Home > Uncategorized > Volume I: I Become a Modern Day Postal Pest (sort of)

Volume I: I Become a Modern Day Postal Pest (sort of)

(Author’s Note: This article was originally posted on my old blogspot blog, “Bathtub Gin“, on December 17, 2011.  It is part of a series of 10 articles that I called “The Patzer Chronicles”.  I plan to move the rest of the articles to this blog before continuing the series here.)

If you didn’t already know by reading my previous post, Quest for 2000, I am on a quest to improve my chess game and, hopefully, reach a rating online of 2000 ELO.  Now that is a lofty goal, and will take a great deal of study and focus.  2000 is expert status as chess goes.  Not easy to attain.  But, if it was easy, everyone would do it.

So anyway, this is the first of a series of posts that will chronicle my journey.  Enjoy!

Well, this week I only managed to play one live game online, a 5 minute game, with the black pieces, against a 1174 rated opponent.  I lost.  I tend not to play games with time controls less than 10 minutes (though I prefer 15) because it doesn’t seem to give me enough time to think and I end up losing on time, which I did in this game.  Although, chances are I would have lost anyway.

I blundered away a knight early in the game.  Although I did manage to get some counterplay on the king side and eventually won the piece back.  But my queen side was a shambles and my opponent managed a passed pawn that, due to time pressure, I couldn’t figure out a way to stop from promoting.

However, this wasn’t the only chess I played this week.  I reaquainted myself with two websites that I had registered at a couple of years ago, but had forgotten about.  Chess.com and chessworld.net.  Here, you can not only play live, but correspondence chess as well.  Correspondence chess, also known as Postal chess, was once played through the mail service.  Players would mail moves back and forth to each other.  Today, with the internet, play is done online or through e-mail.  It is a very interesting way to play.  There is no real time pressure to speak of.  Time controls run anywhere from 1 to 5 days per move, or more.  Also, depending on the rules of the web host, you can use reference materials, such as opening books to plan your strategy and help analyze the position.  You can also set up the position on a board and move the pieces around to try different combinations.  In this sense, correspondence chess is more of a learning experience than a competition.

Some web sites allow the use of computer chess engines to analyze positions.  But I don’t think I will use one even if it is allowed.  I want to learn to analyze and calculate on my own.  I don’t want to depend on an engine to find my moves, even if I lose without it.  The idea, for me, is to improve my chess skills.  Using a machine to evaluate a move or position won’t help much with that.

So, I am now a correspondence player.  This is my first foray into this style of chess.  I currently have 4 games in progress, 2 at each of the sites above.  That is another advantage of correspondence chess.  With the long time between moves, one can manage to play several games at one time.  It is very early in my games, but so far I am enjoying correspondence.  I wasn’t sure that I would.  I didn’t think I had the patience to wait several days for my opponent to move or spend extra time evaluating the position.  But it has been rather pleasant.

By the way, I highly recommend both Chess.com and Chessworld.net.  They both have great features and massive resources for chess lovers to enjoy, both novice and master.

Chessworld.net is run by Tryfon Gavriel, better known as Kingscrusher to chess enthusiasts.  Tryfon is a FIDE Candidate master and a British regional master who produces youtube videos analyzing chess games and teaching chess principles.  He even does commentary on his own live games while he’s playing them!  I highly recommend subscribing to his channel.

One more shameless plug.  If you are looking for a chess forum and game database, look no further than chessgames.com.  Chessgames has a database of over 600,000 games, each with it’s own “kibitzing” page.  It is free to register and post on the many forums, but I would recommend becoming a premium member.  It opens up a world of wonderful features, all for the very reasonable price of $29US per year.  The members and visitors of this site are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.  Many professional chess players, including grandmasters comment on the forum.  As a premium member, you can even have your own personal forum!  The wealth of  features available is too long to list here.  Check it out!

That’s all for now.  I am going to try to post once a week to update my progress and define my goals and plans.  This week, I will try to play more live games online.  If anyone is interested in playing against me, I usually play at FICS, or you can try chess.com or chessworld.net.

Until next time, happy mating!

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