Sunday, July 27, 2008

Baby nemo is here!

Well the fiancee (and myself) went through 13 hours of labor yesterday and the little monster was born at 5:36pm and weighed in at 7lbs, 8oz.

Brandon Jay Carter is his name and he's basically awesome. I am very overwhelmed with the excitement, joy, and love a father has for his child once it's finally here in the world.

That's about as good an update as it's going to get right now. I have to go back to the hospital to be with the mamma and baby.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm still alive.

Hello fellow Knights! Just wanted to check in and let you all know that I'm still alive and breathing. To be honest with you, I have lost a lot of interest in chess as of late due to lack of motivation and some poor results I've been having in tourneys. I feel like I'm not getting the right return on investment with my time when I study chess. I'll spend 4-5 hours a day studying the game, only to get my butt handed to me in Round 2 of a tourney to some 11 year old player rated 1113. That's pretty demoralizing lol.

Don't take me the wrong way, I still play and love playing. I've just been losing interest in the study time I should be giving it. I've also been struggling finding a real job and thank God for poker or I woulnd't even have any kind of income at the moment. I'm supposed to be starting a new job next Monday which is going to be awesome! This is the longest I've gone without a real job and it's really hurt me and my fiance financially. Speaking of which, she's due next Friday which means this little one is gonna pop outta there any time now! That's very exciting for me, as I've always wanted a son and now I get one!

I will also be going back to school this next semester for a couple Fire Science classes and to get back into shape so I can go to the Fire Academy next spring. I really hope I can become a Fireman. The hours are perfect for a family man, which is exactly what I wish to be. It's something like 48 hours on shift, 4 days off. How perfect would that be for work hours? I already know what you're thinking, and I agree: Those are awesome work hours to give someone who wishes to study chess hardcore the perfect opportunity to do so! And that's exactly what I want to do on my days off; Study chess and play poker.

I promise I'll do my best to get back into the game and get my account back up and going. I'm sure my rating has dropped like crazy on there but that's what happens when you forget about something.

Sir Augusto: Thanks for writing me on my poker blog. It's nice to hear from you man. Hopefully we can get some good games in soon!

likesforests: Thanks for checking up on me as well mate. The job hunt has been difficult but I hope it's under control now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Circles finished!

Yup that's right! Sorry I've been absent for awhile guys. I lost my job and have had trouble getting access to the internet. However, I did manage to finish the Seven Circles and am glad to say that I now belong under the 'Knights Victorious' so update your bars Tacticus Maximus!

Also, I've been kicking some major butt on When I made my last post, my rating was 1545 on and I was getting my butt royally kicked! Since then, I've played 20 games and only lost 4. My rating is now a whopping 1708! This is pretty big for me considering I never thought I'd make it this far. However, one of my games doesn't look like it's going too well for me at the moment so the rating will probably drop back into the 1600's. We shall see!

***UPDATE*** rating is now 1750!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another one bites the dust!

So I've officially finised Circle 4. I was supposed to finish it last night but I've been a little behind(about one hundred problems behind) due to poker tournaments at Bodog and PokerStars. Anywho, after much frustration and near tears, I have finished Circle 4. I must say that I'm highly impressed with my Circle 4 results. I did MUCH better than Circle 3 which is was expected but not by such a large margin. I also find it a little odd that i finished Level 90 problems third best out of all of them. Very odd indeed.

I finished with an overall success rate
of 64%, which according to the Petrosian school of chess, I should be playing at master level haha. Yeah I know, what a joke lol.

Anywho, here's my results for Circle 4. I'm going to take about an hour break and then drill Circle 5.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The biggest blunder ever!

Yeah that's right. I'm an idiot. This last Saturday was the 14th Annual Pir Maleki tournament which I was so incredibly excited for since about December. I was going to be carpooling with some buddies up to the tourney and I was going to meet them about 6:45am Saturday morning. I set my alarm for 4:50 but I didn't pay close enough attention and set it for 4:50pm. My fiancee woke me up around 7:00am and I was completely depressed I had missed the tournament.

It really hit me hard that I had missed it. I felt that the last few months were just a waste and Saturday was just a horrible day for me overall. I did, however, finish Circle 3 and start Circle 4. I'm very pleased with my Circle 3 results and incredibly impressed with my Circle 4 results thus far. It's hard now that I'm doing Circle 4 because of the volume of problems per day. It's rough when you work a full time job and also have to spend quality time with your significant other. I'm not complaining about either of those things because I need money, and I love spending time with my lady. It's just a little rough to spend so much time on chess tactics training at the moment. I know it's going to be worth it in the end as I will be much more tactically inclined.

Anywho, I don't really have much else to write about other than I've won several more No-Limit tournaments on Saturday. I figured since I wasn't playing chess, I might as well play some poker and clear my mind from my stupid mistake. Here's a pic of my Circle 3 results. Enjoi!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Incredible come back.

Tonight was a pretty amazing come back for me in the world of chess. I have actually been focusing a little more on my tactics lately and have been getting really nice results thus far with Circle 3. It feels good to know that I have support from the guys who say I'm doing it old school with CT-ART(referring to a comment made by Blue Devil Knight). I feel I wouldn't be doing the Seven Circles any justice if I was doing it using a different program with simpler problems. But that's a topic for another post...

So tonight was the usual Coronado Chess Club meeting. Same ol' people, different day ;]. I felt confident tonight and maybe that's why I played so well. My first round opponent was a low 1300 player whom I had a draw with in the first round of my most recent tournament, the UNM Octagon. The game was well played and I used the concept of "Real Chess"(yes, I've been reading the Novice Nook and yes I'm a newb to it) and managed to hold the score the point. My second round opponent is an 1800 USCF player whom I've never been able to even get past the opening with. Again, I sat and played logically and came out of the opening a pawn up and I carried the initiative the entire game. It has been the best game I've played to date and I wish I would have taken notation. One observer said I played like a class A player. Made my night...

All in all, it was a very great night of chess for me! I've decided to put poker on the back burner for awhile and focus on my chess. I have a pretty big tournament next saturday which I'm very excited for. I should also be done with Circle 3 before then so I'll keep you posted on how that goes!

