Saturday, December 22, 2007

Trench Warefare

so i was doing some thinking.

and i figured it out. :-) i was digging a trench in the back yard. 6 feet deep, i think that's like 14 meters for you guys in the rest of the world.

so there i am digging away with a mini excavator. just going about it. both hands and sometimes my feet playing with the levers. left hand left, then forward... then right hand left then forward then slowly right while back... then more right, left hand going from forward to neutral to back... and up comes a big ole bucket of dirt. then dump it and do it again. then again.

and there i am digging a trench. great fun. great fun. digging. and thinking. and i was thinking about chess. as that was my plan from a few days ago. to think about chess and as always something will come peculating up from the inner dungeons of my brain and give me the answer. and it did. took a little more time than usual. but i think this is a bit bigger question than i usually assign to my sub conscience. so... i guess i am not all that upset at the delay.

if you missed the last post... go read it! just kidding. it said i had to think about how i should best learn how to learn to play chess. well the answer that came up wasn't really the path to getting better. but, the thing that has been bothering me a bit.

that's the tactics thingy. doing the exercises. and figuring out the correct move.

and i suddenly had one of those feelings. about it. and its this:

why does all this great information on how to see a tactical solution not improve my skill a huge amount?

now... i think it HAS for SURE improved me. for sure. i now look for things i never even thought of before doing the CT-ART, and i am only about 1/4 of the way through the first cycle. and i feel a huge increase in skill. but playing on FICS i don't see it every game, just once in a while. which is great i say... but wouldn't it be even better if i was godlike all the time?

and that's what i was thinking while digging a trench.


why... why... why... hmm.... dig... why.... dig dig... drink beer... dig... hmmm... why... hmmm.... AAAHHH-FARKING-HAAA!!!


BECAUSE: the problems that i am trying to solve in CT-ART where played to that point by SOMEBODY ELSE! and then i have to figure out what the tricky part is. BUT!!!! NOT HOW TO GET THERE!

that's it.

that's how to get better.

don't follow in the footsteps of those who created those problems. CREATE THEM MYSELF! create the problems don't solve them.

create the problems don't solve them.

yes. all very good. but how to do that?

THAT IS THE ESSENCE OF MY LEARNING. not how to solve great problem. but to make them.



how very cool this blog thing is for my thinking.

so. as the zen (i like zen) saying goes: dont follow in the footsteps of those ahead of you. SEEK what they SOUGHT.

Friday, December 14, 2007


ok. i have been doing some thinking on getting better at chess. i have never been much of a student. actually i am a pretty bad student. i, hmm... for some reason i feel its somehow cheating to take lessons. i know i learn a lot, but there is something in me that says if i don't figure it out myself then i cant really take it to heart. feeling this way i taught myself to play softball, how to hit the darn thing really far. well. not always but plenty enough. and to hit a golf ball pretty well. also how to build a house, play guitar and bass and hockey. also pretty much taught myself how to write software. which is what i do when i am not building my house.

so... how hard could it be to learn to play chess better?

i have decided to learn how to learn to play chess better.

a while ago i wanted to write a science fiction story, its about 60% done now. but when i started i couldn't figure out where to start. what should i do first? so i asked a friend. she said "start at the beginning." seemed pretty good, and i was off and running on it, off and on of course or it would be done already.

where should i start learning how to learn how to play chess? the blogs i have been reading, and i have read plenty of pages so far have actually helped a lot. its a good set of people out there. :-)

