Posts Tagged ‘’

Phoenix Rising: A Warm Boot

This is my first “new” post in my WordPress blog.  As I noted in the “Author’s Note” before each of my previous posts in this blog, they were copies of posts that originated in my Blogger blog, Bathtub Gin.  Finally, after months of copying, pasting, and editing, plus trying (and failing) to get iframes to work in WordPress (turns out they are not supported, bummer!), I have caught up to myself and now must generate original material.  Let’s just hope I am up to the task.

My WordPress readers may not realize it, but it has been a while since I have written a “real” post.  My last post at Bathtub Gin was on March 12, 2012, some 9+ months ago.  What have I been doing all that time?  Well, not writing, obviously.  Nothing, really.  I mean, nothing worth mentioning.  Reality has just squeezed the life out of my virtual chess/blog world to the point where it hardly exists.  But hopefully, that’s over now and I can continue regaling my readers with stories of my Caissic adventures.

Of course, I would have to actually play some chess in order to generate adventures to regale one with.  Hopefully, I can find time to do that as well.  It’s time I rebooted my chess career (such as it is).  A new year is upon us, and now is the time to continue the fight for better chess.  But first, a quick recap of what’s happened over the last 9 months or so since I last posted.

As you recall from Episode IX, I was in the middle of a 4-player guest tournament of correspondence chess at Chessworld.  By some strange stroke of luck, I won that tournament with a score of 5.5/6.0!  (Yea, me!)  I was so enamored with my great skill that I immediately entered another guest tournament.  Unfortunately, I didn’t fare so well in this one, although I did finish second with 4.0/6.0.  I finished several other correspondence games as well.

So far I have done much better than I could ever expected.  My record on Chessworld is 16 wins, 2 draws, 2 losses.  On Gameknot, I have won 4, lost 1.  And I also won the single correspondence game played at  But lately, like the other areas of chess, I have cut back severely on correspondence.  I am down to 3 games presently, all against Kingscrusher on Chessworld.  Partly because I just haven’t been spending much time on chess, and partly because I wanted to free up some more time for live chess.  I need to work more on my over-theboard(OTB)/live game.  I need the action of calculating under time pressure.  I want to figure out where my weaknesses are and live chess is the best way to do that.

The one area where I have continued to work on at least a semi-regular basis is chess tactics puzzles.  I have been working them as often as possible on, Gameknot, and Chesstempo.  Just for the sake of laying a foundation for my great return, I present my ratings for all chess sites and formats:

The Rating Game

Chessworld:  2201

Live: Blitz: 1141, Standard: 1268

Correspondence: 1362

Tactics: 1588


Tactics: 1836

Correspondence: 1200 (provisional)


Blitz: 1505, Standard: 1729.5


Blitz: 1019, Standard: 1398


General: 1488, Tournament: 1488

As for the future, since the Mayan apocalypse was a colossal failure, I figure I should get back to basics, put my shoulder to the wheel, my nose to the grindstone, get back on the horse, and any other stupid cliche one can think of, and start playing some damn chess.  That’s right.  And in that spirit, and in the spirit of Christmas, I have given myself the gift of chess by finally renewing my premium membership to Chessgames.  My user name is BishopofBlunder.  Stop by my profile and post in my personal forum.  Let me know that I am not the only one reading this crappy blog.  Join the site while you are at it.  Basic membership is free.  With it, one can search a huge database of chess games and kibitz in the game forums, or even the player or member forums.  It’s great fun!

That’s all for now.  If I can remember how to play this silly game, I am going to go play some chess!

Until next time, happy mating!


Volume IX: Almost Live

December 2, 2012 Leave a comment

(Author’s Note: This article was originally posted on my old blogspot blog, “Bathtub Gin“, on March 12, 2012.  It is the tenth of 10 articles in a series that I named “The Patzer Chronicles”.  Going forward, all posts will be original as I begin anew on my quest for a 2000 ELO rating)


For the second consecutive week (in a row, even) I have not lost a single game of live chess.  The fact that I haven’t played any live games in that time is completely irrelevant.  To put it another way, on the subject of my chessical skill, the week stands mute.  But I have been working tactical problems quite a bit this week, as I put my new study strategy (see some vague details about the strategy here) to work.

