Monday, June 27, 2005

Salt Peanuts

A post by Nezha tipped me off to the existence of the Chess Tactics Server, and I've been popping problems one after another the past few nights. It's free, it's fun, it doesn't require Windows. Highly recommended!

Anyway, that's what I've been doing instead of analysing my games as I should.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I played in another G/60 at the Marshall Chess Club on Saturday. First, I drew with a B player. Next round, I drew with a C player. Then I drew with an A player, and then I finally gave up and went home.

I don't think I made any particular tactical bluders, and my opponents really did play pretty well; but my play lacked all energy. And not only was my play dull, it was slow. I could have played out any of the endgames (not that they were better for me, but they weren't dead draws), but I was already down to 5 minutes on the clock in each game, and we hadn't gotten to move 30 in any of them.

Maybe I just need to take a break.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A loss

Hi! Been a while. I've actually been doing a fair bit of chess work the last few weeks, but not as much as I'd like. I suspect that a principal advantage of the de la Maza method is that it gives the student a strict schedule to follow.

Anyway, according to my logbook, I've spent more than 12 hours analysing the following game, my third-round loss in the May Open at the Marshall. It was a hard game to analyse, because it wasn't very tactical, so there were a lot of reasonable alternatives for each side.

A word about my opponent. IM Renato Naranja was for years one of the Philippines' best players. In 1970, he played in the 1970 Palma de Majorca Interzonal, where he drew with Fischer and beat a number of strong GMs. The tournament book of that event was the first chess book I bought with my own money, and I remember his games well. Naranja has returned to chess this year after a long absence from the game. I am thrilled to have had a chance to play him.

So, what did I learn from this game? Well, I evaluate potential endgames too superficially; I just assumed that the Bishop ending was tenable. I still haven't conquered my tendency to simplify even when complex alternatives are better. And I re-learned something about Black's move-order in the Stonewall (I used to know that 8...Ne4 was the right move; I played it several times). There was something wrong with the way I evaluated positions in the middle game, as well, but I haven't quite worked out what it was.

Comments on, and corrections of, my analysis are welcome, as always.

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