Monday, April 7, 2008

I'm doing a little better.

So I'm a few days into Circle 3 and I have small progress. I finished Level 10 problems with 94% accuracy and Level 20 problems with 80% accuracy which is a pretty considerable amount better than my first circle. Other than that, I'm not really paying much attention to chess. I really need to get back into it like I used to be, but it's hard when I have poker on my mind.

Speaking of which, I won a freeroll tournament on Carbon Poker this last weekend. A freeroll is a no-limit tournament that you play for... well... FREE! The prize is a small amount of money to play on the site with. There was 668 players registered for the tourney; 2 hours and 43 minutes later, I was declared the winner for a hefty first place prize of $15! w00t! that's more money than I ever won playing in a chess tournament! haha. My goal is to turn $0 into $10,000. We shall see how that goes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Circle 2 finished!

So it's that time again; I've finished the second circle in this lovely tactical foray! I must say, I'm not incredibly impressed with my overall results. Actually, I did a little worse this time around than in the first Circle. I blame this on my own lack of motivation. When you have lack of motivation, doing tactical exercises becomes like a chore. I'm going to try to make Circle 3 much more worth my while. Anywho, here's the results from Circle 2:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Whoa, I need to get my head straight!

As of late, I've been putting most my energy into poker. It doesn't help that I was sick this last weekend and the better part of last week, not to mention Monday and Tuesday of this week as well. My Circle 2 is coming along HORRIBLY now. I don't know what's gotten into me. The problems seem MUCH harder now than in Circle 1. I'm finishing the levels with less percentage accuracy than before. I guess I can blame this on the fact that I've been playing/studying too much poker and not enough chess.

Now is a critical point in my life where I need to evaluate more in depth what I really want to achieve in life. I have made a couple friends who make very decent livings from playing professional poker (~$100,000/year) and they inspire me to do the same. I watch them play online and they seem invincible at the tables. I want to be like them, make money like them.... At the same time, I don't want to get too caught up in the hype and miss out on everything else life is throwing at me.

Lets do a quick analysis of my current position:

  • I'm 21 years old - still a baby in this world.
  • I work a 35 hour/week job at $12.50/hr, which is enough for now.
  • I'm expecting my first child late July or early August.
  • My fiancee is even more of a baby; 18 years old.
  • I have no vehicle or a place that I can really call "my own".
Now that we've got that outta the way, it's time to ask myself a few key questions:

1) Is it ok for me to be gambling at this point in my life? - At this point, I'm not really sure. I'm young and I still want to have fun while I can. I know that once this child is born I will be very limited to what I can and can't do. I want to go to Vegas with a couple grand and blow it all, I want to go to the Caribbean for a week and live life to the fullest. There's so much I want to do with my life right now but I feel so limited. I don't want to say that I feel trapped because that just sounds bad, but sometimes that's how I feel. It's almost getting to the point where I feel guilty just hanging out with friends on a Friday or Saturday night.

2) What are my expectations from chess and poker? - Like most chess players, especially newbs like myself, I wish to attain the title of Master or maybe even Grandmaster. I know this is highly unlikely but why give up? It's like resigning, you can't win if you resign. Are there any real benefits from becoming a Master chess player? We all know there's jack shit for money in Chess, which is where I turn over to poker. Now like most poker players, I want to risk a little and gain a lot. I have now seen many players do this on a daily basis on sites like Full Tilt Poker, Bodog, Sportsbook, UltimateBet, and PartyPoker. It's a real thrill playing poker because you know that your money is on the line. If you're Bill Gates then obviously you don't have this problem.

What it all boils down to is money. I want to make a more than decent living in life and I don't see myself doing that with my current job(which I don't plan on quitting) and my future wife's elementary school teaching career. I want to risk a little and gain a lot but it takes work. Looking at my current situation, it's obvious to see that it's nearly impossible for me to focus on both Poker AND Chess and be successful at both. That's just the way my brain works; it only allows me to obsess about one topic at time, thus meaning I should probably back off of one of them. I'm leaning more towards backing off of chess for awhile since it hasn't shown much progress and poker is atleast giving me extra money here and there. I want opinions people. Tell me I'm an idiot, I need to hear it! I need criticism as much as possible!

Sorry for my random ramblings.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wednesday(late) night chess club..

Well I know it's a little late in the week to be blogging about my games from this Wednesday's chess club but I figured I might as well post it now rather than later this weekend when I'm booked with family activities and poker tournaments. My first round opponent was a 1623 USCF player whom I made fight for his win. We went down to a very close K +P v. K endgame which he was the winning side. He congratulated me on taking him that far down and that I play much better than an 1134 USCF player.

My second round opponent was not as generous. He found out my rating and persuaded to take me into a blitz game. I smiled as he played all his moves much too quickly and before he know it, I was up a whole piece. About 10 moves later I made a move, announced checkmate, and he was livid. He was so mad that he had let a measly 1100 player tag him. He cursed a little bit then stormed out. I laughed. Good times haha.

So I had decided just a couple nights ago that I might go to the FKB U.S. Championship Qualifier tournament in Tulsa next weekend. It would have cost me roughly $400 for the whole trip. I would've used my poker winnings to pay for the whole thing, but I decided it probably wasn't in my best interest to take part in a tournament like that just yet. The competition is way over my head at the moment and I don't want to go in there and play a tournament with results of 0-6. That might be a major self esteem killer. I'll just wait for the Pir Maleki; i'll be more prepared for that anyway.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have a new poker blog up as well. You can find it HERE if you're interested in that kinda stuff. That's all for now.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Updated Tournament Lists

I've decided to post up an updated list of tourney's that I'll be taking part in:

March 31(unrated)
UNM vs. Eldorado High School Alumni
Hosted by UNM Chess Club
2 Rounds, G/30
Third floor in the S.U.B.

