Sunday, July 29, 2007


With all the discussion happening on BDK's site about the benefits ( or perils) of Blitzing, I've been blitzing. My rating is not stable on ICC ( my blog... blunderprone case you want to find me). I went through this phase a while back and felt it was affecting my slow games.

What was happening was I was playign as wreckless as a blitz game. I've since learned to "dial it back" when playing at slower time controls and found blitzing to be a good alternative to tactical training.

My reasons ( justifcations) are as follows:

1) Its fun. ( period... I don't care if I go blind... or my spin curves... or hair grows on my ... wait that was a different myth)

2) I was board with CT-ART... on the 11 th circle of hell... I wanted to practice tactical vision training in a pseudo real game. .. This is working.

3) I've had more practice playing against d4 and honing my defense ... At the club I get a lot of 1.e4 and when I go to a tournament, I'm like " Crap... how does the slav go again?" So the need to review my opening repertoire books wains as I get more practical and varried responses.

4) Its a training tool. I'd rather play an opponent 100+ points higher. I lose more games ( Like DK-Transformations. I practice with the bots... play the bot over and over until my win ratio starts to improve and my rating climbs back up. The I jump to the next higher rated bot and do it all over. As a result, my rating fluctuates 100-200 points on a given weekend.

5) Its a measured improvement as I work on tactics.

6) Many tournaments in the area are 1-day four round grinders. I used to avoid them because I was an "old timer" meaning I used to only want to play "slow". Now I have a sense of more confidence... play in G60, G30 and G10 events with new sense of passion.

7) I play slow games and my worries about time preasure have subsided. Blitzing has helped me think quickly on my feet.

8) I play at work over lunch. I play G5 games with some folks who pose some challenge. So far I am undefeated and I never lost on time.

I will get back to tactical training regimine eventually. I am going over whole games ... and will continue. For now, I will Blitz to my hearts content...because I can... and its a free country... Huzzah!

Have a good day and be kind to yourself... and let others own thier opinions free of charge!

Friday, July 20, 2007

I've been tagged too

1. How long have you been playing chess? Have you played it consistently since you started, or were there lulls in your play? How did these lulls affect your performance?

By the time I was six, I knew the chess board and how the pieces moved. .I grew up in a chess household in Maine, where the royal game was the antidote to cabin fever in the winter . My father ran the local club. On occasion, our household would be invaded with the chess team as Brunswick was preparing to rival against Portland. I wanted to join my father’s club but he warned me that the competition was fierce as they played for blood ( ratings). I was 13 before I could finally give the old man a good game and prove my worthiness to join the club. By the time I was in high school, I was playing on the Brunswick team club matches. I also started a chess team at the high school and by the time I graduated I was the top student in the State of Maine ( by some fortune of good luck, there was only one other competitor at the time… this was back in the 70’s)

I played a bit in my post college days and even tied for third place in the Down east open back in the mid to late 1980’s…. then life hit. I took a hiatus while settling into a career, wife and kids. I briefly resurfaced while coaching chess in Worcester but went back under during other life events ( divorce). As life settled out, I came back in 2004 only to discover the competition was fierce and I was rusty. I’ve been removing the rust ever since.

2. Aside from playing games, what is your primary mode of training?

My primary mode of training is to do tactical training with CT-Art 3.0. I’ve done the seven circles and continue with this method as a means of staying sharp. I am starting to use Studies 2.0 by the same folks who do CT-Art 3.0 as I am doing more studies and training with end games. For openings I generate table bases in chess base and port them to Bookup to practice variations.

3. What is the single most helpful method of improvement that you have ever used?

Today? I’d have to say the tactical training with CT-Art 3.0. That’s why I still do the circles. I jumped 250 rating points after doing them. Now I seek to get off this plateau by doing endgames and self annotating my games.

4. What is your favorite opening to play as white? As black against e4? As black against d4?

Secrets…. Hmmm… I like the Sodium 1. Na3…. But I play 1.e4 these days. I used to be a 1.d4 player and have “crossed over” almost a year ago now. For black, I play the Caro-Kan and Slav.

5. Who is your favorite chess player and why?

Aaron Nimzovitch, I liked his positional style of play.

6. What is your favorite chess book?

Jonathon Rowson's Chess for Zebras: Thinking Differently about Black and White

Made me realize I had too many books and not enough practice. I stopped searching for new books ( unless specific to my opening) and started more on the practical approach by learning through application of these ideas locked in myhead.

