Saturday, May 09, 2009


I finally went an entire tournament without giving away a piece for free. The result? I went 3-0 and was clear first in the U1300 division, and took home $150. Thanks, Asheboro Open! The best player I beat was rated 1233, the lowest was 983. So, nothing to get cocky about, but it sure feels good for once to leave a tournament and not be thinking, "Why the hell do I bother with this crap if I'm just going to drop pieces?"

The main difference in my training is i) playing games at ICC with a real board rather than the computer, so my chess vision doesn't need time to adjust, ii) the international chess school, iii) the games were G75 which was nice, gave me time to really look at the board and think about what I was doing.

The chess board practice with ICC is key I think. It was always very hard for me to make the adjustment for the first couple of games at tournaments before, but today it felt natural to work over a real board.

My rating went from 1064 to 1175, a high for me. My goal, fairly lofty, is to reach 1400 by next April.

One cool thing was that there was a blind dude there playing in his first tournament ever, and he won a game!


Blogger Banatt said...

Congratulations! Must feel good, huh?

The blind guy won a game? That's inspiring!

5/09/2009 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger RKaucher said...

Nice work! You think your thought process training is paying off?

5/09/2009 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Chess? said...

well done fellow class mate. with a weekend of 3-0 you must feel like a chess god? it's much deserved! congratulatons.

5/10/2009 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Will said...

Well done, a good result. I too play with a real board and have noticed my online rating has gone up in long games.

As for the blind guy, I was beaten silly by a blind guy in the County individual championship. Absolutely amazing player rated ~2100 FIDE, absolutely tore me to shreds. I left feeling very humble.

5/10/2009 03:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is what you get for being persistent, and not listening to that inner voice asking you why you bother. Congrats man!

5/10/2009 03:13:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

I'm happy to read this news, but i can't say i'm surprised at your result.

Congrats! Especially congrats for getting out there to play! :)

5/10/2009 03:56:00 AM  
Blogger Dean said...

Congratulations! Hope you keep up the tournaments, it'll bring on your chess even more. What's the 'international chess school' you mention? I find the longer the time control, the better the game and more you learn. I've played a blind player once and seen them play a few times, they're amazing. Sadly more often than not it's the sighted players who can't adjust properly to calling out moves correctly then listening and reproducing the move on their own board.

5/10/2009 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Banatt, Chess?, CMoB, Katar: thanks all.

Something I didn't mention is that I think simply playing more lately, and returning to basics in my thinking, has been extremely important.

In most tournaments I would lose games thinking about fairly complicated plans or tactics, when there were simple one-movers staring me in the face that I hadn't even considered. Lately I have been trying to "see" the board a bit more like a child without as much complicated shit in my head, and even think about how would I look for moves if my opponent were new to chess? I would first look for ridiculous blunders before looking around for complicated crap.

This was partly inspired by overhearing some coaches talking at a tournament recently about how they have to stress to their kids that until people reach 2200, they typically make fairly major errors in their games, and that they really shouldn't be so intimidated to play highly rated players.

Only one of my opponents flat-out dropped pieces for me (ironically, the 1200+ ranked player) but they left themselves open to one-move tactics. In one game, a skewer of a queen/rook with my Bishop. In another game, a fork of his queen/rook with my knight.

I'm going to look over the games and I'll post one of them. And I'll post a loss from my previous tournament too.

Chess Student: You asked: "You think your thought process training is paying off?"

That is a tough question for me to answer objectively, as I have done so much freaking work on thought process (just look up 'thought process' at my blog highlights page).

As I mentioned above, though, I do think that I am following my thought process better now. I have an initial focus on elementary piece safety/simple tactics, but I think I might be getting better at applying it.

My manifesto Safety First was frankly a turning point for me. I consider it the most important practical thing I've written at my blog.

Dean: On the International Chess School, see this post.

5/10/2009 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Loomis said...

Congratulations! I've also felt like this has been coming for some time for you and I predict you'll be seeing more rewards like this in the near future.

It's also nice to have someone go steal a few points from another part of the state.

5/10/2009 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Loomis: thanks. You ought to come out there and play sometime. One impressive thing is the number of kids there rated between 1500 and 1800. They'll likely be rising in the ranks rather quickly.

I also should stress that there was a luck factor here as well. E.g., in three games I got white twice.

5/10/2009 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger ADH said...

Congratulations! Get used to this kind of success because there is more yet to come.

5/10/2009 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger From the patzer said...

Congratulation BDK!

Seems that just being busy with chess has helped you. Playing with a board on ICC probably was also a smart move.

Are you gonna do the analyse with the ICS methode of consequences and to do list?

5/10/2009 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

ADH: Thanks, and thanks for the update.

Chesstiger: that's a good idea. I should analyze with an eye to threats (first and foremost in importance), consequences, and To Do lists every few moves, in the ICS template :)

5/10/2009 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Hook, line and sinker! Nice work… I believe the fact that you OWNED the U1300 section weighs more than the 150 bucks. I seriously think you will be at 1600 in 18 months if you keep it up. You’re knowledge base is much higher than the 1400 level and you could rival 1800’s in your thought process.

You touched on a great idea. I advocate using a real board or at the least converting the computer to 3d display. I learned that after the 7 circles …. I still could not see the tactics in 3 dimension. The best way to practice for F2F combat in weekend tournaments is to emulate your OTB experience. Set up the board and go over games with a tournament size set. Visualize and write your variations down.

I like to capture my ideas in chess base still so I tend to have my computer open and the set going at the same time. I tell you, since I’ve been emulating real OTB experience, my rating has jumped over 100 points in the past 9 months.