Looking back, it is hard to believe that I have not posted about my games since February 17th.  That’s almost a month.  I have been busy with life outside of chess and, frankly, I have lost some of the burning passion to play all the time.  I am still keeping up with my correspondence games.  Although, even at that, I managed to lose a game on time.

But I am still determined to continue my quest for 2000.  This is just a temporary lull.  I know the passion will return.  I was discussing chess with a co-worker of mine yesterday and it started to get my juices flowing again.  Growing up and living in Dallas, Texas, it isn’t easy to find a lot of people interested in chess.  I don’t really think the person I was talking to was greatly interested in it.  But he had been playing some against his computer.  Unfortunately, being at work, I couldn’t just run off a play some quick games online.  Nor could I manage any time to play after work.  I started to play a game or two today, but I thought it might be a good time to post an update instead.  Even if it is a rather limited update.

So let’s take a look at how I stand.


All my study time since my last post has been tactical problems.  I have been tracking my rating on the websites that allow me to do so.  And I will be summarizing my rating on each site, and the change from the last episode, at the end of each post in The Rating Game section.  Here is how my tactical problems are going.

On, where I am only allowed to work 3 problems per 24 hours, my rating went from 1482 to 1487, a gain of a mere 5 points.  I haven’t worked any problems since March 1st.

On, where I do most of my problem work (they allow unlimited problems for free), my blitz rating went from 1528.1 (on 2/25/2012) to 1538.1 (03/10/2012), a gain of 10 points.  It is interesting to note that, when working blitz problems, you can solve the problem correctly and still lose rating points.  This is due to the time factor.  If you are too slow solving a blitz problem on chesstempo, or any problem on, you lose points regardless of whether you found the correct solution or not.  I sometimes like having the time pressure built in to the problems.  I have a tendency to lose blitz games on time or blunder in time trouble.  Hopefully this will help me to learn how to manage my time better during games of short time controls.  My standard rating on chesstempo rose from 1705.1 to 1744.7, a gain of 39.6 points.  I shouldn’t get too excited.  It tends to fluctuate up and down a bit.  But hopefully, I can continue to improve it little by little.

I started a new tactical problem rating on Gameknot, another correspondence chess site.  Here I am allowed 10 tactical problems per day (with a basic, free membership).  My rating here started at 1200 (on 02/19/2012) and has risen significantly to 1633 (on 03/02/2012), a difference of 433 points.  That is to be expected though, because of the low, default starting rating and my experience and skill with tactical problems on other sites.  I don’t expect to continue rising at anywhere near that rate, of course.

That’s all for the study section this time.  Now on to the actual games.

Live chess

I got nothing.  But I will be getting back into it soon.

Correspondence Chess

Quite a bit has happened since the last report on correspondence.  On, I won my game against xadrezenico.  I mated white in 45 moves.  The win increased my rating to 1362.  The opening was a Caro-Kann defense, my first in a game.  It was a slow developing game where I felt I had a good position all the way through.  I took great advantage of my opponent’s mistakes and claimed victory.  Here is the game:

As I last reported, on, I joined a 4 player guest tournament.  This is a double round-robin tournament with a time control of 3 days per move.  All games are played simultaneously, meaning I am playing 6 games at once just for the tournament.

One game has been decided.  I agreed to a draw with Artsyhimself on move 22 in the game where I had black.  I wasn’t certain I wanted to accept the draw, but I couldn’t see any way to obtain an advantage and I was afraid I would screw up the endgame.  Yeah, not exactly what you would expect from someone named DissidentAggressor.  The draw dropped my rating to 1960.  Here is the game:

In my game as white against Artsyhimself, we are 27 moves in and material is equal.  It is down to a rook and knight (me) vs. rook and bishop.  I think this is heading for a draw as well.

