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First Scholastic Organizing Experience

Monday, December 20th, 2010

I’ve been gearing up for my first experience organizing and being Chief TD of (what we hope will be!) a large scholastic tournament.  Chris (who will run the computer room) and I have been working on it pretty steadily, with lots of good help from the club members.

Up until now I’ve worked the floor, worked the computer room, run the computer room once, and have done smaller tournament organizing.  Coordinating it all, though, takes up a lot more time – even more than gearing up to run the computer room.  (Heck, Chris and I took most of Saturday afternoon just ordering the trophies and medals!  Next time around, should we use the same supplier, it will be a lot easier.  But the first time always takes more time…)

I’ve also developed a couple of really good spreadsheets to help me in calculating income-expense and breakeven points.  (That sheet currently says I need about another nine players to break even.  We are hoping for at least four to five times the number of entries we currently have, but we also only have another two weeks before registration closes.  That isn’t just “hope chess” –  average scholastics here run right around that number.  But it’s different when you’re on point for trying to make that happen.  The other slippery factor is that one needs a radically different staffing layout from a 30-person scholastic to a 120 person scholastic.)

But the point of the prior paragraph was originally to say that once I’ve gotten past the tournament, I’m hoping to turn those spreadsheets loose to the public for others to use in their tournaments.  They are pretty sweet, allowing a rolling projection of how many registrants generate how much income, other income sources, list the expenses one has in a tournament, and show current profit/loss as well as how many players are needed to break even.  (It even uses the current ratio of players to tell you how many additional are needed in each section, and takes into account diffferent net per player in sections by number of rounds and rating fees……)

For any local people reading this blog, too, the proceeds are going to our club in helping to keep our club’s meeting place.  (We’d like to keep meeting there, but the reality is that the club hasn’t been carrying its own weight in location expense., even with membership fees.  Sooo…. we take a risk and hope that scholastic players will come to our tournament to keep us at our home.)

Wish us luck, and as I enjoy my chess by organizing and directing,

Enjoy your chess!

For your reading and listening pleasure…

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Last year I made up some Christmas Chess Filks and posted them on the USCF Forums.

Now I am pleased to bring you this year’s new crop.  I’m a little more proud of these this year, if one can actually have pride over filk.  I am intending, time permitting, to record some of them on YouTube and post the actual audio version here.  :)

Enjoy, and enjoy your chess!

The limit of Chess Devotion

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

This is a pic-heavy report on our trip as we attempted an out-of-town tournament carpool run.  More below the cut…


I can tell it’s scholastic season…

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

…by how tired I’m getting. ;) :O

Last Friday night it was a 3 round scholastic tournament and I was privileged to be one of the computer operators.

On Saturday it was the simul with Dr. Turgut as a participant.

On Monday it was club night. I only played the first round of the G/20 tournament – mostly because I was exhausted enough that I played just to fill a round.

Today (and for the past several nights) it was working on what became a 33 player scholastic tournament that I was USCF Chief TD of today.

Tomorrow (weather permitting) it’s a run up to DeKalb for their Cornfield Challenge II tournament, along with friends from the club. (Glad I’m not driving after all…)

And all throughout it I’ve had the last of my four correspondence tournament games to keep up with.

And on Monday it’s Round 1 of our monthly G/60 at the club.

But it’s a really good kind of exhausted – enjoying my chess. :) :D

Enjoy your chess!

Playing my first Master

Monday, December 6th, 2010

On Saturday, December 4th, Colley arranged for a USCF Life Master to come up from Decatur and play all of us in a simul (simultaneous exhibition – where one strong player takes on multiple opponents at the same time on different boards.)

Dr. Tansel Turgut played fourteen of us, and with a pretty rare condition that each of the fourteen boards had a 60 minute per side clock with delay on it.  (So each of us got up to a full hour on our side of the clock.  Dr. Turgut got one hour on each of the fourteen boards, but the clocks were running on his move while he was at other boards.)  He demonstrated what a Master can do – none of us managed to win against him, though three players were able to score draws.