I will admit, it’s more time consuming and I have a lazy streak. I tend to drop back to computer mode only to get “caught up” on my games studies so I can update my posts. But I shoot for progress and not perfection. I gave up guilt back in my parochial school and stopped flogging myself. In general, any study is good study… even in 2D. You will still have it processed eventually to your 3d eye through more repetitions. Efficiency comes by taking the time and creating the right conditions.

Now, my competitive side says, I need to stay ahead of the BDK… he might catch up.

5/10/2009 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP: interesting take on the 3-D. As someone who started chess on the computer, it has been tough to transition to being comfortable with the "real" board.

It also depends on my motivation. Blitz games, of course, I do on the comptuter. Also, if I am starting to get in time trouble, I switch over to computer only. It gobbles up precious time to look at the computer, make my move on the board, and then make my move on the computer.

I'd say you are about as far from lazy as anyone I've seen, what with the history lessons you provide every week :)

"Now, my competitive side says, I need to stay ahead of the BDK… he might catch up."

LOL. That'll be the day. I think you are pretty safe.

5/10/2009 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger Tommyg said...

Congratulations on the wins! 3-0 is impressive. The best I have ever mustered is 2 wins and 2 losses. I love OTB so much thought that even when I go 0-5 I still dig it! (is that masochistic of me??)

As an aside has anyone ever discussed the benefits/negatives of FischerRandom chess on one's "classical" chess playing? I have been playing a few FischerRandom games on the computer and it seems like it would be helpful for tactics.

Congrats again on the tournament results!

5/10/2009 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Thanks tommyg. That's an interesting question about Fischerrandom I haven't seen discussed. I wonder if anyone has tried playing exclusively Fischerrandom for two months, then see how they do once they come back to regular chess. would they have insights that normal chess players would lack?

There is very little good literature on fischerandom unfortunately.

5/10/2009 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Zweiblumen said...


I think you're getting the first inklings of something I realized as I started to move up the ratings ladder that was both liberating and depressing:

The liberating thing is: 12 and 1300 rated players will drop pieces.

The depressing thing is: 12 and 1300 rated players will drop pieces.

:P It's nice to know that these people are assailable, until you realize that when you get to 12, 13 and 1400 you're still going to blunder pieces away.

It's definitely true what I have heard sometimes that detecting improvement in your own play can be tricky, but you know you're getting better when everyone else seems to be playing worse...

5/11/2009 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Zweiblumen said...

As regards Fischer random chess...I'm not sure yet. Yes it forces you to think independently, and yes you still have to look for tactics, but you spend your time looking for plans in very unfamiliar board setups. Probably, if you're an openings sort of person it won't help you that much, aside from making you more comfortable when you're out of book.

It's fun regardless though, and can be a way to level the playing field a little when you get together with your non chess serious friends.

5/11/2009 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Chessaholic said...

congrats BDK, I know it's very satisfying to win OTB games that you spent some serious time and thought on :)

5/11/2009 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Zweiblumen: that is right, I think. Whenever I've experienced improvement, subjectively it feels like luck as people seem to be playing worse. :)

Chessaholic: thanks. Yes, the losses in slow games are somehow worse. In particular, losses due to blunders are horribly crippling psychologically in slow games.

5/11/2009 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger wang said...

Sweetness! Congratulations on the victory man, they feel good, although I've never won my section, I have won a monthly STC tourney in the U1500 section a few years ago, and that was pretty sweet.

I think you'll be able to get to 1400 sooner than that, keep studying.

5/11/2009 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

SWEET!! I had not read this post before I responded to your pairing question and suggested playing in an under section.

I have the opposite problem in that I lose server games because of the 2D board. I haven't played at FICS in a long time, but maybe I should try playing slow games using a chess board. I just don't have a lot of patience for slow games on the computer. If I do play online I tend to play blitz which I suck at. LOL

5/12/2009 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Polly: thanks for the very helpful answer to my question, incidentally.

The usual tournament I play in (the demoralizing one) is strange: the lowest section is usually U1600, with just a few people rated under 1200. This tournament had three sections, and in mine (the U1300), everyone except one was U1200.

Right now I'd guess my true rating is around my actual rating (1175 seems right), so it won't be trivial to make the leap to 1400 in one year.

5/12/2009 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Blue Devil Knight wrote:

As I mentioned above, though, I do think that I am following my thought process better now. I have an initial focus on elementary piece safety/simple tactics, but I think I might be getting better at applying it.

My manifesto Safety First was frankly a turning point for me. I consider it the most important practical thing I've written at my blog.
Speaking of safety/threat awareness, has anybody worked through Dan Heisman's puzzle book, Looking for Trouble: Recognizing and Meeting Threats in Chess? I'm going through his Back to Basics: Tactics book now and am wondering if I should move on to Looking for Trouble" next -- I gather it's more difficult.

I know my thought process is deficient when it comes to actively checking for opponents' threats, but I wonder if specifically training ones tactical vision for opponents' threats is a good use of time, as a complement to working on thought process?

An testimonials/thoughts about that?

-- Hank

p.s.: BDK -- congrats on the awesome results at the tournament!

5/13/2009 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Hank: an interesting question. I usually assume that working on tactics will help me see opponent opportunities as well, but it might not be the case. The only little thing I do, with CTB, is when it is black to move, I do not have it flip the board so that the eighth rank is at the bottom. At least that way, it is like finding opponent's tactics.

Ideally, I would look for opponent tactics the same way I look for my own tactics (e.g., knight in enemy territory, look for forks, and other seeds of tactical destruction).

I am curious about the Heisman book, as obviously there is a lot more to defense than avoiding blunders.

5/14/2009 08:47:00 AM  

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