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:

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