phorku's chess blog

Monday, July 16, 2007


I was looking for some smart ass comment to make about being tagged a couple days ago when I came across the tagged website and got distracted by some interesting videos. Anyway...

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?

I learned the rules when I was 8. I played off and on for fun till about 27. I started playing a college friend regularly in 95 (28) on FICS as well as others. I was just playing for fun in the beginning but started getting my ass whooped on a regular basis. It was like magic, I couldn't understand it. I went to the book store and browsed some books and came home with a tactics book. My play increased dramatically but then leveled off. I started playing in the FICS teamleague and one season my team did not play and my captain did not tell me. So I begged onto the De LaMaza team and accepted the condition that I start this blog and do the tactical training.

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

Well rounded training. I would like to get a coach at some point. I have a draft of a mostly completed training post that will come sooner or later.

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

1. Heisman's chess cafe article on real chess (just lost a game the other day because I played flip coin chess on 1 move).

2. Study the basics of things first then work deeper in a well rounded program. Concentrate on your weaknesses.

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

Who cares if everyone know what openings I play. I play on FICS. A quick look through my history will likely show you:

Bishops / Vienna
Scandinavian 2...Nf6

QID / English D / Dutch D

Halasz Gambit Sicilian Variation
Trying out the Rossolimo

I have also played the Scotch (may revisit) and have interest in checking out the King's Gambit.

5. Who are your favorite chess players and why?

I don't know too much about them. I have studied some games of Kasparov and am studying some games of Tal.

Morphy - what more needs to be said.
Steinitz - tactical master turned positional player (me a tactical player turning positional)
Pandolfini and Heisman - great educators.
Bobby - the personality not the player - interesting and entertaining.
Susan Polgar - if she would come to Cleveland and open a chess center (where are all the women chess players here?) and stop polluting the blogosphere.

Most of the Knights for their entertaining and educational blogs.

6. What is your favorite chess book?

The Tao of Chess. A bunch of simple concepts ready for incorporation into play.

I will probably have a different favorite when I get better.

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

1. Heisman's real chess article.

2. Pandolfin's weapons of chess.

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

Yes. I don't have a favorite experience. I am not overly excited by playing a bunch of mostly old men, men with poor hygiene, men with poor social skills (yeah that's me), men with mental illnesses or some combination of the above. Oh, yeah i forgot about kids that show up sometimes too...

I did manage to make a new friend though which was the initial purpose of going to the club.

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

My currently unposted training post and this one.

Or maybe this one.

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

For me and anyone below my level you should have 1-3 openings (/complexes) that you understand the basic idea of and can reach a playable middle / endgame with.

I brush up on lines as people take advantage of my opening weaknesses.

What's really fun is when you are at the club and your opponent has set up the board with the numbers and letters reversed and you end up playing the old Benoni instead of the Dutch ;-)

Dutch Defense you are it!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pawn play in the middle game...

Ok, so I have been studying chess a bit and keep coming across this minority attack thing. I understand it but not when to use it. I have played a couple thousand chess games and never consciously used it once.

However, I discovered the majority attack. In several games I have mounted a fierce attack and my opponent has mounted an adequate defense. Most the pieces are tied up and I usually lose. Why? Because I can't come up with a plan.

So the 1657 I beat this weak has been reading the Soltis Pawn structure book and told me after he beat me last time he was a defensive player. I had white and like always I play the Bishops / Vienna (King's gambit is calling) and mount a king side attack on his fianchettoed, castled king. He adequately defends as I expected. He had a doubled f pawn and I had the Q side / center majority. My attack has fizzled and I need a new plan. I decide to leave the pressure on the king side while I try to advance and create a passed pawn on the queen side to give him something else to worry about and prepare for the end game. He mounts a king side pawn storm and inadvertently drops his B when he captures a pawn with the B's defending pawn.

Passed pawn and Piece advantage in hand I went on to win the endgame.

So now perhaps I have an Idea of when to try a minority attack.

Psychological play at the Club

I beat a 1657 in a G30 game woohoo! What was funny was my round 2 opponent tells me after "you know you just beat a high rated player?". He was already defeated at that point. I even told him I hope I have something left for you. My next 2 games were terrible. My game 2 opponent missed several of my blunders and let me get down to a won end game which I conveniently lost under time pressure. I should have lost the next game too against a beginner who wasn't missing my blunders. Luckily he made a beginner move and gave me his Q enprise. I should have bagged some more points for a new high too.

Monday, July 02, 2007


New Highs

FICS Blitz 1231 (solidly broke 1200)
USCF 1451

I have only played 2 FICS standard games since my last aggressive losing streak. I won the last one against a 1608. So I am currently underrated at 1526.

Tactics completed:
Since September 8th, 2005 I have completed over 4905 problems:
CT-Art Level 10 x 4 89% / 85% / 93% / 91%
CT-Art Level 20 x 2 + 54 76% / 78% / 80%
CT-Art Level 30 x 2 57% / 62%
CT-Art Level 40 x 1 56%
CTS 3299 / 77.8% / rating: 1291

Standard to Blitz Ratios

I was wondering what is everyone's ratio of Standard / Blitz Games and Standard / Blitz Ratings? If you respond please provide the whole numbers not a reduced fraction or decimal and any relevant comments. Thanks.

phorku Fics 1058 / 785 - 1526 / 1231
Recently started playing a lot of 5 12 blitz because ratio is lopsided and to learn to think faster and play under time pressure. Just playing 30 30 or longer standard games did not produce enough game experience.