October 22, 2009
Looks like I’ll start playing in tournaments again on 14 - 15 November at the Marshall Chess Club. That gives me three more weeks to prepare. I also plan to play in the National Chess Congress in Philly in November.
August 29, 2008
I’ll be playing in the New Jersey Championship U1600 section this Labor day weekend. I’ll get some pictures and videos for posting. I’ll start posting some games also.
December 24, 2007
On Saturday I played in the Hamilton Quad. I got an even score with +1-1=1.
The club was decked out for Christmas.
You might think that, being close to the holiday, not many players would show up. But there were 42 participants. I guess that with schools out and time off from work everyone was ready for some chess to start the holiday. There was almost not enough seats for everyone. Ed the TD had to give up his table and move into the Kitchen area. I had never seen many of these players. This made for good quad sections and I got to play two guys I never played before.
Here are the players in the lower sections.
The top two quads, with the masters and experts, always play in another room.
For the past three weeks I’ve been busy upgrading my openings repertoire. I didn’t like what I was playing against the Sicilian, French, and 1.d4. So I was anxious to try out my new stuff.
Here is a diagram from my best game of the tournament. I’m Black and played the Chigorin against my opponents 1.d4. This is my first time out with this opening. I think I got out of the opening ok but found this position to be tricky. White just played d5 to drive away the bishop’s defender. I was worried about dropping a piece. If White had played accuretly, he could have stuck me with isolated pawns on a7 and c7. Later he tried a rook sac that blundered the piece and gave me the win.
Click here to replay.
November 20, 2007
Finally I got out of my slump by winning two games in the Hamilton CC quad on 17 Nov. 2007. I think my Thought Control exercises (involving training games with Fritz along with speaking and writing analysis as we play) really did help me get back to playing real chess.
It was another fun Saturday at the Quads. There is always a good amount of socializing going on while we wait for Ed the TD to work his index cards and come up with the pairings. There was a good group but some of the regulars were missing since another tournament was being held that day in North Jersey.
Round One: Scandinavian. Loss as black. I played Greg once before and got a draw. This time I lost on time. Here’s the final position.
Here is the replay.
I was so focused in this game that I lost all sense of the passing of time. The game is 40 moves/80 minutes. Around move 25 I looked at my clock and I had eight minutes left! It felt like I was playing for only 15 minutes. I didn’t make the time control. But I felt good and the loss didn’t bother me because I feel that I was playing well. The losses only hurt when they are due to my stupid play.
Round Two: Sicilian Grand Prix. Win as white. Finally I break the losing streak! Mike and I have played four times so far and are 2-2 now. Each time we played, I had white and we went into a Sicilian GP.
Here is the replay.
This game features a bishop and rook attacking f7, pinning a knight, and using the open f file to pile on the pinned piece.
Round Three: Scandinavian. Win as black. This is the first time I’m playing Charles. He’s one of the regulars. He tries to sidestep my opening with the known to be inferior e5. I should have countered better with an immediate c5.
Here is the replay.
Before playing the knight to f5, I looked to see if it was safe. I saw it could be kicked with g4 but said to myself that Charles wouldn’t play that and weaken his Kingside. And then he did! That move gave me my strategy for the game. My knight will go to the rim but will not be dim because from there it can participate in the attack. I told myself to just castle Queenside and starting hittin’ the target on the Kingside (while watching out for Qside counter play). It worked out.
It’s interesting that both wins featured a blocked center and use of an open file to get into the opponents territory.
Next Saturday is another Quad. I have to be consistent in my play but watch the time management!
November 13, 2007
I had another bad tournament at the Cherry Hill Quad last Saturday. October was not a good chess month for me. I played in three tournaments - two at the Marshall CC in NYC and one at the Hamilton CC. Out of 11 games my score was +2-8=1. So, I really wanted to get a few wins and start November right. I failed with a score of +0-2=1.
This was my best game. Click here for replay.
This extends my losing streak to ten games. It looks like I have a big problem. I need a chess doctor! To self diagnose my problem, I read two of Heisman’s Novice Nook columns that address my situation: The 10 Biggest Roadblocks to Improvement and Breaking a Slump.
And the diagnosis is a bad Thought Process. The symptoms were there all along but I didn’t notice until I started playing tougher opponents. They made me pay for my laziness at the board. But now, I don’t need a cure, I need a final solution!
All my chess training for now is geared toward making it a habit to really think (analyze/evaluate) on every move. I’m trying to do this by playing lots of training games using Fritz. I wrote down my three step thought process on an index card. I got a stack of old, fan type, computer printer paper for notes. After every move Fritz makes, I read the process aloud and write down what I see on the board along with my analysis. I’m hoping this breaks my bad habits. And soon, because I have another two tournaments to play in this month.