The other games are at varying degrees of progression.  I am in trouble in my game as black against keepin on.  He has a battery that is bearing down on my queen side.  In the game as white against keepin on, I have his position very cramped, but I am not sure I can break him down.  We’ll have to see.

The drawn game along with the two wins on time give me 2.5/30 in the tournament; good enough for 2nd place at the moment.  Artsyhimself leads the tournament with 4.5/5.  He only has one game left; his game, playing black, against me.  If I can manage a win in this game plus wins in my other two games, that would win the tournament.  Not that I am getting ahead of myself, right?

I also have a pyramid challenge that I initiated, against mr. booze.  I am playing white and I am up by two pawns through 26 moves.  But the game is wide open and anything can happen.

My game against kingscrusher is going slowly, as expected.  It is 10 days per move, so it’s going to take a while.  We are 8 moves in and, so far, I have no clue as to how I am doing.

I have begun a new game on chessworld as well.  This is a pyramid challenge from horacio340 (I knew him well).  I am playing black and decided to try the Caro-Kann again.  We will see if I can snatch another victory in my new favorite opening (of the moment).

Now for the game I lost.  I started a correspondence game on a new website: Gameknot.  I signed up here because a group of people from have a team on here that play in tournaments.  I would like to join them.  First I have to complete at least 5 games.  Well, I completed one in almost no time.  That’s because I somehow lost track of time and, well, lost the game on time.  The game was against gilbert99 (rated 1249).  I played the Danish gambit and had his queen on the run.  My rating (default 1200) did not change.  I don’t know if that is because the game was unrated (I don’t think it was) or because my rating is still provisional.  Perhaps you have to play a certain number of games before your rating changes.  In any case, I haven’t begun any new games yet.  But I will.  Hopefully, I will be a little more diligent about making moves on time.  It sucks to lose.  But it really sucks to lose on time.

The Rating Game

Here is a summary of my current ratings for all types of chess, on all sites.  The following shows the site, type of chess, rating, and delta (change) in parentheses.

Blitz: 1216 (unchanged)

Standard: 1268 (unchanged)

Correspondence: 1362 (+162)

Tactics Trainer: 1487 (+5) [03/01/2012]


Correspondence: 1960 (-160) [03/10/2012]


Tactics: 1633 (+433) [03/02/2012]

Correspondence: 1200 (unchanged, provisional) [03/02/2012]

Chesstempo (tactics)

Blitz: 1538.1 (+10) [03/10/2012]

Standard: 1744.7 (+39.6) [03/10/2012]


That’s it for this episode.  Tune in again next time when, hopefully, I will have actual live games to report.  Until then, happy mating!

Volume VIII: The Rating Game

November 25, 2012 Leave a comment

(Author’s Note: This article was originally posted on my old blogspot blog, “Bathtub Gin“, on February 26, 2012.  It is the ninth of 10 articles in a series that I named “The Patzer Chronicles”.  I plan to move the rest of the articles to this blog before continuing the series here.)

Since I have not played any live games this week, I have decided to discuss my training strategy (yes, I really do have one).  The strategy  is centered around solving tactical problems, since this is where players of my level need the most improvement.  So, how does one know if one is getting better at tactics?  Well, one way is to play chess and notice if there is any improvement in tactical ability and/or results.  This is fine, but I prefer something a bit more quantitative.  Fortunately, there is such a method available (God bless the internet).

On websites such as or, one is awarded a rating, much like the rating garnered from playing games, by solving tactical problems.  Chesstempo is the site I use most often for tactics training.  This is a free site (although a premium membership is available) that offers unlimited tactics problems.  It also separates its problems into “blitz” and “standard”.  So you get two separate ratings based on the type of tactical training you work on. has a tactics trainer as well.  As a basic (free) member, I am only allowed to work three tactics problems per day.  Premium members get unlimited problems.  The site tracks your progress, shows a history of problems worked, with results, and shows a nice graph of how your rating has changed over time.  Three problems per day is not much, but with my cheapskateness and other sites with free tactics play, it is sufficient.