So, this was my own first game against a Master.  Here’s one of the photos from the event, courtesy of Nathaniel’s mom who was good enough to take a pic with my camera:


In the Twin Cities photo, I remarked that I knew I was lost at this point, but seeing how long I could hold out.  But as I started to double check my post-game analysis with Fritz 12, I learned that I was in fact *not* in trouble at the time of the photo.  In fact, I was holding a draw quite nicely.  (The picture above is after his move 20 in the text below; he is retracting his hand from having moved the Queen.)

I did make a couple of serious errors earlier, but with the simultaneous nature of the game I think Dr. Tansel either did not see the errors or did not want to go sharply tactical at that moment.  (He is playing 14 boards after all, and when I’ve simuled – and yes I have on a smaller scale – you tend to play much more conservatively and let your opponents make the first errors if they’re on my level or below.)  But as of the photo moment, I am still doing pretty well.  It is over the next three moves from 20 that I would go from drawn to probably losing, and then after move 26 or 27 into “definitely losing” territory.

Still, I held myself out for quite a few more moves (even though the last five to seven I really did know I was dead and just playing for the sheer fun of trying to hold on until he promoted.)

Gotta run for now – I would like to post the full analysis, but my in-blog PGN displayer doesn’t do variations.  So here’s the basic game for now.  In the meantime-

Enjoy your Chess!

Draw, sweet draw…

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

This was a not bad week for me so far. (It’s Wednesday, but because of Thanksgiving it feels like Friday…)

On Monday night at the club I played an unrated game against one of the stronger youths around the B/N chess scene. More specifically, I’ve never won a game against him. My record was 0-2 in tournament play, and I know I’ve lost at least two other unrated and unrecorded games against him.

While I wasn’t able to scratch out a win, I was able to hold him to a draw. One of my friends noted that I was a little generous in proposing the draw – he thought that, even though a pawn down and with doubled pawns, I could have scratched out a win. I’ll be checking that this evening, and hopefully updating this post with the results.

Update: I did place the final position on both Fritz 12 and Stockfish 1.8; they both hold that Black is very slightly better out to an obscene depth level. But I think that the continuation is still holding a draw and the advantage isn’t enough. I’ve appended a second game to the pgn file below which shows the continuation.

But still, it is most excellent to get a different result from a player that you’ve historically lost to on a consistent basis.

And I get to test a plugin I just installed for this blog to display PGN files directly (without having to go through the Caissa’s web link, which I have been grateful to have.)

Though it’s beginning to be miserably cold here, it has been a most excellent week for enjoying my chess. I hope you, too, have been able to

Enjoy your Chess!

Scheveningen Steamroller

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

The blog theme is nice and lightened up…  I’d like to increase the main width, but it certainly works for now.

So, as promised, my correspondence adventure in the Schevenigen Sicilian…  Two months in the making.

Here’s the game itself in viewer mode:

Play Online Chess

Analysis follows the cut…


So one of these days, I’ll get back to chess…. ;)

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

I’m coming closer to being at the end of Ye Olde Blog Configurations.  I like almost everything about this theme better, except that I miss my old black-text-on-white-container for the posts themselves.  I’m trying to keep away from going too deep on the php edits again, seeing how my track record has been.

But it hasn’t all been old blog configuring.  One thing that I learned as part of the restoration process is that Y! Webhosting allows multiple WP blogs to be started in the same site.  Also, I’d been working on a website for our chess club to complement the Facebook site that another member is developing.  But static management was getting to be a pain in the tail – just trying to keep it all square.  So…. behold!  I really think it is possible to create a type of website based off of using WordPress as a sort of CMS system.  (There are commercial packages which blur the line even further, making it darn near impossible to tell that one is seeing a blog system instead of a website.)

The club blogsite/site is still very definitely in beta (I need some feedback from other club members, as well, as it is just something I’ve been doing with sort-of-semi-sanction.)

