Tuesday, January 31, 2006

1100 club

I finally passed an 1100 rating at ICC. Since my goal was to go from being a 950-level player to a solid 1200-level player, I think I am on the right track. So someone call Pat Robertson, I'm in the 1100 club.

Why the small but notable jump in improvement? Five Six major reasons.
1. Opening study. In two recent wins, I was able to initiate the Fried Liver attack as white, and within two moves mated my opponent! A few posts ago I said that the costs of going off book are minor at my level. This obviously ain't always true.
2. I am playing less timidly, pushing the game (as white) into quite open tactically rich games, with some very tricky and unforgiving lines in the opening, lines that I know pretty darn well. As black, my opening is still a disaster.
3. No more blitz. I am playing nothing less than 30/10 time controls. I think this is improving my ability to think, to remember what I thought about, and to relax during the games.
4. I have been working a lot on building a thought process, which I call Chessplanner. The upshot of all this is that I am finally starting to play plan-based chess. My plans are pathetically simplistic I'm sure, but as someone somewhere said, "A bad plan is better than no plan." The thought process is basically Heisman's Real Chess (see sidebar) coupled with some explicit plan-generation steps. You will hear more about Chessplanner in the future.
5. I am no longer putting my rating on the sidebar. I am only putting my rating maximum to date. This way I can track any upward trend and not worry about fluctuations that lead me there. It is less statistically valid, but who gives a rat's butt? I am playing more because I'm not worried about comments from the peanut gallery about how much my rating has dropped. :)
6. Statistical fluctuations, pure chance, blind luck, Caissa's pity.

Most of my losses are still due to my inability to see material threats (including mate, tactics, and combinations). However, I am making some new mistakes. For instance, last night I gave away the initiative in a position I probably was winning. One word: strategery.


Blogger Pawnsensei said...

Hey, congrats BD! Onward and upward.


1/31/2006 04:34:00 AM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

Since you are a fan of Dan Heisman, you should be aware of Dan's major mantra : the Fried Liver sucks ( for White ) relative to the Lolli.

You are enjoying bashing opponents that don't know any book ( as I used to do when I played the Fried Liver).

But if you want a line you can keep playing as your rating goes up- learn the Lolli instead.

On the other hand, higher-rated opponents will probably play some other form of Two-Knights, anyway, so in that sense, you have very little risk in the Fried Liver.

In summary, theoretically, Black
kicks ass in the Fried Liver- White kicks ass in the Lolli- but your opponents won't know either, so you can play what you want.

1/31/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks PS and Julia.

FF: I have Heisman's e-book on the Lolli and Fried Liver, which is from where some of my lines are stolen. Good players don't fall into the Fried Liver attack (even though, theoretically it is good for black), and players that do fall into it are overwhelmed.

Plus, it's just a fun line to play! If I ever reach a level where it isn't fun to play, because it is getting stomped, I'll tweak things.

1/31/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Your pragmatic approach towards openings is very good. Play what you like to play until opponents start to punish it. Then change. After all with Bookup it is a piece of cake to learn a new opening in two weeks. And it is fun. Most of the time the knowledge isn't lost, since a lot of openings have things in common. For example I played the Morra gambit in the past. Now I play the Alapin. But sometimes I can switch from the Alapin to a good version of the Morra gambit.

1/31/2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

Hooray indeed. It sounds like you are well on your way.
In my opinion, the fried liver attack is terrifying if you've not seen it before. Sure, Black can get an advantage, but he can also lose instantly with a single misstep. I don't think many opponents will be booked up.
RE: #2 - Yes, you must give your opponent opportunities to screw up. Playing aggressively (but not "optimistically")is the most direct way to do this.
Good for you that you've stopped playing blitz!!

1/31/2006 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin 'dutchdefence' Meyer said...

Congratulations on your achievement!
It brings you yet another step closer to Nakamura's 3300 club :)

1/31/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

I think generally the "scariest" gambits are those where your opponent sacs a piece in the opening to make your king stroll around in the center of the board.

Personally, I gave up the Petroff defense once I realized that there was no good book out there on the Cochrane Gambit.

Understandable though - what GM would want to waste his time on the thankless task of writing such a book for such a small audience?

2/01/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger CelticDeath said...

Congratulations, BDK. There's no reason why you couldn't hit at least 1400 - 1500 by the end of the year.

2/01/2006 03:45:00 PM  

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