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.



Samuraipawn said...

I hope you'll find the time in January to chezz things up and that things work out at home.

Take care

- Chris

Liquid Egg Product said...

Nice camera perspective on the toilet. The only way that's more convincing is if you put an actually chess piece in there...

As sad as it is, not everyone would do the right thing by putting aside desires to take care of responsibilities, and we all back you here.

We're thinking of you except when we're not thinking of you, and you can vent anytime you want!

Braden Bournival said...

Haha awesome picture. :)

I wouldn't worry about blitz too much, I know lots of guys who stink at blitz but can tear peoples hearts out in slow chess.

Trainingbot on ICC is a cool way to do some tactics, and it feels like you are really playing. Whenever I'm doing bad at blitz, I just do trainingbot for 20 minutes or so.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I hear ya bro. I really need to focus on work right now, and am doing it, but then I get home and ICC calls. I feel guilty, as the little books say "Why have you neglected us?" The software says "Boo hoo you used to love us?" My rating says "See ya!"

Life. Chess. Life. Chess. It's a tough choice sometimes. Even if the decision is easy.

takchess said...

The question I ask myself is for a person who plays and studies so often: Why aren't I better? I am trying just to play and enjoy it.

I am going to go the News Year Day at the BCC again. I find this to be an enjoyable day. Maybe I'll see you there.

take care

Edukator said...

I have only a few ideas as to why there are sharp declines from time-to-time in ratings. I clearly have had a few recently (I dropped nearly 110 points on playchess a month ago and still haven't recovered fully). I have begun to notice, through looking at the ratings charts of other players on many sites, that most people have sharp declines at times. I almost want to email those who seem more steady and ask for their secret.

My guess is that they are trying new things....but it could be anything. I once had a few beers and managed to lose quite a few games in a row. It was fun though :P

transformation said...

if the half of us could do half of what you do for human kind, we might stand a tiny chance of being one tenth the man that you are, so much do you--i know it--carry on your broad, mighty, canny shoulders.

chess will always be there, but your life concerns take precident, and we all love you for you...

as, inimatably the one and only blunderprone, master of the universe and deep uncanny things.

Jon Jacobs (FM) said...

BP, the best way for you, or anyone, to improve your blitz strength is simply to STOP PLAYING BLITZ. Go cold-turkey. Period.

With the time and energy you free up (just as if you'd managed to break free of some other dependency, like drugs or alcohol), you can put it to use studying GM games and deeply analyzing your own games. It looks like you're doing some of that already, but the more of that you do, the better. And since your time for chess study is limited by other responsibilities, freeing up time that's wasted in pointless self-stimulation (aka online blitz) could make a big difference in your study program.

I'm also skeptical of all the adulation that guys your strength - those who blog, at least - seem to lavish on those automated tactics training programs.

Of course tactical prowess is vital; but it could well be that people absorb tactical themes more efficiently by going over entire games in depth (especiallly, YOUR OWN games) - as opposed to analyzing isolated positions, which is what the tactics servers do. And of course, if you're focusing on speed - trying to solve X problems in Y minutes, rather than delving as deep as you can into each one until you either solve it or run out of ideas - then obviously you'll learn nothing, it's simply an aimless amusement.

BlunderProne said...

Thanks to all adn especially Braden and Jon for the insight from the higher altitudes.

Blitz is very much an addiction to whichh I am powerless.

I may follow the suggestion and just devote what spare time i have on my games and studying GM games.

Like Chessloser, i too have been looking over Anotoly Karpov's position style as black with teh C-K since I play that game and still have trouble with it. I am considerign switchig to 4..nd7 ( Petrosian-Smyslov variation) variation instead of the Classic.

My problem is that once uppon a time, I learned positional openings as white and for black. After the seven circles of hell,I wanted to find more tactical opportunities. So, I started doing gambits for white ( in response to Sicilian and double e-pawns).

Now i feel like a half breed. I'm revisiting some lines of my old opening system for white as I am more comfortable with the positional styles of play. There are tactical shots in these games.

Swashbuckling can be fun but against stronger players, I tend to lose ground quickly as they know how to neutralize the gambits I play adn I can't figure out the shaprest line OTB. At least with positional openings, I usually can develop a plan.

The problem i was escaping a year ago was that I sometimes had the wrong plan. Thus a refinement process in studying these losses makes sense and seeign how my hero's played these out and the genral ideas.

Sometimes its hard to see the "big picture" when you are stuck at the pawns.

jon jacobs (fm) said...

Four brief observations:

1) Tactical opportunities such as successful sacrificial attacks emerge out of solid strategy. This is the basic principle that Morphy taught us (and later Steinitz, Lasker, etc.): You can't convert an advantage via a sacrifice, if you don't HAVE an advantage to begin with.

2) Play in the style you are most comfortable with. Everyone has his or her own chess personality; if you feel more at home playing relatively quiet positions where long-range planning is key, then don't force yourself to take up gambit openings just because some book said you're "supposed to" progress that way. You're just forcing yourself, a square peg, into a round hole.

3) I've read that top trainers do advise players first starting out (i.e. young kids, novices) to play gambits and focus on developing tactical skill. Maybe that's what confuses so many of you club players who blog. Once past the novice level, you'll get much more benefit from playing over top games and watching the strategic (and tactical!) themes develop and run their course - rather than spending a lot of time solving tactical "puzzles."

4) My personal feeling, which has become a common motif in most of my published work, is that many club-level players focus too much on increasing their CHESS knowledge and not enough on increasing their SELF-knowledge (in terms of their chess behavior: what makes them lose focus, what's going on in their head and their heart and their body while playing, how and when feelings from their non-chess life intrude while immersed in a serious chess game - that sort of thing).

This is related to how strong you are: At 1600 and above, most people already know enough chess principles that they probably defeat themselves (lose by making moves they already know enough to recognize were wrong) more often than they lose due to either lack of knowledge or an opponent's superior play.

And above 1900 or so, I am convinced that nearly everyone is knowledgeable enough that they'd get far more benefit from working primarily on understanding and improving their own psychology so as to maximize their use of what they already know - rather than continuing to try and suck up still more and more book knowledge (which always seems to flee from a player's mind at the exact moment you need it during a game).

I've summarized the above line of thinking into a catchy slogan I intend to copyright: "Fire Your Coach. Hire a Shrink!"

BlunderProne said...


Thanks for your perspective again. I've blogged before about the internal struggle here:

I know this is a big factor.

I like your new tagline... funny but true.

My new post has a recent loss with self annotation providing some perspective on my thoughts during the game.

transformation said...

george, thank you for providing a place whereby the single most inteligent chess blogger comment i have ever read was posted, that is to say, john jacobs (fm) comment immediately above.

blessings to you this time of the year, and hearty appreciation directly to mr jacobs as well.

thank you. warmest, dk

Polly said...

Love the picture!!!!