April 26
14th Annual Pir Maleki Memorial
United World College, Montezuma, NM
Tournament Flier Entry Form
$1350 in Prizes and Trophies
1st Place Prize In All Sections Guaranteed
All entries must be postmarked by Monday, April 21st
Late entries by phone or email
No on-site registration

May 3 - 4, 2008
Bobby Fischer Memorial
4 round Swiss system tournament.
Time Control: G/2

Site: Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs.
Sections: Open, Reserve (U1600)
Entry fee: $35 if rec'd by 5/1, $40 at site. $9 discount for juniors, seniors, unrated.
Prizes: Cash prizes per entries.
Registration: 8:30 - 9:30, Rounds: 10, 3 ; 9, 2.
Entries: Richard Buchanan 844 B Prospect Place, Manitou Springs CO 80829
Phone: (719) 685-1984
The 1st Prize is now guaranteed at $400, and as donations continue to come in, these funds will be added to the 1st place prize fund, and it is only February 22!!
CSCA required, OSA.
Non-rated Community tournament also held Saturday.
Colorado Tour Event

May 31
Quads by Knight

Hosted by the Foothills Chess Club
3 Rounds - Round Robin - G/90
$55 to the winner of each Quad
Foothills Fellowship Church
Southwest Corner of Tramway and Candelaria
Albuquerque, NM
Advance Entries - $20 - must be received by 5/30
On Site Entries - $25 - Registration 7:30 am to 8:00 am
Flyer with Entry Form

June 5th-8th
International Chess Festival featuring National Open
Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, NM
THE BIG ONE! w00t!

June 28/29
Albuquerque Open

Days Inn
2120 Menaul NE, Ph# 505-884-0250
5 SS, G/90
4 Sections
Open - EF $30 in advance, $40 on-site
U1800 - EF $25 in advance, $35 on-site
U1400 - EF $25 in advance, $35 on-site
U1000 - EF $20 in advance, $30 on-site
Prize Fund: $1000 b/70
Registration: Saturday 8-8:30am
Round Times: Sat. 9-1-5, Sun. 9-1
Advanced Entries must be received by 6/27
Additional $10 for on-site entries
After full price entry, additional family member entries for $15
Maximum of 1 half point bye may be requested before Round 1
Make checks payable to: NMCO
P.O. Box 4215, Albuquerque, NM 87196

Monday, March 17, 2008

A weekend of sweet Victory

Well here I am, reporting on my weekly status. I would like to start by saying that I came across a ChessCafe column which I absolutely LOVE! I'm sure most of you have heard of the Novice Nook. If you haven't, you're surely missing out! I have read all of the columns from 2001 and I have to say that I am highly impressed. Dan's articles on Real Chess and Time Management have opened my eyes a little more to chess and every OTB game I've played since reading those have been successes. Like I've said, look up the Novice Nook column on You won't be disappointed.

Anywho, this last weekend was incredible for me! Not just for chess, but also(mostly) for my poker playing. I hit the card rooms about 2:00pm Saturday afternoon and played till about 5:00AM Sunday. I was playing the $2-$4 low-limit tables and walked away a big winner with $500 up. Doesn't sound like much, but $500 is a VERY successful night in a $2-$4 hold'em game. It's always nice to win money like that especially when you're a poor bastard such as myself. However, it sucked for Sunday because A) I had to miss church and B)I was tired during my rated game at the once-a-month Foothills Chess Club. I remembered everything from Dan Heisman's Novice Nook article "The Secrets of Real Chess" during my game and managed to come out of the opening a piece up. About 15 moves (an hour and a half) later, I was up two pieces and forced him to trade queens. He sadly resigned. The game really wasn't anything special so I probably won't be posting it up. Fritz didn't give me anything special anyway =P

I'm about half way done with Circle 2 and I don't know if it was because of my lack of sleep this weekend, but my Level 50 problems are seeming MUCH more difficult this time around than in Circle 1. So far I'm about 2% behind what I was in Circle 1. Hopefully I can catch up tonight, we shall see. My rating has gone down nearly a hundred points these past couple weeks. I blame that on the amount of time I've put into my poker playing. I don't really care about my rating anymore anyway. Well that's pretty much it, I've updated my USCF rating on the sidebar.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Interesting Idea

I'm about a week into Circle 2 and man, it's been hell! The problems seem harder this time around, but my percentage of accuracy is much higher than from Circle 1. Maybe the problems seem harder because I'm actually thinking this time around. In one of my previous posts I had mentioned how GM Rashid preaches a similar tactics training program to the Seven Circles. In his article he states that if you can remember 1000 tactical positions "by hand" (not by mind) that you will have the tactical ability of a GM. At first I was a little skeptical to his view on this but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. My goal is to get 100% accuracy with CT-ART. That's 1200+ tactical positions that I expect to be able to solve completely "by hand". I'm not quite sure if any of the Knights have tried this type of approach but the way I see it is, I really have nothing to lose but my time.

So I've been thinking about how I would approach this and came to the conclusion that I would finish the Seven Circles program. By that time, I expect to have an overall success rate of about 60%-65%. After I've finished with the Seven Circles, I plan to do about 6 12-week mini-circle programs. Each "mini-circle" program will contain 200 problems from CT-ART. I will do the program in fashion of 8-4-2-1 doing about 25 problems for 8 days, 50 problems for 4 days, 100 problems for 2 days, and obviously all 200 on the final day. After each mini-circle, I will go on to the next 200 problems in CT-ART. Ultimately, my goal is to have around 90%-100% accuracy by the time I finish the sixth mini-circle program. If I'm still lower than my expected percentage rate, I may start the mini-circles program again or I may just do the Seven Circles program all over again.

