Friday, July 12, 2013

Brooklyn Castle

I watched Brooklyn Castle last night.  I very much enjoyed it, but do agree somewhat with the Tactics Time Guy's review. I also was puzzled by some of the extravagance. 

"Oh dear!", I gasped, " These kids should be able to pursue their extra-curricular activities, just like the basketba - WHAT?!  They send 56 kids across the country?!  Even the 400s?! Hand me my budget axe, Ma, I'm going in."

I think it was a misstep for a documentary trying to show the tragedy of underfunding our schools.  There are easy and more effective ways to convey this message, and using diligent, charming kids in the effort would have made it a slam dunk.  Of course, if schools get funding for basketball programs, they certainly should get funding for chess programs.  But perhaps send fifteen kids across the country, and buy some textbooks or raise a teacher's pay.

And yes, there's tremendous incentive for taxpayers to pay for Big Bird.

I checked some current ratings.  Patrick is about 800.  He attended a tournament in December, so he's still working hard, transforming a weakness into a strength.  Pobo and Alexis have improved by about 100.  Rochelle is about 2060, but a few months ago she was 2130, so she's within firing range of her goal of Master.  Given time and her drive, it's nearly inevitable.  With the UT college scholarship she earned, I'm sure we'll be hearing from her soon.  Justus is up over 2300, which for all you non-chess addicts, means he's already on the bottom rungs of international strength. 

I also wish they had spent more time interviewing Justus and Rochelle about their own insights into their skill.  Of course, it would be difficult to do that without making the movie too chessy.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My pulse

Funny, it's a year later and my nemesis just kicked my butt again.

I've been back at it.  I actually use chess to reinvigorate my mind for another hobby.  So when I stray from chess it means I feel my mind is invigorated and I'm pursuing a wonderful goal!

I'm dedicated to the skill of mastering tactical chess puzzles.  It's my massive deficiency, and thinking in these terms orients my focus and time properly. 


Chessimo Restarted, but abandoned.  I'm not quite as big of a fan anymore, although it is a good product.  It shouldn't start with mates.  Also, when you have a 150 problem set to grind through, it's too easy to mash buttons, only half knowing the continuation.  I will go back to this someday, because it still is a handy product. When doing mates in Bain and Hays, it's obvious I gained skill from Chessimo.

Bain: 4 Circles.  With my Android tablet and the wonderful Scid on the Go, I can knock this out casually in a weekend.  I'll do another one in a few weeks.  I love Bain.  So easy, so foundational.  Nobody learning should skip this.  It's easy in a productive, embed-it-in-your-brain way.

Hays .2 Circles.  Many of these are difficult, and I'm humbled/iliated by that.  My brain feels like half-dry concrete.  Is it age?  Health?  I like to study chess because I believe I'm poorly geared for it - it hits all my visual/spatial weak points, and sometimes that can make chess cool and anxiety-free.  But wow, I am so bad.

Chess Tempo is in the mix.  It's just bonus material right now, but it will serve as my skill assessment tool for my initial goals.

Largely, I've gone full circle and I'm leaning back towards printed books.  I do wish they wouldn't put the answers in the back.  That's stupid.  Put them in the footnotes of the next page.

I am so bad. My goal is to not be tactically bad.  That's not overly ambitious, I think.


I'm still in the same state.  I'm compiling a future repertoire, but I'm resolute about not training yet.

I'm leaning away from gambits.  Beginners play other beginners.  It's demoralizing to give away a pawn to another beginner, and then not have the skill to do anything with the compensation.  I don't need that headache. Especially in attacking openings, there are enough beginner mistakes being made to offer plenty of free 'compensation' to the improving player.  I look forward to learning the strategy of attack in the future, and gambits might roll into my repertoire like a storm.

I'm leaning towards white king pawns that feature an early f4, and have structural similarities.  It turns out this search duplicated a lot of Bangiev's white repertoire.  Thank you, IM Alexander Bangiev.  So, GPA, f4 Vienna, possibly 2.f4 French and 2.f4 CK ("The Till Attack!").  Yeah, unsound yadda-yadda.  Got it.


Nothing yet, and nothing for a while.


Nothing yet, and nothing for a while.  I'm really looking forward to this phase.  I'm not hopeless in this area; I know the basics as well as any beginner should.