enjoy your Chess!

Tools of the Trade, Part 10 – eNotate!!

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

The entry in a nutshell: eNotate by NACA is well worth the investment price for me, and a fine addition to any player’s tools. Additional review as of 1/9/09 at bottom on actually using eNotate in tournament, nutshell is eNotate is most excellent even though Windows 7 isn’t.

I’ve had my eNotate PDA for a bit over a week now. I’ve done testing with it, recorded actual games with it, uploaded those games to my PC, built my own case for it, and am about to use it for the first time in a tournament. It’s time to share my results so far about this great product with you.

Case open and ready, shot #2


Before I begin, let me state that there are some accesories that any PDA owner should consider also owning. I’ve detailed them in a post here. Also, while I’m getting better at taking photos of a PDA screen, some of the PDA screens below are tinted a little blue and the focus is what it is – those are my faults as a photographer.


eNotate is a program which belongs to a class of products called Electronic Score Sheets. (I call it an e-Scoresheet.) Instead of writing down the notation of your chess game on a paper score sheet, you record the actual moves played in the game on the electronic device. eNotate, along with the MonRoi product, are certified for use in tournament play through the United States Chess Federation.

eNotate runs on Windows Mobile 5 and 6 Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs.) It may run on a Windows based Smartphone, but it not certified for tournament use on them. You can either buy the program and install it to a PDA you have, or buy the PDA with the program pre-installed. Buying it with the PDA is one way to ensure it is fully compatible with the plethora of Windows PDAs out there.

I chose to buy the PDA and program, and the unboxing of the PDA can be found here. The PDA I received, a Dell Axim, runs the Windows Mobile OS.


Starting eNotate is the same as any other program.

Starting eNotate

Regular Windows Mobile Startup

When starting eNotate, there is a very professional looking “splash screen,” and then four options are presented.

eNotate Start Screen

eNotate Start Screen

“Profile” lists your profile as a player – your name, USCF ID, USCF rating, country, FIDE ID, and FIDE rating. (I have my name, USCF ID, and USA as my Federation listed.) “History” lists all games currently in the unit’s memory, and they can be replayed. “Configure” allows a shortcut for stylus calibration (important for PDAs!) and a shortcut to purge both games and existing tournament names.

“Tournament” is the meat of the program. This mode is where you enter the data about a tournament and/or record the moves of your game. I found it very intuitive and easy to use. The only “learning curve” was figuring out to enter the tournament data first, then enter the data about that game, then record the game.

One tip I will offer: If not playing in a tournament (casual games, for example,) you can still set up a ‘tournament.’ For example: when I play on Saturdays at Colley’s Chess Cafe, I’ll enter a ‘tournament’ of “CCC Saturday Open Play,” and then set the date to that day. ;)

The program icons and buttons are very intuitive and easy to figure out at a glance.

eNotate Main Entry Screen

eNotate Move Entry Screen

You record the moves of your game by touching the square of the piece that is moving, and then the square it is moving to. You can also review the game in progress, or look at the notation of the game so far. There are also icons for recording if you’re in check, or if a draw offer is made.


There are some design parameters set by the USCF certification rules that enter into play. First, the program cannot help you. This means several different things. It can’t indicate check – either given or received – or automatically notate that. It will not tell you your move is illegal. It will not guarantee that the piece you move was moved to the right square. However, there is no guarantee that if you are recording the moves on paper that you will get any of the above right, either.

I actually have had one game where I mis-set a piece to the wrong square. Correcting that was exceedingly easy, just find the wrong move and substitute the actual move – the scoresheet handles the notation correction and lets you go back to the current board position.

The more I use it, the more I realize an e-Scoresheet is better than recording to a paper score sheet. I still do advocate that one learns how to notate on paper first, and you should have a backup paper score sheet available to you just in case of hardware failure. However, it may actually make sense for children who haven’t learned to write yet to be able to actually record their games. I can’t judge that, but I can say that I enjoy using this more than writing my notation.

While you’re using the program to record moves, you will not be able to get out of that mode until you save the game as complete. You can’t switch to your address book, your calendar…. or the copy of Pocket Fritz or another chess playing program you’ve installed. And the last is why you can’t do that – a cheating countermeasure. But that’s good. When you’re recording a game, that’s what you should be doing with it. ;)


But recording a game is easy. Touch the piece moving, touch the square it’s moving to. The move is made. There’s a button for flipping the board orientation, also.

Game in Progress

An actual game I played, being replayed in History mode.