7. What book would you recommend for a friend who knows only the rules of chess?

Aaron Nimzovitch's My System: 21st Century Edition

8. Do you play in in-person tournaments? What is your favorite tournament experience?

Yes… World Open 34

9. Please give us a link to what you consider your best two blog posts (on your own blog).

Fear and loathing...


10. What proportion of total chess time should be spent studying openings for someone at your level?


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tour De World Open 35

For those who hadn't made it I took some very amatuer-level pictures ( as well as handing the camera to my kids to take some snap shots of the event). Mind you I didn't bring a digital camera. These were taken from a disposable "fun saver" type.

Here is a picture of the HUGE hall we were all in

When the pairings went up a flurry of activity occured outside the hall as each section had its own table associated with the pairings.

There was a vendor selling sets, books and everything chess. They had 21 Chronos clocks stolen at this event. I guess even at a chess tournament you can't trust everyone.

A snapshot of a few of the players closest to me ( although I didn't get all) My daughter Nika, fellow blogger, Steve . David P. ( ICC SatanicKitty), My step son, Tyler in a rare moment caught smiling, and of course yours truely.

All this chess has left me tired.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fixing the Leaky boat.

In reflecting over the self analysis of my games at the World open, I’ve benn making myself more aware of the 4 major areas where I seem to have leaks in my vessel. The four areas are:

1) Forcing Tactics that are not there
2) Getting too fancy in the opening
3) Not knowing the opening
4) Not reading the position correctly

On item 2 and 3, I hear other knights following the suggestion of Dan Heisman to look in the book at the point I went astray. I have been doing that. What I was doing at the World was trying to come up with my own novelty like I was some GM or something rather than stick with the plan. I think I am cured of that ailment. As for new openings I still need to familiarize myself with things like how to play against the Pirc, and odd variations of the Caro-Kann. I am working a new database for these.

As for item 4, this will come slowly over time as I practice going over and analyzing more master-level games. I can understand that one. Its item 1 that rears its ugly head and pours water into my boat more often than not. Here is a position I reached with a 1700 player at the club on Tuesday where I had white and played the Smith-Morra ( or as I call it for myself.. Smith-Moron) :

It is white to move and I couldn’t help myself with the beauty of this setup. Take my rook, Please. I wanted to move that Bishop so I push 32.h4. What followed was his push 32..f5. So I played 33. Qd1 Bxc1 34 Qxc1 Rd8 35 Qxh6+ Kg8 36. Qe6+ Kh8 and I offered a draw which my opponent graciously accepted and a BIG sigh of relief. I should have made my rook safe instead of h4 but I was bold and didn’t see the f5 push.

That hole is a big one to patch.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Blunder's Wrap up at the World.

Final Score: BlunderProne: 3.5 World: 5.5

Steve gave a good account of the facilities at this post so I will not duplicate. ( as well as a report on his scoring)

I will comment on how some of the other club members faired. I won't name names... but there was one other person who scored EVEN worse than Steve. ( Go easy on DH, Steve ;) ) Denys scored 6/9 in the under 2400 section from the club. My step son scored 5.5 in the under 1400 and David P as well in the U2200. A bunch of us scored 3.5/9. Included in this bunch in ascending order of sections: My daughter, BlunderProne, Robert H, and Bennet P in the U800, U1800, U2000 and U2200 sections respectively.

My last round was lost because I was "trying something" again. You'd think I have had enough negative reinforcement so I'd stop doing this. But I guess I had a problem stopping myself. I saw a fianchetto'd bishop and thought I'd go after it agressively following some pointers from a 14 year old the previous day about handling the pirc. Now, this was NOT the pirc, rather it was a Queen Pawn game and I just felt like experiementing. I had nothing to lose. I accomplished my goal rather quickly but it left my queen in an awkward spot, lost a tempo then started dropping pawns. Oh well.

Then I participated in 10 rounds of sheer madness... BLITZ! I love it. I prepared with several rounds on ICC and a can of redbull. At 11:45PM the first pairings went up. By 2:30AM it was all over.... in a blurr. The excitement was hot. At one point, Nakamura on the top board was fighting it out with someone when at 3 seconds to go, his opponent hits the clock so hard, the clock went blank! OF COURSE NAKAMURA still one...despite the GIANT coors can someone gave him ... Hmm is he of age? Well, his father was looking the other way.