Armed with these resources, I am going to track the changes and trends of my tactical ratings along with my playing ratings.  I will post my tactics ratings in the Study section of blog entries.  I have already been reporting my playing ratings for each site which I play on (both live and correspondence games), and I will continue to do so.  But I am going to report the change in rating as well as noting any historical trends.  I may even share some of the more interesting puzzles in my blog.  What fun!

So, with that in mind, here is the list of my current ratings (as of 2/25/2012):

Tactics Trainer:  1482

Live chess:

Blitz: 1216

Standard: 1268

Correspondence:  unrated


Blitz: 1528.1

Standard: 1705.1


Correspondence:  2120


Note: At present, I am unable to retrieve my ratings from FICS.  I bought a new laptop and I haven’t downloaded the BabasChess interface yet.  I tried logging in to the FICS site at but I can’t seem to remember what password I used.  I have disconnected my desktop computer which had my information on it.  So, until I get it reconnected, or find something with the correct password on it, I am S.O.L. when it comes to my FICS ratings.  I considered starting over with a new account, but I am not sure I want to do that.  I would hate to lose the games I have already played.  For now I will continue playing elsewhere and start tracking my rating at FICS when I figure out how to log in, or start over.

That’s about all for now.  I should be posting another update in a day or two.  I have some news on the correspondence front.  Or, perhaps I will wait until next week when I have (hopefully) some live games to report.

Try not to let the suspense kill you.

Until then, happy mating!

Volume VII: A Lot of Work, But Few Results

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

(Author’s Note: This article was originally posted on my old blogspot blog, “Bathtub Gin“, on February 17, 2012.  It is the eighth of 10 articles in a series that I named “The Patzer Chronicles”.  I plan to move the rest of the articles to this blog before continuing the series here.)

Author’s Note (the Sequel): I cannot insert the game replayer in my wordpress blog because they apparently don’t support iframes.  So, instead, I am just placing a link to the replayer at or  It will open in a new window/tab so you can follow along with my commentary while you play through the game.)


It has been 11 days since my last post (02/02/2012) and chess has just about taken over my entire life.  Well, other than working, eating, drinking, making exciting underwear, etc.  But I am spending time every day on chess.  I am checking in on all my correspondence games, of which I had as many as 9 going at one time.  I also am playing more live chess online.  I played 12 games (11 rated, 1 unrated), all rated games being blitz time controls, by participating in 2 tournaments on  I won’t be discussing the one unrated game, partly because it was unrated and partly because I was rather drunk when I played.  Fortunately, I wasn’t drunk enough to play a rated game.

Anyway, chess has become a big part of my life.  This is something I should have realized would happen when I took on my quest for 2000.  I guess I did know that focusing on chess would take more of my time.  But I thought more time would be spent on studying and improving than playing.  Whereas, just the opposite seems to be true.  Little of the time spent on chess is spent studying.  More time is spent playing but I think that’s because I have found a lot of enjoyment playing in tournaments on

So, without further ado, let’s see what this episode brings.


As I stated, little of my chess time is spent studying.  I still have “How to Reassess Your Chess” from my local library.  But I have hardly progressed on it at all.  I would put analyzing my games under the category of study, but the majority of the time I do that either immediately after the game is played or when I am examining it for my commentary here.  I work tactical puzzles on,, and But I don’t do that every day or spend a set amount of time on it.  I also watch videos by kingscrusher on youtube that he does live commentary on his games.  But that is mostly for enjoyment.  I am not sure how much I actually learn from them.