I suspect that this will take around a year to accomplish and I understand if some of you think I'm crazy for attempting it. I agree, it sounds a little ridiculous but I want to see if this really works! Sure, I'll basically be giving up a year of my life for complete chess tactics study but if you think about it, it's only a year! If it works, then I'll be damn glad I did it. If it doesn't work, then that's a lesson well learned. I'm sure I'll at least gain 500 rating points by doing this type of rigorous study so I'm not really complaining about the time lost.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

UNM Octagon

Well my first rated tournament has come and gone! Saturday, March 1st, 2008 was my first rated tournament and I didn't do too bad! I came in third place and I won the U1100 section for a measly prize of $10!. There was only three rounds and my results were pretty much a break even: One win, one loss, and one draw. My opponents were pretty low rated players and I should have won every game but it turns out I wasn't fortunate enough to capitalize my advantages. My first game was against a 1209 player. He opened 1.d4 against me and I matched 1...Nf6. I played the King's Indian Defense for the first time and it seemed pretty successful. I came out of the opening a pawn up and I gave it right back for no apparent reason. He offered a draw and I took it. My second round opponent(another 1200) was the same player whom I played my first rated game. I felt a little nervous just for the fact that he beat me my very first rated game but I was also confident. My confidence payed off as the game was pretty much a complete slaughter house(as you will see shortly). I played 1.e4 and headed straight for the Scotch Gambit. He transposed to an odd line of the Italian which didn't bother me one bit. My last round opponent was a little stronger (1300+). I took the Black side of the Sicilian Scheveningen. I came across a position where one simple pawn move would have won the game for me, but I completely missed the opportunity and the game. I learned several lessons from that game. Here's the diagram of the said position:

My last move was 12...Nc5. My point was to put more pressure on e4. My opponent responded 13.Bf2?. The winning move for black would have been 13...b4!! but instead of the brilliant move, I played Nxd3 followed by a couple more blunders and the game was lost for me. Well here are all the games in order of rounds:

My provisional is now 1101(p6) which is up over 100 points! I know it's not much but I 'm very excited to finally have my rating over 1000! You can look at the final postings of the tournament at It's nice to see my name on the front page there!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fire on the Board

I have taken up a different approach to my chess training lately, all due to a comment by Blue Devil Knight: play lots of blitz chess! And I have done just that since my last post. I've lost a lot of games and won a lot of games but most importantly, I've learned from them. I have taken with me some new experiences to longer games (via and have been pretty successful. Things seem more clear on the 64-squared battlefield and my rating has boosted over 50 points since my last post! I havent analyzed any of these games with Fritz yet, but I plan on that as soon as I get the chance. One of the direct responses is a beautiful game which I played on; it's completely wild. The position is busted open and the tactics meter is off the charts! Granted my opponent is rated about 100 points lower than myself, he played very well and I consider this one of my best games ever. Without further ado...

Now that we have that over with. I'm done with Circle 1! w00t! It's time to celebrate! I made it this far and it only gets better from here! Here is a picture of my results from Circle 1:

My game has increased substantially since the beginning of my adventures with the Seven Circles. I thought I was a good player before, but my thoughts have changed dramatically since I've been involved with my tactics study. I now see that I was nowhere near as good as I thought I was and that there's always going to be room to improve my game. I have a tournament coming up this Saturday, we'll see just how well my training has paid off thus far. I should be about 90% done with Circle 2 by the time I have to play another tournament (March 29-30) and I'm hoping that my game will have improved by double the amount that it's improved thus far.

In other news, I'm sure most of you have heard the unfortunate news that Samurai Knight is retiring from his position of Secretary. T'was a very sad day for us Knights. However, SK passed the torch to the well respected Tacticus Maximus(Glenn W.) and this in itself is very exciting. SK made a very good choice and I know Tacticus Maximus will hold true to the Knights.

Samurai's retirement has made me rethink everything regarding chess. Is it really worth it to put so much effort into something that hardly gives anything back? I pondered this long and hard and it's difficult for me to really assess the situation. Here I am, working ~30 hours a week, coming home to my pregnant fiancee everynight only to study chess 2-3 hours. What do I get in return? A few good wins on the internet and a USCF rating of 980(so far). Is it really worth it to spend so much time with chess in my current state? I'm about to be a father and shouldn't I be spending more time with my fiancee? Yes, we live together, but I spend the majority of my time either in front of a chess board or in front of the computer studying/playing chess. Isn't this kind of obsession great for those top 100 grandmasters? Who am I kidding, the odds are against me... I'm more than likely never going to reach that stage in chess but that is my goal. I want opinions people. Perhaps I should re-evaluate my position in life and take a breather from chess for awhile. Let me know what you think.

** Here's another game where I slaughtered a cocky player:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chess. Poker, Upsets.

It's been awhile since I've posted, for that I apologize. I have been keeping chess on the back burner for about a month now. I'm doing my tactics training religiously but as far as me completing(or even trying) my other factors of chess training, I am failing. I havent been playing many chess games, instead I've been more focused on studying my tactics and openings. I don't know if this is going to hurt me in the long run or not, but it seems to be working out just fine for now. For example. Both my accounts are now in the 1600's. You have to keep in mind that this is a huge improvement for me. When I first started this program, I was averaging around 1450 and now I'm averaging around 1620. I'm also taking part in a tournament on to win a Gold Membership(yearly membership) which is working out really great! It's a knockout tournament and thus far I'm one of three to make it to the quarterfinals. I've knocked out two opponents (one rated lower, the other rated much higher). I hope to win this tournament. That's my short-term goal.

I've been playing some of the best chess of my life lately(atleast in my eyes). I'm playing very loose and aggressive. I'm losing a lot more, but I'm seeing combinations that are adding to my experience. The games that I am winning are complete jewels. I'll provide a few of them here in a little bit but first I want to talk about the Circles.

I'm nearly done with Circle 1! I have about one more week to go and I'll be starting Circle 2! I'm very excited for this! It's even more exciting for me to know that my last day of Circle 1 also happens to fall on a 3-round(G/90) "Octagon" tournament at my local University. So that means I'll be waking up especially early that day and getting my tactics in before the first round starts. Speaking of tournaments. I played my third rated game this last Sunday at the Foothills Chess Club. My opponent was a 1459 USCF player. We played a very dangerous tactical game which was a winning game for me all through the opening(me with the black pieces) and middlegame, but I blundered a very important pawn in the beginning stages of the endgame and my opponent switched from tactical madman to quiet and positional and squeezed me to death. I folded under the pressure of being down that key pawn and lost the game. I learned a very important lesson in that game. SIT ON YOUR HANDS! If I had taken more than 10 seconds to think about one specific move, I would have kept that pawn and gone on to win the game. I guess you live and learn right?

