Monday, June 04, 2007


I went to LA (the Pacific Palisades) for my brother-in-law's High School graduation. It was good to be in a big city again, with all the food, people, and general hustle-and-bustle that comes along with it. Durham is a bit too rural-southern for this Yankee transplant.

I worked at Circle 4.2 on the plane, and should finish this week. My percentages are improving: I expect 85% correct or so. I have gone through the circle once and now have about 50 more problems I got wrong the first time to review until I get them right. The King and Pawn endgames are still the most troublesome, in that I typically don't understand why I got them wrong (so far I have found one error in a K/P endgame: CTB says wrong when Fritz says perfectly fine).

I am thinking about adding the King's Gambit to my white repertoire. I am at a new point in my chess growth: no longer do I consistently play like a cringing little orphan girl. I now try to make things more messy, tactically complicated, force myself and my opponent to have to calculate variations. The King's Gambit may be the best way to really force games into this style (though less so if black wimps out with 2. Bc5). Quality Chess has a new book coming out on it soon, by Pinksi: I will get it and then decide if it feels right. Also, I am excited that Marin's book on the Spanish for black may be a Berlin System! That would be sweet. I'll let everyone know once it comes out.

The King Assassins made it to the playoffs. This is the first time I have been board 3 instead of board 4, and the competition is definitely stiffer. I need to be sure to play practice games: just doing tactics is not enough. Staying in the rhythm of real move selection, calculation, etc is key: positions don't come labeled 'White to gain a knight in 2.'

I finally got Tisdall's Improve your chess now. I have only thumbed through it, but it seems excellent. I will post a more thorough review once I've read it a bit more closely. Basically, it gives advice on thought processes (since Kotov), how to get better at visualization (his suggestion: learn to play blindfold), and has a chapter on the worth of the pieces in different scenarios. This book was very hard to find.

P.S. I got a 'Hardcore Pawnography' bumper sticker from chessloser. Thanks!!! It is sweet. A very nice simple design. I wish we all lived close to each other: wouldn't it be fun to have a blogosphere tournament some weekend at a hotel? J'adoube would have to be kept in a cage so as not to end up in a battle royale over computers. Tempo would have to have his mouth sewn shut so as not to confuse we patzers with his high falutin' talk of quantum consciousness. And blunderprone would have to play a queen down to give us all a fighting chance. Grandpatzer would have to be TD because everyone will be too scared to play him. DK wouldn't be allowed to participate unless he promised not to mention any philosophers, economists, or his recent conversations with Seirawan (all obvious ploys to psyche out his opposition).

P.P.S. (added later in the afternoon) I've added a 'Hall of fame' to my sidebar. This list will contain blogs that are no longer active, but which contain so much good material that they are well worth perusing. The only member so far: Chess for blood.

P.P.P.S. My Monroi has now taken a liking to wearing a hockey mask around the house. I have him in a bird cage so hopefully he won't be able to hurt anyone. Shhhh. Wait. I think I hear footsteps. Noo! No Monroi! Aaahhhhh!


Blogger Temposchlucker said...

but confusion is my main weapon against patzers!

BTW I have adopted an interesting plan against 1.c4: I play the Grand Prix with black.

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 f5!? It is an idea from IM Mark Diesen, who devoted 4 video's to it at

I played it last friday at the club against 1948 for the first time and got a very strong attack. However I lost eventually, but that was not because of the opening.

6/05/2007 03:39:00 AM  
Blogger Loomis said...

I am now fully aware why 'detective' is not a job possibility for me. I should have figured this out a loooong time ago. I live in Durham, I recently graduated from Duke, we met a couple years ago.

6/05/2007 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Loomis: that is really funny. Where did we meet? Were you a grad student or undergrad? If a grad student, I'd bet we met at the Duke chess club the one time I went (when I was just learning the game a little over two years ago).

6/05/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tempo: I'll have to look into that response to the English, one of my least favorite openings to see as black. That is, if I ever turn my subscription to Chesslecture back on (my big complaint with it is that it is too focused on openings).

6/05/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Loomis: I think, somehow, you slipped from my sidebar. Adding now.

6/05/2007 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Loomis said...

I was a grad student and we did in fact meet at the chess club -- though it wasn't much of a club at the time, I don't blame you for not coming back :-). Unfortunately, I'm only in Durham another couple of months before I move to Florida.

6/05/2007 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

I lived in Malibu for 2 years; I used to play beach volleyball every saturday at Temescal Canyon & PCH in Pacific Palisades. Nice scenery, bad drivers.

King's gambit, it's about time! I'm playing thru Gallagher's book (excellent but out of print) just for entertainment and to unleash KG for weekly blitz at Borders.

Bucklye and Tisdall both suggest blindfold chess, so there must be somth to that........

6/05/2007 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

btw, i recall that marin's book will be on the Ruy Lopez, Closed, Chigorin variation. i could be wrong, but this is what i remember. The Nigel Davies book "Play e4 e5" also covers that line.

6/05/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Coffeehouse P: Too bad if it will be on the Chigorin: I can't seem to find a single book on the Berlin, which is just strange (Davies does the Keres rather than the Chigorin proper I believe, though they are the same to move 11).