What does this mean?  I don’t know.  Should I spend more time studying?  Probably.  But, until my rating stabilizes, how will I know where to focus my study?  I realize tactics are always a good thing to study and that is where I spend most of my study time.  But where else does my game need help?  I won’t really know until I see where my rating is and analyze my games for weaknesses.  So for now I am just going to stick with studying tactical puzzles and using my correspondence games to study opening theory and positional strategy.

Live Chess

Eleven rated games played this week, all of them blitz time controls.  There were seven, 5-minute games: two single games and five played in a tournament.  The other 4 games occurred in a tournament with a 10-minute time control.  All games were considered blitz and affected my blitz rating.

In the first game, against sriniav, rated 1243, I had black and played the Dutch Defense, Leningrad Variation.  This is an opening I haven’t played much, but I enjoy because it can give plenty of counterplay for black.  It can also be a death sentence if you make a mistake.  I won a piece early on but let my king get exposed and couldn’t stop his attack.  I resigned after 27 moves.

The next game was against Martin81, rated 1106.  I had the white pieces.  This started strangely.  The game began 1.e4 e5, 2. Nc3 Qf6!? 3.Qf3[figuring trading queens wouldn’t be bad] Qc6.  I then went on a queen hunt as I chased his queen around the board.  I sacrificed a bishop to keep the attack going.  After 9 moves, though, I don’t know what happened.  I don’t know if he got disconnected, or if his house caught on fire, or if he just remembered an important date he had, but he stopped moving and his clock ran out.  So I won on time.  Here is the final position:



The next 5 games were part of a 5-minute blitz tournament for players rated 1200 to 1500.  I didn’t particularly play well.  I lost the first 4 games.  The first with the black pieces against bubjas, rated 1440.  I played a Scandinavian and was two pieces up with a strong attack.  Unfortunately, I used too much of my time achieving this advantage and lost on time in 26 moves.

The second game was against sujikp, rated 1225.  I had white.  I lost this game in 26 moves as well, but not because of time.  I was down two rooks.  I played a Vienna gambit, but didn’t play it very well.

In the third game I had black against carchi, rated 1309.  I played a Two Knights Defense  against his king pawn opening.  And I lost in 9 moves.  Yes, really.  Here is the game for your replaying pleasure.  Try not to laugh too hard:

Yeah, I fell right into his trap.  Oh well, live and learn.

I then lost my next game in 35 moves.  I played white against PRAMODPAHADI70, rated 1472.  Once again, I was ahead in material but lost on time.  I was up a knight and two pawns, but the clock ran out on me again.  I guess I could look on the bright side that I achieved an advantage in a couple of the games I lost.  I just need to work on my time management if I am going to continue to play in short blitz time controls.

My last game in the tournament was against makatozi, rated 1474.  I had white and, with nothing to lose, I decided to play the dreaded Danish Gambit.  Here is the game:

He opened up a pretty good attack on my kingside.  On move 17, I sacrificed the exchange to help squelch the attack.  He blundered on move 26 by pawn munching with Qxd4?.  This allowed me to take his pawn on h3 with check, setting up the king and queen fork with 29.Nf6+.  He resigned shortly after.

The moral of this story?  Play those speculative openings!  It’s fun and educational.  If nothing else, you can learn a little about how to defend a losing position.  So I might lose a few games.  Rating, shmating.  I may have to try the Danish again.

I also played  a 10 minute tournament which consisted of 5 rounds also.  One round was a bye due to an odd number of players, so I was guaranteed at least one point.  I gained another point by winning my first game, playing as black, against Fiurex, rated 1314.  After 19 moves, my opponent abandoned the game.  I was ahead a rook in the game and had an easy win.  I lost the other 3 games in the tournament and finished in 6th place with a score of 2/5.  I had an opportunity in the game against chesshole, rated 1459.  We got down to a king and pawn endgame.  I offered a draw, but he refused.  Unfortunately, I showed how poor my endgame skill is and resigned when he was about to queen a pawn.

After these games, my blitz rating on is now 1216.  My standard rating remained unchanged at 1268.