In other news, I've been a little distracted by a new game(new to me): Low-Limit Texas Hold'em. I've been winning pretty decently and have been studying two books that are really helping my game. I like poker a lot. It gets me away from the sometimes senile world of chess AND it makes me some extra cash. I have yet to lose money, only gain. I guess you could say I'm a pretty decent amateur of poker, but I hope to play expertly soon as I would love to have poker as my main source of income. No worries though, I won't drop chess for poker like many other former chess players now turned pro poker players (Dan Harrington comes to mind). Chess is still my passion and always will be.

Now on to the games that I promised! Enjoy!

This first game is against one of my good friends at the local chess club. I love the Scotch Gambit because of the power it has against an unsuspecting opponent. Here's a clear example:

This next game is my second round game in the Gold Membership Knockout tournament on I had been studying the Grand Prix attack against the Sicilian and this was my first chance to use it. My opponent actually played one of the main lines that I had been studying so that made me feel a little more comfortable. I like to think of myself as a tactical genius in this game =P:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Grandmaster preaches tactics training similar to Seven Circles

I was reading an interesting collection of articles from GM Rashid Ziatdinov(Author of GM-RAM) concerning many aspects of chess and psychology in chess. After about half an hour of putting up with this guy's somewhat delusional beliefs on chess training, I came across his article titled "TACTICS vs. STRATEGY". In it, he preaches a similar tactics training program similar to 7 circles. Without giving my own summary, I would rather just directly quote the GM:

"To study tactics, I recommend my timed tactical software program, or similar software programs. A good book of combinations is beneficial too, but less efficient and not as fun. Basically, set up a cycle of ten positions, go through them until you get a perfect score, then set a cycle from 10-20, get a 100% score, then go through problems 1-20, repeating this cycle until you can go through 1000 problems "by hand" (not mind) without any mistakes. If you try this method with my tactics program and complete it, you will have the tactical ability of a Grandmaster. I have had more than a hundred students and nobody had enough will power to finish this tactical training method. Is it my students or is it me? Well, take only thirty minutes a day and slowly memorize 1000 problems; take a year or two if you have to. It comes down to will power, and that I cannot provide."

It was nice for me to see that even a Grandmaster would recommend such a training program. However, I'm not sure if I completely agree with him when he says that memorizing 1000 tactical problems "by hand" will make you tactically as strong as a Grandmaster. He also preaches that another highly effective way of improving one's tactical ability is to play blitz games. He doesn't mean G/5 blitz games(he doesn't consider these blitz), but G/1min. More commonly known as Lightning games. I had a lot of interest in this so I went out and played several lightning games and I feel it has slightly improved my intuition as far as tactical play is concerned.

Now on to a separate topic: my progress + upcoming tournaments. I have finished Problems with Level Difficulty 50 last night with an overall success rate of 51%. I thought this was very peculiar considering the level before it was only finished at 49%. Perhaps I thought a little bit harder on these problems than the previous difficulty level problems. I'm very interested to see what happens with the next level up. I also catch myself blundering a lot more these days. It happens mostly in my online games. Perhaps it's cause subconsciously I don't really care if I win or lose, or maybe because I'm just not thinking. On, I keep getting really close to the 1600 level, but drop back down to around 1550 and have to slowly climb back up just to fall again. On FICS, I'll beat an 1800, then lose to a 1600, then beat a 1900, then lose to a 1400. I'm really confused by these results. Sometimes it's really unmotivating and makes me want to give up.

Tournaments! w00t! So I finally got my first copy of Chess Life magazine and on the back of it was a nice huge advertisement for the National Open in Las Vegas, June 5-8th. I sat there talking to my mother about it and she said it would be good for me to go participate in a national event like this. I thought about it for a couple of days and I concluded with the fact that I was going to take the week off of work and go up and play me some hardcore chess! The tourney doesn't start till Wednesday but I love me some Texas Hold'em poker so I'll be occupied those first couple days. After contemplating this trip, I remembered that my rating is still provisional, which means that if I were to win a section, the most I could win was $1500. Which is no good for me so I went out and found just enough tournaments/rated games to complete my provisional before the National Opening. Here is a list of the upcoming tourneys I will be participating in:

  • Foothills Chess Club(Meets every third Sunday) Rated Game - My two rated games are from this chess club, so I will gain 4 more rated games before June.
  • Colorado Springs Open(Mar. 8-9, Colorado Springs) - 5 rounds
  • Oppenheimer Open(Mar. 29-30, Soccoro) - 4 rounds
  • Springs Denker(Apr. 5, Colorado Springs) - 4 rounds
  • Pir Maleki(Apr. 26, Montezuma, NM) - 4 rounds
  • DCC May Flowers Tour(May 17, Denver) - 4 rounds
  • Total Rated Games = 27!
As you can see, that will put me right over the 26 rated game provisional and will allow me to compete for some decent money. As you can tell, I expect to win any section I participate in. I will show no mercy =P. That is all for now.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Patience + Hard work = A gamble worth waiting for.

I first wanted to take the time to thank those who commented on my previous post. I'm sorry I've been late to respond lately. Life is catching up to me and well, it was superbowl weekend after all. I know I promised you an annotated game, and that is what you will get. We'll get to that shortly. I first want to talk about a few things as far as progress(and even lack thereof). I have now finished 920 problems in CT-ART and I'm about halfway through Circle 1(in days). Since I've started this program, my tactical ability has been INCREDIBLE! I am now seeing things I would not have seen without the aide of CT-ART and the circles program. However, I question some of what I'm learning in a sense. I have my lucky days and I have more and more bad days. This last week's chess club meeting was certainly a very lucky day for me. I was able to see combinations like it was second nature. However, I blundered A LOT in almost every one of those games and I should have lost at least three of them. So now you can see why I say I have my "lucky days". My opponents blundered worse than I did, which allowed me to come up with some of those amazing combinations. I feel disappointed about this and don't really view it as an accomplishment. If my opponents would have played at the same strength throughout the whole game, I would have lost every game without a doubt. I have taken into account(on part of de la Maza's advice) the fact that I should now start to analyze every one of my OTB games with Fritz. I don't really know how to do this that well and would really appreciate it if one of my fellow Knights would help me out with this. The point of me wanting to learn how to use Fritz to analyze my games is so I can 'get rid of the big squiggly lines' from my play. The annotated game I'm about to provide you will have annotations from Fritz, however I don't think I did it right. Chessbase products really confuse me which doesn't help my case.