Yes, I had TONS of fun. I watched many great games. I re-connected with folks I met last year and made many more new friends this year. I even got to personally congratulate Mr. Nakamura on the 9 way tie for first ( resolved with a single). He smiled at my shirt ( I wasn't wearing a chess shirt...instead my maxwell's equations shirt that starts with "and god staid" " and then there was light")

Well back to the real world, new job, tactics and endgames.

See you all on the otherside of the board.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Don't play the French against THIS frenchman!

This will probably be my last post on the road. I'll do a wrap up tomorrow in the comfort of my own home and not "chilling" poolside at the hotel.

Tornado warnings are being broadcast in for the area until 10PM. How fitting in preparation for the last round and a late night blitz tournament. Both of which I am gearing up for with great enthusiasm.

The score so far:

Blunderprone: 3.5 World: 4.5

This the the PGN to my round 8 game ( feel free to use this PGN viewer to cut and paste the game):

[Event "35th World Open"][Site "?"][Date "????.??.??"][Round "?"][White "Duval, George"][Black "Dusza, Richard"][Result "1-0"][ECO "C14"][PlyCount "93"][SourceDate "2007.06.30"]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bxe7 Qxe7 7. f4 a6 8. Nf3c5 9. dxc5 Qxc5 10. Qd2 Nb6 11. O-O-O Bd7 12. Qe1 Nc6 13. Qg3 Qf8 14. Qf2 Nc815. f5 b5 16. g4 Na5 17. Qd4 Nc4 18. Bxc4 bxc4 19. Ne4 Qb4 20. Nc5 Nb6 21. a3Qb5 22. Nb7 O-O 23. f6 Rfb8 24. Nd6 Qa5 25. Ng5 Na4 26. Nxc4 Qb5 27. b3 Nc5 28.Nd6 Nxb3+ 29. cxb3 Qxb3 30. Kd2 Qa2+ 31. Ke3 Rb3+ 32. Rd3 Rb2 33. Rd2 Rab8 34.Rhd1 Qxa3+ 35. Rd3 Qb4 36. Qxb4 R2xb4 37. Rd4 Rb3+ 38. R1d3 Rb2 39. h3 a5 40.Ngxf7 a4 41. Ra3 R2b3+ 42. Rd3 Rxa3 43. Rxa3 Rb3+ 44. Rxb3 axb3 45. Kd2 d4 46.Ng5 Ba4 47. f7+ 1-0

The family team is scoring as well : Nika 3/8 in the U800 and Tyler is 5/8 in the U1400 !

To BDK: Yes there are those in the lower sections who are "sandbaggers" despite CCA's best effort for anti-sandbagging. PLus, there are those who are CRAZED with the prize fund as if they are going to vegas or foxwoods. Come on BIG money! Ha! These are the same ones who don't have any fun and are way too serious. They drop out after 4 rounds when they realize that they won't win.

I hope to see you at next year's event.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Breaking a perfectly good losing streak

First, I want to thank all for the words of encouragement. I needed to get that last rant off my "chess". Steve, saw me this morning at the pairings and was worried about me jumping off a bridge after last night. I assured him that the rant was more of a carthetic process that I had to get out of my system.

Now: Blunderprone: 2.5 World: 4.5

( the 0 and 4 tally on the 3 day mistep is discounted in this tally)

I lost round 6 because I didn't know how to handle the Pirc with 1.e4. A 14 year old kid ( who looks like he's 18) who is taking lessons form Ivanov and I knwo rather well, helped me understand what to play when faced with the Pirc. He use to play it regularly and was rather helpful.

Recall in my tenacious response to the bemoaning rant... that I likened this journey being at sea in a leaky ship where I am trying to plug these holes. Aside from the tactical, and over agressive play that hampered my rough start ( easier holes to plug ... just play "real" chess), the harder ones to control for me were the positional and opening related ones. Despite, the loss in the 6th round, I was happy that it wasn't because I was trying to force somethign that wasn't there. Rather, I simply didn't know what hit me. Next thing I knew, I was losing pawns left and right and couldn't stop an attack.