when i was working on the house i had a friend help out for a while. sometimes he did the strangest ( to me ) things. things that seemed kinda weird to me. it brought back memories of myself a few years ago. i was at my wife's parent's house. they had a kids swing in the back yard - one of those metal monsters. the 6 legged thing with the swings and the slide. all from about 1972. and it was rusted all to fark. and they just got some new grand kids and the swing was getting upgraded. so we are sitting there. me, resa and mike who is resa's brother. he works construction. and we are sitting there and wondering how to get the old swing down. its just sitting there looking at us. and we are looking back at it. maybe a hacksaw i said. resa nodded. mike frowned. hmmm... maybe if we cut all the pieces up and then we could toss them into the back of the pickup. hmmm... so mike stands up and walks over to the swing. looks at it. hmmm... and grabs ahold of one of the metal poles and leans all his weight into it and over it goes. the rusty mess just collapses. and i remember thinking - hey you cant do that! you need to take it apart with tools and structure. but he just thought: Farkit. its going over. and it did. what a change this made in me. wow. just knock the farkin thing on its ass. easy. so i ran with this. now we had the 2 foot deep cement blocks to get out of the ground. so i ran the truck over to it and chained them up and yanked them right out. no digging. easy.


must be in some way the same.

i think, i am certain, somewhere in my head is some little guy telling me. not shouting, just a certain know it all kinda condescending voice saying "you will see someday. its there. you can get it."

i believe i am REALLY close to this thing. but i don't know what it is. or. more likely i think, somewhere inside me i do know what it is. and i just have to let myself both believe and trust in that something. i have always picked things up fast. but not chess. as a child i was pretty talented if unschooled.


and i just figured it. or... more likely it was just told to me by that little guy inside me. i have it.

just now. kinda cool :-)



i don't try hard enough at those things i feel i can do naturally. i try hard at hockey because i am big and slow. but i don't try to hard at softball which i am much better at because i am big and somewhat strong. selected effort in those places where i know i need it. less where i don't need it.

ha. wonderful. i knew i was close when i started this, the reason for writing it was i thought it would come out and it did. all very clearly therapeutic. cathartic. cool.

now... whether to upload this. heh. seems like i will be embarrassed to see it up on the page. but what the heck. maybe someone will learn something of themselves from reading this. plus! i think only 3 people have ready any of the others anyway, you guys are pretty cool :-)

i can always delete it later! at least i think.

getting wifed! time for bed.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

1280 trapped in a 1230 body...

i was on-line a few years ago and some guy as black just made like a tent of pawns in the middle of the board. and didnt trade any - just locked up the middle. and then stuffed his king in there and put the horseys and bishops in close too. then sent the wing pawns out to get trouble starting. it was pretty fun playing against him - i think i lost all 4 games this way. so i tried it myself. and it was a blast playing that. i think i did pretty well with it after a while.

anyone ever see this?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Golfing and Pawns

thanks everyone for saying hello! i need the go, sparf go! cheer at least in my own head now and then for motivation.

just openned up the CT-Art program, and closed it really quick. gads i get some nasty ego shots from that thing...

i think i will spend the evening working on endgames. pawns and such. speaking of pawns, i have another question for you guys. its about the H pawn. i mean, the guy looks like every other pawn out there. but, i like to run him up on the kingside as white - attack the badguys. but lately, i have been feeling some un-ease when i do it. it rarely amounts to much. and it takes about 4 moves to get it up there and then just traded off. it does get the H file open, but... i dont know, just something doesnt feel right about it. i never see any grandmaster games where they do that. its not in ct-art ever as a part of some great set of moves. i kinda feel like, well, you know when you are golfing and you see some newbs playing in front of you or with you. and you get to the green. and they put with one finger pointed down the stick? you know that feeling you get? hmmm... gads.

well, thats the same i have been feeling for myself about this lately. like, the guy playing me is rolling his eyes thinking "crud, what a newb. sending the H pawn like that."

just wondering your opinions on this i guess :-)

i think i am too impatient!