In game entry there’s also a shortcut button to calibrate the stylus again, as well as view the move list. The move list view is very cool – you can highlight a move pair and then select to see what the board looks like on black’s move or white’s. This is handy in demonstrating when a 3-fold repetition draw occurs, among other possible claims.

When done with the game, you touch the “Score” shortcut. You can enter the game result, use the stylus to add player and arbiter signatures, save the completed game (or go back to the game if you hit Score by mistake.)


After saving the game you can go back to the “History” shortcut and replay the moves of the game. You could also start recording your next game, if you’re in a tournament. Or you can exit the program.

All games are recorded in Portable Game Notation (PGN) format in an “eNotate” subfolder of “My Documents” in the PDA. The games are easy to find, being the last names of the players and the playing date.

The PGN file can be copied to a SD card – I will be buying a card reader and carry it in my tournament kit, so I can supply the organizer or TD with a copy of the game if necessary. It can be synchronized to a Windows PC by use of ActiveSync (appearing in your Documents synchronization folder.)

What I have done is beam the file via Infrared to my laptop – the Axim and my laptop both have IR ports. I have beamed several games to my laptop from my PDA. Eventually I will try beaming the file to an IR-capable printer (which I don’t have currently.) But for now, getting it to the laptop means it can easily get into my database.

Earlier Game now in ChessBase!

From eNotate to Laptop to ChessBase. Easy!

(Yes, that game is the one shown in the last picture above now in ChessBase, at the same point! Cool!)


To date I have experienced no problems with the device or the program. The only glitch I’ve experienced is when I tried to enter a tournament designation that had a slash in the title, “G/10.” But that cleared up when I titled it, “G 10,” instead. The program didn’t crash, just let me know it couldn’t, “create the tournament.” But I’m making a lot of stew from this – it isn’t a “problem” worthy of a paragraph. It’s literally the only problem I’ve yet experienced.

One thing I haven’t tested is battery life. I haven’t had a problem yet, but also haven’t used it in a full multiple-round tournament. But I anticipate no problems with that. The screen goes dark and the unit powers down in accordance with the Windows power settings. Bringing it back up is a matter of tapping the screen and/or pressing the power button.

The last non-issue… There was no manual for using the program when I ordered it – the NACA website was being updated. Currently the manual is available online here in PDF format. But honestly, I had no trouble figuring out how to use eNotate without one.

If I allow myself the conceit that I’m a very talented extreme technogeek with a gift for understanding technology and systems, I still can’t say that anyone who tries using it will find the learning curve challenging. In fact, in preparing this entry I turned my eNotate over to my wife, who is computer literate but not an extreme technogeek nor a chess player. She was able to figure it out and use it very rapidly.


Ready to record at Colley's Chess Cafe

Ready to Rock! Just add opponent! (In fact I was playing someone less than five minutes later with it....)

I am very pleased with the support I’ve gotten. I’ve gotten all the answers to questions I have had in rapid fashion. Customer service rating: Stellar.

I’ve saved what I consider the best for last: Price as of this posting. $135 includes shipping for the unit, including PDA. The program itself (if you already have a capable PDA): $25. It is available from the North American Chess Association. Even with the PDA, it is a third of the price of a MonRoi. And bonus: you get a full function PDA out of the deal also. :)

This purchase has already been something that has helped me to enjoy my chess. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I hope that, should you purchase it, it will also help you to

Enjoy your Chess!

9/20/10 Addition

eNotate continues to operate just fine for me.  I have used it in every tournament I have played since January (just doesn’t seem like it’s been that long!!!)  I’ve done 4 round G/80 tournaments where a couple of games went the distance, monthly 3 round G/20 tournaments, skittles play – you name it, it records it.

Dolloar for dollar, the best investment I’ve made in chess so far.  (And that includes my Chronos clock – which is a tall order to live up to.)  I can’t guess how much time I’ve saved have to bring up blank game slates and enter the moves from paper via mouse.  Yes, everyone should first learn how to notate chess on paper – that’s a given.  But I can say that after that stage, eNotate simplifies the process of game recording and then uploading to my database for further analysis.

I will offer one little caveat:  eNotate is not as well known as it’s cousin the MonRoi.  The rules of the USCF, as I understand them, should not allow a TD discretion to disallow the usage of an eNotate device.  However, I have read one report of a player at a larger money tournament being asked to discontinue use of it by a National Tournament Director.  The concern was that the Axim the machine was running on was Internet-Capable and thus a prohibited device in the playing hall.  Since eNotate while it is running is not capable of wireless communication, I have to disagree with the position taken.  Were it I, I would have protested.