I bounced back for round seven with this game:

[Event "35th World Open"][Site "?"][Date "????.??.??"][Round "?"][White "Washington, Willie"][Black "Duval, George"][Result "0-1"][ECO "D12"][PlyCount "64"][SourceDate "2007.06.30"]
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Nf3 e6 6. Nh4 Bg4 7. f3 Bh5 8. g4Nxg4 9. fxg4 Qxh4+ 10. Kd2 Bxg4 11. Qe1 Qxe1+ 12. Kxe1 Bf5 13. c5 b6 14. b4 Nd715. Ne2 bxc5 16. bxc5 e5 17. Ba3 Be7 18. Ng3 Bg6 19. h4 h5 20. Kd2 exd4 21.exd4 O-O 22. Be2 Bf6 23. Bxh5 Bxd4 24. Rae1 Bf2 25. Re7 Ne5 26. Rh3 Nc4+ 27.Ke2 Bxg3 28. Bxg6 Bxh4 29. Bh7+ Kxh7 30. Rxh4+ Kg8 31. Bb4 Rae8 32. Rxe8 Rxe8+0-1

The position after move 8 was a familiar one I had seen before so I knew the tactic was solid.

I had black to move here:

Last two rounds tomorrow and then I plan on playing in the Blitz tourney after.

I also took Joshua's advice and enjoyed myself while watching some of the "big" games live in person. I watched Perelshteyn beat Isoria. I also watched Nakamura draw Stripunsky in ROund 7. WOW... what a dynamic battle. I thought for sure Nakamura was going to win.



Monday, July 02, 2007

Good Grief: A failed Experiment

WARNING: A bemoaning RANT about to begin.

I SUCK! I totally SUCK at chess. No matter how hard I train, study and doll out money for a coach, I STILL SUCK at chess.

In an exercise in futility, I re-entered the event in the 3-day schedule. I lost the first game because of the insanity of the previous two days were continuing. A definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Well.. in the first round I played an unsound tactic and ... LOST ...big surprise. I took an existential break and walked off the first G45 loss. Meditated, went for a walk and cleared my head. Round 2 I lost in an opening trying to defend a 2.Nf3 variation of the C-K that I was not familar with. I deicded to take a half point bye and sync up with the kids for a relaxing dinner to be refreshed for round 4. With a WINNING position ( Q versus Rook) I managed to lose on time. Then came the 8 year old with a 1690 rating in the G45 round 5. I pulled more insanity with the same version of the C-K in round 1 and I squandered a perfectly sound position with a quick tactical shot that backfired because I didn't see the inbetween check.

Good grief.

I finished with a WORSE score... a WORSE SCORE AAAAUUUUUUGH! I asked the TD about using my previous score from the 5 day schedule. They allow such things. Use the better score of the two and I take a 1/2 point Bye for the round 5 ( from the 5 day schedule) that I didn't play. So instead of the really bad score of a 1/2 point ( from the bye) after 5 rounds) I get to use the OTHER craptacular score of 1.5 points.

If there is a book out there titled " How not to SUCK at chess" , I want it.

I can't believe it. It feels like I can't even put coherent sentences together.

I'm sure I will rebound. I realized that this is a tough tournament. PLus I am rated in the lower half of the section. It's foolish of me to think I could win money. But its not foolish of me to think I cna score better than I have. Especially with some of the players I have faced. I have played MUCH stronger opponents at the club and scored rather well. How is it that my OTB performance is so different and inconsistent at such events? This really baffles me.

I really need a break. I'd like to think that all this studying and preparation isn't in vein. Maybe it is? I mean really, I am STILL struggling with openings ( lost a couple games right away in the opening.) I still mis calculate tactics. I castle on the wrong side. I am quite sick of sucking at chess after putting so much into it. I am not seeing any positive results.

Oh well ... on to rounds 6 and 7.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rounds 3 and 4: More "Practice"

My brain is not working.

Blunder Prone: 1 World: 3

Here are the two games today in pgn. ( You can cut and paste them into this viewer.)