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's always tease, tease, tease...

opponents happy when on my knees...

one game it's white, the next it's black.

so if you want me off your board...

this is what i gotta know:

should i castle fast or should i castle slow?

indecision's bugging me...

i was playing some guy at a tournament lately. and the opening had us trade off queens really fast. and also a minor piece. i watched him castle and since all of the pawns were still on the board, or maybe one was gone i thought maybe it would be better for my king to stay in the middle anyway, i could see it having to be there after another couple of trades anyway. turns out i probably still should have castled. but it just seems that i shouldn't have to after the queens and some minor pieces are off the table. but! here is my question to any of you guys:

when is it safe to not castle?

i would just hate to run the king to the corner - not really wasting a move as the rook is now out - but, i would hate to run him there and then have to spend 3 more moves getting him back out.

any thoughts ?

Friday, November 30, 2007

First Steps

Ah, where to start. first words and all. someday when i look back at this entry, and my rating is over 2000 i will probably have tears in my eyes. well, i will probably at least have a ton of booze in my eyes to look through. :-) Might as well start with my history. i am 43 years old. my favorite color is blue. or green. i am married and have no kids. when i was a child in the 60s my dad didn't like the tv on while we ate dinner. except for star trek. my dad looked exactly like spock without the make up. he still does. i don't at all strangly. hmm... well. anyway, he would only let us watch ST. and watch we did. and spock would play chess. he could beat anyone. even the computer when it was all messed up. i thought wow! what if i could play chess against the computer!??!? awesome! someday i will get a job and get money and get a computer. to play chess on. well, i grew up playing baseball ( i live in michigan in the states ) and other sports. i didnt really play much chess. at about age ten i beat my dad. then went on to win against all my friends. then the school kids i didnt know. about this time we moved to california. i won a local tournament of about 30 kids aged about 11-12ish. i was awesome! nobody could touch me. so my dad entered me into a real tournament, in about 1975. i got smoked. i think i won 1 game. maybe. strangely i remember almost beating the eventual champ. but loosing to everyone else on the planet that day. my dad decided i wasn't going to make him extrodinarily wealthy by playing chess. i guess i also thought maybe chess is something to dabble in, not actually study.

twelve or so years go by and i dont play a single game. until after college my best friend asked me to come over and fix his computer - i went to school to be a computer geek (still following in spock's footsteps). i am fixing the computer and he says "heya, sparfy, thanks!" so i say "np" and we are looking at the computer sitting there all fixed and happy. hmm... what to do... he says "OK, try this out - it's a chess program for computers." i smile, well, yeah, i guess - but no program is all that good anyway. "...and it will kick your ass." he further suggested. so i take the floppy disk, and say thanks.

chessmaster 2100 i think it was. and it kicked my ass. not once, not twice... but about 200 times. in a row. wtf?

in about 1990 i decided i really sucked at chess. which, actauly, was mostly true. i was good, just naturaly good. like someone who can throw a sponge ball. they can throw it so it hits the dog, or hits the back of the girlfriend's head. but. can they strike out alex rodriguez? no... but maybe could they strike out some goofball in the minors? hmm? no. same as my chess skill. i could beat the dog, maybe even some of the girlfriends. but, a real player? no. i had no idea what to do. i was, and sometimes still am, somewhat bright. but not skilled. so i gave the floppy back to my friend and gave up chess. again.

a couple of years and marriages later i was watching CNN. gary kasparov was playing some computer on tv. you could watch it on line at msn! wow! well, whatever. i didnt watch any of the games and later i remember him storming out of the hall. gads he was worked up over a game. foreigners sure are weird. well, maybe i will try that msn thingy. so i get on line and load up the game program and start playing guys at that site. gads i was bad. well. i did get a bit better after a while. the site is pretty much closed down now - at least the version i was playing. i met some great people there. after a while i got pretty good. so i entered a real over the board tournament in vegas. got crushed. gave up chess for 5 more years.