I know in a couple of tournaments I have attended, players have asked the TD if what I was doing was legal.  Which doesn’t both me at all – I can see why a player may be concerned on the face of it.  It is up to the TD to know that eNotate is a legal device, and when used by in the manner it was certified as an e-Scoresheet by the USCF that it’s usage is allowed.  Period.  In summary, it may be advisable for eNotate players to check with the TD of an event ahead of time that they will allow its usage as the rules mandate.

‘Nuff said.  :)

Second/Third Tournament Usage Report, 2/1/10 Addition

eNotate usage: 4 rounds of G/45 with 5 second delay… Battery: 69%. Still impressive!
Also: 4 rounds of G/10 with 3 second delay. Battery not checked.

The main reason for this update is to say eNotate is still running *very* well. Plus, I have learned what to do about the docking problem I had with Windows 7. In Windows Mobile Device Center, there is an option in Connection Settings to “Allow automatic device authentication.” This is by default checked, and should be unchecked to allow usage with eNotate.

Once set up and synced, one’s games are found in the Documents Synchronization Folder in the “eNotate” directory. Getting them to the computer is a simple matter of drag-and-copy into the laptop. For ChessBase users, it’s then open the PGN database and copy the game into your regular database of your games. Easy!

So now I’m an even happier camper as far as eNotate goes!

First Tournament Usage Report, 1/9/10 Addition

eNotate usage: 4 rounds of G/70 with 5 second delay… Battery: 70%. Impressive! (I did reset the power settings to dim the display after 15 seconds and power the unit down after one minute. I think that certainly helped. Plus the fact that I never hit true time pressure in any of my games, and neither did my opponents.) I already got my games copied to an SD Card and then migrated to this computer.

Note: Windows 7 does not seem to want to connect to the Axim PDA at all – but I believe this is the fault of the Windows Mobile connection software and not the PDA itself or the cradle.* I have read a lot of problems with getting older PDA devices to work with the Windows software. Emphasis here is that I did get the games over to my laptop, but it took an SD card to do it at the moment. And double emphasis that the eNotate system is very good – still NO faults with using it, itself. Thumbs way up on it! I can say I am Enjoying my Chess with eNotate!

*In Windows 7 news, I’m also having lots of trouble getting it to recognize my near-new Sony MP3 player. (Sony says I can add music using Windows Media Player but they haven’t written a driver for the MP3 player for Windows 7.) I also had trouble installing the device drivers for the Targus Card Reader I just bought – though I can use the thing now. Although I like my laptop very much, so far Windows 7 is earning Epic Fail after Epic Fail in my book – I can’t see why Windows 7 is getting such impressive reviews. :(

“Graz” for the Lesson!

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

A cold night, Chess game for analysis on the Computer, and the Blackhawks-Blues hockey game on TV. Could it be any better? :) Bonus: ‘Hawks are winning! :D

I’ve been very busy the last couple of days with this and that. Tomorrow morning a major Tools of the Trade / review on eNotate – been in various drafts for awhile, plus needing to get photos done.

I played one 20 minute game as Black this morning at Colley’s. It was a Ruy Lopez, Morphy Defense, that I continued into the Graz Defence. The Graz is a response to the Ruy Lopez that many scholastic and club players regard as cool, but isn’t as hot as it may look. (I didn’t know the name for it until some research this evening.)

The moves are: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Bc5. The position that results looks like this:

The Graz Defense

Graz Defense: 1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 b5 5.Bb3 Bc5

The 3. …a6 marks a Morphy Defense, named after Paul Morphy. It is called, “putting the question to the Bishop,” as the Bishop must either capture the Knight or retreat. This is fairly solid.

4. …b5 may look like a natural extension when the Bishop retreats to a4. “Hey, I put the question once, why not kick the Bishop again?” But when Black sidesteps with 5. Bb3, this puts the Bishop about where White would like it to be: Aiming square at the f7 pawn.

There can be some hope here, if Black can eventually shift the f3 Knight and then manage a c5-c4 pawn push, Black can smother White’s Bihsop. But Black has already lost one tempo in b5, and White has effectively gained a tempo from the Bishop dance.

Eventually I lose this game, but I can say “Gracias!” (or just “Graz!” ;) ) for the lesson I got in the game itself.

I also was able to postmortem this game with one of Bloomington’s strongest players and my opponent. There’s some more interesting things about the game I played, but I need to check with my fellow humans before committing to what I wrote up. (I may have misremembered something we analyzed… But since I was using eNotate to record the game, the notation of it was solid. :) )

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

In the shortest post ever so far on my blog….
Happy New Year! :)