Correspondence Chess

Another good episode on the correspondence front.  I added two more wins to my total since my last post.  I won my game against Kootenays.  He resigned after 35 moves when I was about to win a knight, which would put me a rook up.   This was another unrated game, so there was no effect on my rating.  Here is the entire game for your viewing pleasure:

I also recorded a win against Joe Wurdak.   I feel I was lucky to win this game.  He blundered away his queen when he had a vicious looking attack going on the king side.  This was a rated game, my first, and the win jumped me all the way up to 2120.  It looks really good to see that high number by my name.  Of course, it won’t last.  It’ll come back down to my actual rating, whatever that may be, eventually.  But it makes me dream of the day when I will reach the goal of this quest: a rating of 2000+.  It is nice to dream.  But until then I have a lot of work to do.  Here is my game against Joe:

joe wurdak vs. DissidentAggressor

He graciously allowed me to play it all the way to checkmate, which is unnecessary, but fun nonetheless.

My game against kingscrusher is still in the opening stages, so nothing to report from there.  I have added 6 games to my total by entering a 4 player guest double round robin tournament.  I am playing two games each (one as black, one as white) against Artsyhimself (rated 1635), keepin on (rated 1795), and tolasaria (unrated, set at 1400).  Actually, only 4 of the games are still active.  I claimed a win on time in both games against tolasaria, as he/she never made a move.  A shame, really.

I also added one more game by putting in a pyramid challenge.  After my first win raised me to level two, I decided to challenge a level 3 player, the preposterously named mr. booze (rated 1496).  This game is unrated, while the tournament games are rated.  I don’t think that any games that I initiate on are rated.  It seems that only games initiated by members or tournament games are rated.

My game on against xadrezenico is going swimmingly.  I promoted two of the three past pawns I had.  Although one of them was sacrificed to win a knight.  I also won the exchange, winning a rook for a knight.  I now have a queen, rook and knight against a knight and bishop.  This game should be over shortly.



Not a very good week, results-wise at least, in live chess.  But I didn’t really play all that badly.  I won a couple of games and had a material advantage in a couple more before losing on time.  So, some good moves, just bad time management.

The episode was better in correspondence, where I recorded two more wins (four if you count the wins claimed on time) and my first rated game success.  Of course, with the tournament adding 6 games to my load, I have to spend more time on correspondence chess (or less time on each move).  This doesn’t leave as much time for live chess, or study for that matter.  I think I need to play more live chess.  It will help my tactical and positional experience, as well as my time management.  I should probably stick to longer time controls (standard 15 minutes), but I like playing in the live tournaments and the shorter time controls are easier to fit into my schedule.

That’s all for now.  So, until the next episode, happy mating!!!

Volume IV: A Much Needed Booster Shot for My Live Game

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

(Author’s Note: This article was originally posted on my old blogspot blog, “Bathtub Gin“, on January 15, 2012.  It is the fifth of 10 articles in a series that I named “The Patzer Chronicles”.  I plan to move the rest of the articles to this blog before continuing the series here.)

An interesting week for me in chess.  I played two live games and added another correspondence game to my list.  For those keeping score at home, I am now playing 5 correspondence games, all with the black pieces.  Four of the games are on and the other is on

In addition to playing games when I can, I am also continuing chess study.  I work tactical puzzles almost daily.  Some online at different sites, such as, others from a book I own titled, Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games, by Lazlo Polgar, father of the famous Polgar Sisters.  This is a massive tome containing over 5000 tactical puzzles and games.  I have been working on this book for years (off and on) and still haven’t reached 1500 puzzles yet.  I highly recommend this book for beginning and intermediate players.  It will develop your tactics and keep them sharp.

