I am moving to Colorado Springs in a few days, so I did not play on Saturday; I will have a part-time job as soon as I get there.

Okay, so the ACIS and rating improvement thing is the viral blog subject these days.

Here is my take on my own progress – I am a much better player now than a year ago. OH, BTW, my FICS rating is much lower, too. So why so chummy? When I was 1860 on FICS, I would not only stick to the script, openings-wise, but I played at time controls like 10 20 or 15 15 or 15 20. Now I play at 15 5, sometimes 15 0, sometimes longer. Back then when I finished a game, it was not unusual to have 1.2 seconds on my clock. Now when I finish a game, it’s not unusual to have 8 or 9 minutes or more. When I blunder tactically, I usually sense that I am doing so and simply being sloppy. I can feel where the error is much better, but sometimes Crafty is still great at showing me a tactic that I missed. But here’s the thing, I sense the flow of the game more correctly than a year ago.

Often someone is on a rating high or low due to performance, not due to exact strength. Even strength is a touchy thing, because some people can calculate well or be great at tactics and still not have great positional skills when a solid threat is not in play.

Improvement at chess is straightforward, analyze the games you play with a chess-engine afterward. It seems when people don’t have time, they buy books, and when they do have time they play and their rating goes up (unless “all” they do is play OTB and not analyze much afterward).

Going forward, I will be playing less OTB chess, possibly a game a week. I fulfilled my objective of getting used to playing OTB and improving my game. I feel Expert strength, even if I am not. I’ll have to focus more on making money for a living now.

Why do some people not improve rating-wise? My parting shot is that you frequently have 3 types of players. Players that play and improve, players that don’t play much (a lot of blogs) but are sufficiently introspective, and players that play but are probably not introspective enough when analyzing their games. Heck, some of the opponents I played approached chess with a definite “angle”, so I don’t see them all as true “universal” style chessplayers, which means I don’t know how exactly they analyze their games since the style is not necessarily all objective, goal-wise.

Another thing is that there are “human” ways to improve one’s game using different moves. I love going through Fritz analysis of an alternate move, and some people choose ones where you can learn quite a bit from, but are you really going to play like that and find those moves next time? We miss a lot of these grandiose moves, but I feel MDLM was right that we mostly lose because we miss a lot of one-mover type errors, or flick a move out there too fast, that sort of thing. It’s not always “Oh gee, why didn’t I see that 5-move continuation starting with the sacrifice of material/position/time/space/etc? (slaps self on head)”


8 thoughts on “Update

  1. “I’ll have to focus more on making money for a living now”
    It has to come to us all at some point in our lives,and things like chess move to the back burner for a while.
    Good luck in Colorado Springs, may 2010 be your best chess year.

  2. Real life is for all of us more important then chess so we understand that making money is taking the foreground. Have fun with it.

    I hope that chess will not totaly be gone out of your life. Certainly not now that you are getting to know yourself chesswise.

    Have fun in Colorado Springs!

  3. I forgot that you are a programmer, too. 😉

    Well, it looks like I will need to take my car in for fixing first. Nothing smooth about moving with a trailer, it seems.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I will stick with chess and keep updating too.

    Latest note on chess would be that I notice that I can calculate lines deeply/correct enough, but need to always keep a lookout on a wider search and not miss one-mover replies. I can definitely see why MDLM’s methodology would be so successful. Sometimes a higher rating is simply a matter of implementing more of the fru-fru tactical moves, not about being the deepest thinker. Actually, depth is huge, but only when you don’t miss the fru-fru tactics and look to implement them as well.

  4. Yeah, always seeing simple stuff is actually big. It brings stability, more points and quite unexpected (with partner that strong) wins/draws.

  5. Rollingpawns – I just played a guy, “Aplomb” on FICS, that I was messing up against tactically (I have a cold anyway), but it’s kind of funny that he “went to the well (tactics)” one too many times, even though he was two pawns up and totally winning.

    It’s funny because I see these moves/tactics and think to myself “that can’t be right”. Even when he took Nxh2, Crafty likes White to respond Qf4 with an advantage. It’s clear that this opponent has a tactics-driven style of play, and is actually pretty strong, but I don’t know about intuition because that comes from a lot of experience. I was seeing things like …c6 for him, early on, which is what Crafty was also looking at, not neglecting the center. With best play, before I started messing up, I could get 2 pawns for the exchange, in theory.

    I notice that it’s something like 1. Find all the tactics, 2. Calculate how everything fits together, the individual lines as per the tactics that pertain to them. It’s subjective calculation to merely come up with a plan that one likes, and then calculate a move order that satisfies ones self – this leaves a player wide-open if they missed/left out any of the tactical ideas available in the postion.

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