[Event "35th World Open "][Site "?"][Date "????.??.??"][Round "3"][White "Duval, George"][Black "Pena, Joel"][Result "1-0"][ECO "B06"][Annotator ",gduval"][PlyCount "109"][SourceDate "2007.06.30"]
1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 c5 4. c3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d6 6. Bc4 Nc6 7. O-O Nf6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9. e5 Ne4 10. exd6 Qxd6 11. Qf3 Nf6 12. Bf4 Qc5 13. Nd2 Bg4 14. Qe3Qxe3 15. Bxe3 Nd5 16. Bc5 Rb8 17. Nb3 Bf5 18. Rfe1 e6 19. Bxa7 Ra8 20. Bd4 O-O21. Bxg7 Kxg7 22. Nd4 Ne7 23. f3 c5 24. Nxf5+ Nxf5 25. Re5 Rfc8 26. Rd1 Ra4 27.Bb3 Ra7 28. Re4 Rac7 29. Bc4 Ra8 30. g4 Ne7 31. Rd2 Nc6 32. b3 Kf8 33. a4 Na534. Kf2 Rb8 35. Rb2 Rcb7 36. Bb5 Ke7 37. b4 Rxb5 {I'm not sure Black needed to lose the exchange here. Then again, the knight is trapped on a5.} 38. axb5 Rxb539. Ra2 Nc6 40. bxc5 Rxc5 41. Rc2 f6 42. f4 e5 43. Ree2 Rc4 44. fxe5 Nxe5 45.h3 Kd6 46. Ke3 Kc5 47. Rf2 Nd7 48. Rf4 Ne5 49. Rxf6 Nxg4+ {Better Might havebeen 49... Rxg4 then if I take back with the pawn 50. hxg4 Nxg4 with a checkand a rook. The game would then be harder for me to win with the two connectedpawns and a knight holding. I think he had drawing chances. Instead this flatout gives me the game.} 50. hxg4 Rxg4 51. Rh2 h5 52. Kf3 Kc4 53. Rf4+ Rxf4+ 54.Kxf4 Kxc3 55. Kg5 1-0

[Event "35th World Open"][Site "?"][Date "????.??.??"][Round "4"][White "Hooks, Jerry"][Black "Duval, George"][Result "1-0"][ECO "E06"][Annotator ",gduval"][PlyCount "97"][SourceDate "2007.06.30"]
1. c4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. g3 Nc6 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. Nf3 e6 {Bf5 would havebeen MUCH better here. I really didn't know what I was doing. } 7. O-O Be78. Nc3 O-O 9. Bf4 a6 10. Rc1 b5 11. Nxb5 Bb7 {I was not thinking clearly here.11...axb5 12 Rxc6 Rxa2 would have equalized. I wasn't thinking clearly in thisposition. I was too worked up on the English g3 position that I was unfamiliarwith.} 12. Nc3 Ne4 13. a3 Rc8 14. Qd3 Na5 15. Nd2 Nxd2 16. Bxd2 Nb3 17. Rb1Nxd2 18. Qxd2 Bg5 19. e3 Qa5 20. Rbc1 Rc6 21. Nb1 Qxd2 22. Nxd2 Rfc8 23. Nb3Be7 24. Rxc6 Rxc6 25. Rc1 Rb6 26. Rc3 g6 27. Bf1 Bd6 28. Be2 e5 29. Kf1 exd430. exd4 Be7 31. Ke1 Kg7 32. Kd2 Rf6 33. Rf3 Rb6 34. Kc2 Bc8 35. Rc3 Bf5+ 36.Bd3 Be4 37. Na5 Bf6 38. Nc6 Bxd3+ 39. Kxd3 Rxb2 40. Rc2 Rxc2 41. Kxc2 a5 42.Kc3 a4 43. Kb4 Kf8 44. Kxa4 Ke8 45. Kb5 Kd7 46. Kb6 Kc8 47. a4 Bxd4+ 48. Nxd4Kb8 49. a5 1-0

As can be seen. I am sucking much wind here. The win in round three was against a kid. The loss in round four was just my brain not working. I have had the chance to go over my follies with MUCH strong players and close friends who are generally concerned with The Blunderful one. I have lots of encouragement and some better clarity.

I chocked up the last two days as experience and practice for some real chess. Why not have 4 real slow games in two days to warm you up for 5 rounds of G45! Yes, you guessed it. I am re-entering the event in the 3-day schedule. This means I will have 5 rounds of insanity only to sync back up with everyone on Tuesday. Call me insane, call me a fool, but most assuredly you can call me a Knight Errant.

This is fun. The kids are have a good time. Nika has 1.5 points ( thanks to a full point bye in round 4) and Tyler is all done practicing since he won both his games today.

I plan on making a comeback. Its a good think I've been practicing Blitz and G15 on ICC. I knew it would come in handy... See BDK? There are good reasons to play Blitz on line... after you suck wind for the first few rounds you doll out more money to play faster rounds and re-enter!

Stay tuned... I'll be running on adrenaline and espresso for tomorow's 5 rounds of insanity.