The Tisdall reminds me quite a bit of the Buckley book, actually. I am frankly still not sure I buy the argument (i.e., when you are calculating variations you are essentially playing blindfold, the only difference being that the board is in front of you). The caveat 'but the board is in front of you' seems key: why not just practice calculation with the board in front of you? However, enough people much better than me have said this about blindfold that I need to give it a shot rather than abstractly argue about it. Tisdall actually argues that looking at the board in front of you can be a distraction, which is why many great GMs visualize by looking away from the board.

On an unrelated topic, I added the classic blog Chess for blood to a new 'Hall of fame' category on my sidebar.

6/05/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...


Did you have a chance to look at my Grinch game? Q-odds? I gave the girl rook odds ;)

6/05/2007 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger takchess said...

You can buy the Gallagher book on Ebay for about 25 bucks. My take on it currently outshines everything I have seen on the subject and imo may outshine the pinski book as well.

take a look on my past blogs for links to my chessgames collections on the KG.

Gallagher played it at the GM Level and has perspective of the history and what works and doesnt.

Though Pinski may have some interest view regarding computer analysis of lines that are not a part of the Gallagher book .

6/05/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger Loomis said...

I believe there is a big difference between OTB calculation and blindfold play. I've tried blindfold play and one thing I've noticed is that there is a big difference between a real blindfold game and playing blindfold but allowing yourself to look at an empty board -- no pieces, just the squares. Just being able to look at where the squares are makes a big difference to me.

6/05/2007 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

The Kenilworthian has quite somewhat about Berlin articles.

6/05/2007 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

coffeehouse: the Davies repertoire could be considered a chigorin, but more accurately it's the Keres version of the Chigorin. Marin's games in Chessbase were mainline Chigorins.

6/05/2007 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

BDK: the Kaufman repertoire book features the Berlin. Not encyclopedic, but it's something.

6/05/2007 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I shall pick up the Kaufman book and learn the Berlin.

I will also try to get myself a copy of that KG book that everyone raves about. People are saying that Pinski will be basically rehashing that but focusing on lines since Gallagher that have emerged because of Gallagher.

6/05/2007 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

PS I've decided to play the Dutch against d4. I can't wait!

6/05/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

re: blindfold. I used to have a coworker that was quite a good chess player. We were talking over opening variations, and he thought I should try blindfold games. I said, "no way, I'm not that good, it'd be a farce" but he encouraged me. We played the odd game blindfold, and I was surprised....when you turn your mind to something, it's surprising what you can do. We didn't use a board but kept game scores, so if I started to lose the thread I could refer to the score and pick it up again.

I wish I still had a bindfold partner to practice this on. I should give some thought to practicing this by just reading over game scores.

One thing I do occasionally is visualize and play through basic chess endgames. I think that studying endgames is a great way to work on calculation of variations and visualization skills.

Part of the trick for me blindfold is picturing the color of the squares....using an empty board as a crutch makes blindfold a lot easier, but that's sort of like cheating.

6/05/2007 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

The thing is, when you are playing, the board is there in front of you. My attitude, expressed in a previous post, is that it is usually best to practice like you play. I play with a board in front of me, I look at it when doing my calculations, so why not be more direct and simply practice calculation on complex positions as I would in real games?

That said, I should really try the blindfold thing to see what all the hubub is about. Kotov and Soltis, by the way (no slouches) don't recommend blindfold, but the above technique of practicing in real game-like situations.

6/06/2007 03:15:00 AM  
Blogger chessloser said...

having a chessblogger tournament would be pretty fun, i'd be up for it...glad you got the stickers, enjoy...

6/06/2007 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Pearson said...

Hey, all you chess bloggers--I proposed, only half-seriously, a little while back that we have a little chess blogger convention at the Western States Open in Reno in October. The fact that it's in my hometown and everyone else would have to travel untold millions of aggregate miles to get here is mere coincidence, I tell ya...

Anyway, chessloser sounded interested, and I'm going to do up the occasional post over the next few months to encourage any players who read my blog to consider coming. On the Thursday before the start of the tournament we could have some kind of chess blogger convention and quickplay, perhaps.

I'll post more about it soon. Also, chess blogger meetings at other tournaments would be great--post something about it when you'll be at a tournament.

6/06/2007 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Abend said...

The Morphy book got me thinking about both the Dutch and the King's Gambit.

I haven't tried the Dutch yet, but I've played a few King's Gambit games. I'm not sure if I prefer the Knight's Gambit or the Bishop's Gambit; either way, I find the positions fairly mind-blowing.

Chesslecture again -- Dana Mackenzie has a couple of lectures on the King's Gambit, and they convinced me to try the Bishop's Gambit.

6/06/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger wayward son said...

I have also heard that Marin's book will be on the Chigorin. But if you are looking for the Berlin, I believe that John Cox is writing a book (also by Quality Chess), but I am not sure when it will be released.

6/06/2007 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Wayward son: awesome!!!

Quality chess puts out great books, but they are always way behind schedule. If this means the books are better, that's good. Don't want them pulling a Microsoft.

6/06/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger transformation said...

well concieved indeed!

philosophers, yasser, or young women in various phases of undress. :)

6/09/2007 06:46:00 AM  

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