Now on to the annotated game that I promised. This game needs a little bit of an introduction: It was the last game of the night and it was against my highest rated opponent thus far in the night. He knew that I had won all my previous games but he insisted on telling everybody how horrible of a chess player I was and that I was on a huge luck streak. He asked me what my rating was and when I said "980" he proceeded to laugh in my face and said I was a joke and that he would dispose of me quickly. He showed absolute ZERO respect for me, not just as a chess player but as a person. I wanted nothing more than to show this guy what it was like to get his ass handed to him, in a very royal fashion. This game caused Fritz 10 to give me " ! " on two separate moves! All annotations were provided by Fritz 10 with the exception of the ones that start with "Nemo:". I hope you enjoy this game as much as I did. Was a nice way to end the night and to shut up a cocky chess player. Enjoy!

Sir Nemo(980 USCF) vs. Unnamed(1730 USCF)
CCC Weekly

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Qf6!? (diagram 1)
Nemo: I found this move to be insulting. It proved that my opponent had no respect for me and wished to employ ignorant opening moves in the hopes that it would throw me off.
[2...Nc6 3. Nc3= ]

[3.Nc3 Nc6]

[3...exd4!? 4.Qxd4 Nc6]

[4.Nc3 Bg4]

4...Qg6 5.Nc3 exd4

6.Qxd4 c5? (diagram 2)

7.Qe3 h6 8.Bf4 Nf6 9.Bd3
[9.0-0-0!? keeps an even further grip]

9...Ng4 10.Qe2 Be7??
Black has lost his nerve... understandable when you consider his position. This allows White to win a pawn and a piece.

11.e5 Qh5 12.exd6 0-0 13.dxe7 Re8 14.0-0-0 Nc6
Nemo: This move was a mistake in my eyes as it allowed me to come up with a nice little combination to force Black to give up a piece for two pawns and a major Kingside attack or lose his Queen.

15.h3 Rxe7 16.Qd2 Nf6 17.g4 (diagram 3)

Nemo: The point of my last comment. Black either has to deal with the loss of his Queen or sacrifice a minor piece for two pawns and a horrible position. This move deserves a " ! " if you ask me.

17...Nxg4 18.hxg4 Qxg4 19.Bxh6!
Nemo: That's right! Fritz gave me the good move! This move fell directly in my strategy of attacking the King. It's kind of a pseudo sacrifice that I thought was brilliant at the time. I'm leaving the Knight and the Bishop hanging. If Black takes on h6, then Rg1 was pretty decisive. I was proud of this move.

19...Qxf3 20.Bxg7!
Mate attack.
Nemo: Fritz gave me the good move yet again! Notice how my pieces are all pointed at Black's King and his pieces are extremely uncoordinated.

20...Kxg7 21.Qg5+ Kf8 22.Rh8# (diagram 4)

What this game came down to was me isolating the King in his own corner and never giving up the initiative. I kept creating problems for this guy and it payed off. I felt victorious after this game and a few Class A players congratulated me on my victories that night and especially my victory over this cocky player. I hope you enjoyed this game as much as I did. I hope to bring more games like this to the table. One step closer to mastery!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Repetition brings success.

This last Wednesday's weekly chess club meeting was very successful for me. I played many games against decent opposition and won every game. I will provide all games here. As soon as I get the time, I'll actually annotate one of the games which I think was the most brilliant of the night. Even an 1800USCF told me it was a beautiful game. This is all proof that repeating tactical exercises pays off. However, it's not enough to just memorize tactical shots. One must be able to conduct them in their games. Here are my games from this week's chess club meeting(with the exception of the game I will annotate):

Friday, January 25, 2008

The perils of 1.e4.

As you have read from my previous posting, I have been pondering the switch from 1.d4 to 1.e4 for the sake of creating wild attacking possibilities. To those who have commented, I thank you and I have taken to heart every word spoken. I agree that 1.d4 seems easier and a little lighter to study but for some odd reason something in my brain wants to push to do things the hard way. Here is my first adventure in the 1.e4 world in months using an opening line I've never used before.

Sir Nemo(980 USCF) vs. C. Manual(2122 USCF)
CCC Weekly G/60

Round 3

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 (diagram 1)
This is a line of the Scotch I have never played before. I always used to just play 4.Nxd4 and hope things went my way from there but I've been studying some games from the 19th century and saw so many possibilities with this variation. I'm not normally a gambit player but I figured since my opponent was much stronger than me he would beat me either way. So I put theory aside for a moment and gave myself a scare with this gambit.

5.Nxd4 Nxe4 6.Qe2 Nxd4 7.Qxe4+ Ne6 8.O-O Bd6 9.Nc3 O-O 10.Bd3! (diagram 2)
This move was brilliant in my eyes for the fact that I knew that it would cause Black to push one of his kingside pawns, thus committing to long term weaknesses of the dark squares.

10...g6 11.Bh6!
Gaining tempo while developing the dark squared Bishop. Black has real problems on his Kingside due to a majorly cramped position and lack of development.

11...Re8 12.Rfe1!
This move serves many purposes: 1) Develops a Rook to an open file in the center of the board. 2) Pins the black Knight (12... Nc5 13. Qxe8!! Qxe8 14. Rxe8 with mate).

12...c6? 13.h4 Bf8 14.Bxf8 Kxf8 15.h5!
Breaking open the kingside even more. My strategy was to bring my rook to the open h-file and threaten mate on h8 with the queen.

15...Ng5 16.Qb4+ Kg8 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Ne4 Nxe4 19.Bxe4 d5 20.Rad1! (diagram 3)
Pins galore! White finishes his development with yet another pseudo-tempo move. To those who don't know why this is a good move, it's pretty obvious that Black can't take the Bishop with the pawn, for he will lose his Queen.

