Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Finished the Circles

HUZZAH!!!! I am finally a graduate of the U of MDLM (BA in Tactics). Say goodbye to the rotating head at the top of the page. He can finally rest from his endless circling. The picture below shows Buddy and I celebrating my graduation. I'm the one on the left.

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement when I struggled with this quite taxing program of study. First, my wife Julia! Also, without the Knights Errant, I would not have finished this Quixotic quest. No freaking way. Especially helpful was the the first wave of Knights that came before me, their patience and willingness to engage with topics was unique. It was a small town back then, but the chess blogosphere has become Los Angeles. I'm a small-town kinda guy. So special thanks to Tempo, Tak, J'adoube, Pale MD, Celtic Death, King of the Spill (the first Knight's blog I ever saw), Nezha, Sancho, Man de la Maza, Chris Kilgore, for bearing with me as I took my first steps with chess and with blogging.

I'd like to thank some others. DK Transform has been a constant source of inspiration and befuddlement. Patrick (chess for blood) helped me see a broader view of chess and keep a sense of humor. Then there is Zenchess, DG, Michael Goeller, chessloser, and .... Hey, wait, don't start the music yet, I'm not done thanking people. Sorry they are telling me to get off the stage...if I didn't mention you sorry I wanted to but they are music-ing me off. Thank you blog readers!

The final table:

# CirclesPercent Correct
Problem Set 11498-99-100-100-100-100-100
Problem Set 21590-93-96-99-99-99-99-99
Problem Set 3885-93-97-99-99-99-99-100
Problem Set 41373-87-93-96-98-99-99
Problem Set 5969-92-96-99-99-99-99-99-100
NOTE: Circles undertaken with CTB.

A total of 59 minicircles and over 15000 problems solved before I knew all the solutions by hand. It took me over a year but feels great.

P.S. My new banner includes pictures of the amazing sculpture, The Confessional.
P.P.S. New Secretary Knight will be announced Monday.


Blogger phorku said...

Congrats. Maybe one day I will be graduated. I am sure it was a long tough journey. Must be nice to have support from your family for you endeavors.

10/11/2007 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/11/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Zweiblumen said...


10/11/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Strong work!

10/11/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger rockyrook said...

HOT DAMN! Way to go!

But don't give up practicing tactics now or you'll give up all the ground you've gained.

10/11/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks guys. Rocky: I plan to review them pretty much daily. But not today. Today is free day. I do whats I wants today!

10/11/2007 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger tanch said...


Well done! *applaud*

10/11/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


15000 problems. OMG. That's really a good idea as far as tactics are concerned! Respect.

kind regards,

10/11/2007 05:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely done sir.

10/11/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger transformation said...

dearest BDK, thank you for all that you have done for us, and done it well. there can be no doubt as to the fartherest reaches that you have yet to attain. so smart, so kind, so blunt even on occassion... such a good moderator if not leader. you also show us great craft in your exeCution on top of your chess only exploration.

mabye do some 'rooms' (mushrooms) or drink yuka or petote then play 0/4) then fly to amsterdam for a dram of Belgian beer with tempo... over cigars. :)

seriously, enjoy this moment and god bless you.


and, as i like to say, 'warmest', dk

10/11/2007 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger wang said...

Congratulations! This is quite an accomplishment.

10/11/2007 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks all, and DK. I am definitely going to take a day or two off from chess. Let the motivation build back up a bit.

10/12/2007 01:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool picture of you and the dog and the sigar. That's a big one right there! Congrats on finishing the circles.

10/12/2007 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Congratulations! Good to see you finally smoking that cigar! Now you are free to do what you like. Keep blogging.

10/12/2007 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger Magic Knight said...

FELICITATION... BDK and thank you for all that you have done for us...15000 problems wow !

10/12/2007 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger takchess said...

Dude! Way to fight the good fight! I too saw the KOTS (don't call him that) as the first chess blog. It was a small town then.

Interesting as to how you will see the results play out in tourney play.keep us posted.


10/12/2007 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks Temp, DD, KOTS, Tak, Magic. It will be very interesting to see how this influences my games over the next couple of months. Right now I'm a wee bit hung over from the beer, whiskey, and cigar I had last night to celebrate.

Go Sox!

10/12/2007 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Loomis said...

Congratulations! A real triumph of dedication and persistence. It will be interesting to see where you go from here.

10/12/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Liquid Egg Product said...

So now that you've finished the circles does that mean your period of servitude to de la Maza has finished? Or are you still bound to guide neophytes in the faith? I need to know whether to congratulate you or not.

10/12/2007 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Liquid Egg Product said...

Incidentally, I will miss the spinning head. Shamefully, I was never clever enough to notice "spinning head" and "circles" were intended to be linked as some sort of pun.

10/12/2007 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Loomis: thanks. I plan on just focusing on playing, maintaining by doing a few problems a day from the problem set, and really focusing on getting my thought process working on every move rather than 60% of my moves.

We'll see, though. For now I don't want to look at a chessboard for a few days.

Liquid EP: I'll be around, but will be passing on all my duties as Secretary soon. I'll post on that Monday. I already changed the FAQ: now we won't have to change the link to the FAQ every time a new secretary king is appointed.

10/12/2007 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

I've been under a rock... Just catching up... HUZZZZZZAH!

10/12/2007 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

congrats. have fun with Art of Chekmate. the real fun begins now.

10/13/2007 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks Katar. I'm just looking forward to playing and not training for a little while! I can sure see why the "real" Circlers got burnt out: I'm feeling it a little bit and I did the wimpy mini-circles.

I noticed your web site disappeared, the one hosted the same place as your ChessDB photo.

10/13/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...


Sorry for the delay here, but congratulations, congratulations, congratulations my man. Well done. I'd like to say it seems like yesterday the rotating head was a part of the blogosphere, but well, it seems more like a few years. LOL. Way to stick with it, and congratulations again.

10/14/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done! :)

But one thing i don't understand about you guys: You all seem to see the 7circles as a method to struggle through once, and that's it...

I'm in my 5th serious Circles now (every time it's like 1500 tactical problems, or endgames)

I believe this goes on and on. You can keep doing circles forever! (and you should)

Do it once, and feel 'graduated' seems so weird to me....

You can keep improving at tactics, imo!

But well done anyway! ;-)

Phyle from Belgium

10/14/2007 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP: Thanks! (I think I responded at my next post to your comment here :)).

PMD: thanks a lot. It was hard. Not as hard as what you guys did (none of this mini-circle crap!), but nonetheless a long-distance event that was sometimes very tiring.

Anon phyle: I can't imagine doing them over and over. More power to ya'. I want to focus more on other things, like actually playing. Then, if I plateau with that I'll work through master games, maybe get a coach again.

Luckily, the Circles aren't the only way to improve at, or maintain a level of, tactical vision.

10/14/2007 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BDK, my belated congratulations! I'm looking forward to reading about your progress post intensive tactics training.

10/17/2007 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

BTW, great hat!

10/17/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks Chesstyro and Jeff.

Jeff: thanks for noticing the hat. I love that hat! It is a filter for me: if someone understands that hat, then I know they didn't just become a Pats fan when they started winning Super Bowls.

Go Sox! Let's hope the Pats don't get cocky and lose this weekend. That would likely be one of the biggest upsets in league history. I hope they aren't so focused on Indianapolis that they forget to prepare for Miami. I know that isn't Belicheck's style: he is always good at focusing only on the next game. But even he is probably thinking the next game should be easy.

10/17/2007 12:51:00 PM  

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