Friday, December 07, 2012

As promised or threatened...

Hopefully and most humbly this blog will serve as an outlet for what seems to be the natural progression of something started a few years ago.
Cue the flashback music while I get all nostalgic and try to explain how this transpired.
I was reading through Mig's Chess Ninja message board looking for any bit of wisdom that might lead me to the Holy Grail equivalent of instant chess enlightenment or at least instant pudding. When I encountered a post written by a person using the nom de plume "Man de la Maza" (a tongue in cheek tribute to a man named Michael De La Maza).
Michael De La Maza was a class "D" chess player who after suffering through some short losses began searching for ways "to achieve rapid chess improvement" and ultimately devised his own radically intensive method of tactical training called the "7 Circles". Where he repeated the same 1,000 tactical problems 7 times with an increase in volume and a decrease in time with each pass. Culminating in the 7th "Circle as a sort of final exam consisting of all 1,000 problems in one day. Which according to De La Maza was the reason behind his documented improvement of 400 rating points in 400 days.Anyway at the time 7,000 chess problems seemed like an insurmountable task and this fellow "Man de la Maza" had just started a blog dedicated to tracking his progress through the "7 Circles". I happened to mention that I liked his post about GM Jussupov, and GM Jussupov's sandwich (presumably at least a FM in strength) and the next thing I know I'm dubbed Sancho Pawnza and doing those crazy circle exercises too. Then it just continues to snowball into a group called the Knight's Errant. Which is another story entirely.
So to continue with this story, after doing what seemed liked 20,000 tactics problems give or take 300 to 400 I started to realize that there was more to successful chess than a well timed tactical shot. What do you do when there are no tactical answers? Tactical shots just don't happen you have to create them and that brought me into the world of strategy. There I discovered how much importance planning plays in a game of chess. How each particular opening
has its own preset group of ideas and how you can become strategically lost without ever having a material imbalance prior to entering the middle game. That mimicking/memorizing a line is only beneficial if you understand the objectives.
The importance of trying to learn pawn structures and how they can enhance your pieces or doom them to a world of passivity if you aren't able to make the key break.
How studying endings will provide you with an additional set of plans and how you can try to steer things towards into your known areas of study because these endings also work as clock savers. Not only that it also serves in determining which pieces you should try to trade and which pieces you should try and retain.

The first meeting of the Society of Self-Analysis is now called to order.
The Society of Self-Analysis or S.S.A. (or ass backwards) is in search of open minded applicants that are willing to become involved in a chess improvement group. The mission of the group is to share experiences, study methods, utilized and designed solely for the purpose of improvement in rated play. Applicants must be willing to undergo the strenuous task of analyzing their own games in order to identify weaknesses. An improvement plan will then be designed to eliminate said weaknesses, with results to be published. Efficient methodology and a selfless nature will be appreciated.

[White "1839"]
[Black "Sancho Pawnza"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D00"]
[WhiteElo "1839"]
[BlackElo "1575"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. Nd2 Nc6 4. e3 Ne4 5. Nxe4 dxe4 6. c3 Qd5 7. Bf4 Qd8 8.
Bb5 Bd7 9. Ba4 e6 10. Ne2 Ne7 11. Bc2 f5 12. c4 Ng6 13. a3 Bd6 14. Bxd6 cxd6
15. O-O Qg5 16. f4 Qd8 17. Nc3 O-O 18. Ba4 Ne7 19. d5 Bxa4 20. Nxa4 exd5 (20...
b5 21. cxb5 (21. Nc3 bxc4 22. dxe6 Qb6 23. Re1) 21... Nxd5 22. Qd4 Rb8 23. Nc3
Nxc3 24. bxc3 Rxb5 25. Qxa7 Rc5) 21. cxd5 Qa5 22. Nc3 Rac8 23. Qd4 a6 24. Rfc1
Qc5 25. Rd1 Qxd4 26. Rxd4 Rc5 27. Rad1 Rfc8 28. R4d2 Rc4 29. Kf2 Kf7 30. Ke2
Ke8 31. Rd4 Kd7 32. Na4 Rc2+ (32... Rxd4 $1 33. Rxd4 Rc2+ 34. Rd2 Rxd2+ 35.
Kxd2 Nxd5) 33. R4d2 Nxd5 34. Rxc2 (34. Ke1 Rxd2 35. Kxd2 b5 36. Nc3 Nxc3 37.
bxc3 Rc5) 34... Rxc2+ 35. Rd2 Rxd2+ 36. Kxd2 Kc6 37. b4 b6 (37... Kb5 38. Nc3+
Nxc3 39. Kxc3 Ka4 40. Kb2 d5 41. Kc3 Kxa3 42. Kd4 (42. h3 b6 43. g4 g6)) 38.
Nb2 Kb5 39. h3 a5 (39... Nxb4 $2 40. axb4 Kxb4 41. Kc2 b5 42. Nd1 a5 43. Nf2 a4
44. g4 Kc4 45. gxf5) 40. bxa5 bxa5 41. g3 Nb6 42. g4 Nc4+ 43. Nxc4 Kxc4 44.
gxf5 Kb3 45. h4 a4 46. h5 h6 0-1

Back story on this post and game: This was a post that I wrote roughly 4 and 1/2 years ago prior to my disappearance from all things chess (more on that later). It happened to be saved in my "drafts" and I thought what the heck. It is the last OTB rated game that I played, but certainly not the last! I do have some annotations that I will add to the game in a bit. Which is really the whole point of this blog. To identify my own mental errors and work on ways to correct them.
I'm in the process of rounding up any of the remaining Knights (and friends of the Knights) that I can find to try and get them involved. So if you can find PMD, J'adoube, BDK, etc. let them know to dust off their saddles and let's ride. BTW if anyone can find Patrick (Chess for Blood) please let me know. I always enjoyed his insight and creative feedback and he'd be a welcome contributor without a doubt.