This is my best chess game; it is my worst chess game. It features beautiful tactics; it features devastating blunders. It’s a positional masterpiece; it’s a positional clusterbomb. I won this game; I lost this game. It shows how close I am to chess masterhood; it shows how far I still need to go.
This following chess game is probably the most important one I’ve ever played in terms of my own chess development. If I ever get a chance to write a book of my own games, this will be number one. It is my whole chess persona in a nutshell.
I’ve written about this game before: here and here and here. I’ve never analyzed it. I’ve been afraid, afraid that I really did play 20 perfect moves and then threw it all away in one moment of … I don’t even know what to call it. Overconfidence? Blindness? Stupidity? A subconscious tendency towards self-destruction?
This game was played back in April. My opponent was a Fide Master with an official OTB rating of 2300. I have an online rating of 2000. I should have been destroyed … and instead I played the game of my life, in every way possible. Let’s take a look. Continue reading →
If you ever meet me in person, you’ll likely think the following pretty quickly: I’m very positive. And I am. You might think other things as well. I’m pretty tall, pretty thin, pretty quiet. I listen far more than I talk. I have a slow but constantly growing smile. If you pay attention, you might notice my subtle humour. Maybe you’ll even notice how good looking I am!
That would involve you being blind, or obscenely drunk. Or both.
Mostly, though, people notice how positive I am. People regularly call me the most positive person they know, and many others have commented that they appreciate my up-beat personality. My closest friends and family have used me as a pillar of strength, someone who can prop them up when they are feeling low. My happiness can be infectious, or so I’m told.
But here’s the thing: though I appear positive, I’m not always positive on the inside. Sometimes, I’m not even close. Continue reading →
If you hear a seasoned chess player talk about chess, it’s usually one of two things: either about famous players or openings. What else is there to talk about? Everybody has his or her own favourite player, be it the dauntless Tal or the dominating Capablanca or the demolishing Fischer. Finding your favourite player is generally pretty easy as well. Go through a collection of famous games, see one that catches your eye and presto, your favourite player.
For the record, my favourite player is Siegbert Tarrasch.
Openings, though, are completely different. While you might enjoy going through your favourite player’s games, you need to play your own openings. You need to study hard and memorize lines if you want to avoid opening traps, especially in the heavy theoretical lines. Each opening is different, leading to different positions, and it can seem overwhelming. Where to start? Which is best? How can I possibly know any of this? Continue reading →
I noted that the month of August was my best month for writing, possibly ever. I averaged nearly 2000 words a day, combining writing for my blog with some book editing duties for GM Igor Smirnov. Despite that, I perhaps used less time than my previous months. How is that possible? Simply, I never typed a single word. I used speech recognition software.
It’s supposed to make writing this easy, and it sorta does that. Sorta.
I wrote previously about how much I love my current keyboard. It cost nearly $200, so I better love it, but that’s not really the point. The keys feels so good under my fingers, and it makes every other keyboard pale in comparison. I really like it, but no matter what I do or how much I invest in a keyboard, nothing can change one unfortunate fact: I am a terrible typer. Continue reading →