now its 2003ish. i am in the book store looking at SF books... nothing new is out that i am interested in, and the resa (my wife) is looking at plant books or how to frame a house books. so i am killing time and i head over to the donut area. ahhhh doooonuts!!! and of course i eat one. afterwards i notice resa is now looking at a book of power tools, nail guns and compound articulating miter saws or something. maybe it was flowers. i dont know so i am leaning against a bookshelf. dum-dee-dum. and i look over at some of the books that i am leaning against. "The scicilian najdorf advanced variation counter gambit twice declined attack." hmm... sounds pretty good. i flipped open the book. maybe i could use this to explode my opponents on the internet! bomb them back to the once declined dark ages! biotches gonna get it now!! so i bought the book. and another that looked like it was about 30 pages long. something about getting good really fast. whatever. i don't have that kind of time... i put it away for a few years. the other... well... i dont remember anything now from the one on the old SNAVCGTDA.

so i move to africa and play on-line once a month - on line in africa was a bit different from what i was used to. try dealing with telscum. in 2005 i move back to michigan. resa decided to build a house completely by hand. so we did that for a few years. its now mostly done. just a few more years to go! but at least we are living in it now. so... at night... i CAN PLAY CHESS ON LINE! wooo hooo. again i started out playing the same way i did before. again after about 1/2 a year i realised i was not getting any better. i mean i was slightly better. but not much. gads.


wtf? wtfwtfwtfwtf?!?!?! w.t.f? so i was doing it wrong. thats what i remember thinking. "you are still losing badly. you are doing it wrong."

i remember being afraid of many things when i was young. what if i do it wrong? and then over the last two years i built basement walls, poured concrete, framed the house, sheathed it. wired the whole thing, plumbed the whole thing. hvacd the heck out of it with geothermal... installed all of the windows, mixed mortar, painted, sanded, scrapped, trimmed, caulked, hammered, screwed, cut, dusted, spackled, insulated, broke and blasted the motherscratcher. friends asked how i leared to do it all - being a computer weasle. "picture books" i said. "werent you afraid to make a mistake?" "constantly" i replied. "well, didn't you make any?" "yes. i made thousands of mistakes. thousands. an absolutely crushing tonnage of mistakes." "well then, how come the house is up and looks good?" they asked. and i told them what a wise old man once said to me: "its not a mistake until you dont fix it."

jan 2007 i am online, and i run a pawn up to see whats going on, you know, just looking around on the kingside. and bam! its gone. so i send in a knight. that will fix his greedy wagon. and poof. no more knight. and i had just won about 30 of my last 32 games and was feeling hot. and i lose this one. and the next to some guy. and he's like from europe or something! gads. imagine some spanish or russian or ugandon guy beating me. me! and he says "you are not bad." heh. thanks sparky. so i asked "what should i work on?" and he says "pretty much everything..." great. where's that book about getting good? so i read it in about... oh... 3 hours maybe. and... hmmm... whats that word, appathy? no... not that one, the other one. epiphany? yeah. thats it. so i bought CT-ART.

holly carrot sauce on a stick! jumping santa claus and 25 farking reindeer in a meat grinder!!! crap. wow!


i mean wow. i learned more in the first 100 practice items than the rest of my life combined. so i have completed about 400 practice puzzles and am feeling pretty good. so i go to a tournament. about 2 weeks ago. i do not get crushed. i played rediculously aggressive. i won the first easily. the second game i lost after tossing a horse and a rook on a bad sacrifice. third was an easy win. forth was a very very tough draw. the last game i had the guy totally beat. so i decided to end it with a sacrifice with a few pieces. bad idea. i got 2.5 from 5.0 and i think... playing those games again i could get 4.5 from those same people. the draw is pretty hard to find a win in... well, not for fritz. but for me over the board i was pretty happy getting a draw in that game as black. i did not quit playing chess this time.

that was 2 weeks ago. and i have "solved" another 100 puzzles since then. i know for a fact i won the two games on tactics. things i didnt even think about before. i also know for a fact i lost the two games i did on bad tactics. trying to make a ct-art position out of nothing. but i think i can know the difference in the future. after all its not a mistake until you dont fix it.

and thus ends my first ever chess blog entry. long and winded i know. my current rating is 1233P the P standing for peon or provisional. my goal is to raise it to 2000 before i leave this earth.