But I like it.  It’s light theme (the default WP theme just very lightly tweaked) is quite enjoyable.

One last piece of web news (and thanks for wading through it…  this is supposed to be about chess, not tehInternetsTechnoGeekery):  The spam flood continues, and I’m quite sick of people hogging out my bandwidth to post spam comments – even if they are easy to manage.  So I’ve taken the step of closing comments on most of the posts in the Blog.  I may develop exceptions to certain posts (like the Tools of the Trade series.)  But for now, if it’s 30 days old and uncommented, it’s now locked.

I do wish the spammers would develop better tools to see that a blog using Akimset is dang near impossible to spam, so don’t bother…


But there is chess news….  Back in September I posted about how I jumped right back into another correspondence series.  Of the four games in my class tournament, one of them ended when my opponent failed to make the time control before move 8, and I just resigned another one.  (That one had already defeated the other two players for a perfect 4.0 score.)  So, I hope that before the weekend is over I’ll have a post about that lost game.  I may also make a video again.

One of the hard parts about correspondence is that, aside from dull detail about how far along each game is, I try to be sensistive about not receiving feedback about the active game.  So blogging becomes, “Hey I’ve started,” and then an update four months later.  :O

But of the other two games, I think I’m definitely near the end of one of those.

So it’s been a mix of enjoying my chess through actual playing and journalism infrastructure, I guess.  Until the next update (with game analysis, hopefully!)  I hope that you

Enjoy your Chess!

Blog back up without theme… Plus

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

….After my blog ate itself during an upgrade, it took awhile to figure things out.

The key to retstoring the text was to use Yahoo’s database administration tools and phpMyAdmin from the Yahoo control panel end to restore my WP backup (as opposed to the phpMyAdmin tool one can install inside WordPress itself and use from the WordPress Dashboard.)

And, got to give plus points and an apology to Yahoo’s favor:  I never reported this as a problem, but I did get an email from Yahoo! customer support stating they noticed I was having a WordPress problem and they were available to contact for support.  Big plus for Yahoo, when you haven’t reported the problem but they know about it and initiate contact!

But, as you may see if you’re viewing this now, when I got it back up, it turned out something is broken in my theme.  Not too surprising - I did quite a bit of customization on that theme and it was a learning experience in php and CSS.  It wouldn’t surprise me if I introduced a change that busted the theme.  And if those theme changes were what ate the blog post-upgrade. (Actually, since I couldn’t open up the blog admin controls, I’ve rules out my changes as to what ate the blog.)  But I’m still not upgrading via the WP dashboard.

So, now all that left is to build/rebuild a theme.  Part of me will miss the old layout, but I think I was getting a little tired of the severity of it. The theme is back up again, much as it was as before.  I’m still trying to figure out just how I got the sidebar a little smaller and the text containers larger.  That should be the end of the theme work.

Actually, I also found out that one thing the db backup didn’t do was to backup all the images and pictures that were in the blog.  They weren’t part of the db, residing in a separate media directory that was apparently wiped when I deactivated/reactivated the blog as part of the restore process.  It will take quite awhile for me to locate all the links and try to repair them – not made easier by a change of computers since I started the blog.

So, onward and upward!

And now, as I was re-customizing the theme, some of my posts started dropping out.  (This obviously was an accidental typo somewhere.)  And just as I was getting close to having it perfect again….   Sooo….  A complete change of theme to something I might like better, and a little header customization is all I’m looking for.

Chess in Ye Olde Days?

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

I’ve had a three day weekend, using the last of my personal time off days until December (when I get some extra time because it will be my five-year anniversary at work.)  Mrs. LV and I went to Springfield, the state capitol of Illinois by Amtrak.  (My first actual train ride!)

Among other fun things like visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois State Museum, we also spent some time at the Old Capitol Building.   (The rest of the post, including the Chess bit, is a bit pic-heavy, so behind the cut…)