Also this week, in the area of study, I obtained a public library card.  I used to love going to the library, but it’s been over a year since I have had a card.  A little over a year ago, we moved from Mckinney back to Dallas.  Since then, I haven’t bothered to get a card, until now.  But I digress.  Anyway, I checked out the book How to Reassess Your Chess, by Jeremy Silman.  I have the expanded third edition, but there appears to be a fourth edition published now.  I have heard great things about this book, so I decided to give it a try.  I love learning things from books.  So, I will see how it goes and, of course, report my reaction.

But enough of that, let’s get to the games!

Live Chess


My first game this week was a blitz game (5 minutes/game) on FICS.  My opponent was Drawitz, a 1120 rated player.  My blitz rating was 1011.  Now, I suck at blitz.  I know it, you know it, everybody knows it.  So why do I keep playing it?  Well, I want to try to get better at calculating quickly.  I think playing at the faster time controls will help with this.  If I can calculate and analyze more quickly at the lower time controls, then when I have more time I can calculate deeper in the positons and make the better moves.  So I want to keep trying blitz as well as playing standard chess.

So, it was a 5 minute game and I had the white pieces for a change.  I played 1. e4 and he responded with 1. ..c5, the Sicilian defense.  I like playing against the Sicilian as White because it can be very sharp tactically.  I haven’t tried it much as black, though, due to a lack of understanding.  After 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. d4 cxd4, 4. Nxd4, he played 4. ..e5, threatening my knight. Now, the recommended move here is probably 5. Nb6, but I like to do things a little different.  I played 5. Nxc6.  Why?  I don’t know.  It seemed more ambitious.  Besides, if he takes back with his d-pawn, I can play 6. Qxd8, forcing him to take back with the king, forfeiting his right to castle.  Chess theory states that this is not the best move, but sometimes you can get away with unusual moves in blitz.

He took back with his b-pawn.  I continued developing my pieces, queen knight to c3 and queen bishop to g5.  The latter move pinning his king knight, on f6, to his queen.  He played 7. ..Bb4, pinning my knight to my king.  I played 8. Be2 preparing to castle and he played 8. ..d5.  The game continued 9. Bxf6 Qxf6, 10. exd5 Qd6?!.  This loses a pawn (although 10. ..cxd5 appears to as well) and gives me (after 11. dxc6) the opportunity of a queen exchange that will give me the initiative and a rook on the open d-file.

I took his pawn on c6 and he traded queens with 11. ..Qxd1, 12. Rxd1.  He then castled king side and I played c7.  Here, I really expected Bb7.  It is a developing move and puts pressure on my g-pawn, pinning it to my rook.  But instead, he played 13. ..Re8?.  This allowed me to play 14. Rd8, threatening mate..  Again, moving the bishop was probably good here.  But he moved his king to f8, guarding his rook.  I played Bb5, attacking the rook again and threatening mate.  Now, he plays 15. ..Bd7.

Practically any move I make here I am winning at least a minor piece.  And I do end up winning one.  But, with the right move, I knew I could possibly checkmate, or queen my pawn, or be up a rook and a minor piece.  But I couldn’t seem to figure it out.  There were so many good moves that I had trouble picking one and ran into time trouble.  I ended up playing 16. c8=Q, which was not the best move.  Rxa8 looks like the best move.  It would have left me up a rook, knight, and pawn.  Instead, I was merely up a knight and scrambling to keep from losing on time.  His rook was more active than mine (I still had not castled) and I just ran out of time.  But it was good game for me.  I took advantage of my opponent’s blunders and had a winning attack.

With the loss, my blitz rating on FICS dropped to an abysmal 957.  But I have a feeling it is going to get better.

