Category Archives: Updates

Happy New Year!

Tl;dr: See the bold and underlined paragraph for how you can help me.  Everything else is context.

I know, this is about three weeks late, but that’s okay.  I’ve spent most of those weeks relaxing and enjoying the New Year, and along the way I’ve gotten fired up for some more chess.

I mean that both in terms of analyzing and posting here on my blog and playing in general.  I have the gift (and curse) of going all-in on everything I do.  Trying to get in shape?  Workout five days a week with a set, systematic schedule to hit every body-part.  Starting my new job?  Go the extra mile, work overtime and study on the weekends to improve skills.  Striving to get better at chess?  Study an hour every day, review master games, keep a chessboard by my bed, etc. Continue reading

Smithy’s Videos, August 2017

I only made about three blog posts, but I was very busy throughout August chess-wise.  I’ve studied, I’ve practiced, I’ve played a few games and, most importantly for today, I’ve created a few hours worth of video content. Indeed, about the only thing I haven’t done is write a post.

To make up for that, I’m going to write a post … about all the videos I’ve created.  Hey, it’s better than nothing, and I know most people haven’t subscribed on YouTube, so this may be your first chance to see the following. Continue reading

Blog Status Going Forward

For the last few weeks I’ve been busy, trying to make up for my lack of … anything during June.  In the process, I’ve produced several YouTube videos of varying quality, and I’ve enjoyed this new medium.  I’ve also spent hours going through GM Smirnov‘s course Calculate Till Mate, which is opening my eyes.  Let me go through everything and detail what the plan is going forward.

First, I think the videos are here to stay.  I’m having far more fun speaking my thoughts than I thought I would, and I’m getting far more engagement than my regular game analysis posts.  I mean, frig, I’ve gotten more comments in the last two weeks than I’ve had in the last six months.  Maybe that speaks more to YouTube’s ability to reach people more than my meagre SEO skills, but it’s still telling. Continue reading

I’m Finally Back (or, alternate title, Nothing is worse than Moving)

The Good News, I finally finished moving. The Bad News, I got jerked around by my Internet company, I got jerked around by the moving company, two separate boxes exploded during the move, my dresser didn’t survive, my living room looks like a Jenga game writ large, and fought through the above while having the busiest week at work ever, all while my boss and supervisor were away on vacation, leaving me to fend for myself.

But again, the Good News: I’m finished moving! Or that’s what I tell myself at least. If I ever have to move again, I think I’ll just light everything I own on fire. I think that’ll be easier.

Image result for moving truck on fire

Less painful than actually moving.

Continue reading

A Quick Update

I know, I know, I haven’t updated my blog in a month.  I apologize.  In my defence, my life has been as busy as it has ever been.

On June 9th, so last Friday, I officially became a 4th-degree blackbelt in shoriniji-ryu karate.  That’s just under 20 years of practice, which culminated in a six-hour grading the weekend before and then a public ceremony and show the week after.  I had been training for this moment for months, and all my extra time went to this.

All month, I am in the process of moving.  I am leaving my basement apartment in a century-old home and entering a proper dwelling.  That is awesome! … except it involves moving, which may be the worst thing ever.  I can’t tell which is worse: packing all my things into boxes (and in the process realizing how much crap I have) or unpacking all my things from said boxes.  Joy. Anyway, when I wasn’t training for my blackbelt test, I was packing.

At work, my responsibilities have increased … at both jobs.  I have been a law clerk for half a year now, and I am given more and more to do.  This is fine, but it is added pressure and added training, ontop of the continual steep learning curve inherent in the position.  At my other job, as martial arts instructor, I’m technically phasing out, but in the process I need to train my replacements.  No one is expected to replace a 4th-degree blackbelt, but all the same I need to pass on as much knowledge and information as I can so the new instructors aren’t just left hanging.

On any given day, I leave my house at 8am and get back after 8pm.  I’m averaging a 60-hour work week, and when I’m not working I’m training or packing or trying to find time to sleep.  I won’t lie, I’m exhausted, and this blog was the easiest thing to cut.  Once July rolls around I’ll have a much more manageable schedule, with all the above over or concluded, and my chess analysis will resume its normal schedule.

Updates and Broken Site

Wonderful, just wonderful.  Wordpress has apparently done another update, and now it no longer displays any of my chess games.  At all.  I’ve spent the last hour trying to tweak things, but no dice.

This hasn’t been the greatest week for me, and now this.  I’ll try to fix things, but if I have to redo every single post … yeah, I don’t know.

A Fundraiser for Big Brothers / Big Sisters Canada

I have been volunteered into fundraising for Big Brothers and Big Sisters Canada.  It’s an organization that helps children, and really, that’s all I need to know.  It’s a good cause, and I support them 100%.

I’m raising money until Friday, so if anyone would like to donate something, anything, it’s greatly appreciated.  Feel good that your money is helping kids.  Even if you can’t donate, if you share the link, maybe someone else can.  No pressure either way, and thanks for all the support.

Here’s the link:

Happy Birthday to Me! 2017 Edition

Let’s cut straight to the chase: the earth revolved around the sun again, and I’m now another year older.  Woo.

Image result for happy birthday

I don’t know how old I am.  I was born in 1985, so do the math if you really care.

I’ve got absolutely nothing planned, because it’s a Monday.  My sister told me she’d physically assault me if I don’t come over for dinner, so there might be a small celebration tonight.  More likely she’ll just tease me, because my family is awesome and that’s how we roll.  Anyway, another year down, another year stronger.  Good job me. Continue reading

SmithyQ is Back for 2017

Hello world, long time no blog.

I last posted at the beginning of September.  Four months, and in those 120 days, approximately everything has changed in my life.  For our purposes, though, we only need to know the following: I’m back to blogging, and it’s going to be 95% chess.

I’ll go into the details about why and whatnot in future posts.  The least you need to know:

  • lots of chess content coming
  • I will not be posting everyday like before; most likely once a week
  • more analysis, less ‘all talk’ articles
  • I plan on annotating every game I played last year
  • I may do some YouTube videos (no promises)

In short, I found a new way to publish games to my blog.  Rather than use static diagrams and very primitive boards, I figured out how to use ChessBase.  This changes everything.  A huge part of chess improvements comes from analyzing games, especially your own games, and I plan to do as much of that possible.

I need to revamp my blog, change some sections and formating, so bear with me over the next few weeks.  Technical glitches may happen and things may not look pretty … but there’ll be content, and that’s infinitely better than before.

It Ends Now

Well, this is it.

Back in June of 2015, I said I would write and publish a new blog post every single day.  At first it was only a month, then several months, then a full calendar year.  I went over 400 days of writing every single day, with the vast majority being over 1,000 words.  It’s been an incredible, almost surreal experience.

And it’s ending now.  I will not continue my writing streak through September. Continue reading