Saturday, December 15, 2007

Slacker Chess

The Romanticism of Staunton’s school of thought on Chess produced Swash-buckling players like Paul Morphy, Anderssen and Philidor with his Book titled The Chess Player’s handbook. ( available online here:,M1) Fisher once claimed that Howard was actually way ahead of his time after studying his games. He claimed that his style was more in line with the hypermodern movement of the 1920’s. Which is pretty excited when following the romantic period was a Classical period by Steinitz and Tarrasch who had such dogmatic platitudes to chess with their books.

The first rebels of chess to challenge the stodgy boring methodologies and idioms of Tarrasch’s and Steinitz’s Classical chess were the bad boys of the hypermodern school, led by Richard Réti, Aron Nimzowitsch, and Savielly Tartakower. Chess took on an edgy appeal in this era. They challenged the concept of controlling the center with their slacker approach with wing pawns and fianchetto’d bishops. This “relaxed” approach allowed the dogmatic Classical opponent to establish a pawn center that then became a target of attack with the distance skewer’s. None of these bad boys of the hypermodern school ever achieved World Champion Status though they were still strong players. What was cool, was that they didn’t care. They were still respected and had openings named after them.

Instead of riding motorcycles, wearing helmets with spikes and leather jackets with “ The Hyper-Mods” embroidered on their backs, they all wrote books. One, I feel worth mentioning ( and you will see where I am going with this long winded intro to my lost game) is Richard Réti, who published Die neuen Ideen im Schachspiel (the English translation, Modern Ideas in Chess, was published in 1923). He brought back the ideas of Staunton as this was an examination of the evolution of chess thinking from the time of Paul Morphy through the beginning of the hypermodern school. Plus he had an opening named after himself.

In that light, here is a game I played recently at the Harry Nelson Pillsbury Memorial that I totally botched with the wrong plan.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My ICC is in the toilet

I haven't been able to do too much lately with my game or training per se, so it comes as no surprise that my game is in the toilet. I still keep trying to play on ICC and my Blitz rating is facing an abysmal plumet. I am hanging my queen, I am missing easy tactics, wlaking into traps and I keep coming back for more.

I do the zombie routine always saying " just one more".

So What's going on? I'm still working on the more important issues outside of chess that affect the happy homestead. I suppose I can look at this as progress. This will be a long road. But I do see January coming as a month that looks more promising for chess training. In the meantime, I strive for great moments of mediocracy at best. Because of all the crap I'm working with outside of chess, my mind right now is like roullete wheel that won't stop and the marble tries to land on a number but keeps getting bumped back up onto the spinning track.

What this translates to, is I get a few moments to check into chess. I go " cool I can chess, What'll I do?" Being who I am, I want to do it all :) I quickly get caught up on a few of my favorite blogs... commenting at times. I look at the tactics I want to study and oscillate on wanting to continue my Ct-art to Fritz quest for a deeeper meaning ( Thanks to my freinds from Argentina who helped me...really, THANK YOU)... to wanting to build up speed because I read here that in order to get to 1900, I should be able to do 40-80 1 move tactics in 10 minutes. Overwhelmed, I give up ANY tactical training ( except for the 10 or so problems I do each day while on the eliptical trainer at teh gym using Lev's Pocket Chess Training).

I then jump to refreshing my openings with bookup for about 5 minutes because of my last loss with the WimpB bot on ICC who has my name and knows my damn opening rep and is well prepared for it. Then after a quick review, I pummel myslef over and over with ICC often with an interuption in the form of a crisis that has to be handled. Rating goes flush.

I'm trying to not be hard on myself... I'm just trying to hold on to my chess playing ability before it atrophies. This is disheartening that without much practice... pure playing ... mostly in the form of Blitzing... is not enough to even sustain my level of play. I really must suck. (sigh)

One of these days, I'd like to get to my true potential... and see some progress...instead of plateaus or backsliding. Lately it seems that all I do is sustain the plateau when I had the chance to train and "keep my game up" and backslide when I don't.

Some folks would give up. My personality is too tenacious ( stubborn). Some folks welcome plateaus as a welcome platform to reach while the rest of the body and mind coalesce. Not me... I have this flaw that looks at this as a failure unless I am getting better or seeing tangible improvement.

Patience....Acceptance and time... it will come. I need to learn to value the present state so I can appreciate this game entirely. Its all a process. It frustrates me at times. It seems others can pick it up with ease.

I feel like a caveman at times. This will pass.

I'm done whining. Thanks for listening.