My second game was played at with a 15 minute time limit for a change of space as well as a change of pace.  My opponent was a 1038 rated player named Tural2b.  Again I had the white pieces (two in a row! shock!  horror!).  The game started 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nf6.  This is known as the Petrov, or Russian, defense.  It has a reputation as a timid, drawish opening.  I believe the main line is for white to play 3. Nxe5.  But I don’t know why, or how to continue from there, so I just played 3. Nc3, protecting my pawn.  The game continued 3. ..d6, 4. d3 h6, 5. Be2 a6, 6. 0-0 Be6, 7. b3 Nc6, 8. d4.  Here, my opponent made a dubious move that may have cost him the game.  He played Qd7.  This allowed me to play 9. d5, forking his knight on c6 and bishop on e6.  He decided to sacrifice the bishop with 9. ..Bxd5, although he might have created some counterplay with 9. ..Bh3!?.  I am not sure.  I will have to analyze that to see if there is anything there.

The game continued 10. exd5 e4, 11. dxc6.  I thought this move won me a second piece.  But after he played Qxc6, I saw that if I saved the f3 knight, his queen simply grabbed the c3 knight, also threatening my queen rook.  So I played 12. Bb2, protecting the knight.  It continued 12. ..exf3, 13. Bxf3 (threatening the queen) d5?.  A blunder.  After 14. Nxd5 Nxd5, 15. Bxd5, the queen must move and both my bishops are on the long diagonals pointed at his rooks and his king is still on the open e-file.

The game went on 14. Nxd5 Nxd5, 15. Bxd5 Qc5, 16. Re1+ Be7, 17. Bxg7 Rh7, 18. Bf6!.  This wins either a piece or the exchange (queen for rook).  But the next couple of moves were the killer.  18. ..Rd8, 19. Bxe7 Rxd5??, 20. Bxc5 with discovered check, losing the queen, and black resigned.

I win!  I win! (yay, me!)  OK, I don’t want to sprain my arm patting myself on the back.  But it is nice to get a win in against a human opponent after 6 straight losses.  This was my first standard game on, so my initial rating of 1200 jumped to 1318 with the win.

Overall, I would say I am pleased with my live play this week.  I had good chances to win both games and managed to pull one of them out.  Hopefully, things are looking up.

Correspondence Chess


First, we’ll discuss the new game that I added.  Yeah, I know, I was just complaining about spending too much time on correspondence and not enough on live chess.  But, I like correspondence and I wanted to try out the French defense.  Besides, who’s bloody quest is this anyway?  Just kidding.  I love you all like family.  Maybe even more.  But I digress.

The new game I started is against my “welcomer” on, Joe Wurdak.  He is rated 1892 and has many awards and honors on the site, so I am a little intimidated.  Plus, this is my first rated game on  If you recall, last week I wasn’t sure if one had to be a full (paying) member to have rated games or not.  The game is just starting.  I am playing the French defense, but there’s nothing to report yet.

My game against Dodger is going well.  I am up a rook and bishop in this game and he appears to be in real trouble.  He cannot castle his king.and his pieces are not very active.  I cannot see any compensation for his lost pieces.  This may be over soon.

In the game against Kootenays, I am still up a pawn and the queen side is really starting to open up.  The position still looks very dangerous for both sides.  I am waiting now to see if he wants to trade bishops, trade rooks or perhaps some other nefarious doings.

The game against Mukanya is anyone’s guess.  I have a feeling I am about to go down in flames, but I just can’t see how.  I think my position is solid.

My game on, against Xadrezenico is still up in the air through 19 moves.  I am up a pawn and I have created a passed pawn.  He has also made a couple of questionable moves, giving me the initiative.  Not that I know what to do with it.  But I am about to get the rest of my pieces developed, connect my rooks and, hopefully, begin a successful attack.  I think I have played well in this game.  Here is the current position:

I am black.  It is white to move.  My last move was 19. f6.  Depending on what he does, I plan to develop the knight on the next move and possibly bring the queen rook over to threaten the backward pawn at d3.  We shall see.

Alright, that’s enough chess for one week.  Sorry I got so wordy in the Live section.  But I was just happy to finally win a game and play well enough to win the other one (damn time pressure!).  I’ll try to be a bit less verbose in the future.  And now that I have figured out a way to post board graphics, maybe that will be possible.

Until next time, happy mating!

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