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.