20...Bf5 21.Bxf5 Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 gxf5 23.g3!
This is another move which went with my strategy. It keeps the Queen out of h3 (minor threat), gives my King a space on g2, and last but definitely not least is the move allows me to bring my Rook to the open h-file. This is the first step on my to-do list.

23...b5 24.Kg2 a5 25.Qd4!
Second step on my to-do list. Though black has an impressive pawn chain and center, white is keeping an eye on h8 and h1 for his two remaining major pieces. Black decides to disregard White's plans on the Kingside.

25...Qd7? 26.Rh1! f6
Suddenly Black see's White's plan and does what he can to stop it. The game was over at this point; defense would have been extremely difficult.

27.Qxf6 Qg7! 28.Qe6+! Qf7 29.Rh8+!! (diagram 4)
Delivering the decisive blow and crowning white's strategy from the start. Black resigned because he has to give up his Queen or be mated next move:
29...Kxh8 30.Qxf7
29...Kg7?? 30.Qh6#

It was very interesting for me to have such a victory with not just an opening I've never played before, but also with the fact that I defeated a player who is much stronger than myself. I will take with me a few lessons from this game. One of them being that I remembered how FUN chess was when I wasn't so worried about beating my opponent. I really underestimated myself right out of the opening in this game, yet I managed to not only beat him in the opening, but also the middlegame and endgame.

So to answer my own question: I'm going to give 1.e4 a try. If it turns out that it hurts my game, rather than improve it, well it's a lesson well learned. We all have to make mistakes to improve, and we can't make mistakes without taking risks. My next tournament isn't until the very end of March and I look forward to it more than anything right now.

Once again, thanks for all the suggestions from the last post. I'll continue to play 1.d4 when I'm not feeling confident against certain opponents.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Attack on the King.

Last night was a successful night in my adventures to chess mastery. I performed exceptionally well against decent opposition at my local wednesday night Coronado Chess Club. My first round opponent was a 1400 USCF who I beat in a strong attacking game which went down to an endgame. The second round was against a 1578 USCF player who went into game really cocky. I taught him a strict lesson on how to conduct a Kingside attack. After the game he complained that I must have cheated when he got up to go to the restroom because it seemed like my pieces were moving too fast for him to even realize he was under a strong attack. He didn't let me checkmate him so he was very respectable in the fact that he resigned 21 moves into the game. I'll provide the game without commentary:

On top of this nice victory was the fact that I was putting up tough resistance to some of the club's strongest blitz players. Keep in mind that just three weeks ago these guys considered me a laughable opponent and now they're holding their breath when I'm sitting across from them. I beat a 1700+ blitz player twice and a 1900+ blitz player once. Granted I lost more games than I had won, but the point is that I'm not putting up a fight and giving these guys competition.

There are some things I've been pondering lately. For the last 4 months I've been playing 1.d4 as White and have had some good successes with it, but for some odd reason I'm thinking of switching back to 1.e4. I don't know why I want to make this switch, only that I'm thinking I made the switch to 1.d4 prematurely. What are your thoughts on this? I feel comfortable with 1.d4 like I used to feel comfortable with 1.e4... but now I no longer feel comfortable with 1.e4 like I did in the beginning. Perhaps I don't really need a change, who knows. I'm open to all opinions and thoughts so please feel free to give me your $.02.

Nemo, out.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Checkin' Back In

I'm finally back home from my lovely vacation up in Wolf Creek, Colorado. It was to get away for several days and just enjoy the snow and snowboarding. I didn't do much studying up there but I still continued to check my accounts several times a day. I did, however, do around 100+ problems in CT-ART yesterday as a consequence of me not keeping up with them on vacation. I finished Problems with Level Difficulty 30 with about 54% accuracy. I'm really ashamed of this but it's ok because I'm about 50-60 problems into Level Difficutly 40 and I'm already doing much better. Not to mention, my overall progress has been improving by major leaps! My accounts are still around 1600 for both accounts but that's 0nly because I lost two games on timeouts due to vacation. One of my accounts is doing really well, I'm currently playing 4 players with ratings over 1800 and I'm winning all 4 games. One guy simply won't resign. We're down to an endgame and he has his king and a rook and I have my king, a rook, a knight, and two pawns. Oh well, I guess he just wants to be punished the hard way. \

I also played my second rated game last sunday(as in, the one before this last sunday). I won in beautiful fashion. My rating only went up to around 1000 though but it's fine, it's MUCH better than 793 if you ask me. I did, however, miss out on a tournament this last weekend while I was up in Colorado. It was the New Mexico Memorial/Senior tournament. It would have been my chance to really show these guys I'm not just a patzer.

Another great improvement is that last night before I made my way over to the theater to see Cloverfield(great movie btw!), I played about 4 standard games on FICS(G/60) and won all of them in a total of about 30 minutes. My rating went from 1664 to 1718. Pretty nice if you ask me.

As a side note, I'm deeply saddened of the news of Bobby Fisher passing away. In his later years he was obviously a little whacked but his chess playing will forever remain unsurpassed. He died at 64, which in my eyes was exactly the age he would have liked to die. RIP Robert James Fisher.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Weekly progress report.

So it's the end of Week 2 in my Seven Circles adventure and I must say I'm both excited and also a little ticked off. I'll first explain why I'm excited. It mostly has to do with my over all progress. I've gone from a consistant 1400-1500 rating average to an average of 1550-1650. I consider this to be a HUGE leap in just two weeks! My tactics training is paying off considerably. If you look at some of my games on you'll see that I'm putting my training to use in it's fullest extent. Also my games on FICS are getting more and more beautiful. I have played and destroyed a 1968 rated player, and a 2123 player in the last 24 hours. I feel so accomplished. Here are some of my improvements from several websites in the last week with some explanations:

FICS = 1806P -> 1664
Although I've been beating higher rated players on FICS, I find myself in a major bind with the lower rated players. I lost about 4-5 games to players rated lower than 1500 which puts me around 3 games won against players with ratings 1900+ and 4-5 games lost against players with ratings lower than 1500. Maybe it's overconfidence or maybe they simply the higher rated players are overconfident. I guess time will tell but I will for sure put more thought into my games from now on. = 1583 -> 1622
I'm very proud of this. I had to beat several higher rated players to get this far and I'm proud of some of the beautiful combinations I've conjured up(sometimes out of nowhere!) in my won games. = 1499 -> 1521
Well I lost a couple games, but made a pretty big comeback in the last 24 hours. I lost two games which took my rating down to 1464 but i sprung right back up with 4 wins in a row against 1550+ players.

RedHotPawn = 1502 -> 1463
Well I was happy about the fact that my rating on RHP was over 1500 but it came right back to bite me in the ass cuz, well, I lost to a much lower rated player.

GameKnot = 1417 - 1443
What can I say. Three beautiful checkmates in a row, two of which were against players who's ratings were 1750+.

USCF = 793(p1)
Ah, the one rating that actually counts for something. I still look at this rating with disgust every day. I know my rating would be much higher than this but it doesn't help that I live in New Mexico and the amount of tournaments per year sums up to the amount of tournaments in a single night in New York City. Tomorrow will be my first time playing a rated game since my horrible loss to an 1190 player in my last rated game. I'll go in with my game face on this time. No more joking around, no more bullshit.

Now for the ticked off portion of my posting. As I've stated before, I'm in Week 2 of my first circle and I'm not at all pleased with my progress in CT-ART itself. My results are what's really ticking me off. I finished "Problems with level difficulty 10" with 91% which was really great, but the level difficulty 20 problems I only scored a measly 70% and I'm on level difficulty 30 now and thus far I'm at 56%. I got so frustrated with myself earlier that I almost didn't want to finish with today's tactics problems. What am I doing wrong? I look at other Knight's blogs and they seem, for the most part, very consistent with their results. One specific Knight had results similar to the following in his first circle:

Problems with level difficulty 10 = 92%
Problems with level difficulty 20 = 81%
Problems with level difficulty 30 = 72%

Am I really that horrible of a chess player? What could I do to improve this? It's obviousl that what I'm learning from my tactics training is showing in my actual games. I just don't know how to improve my results with CT-ART. Perhaps I'm moving too fast through the problems. I'm not calculating right; hell I'm not even thinking about the position or the moves, I'm just moving pieces around. I guess my problem is that I just want to be done with the problems as quickly as possible. What are some of your thoughts on this, and if this has happened to you in your progress, what did you do to overcome it?

That's all for today, wish me luck with my second rated game tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I have joined the ranks!

For the past couple of months I couldn't help but notice how many chess bloggers (mostly Knights) have come to mention FICS. I didn't really know what it was nor did I really care until about 2 hours ago when I did a google search for FICS. It turns out that FICS is exactly what I've been looking for! I'm so tired of having to pay stupid subscriptions to websites such as or ICC. I immediately signed up for an account (under SirNemo, naturally). I've played several games thus far and thanks to my lovely tactics training with the Seven Circles and my success with ICS, I've gained a stratospheric rating of 1809! Seems all this studying is starting to pay off after all!

Now that I have FICS, I'll refrain from playing on sites such as Pogo and Yahoo! cuz well.... they're a little ridiculous and the competition is, well, non-existant. I'm really glad I decided to find out what FICS was cuz now I'm a real happy camper. I hope to see, and maybe play, some of you other Knights on FICS soon! Let me know your handle(s)! That is all for now.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

First week over!

So I've finished my first week of the Seven Circles program. I feel very accomplished and full of confidence. I know it's only one week but I've already seen improvement in my play. I'm seeing simple Queen forks in my real games that I would have never seen without the training. I did 33 problems for everyday this last week and I gave myself an hour each day to finish them all but I've yet to exceed 25 minutes so I'm doing pretty good. My percentage rate for "Problems with level difficulty 10" was 91%. Not too bad!

My chess training schedule is pretty intensive for a working 21 year old who's also planning a wedding and getting ready for his baby to be born. Every night I start with 5-10 minutes of board visualization training techniques. Then I do my tactics training. Afterwards I allocate 30 minutes of my time learning a new variation of my favorite openings, which is working great btw! After my study of openings, I give myself about an hour for studying theory. I just started this schedule this last Sunday and believe me, my chess understanding and ability have improved so much! Here are several of my achievements in the past week:
  • My rating has gone up from 1475 to 1494 which I had to beat two 1600+ rated players to get!
  • I have two accounts; one of which has the rating 1499, and the other 1568.
  • My Pogo rating has gone from 1668 to 1927! (Based on G/10)
I'm very pleased with these results, so with that I pat myself on the back. That's all for now :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Losing chess 101

Well I've been playing mini-tournament on GameKnot for the last month or so and finally managed to build up this beautiful position against a 1700+ player. The game was going pretty well for me until I missed an amazingly obvious opportunity to have a damn nice material advantage. Here is a pic of the position before I started throwing the towel in:

sir nemo(1419) vs. hunwi(1731)

Now lets evaluate the position here for a minute. White's pieces are clearly far superior to their Black counterparts. The center is a battle in itself but I'm sure White stands better here. I felt so good about myself after reaching this position that I clearly stopped thinking 'tactically' and only thought about ways to improve my beautiful position. I could have EASILY turned my qualitative advantages into a nice quantitative advantage by the very simple 1) b4! and the poor Knight is lost. Instead of playing the piece-winning-move, I played 1) d5? in beautiful blunderific fashion.

I don't know about you, but once I blunder badly like this I begin to blunder over and over again. It really effects me emotionally. So several blunders later we came across this position:

I still thought I was doing pretty good here, but usually that's when things go bad. I believe it's a curse; once I start to feel like I'm doing O.K., I blunder away material like as if it grows on trees ;]. I played the most beautiful move of the game right here.... can you guess it? Yes, I played 1) Rg1??.

This is my lesson on losing chess 101. Tune in next week for I am sure there'll be a 102 course ready by then.