Friday, November 06, 2009

Returning to the board.

It's been quite a while since I took up Chess seriously. I used to be able to play every day with a friend but without that chance, my skills (and memory) have lapsed. Luckily, I've run into a new work-mate who plays chess. Rated above 2000, he's hopefully going to be very good for my game.

Now if I could just stop dropping pieces and concentrate on the game. My first 5 or 6 games against Mr. 2100 and he beat me fairly soundly. It really had my confidence on edge. Yesterday I came back a bit, and was soundly winning a game that came down to 2 pawns, a king and rook per side. Mr. 2100 won that game, but I know that at one point I was winning it. I should probably start recording my games with him.

I also sprung for Aquarium and Rybka 3. Sometime next year I may spring for a Core i7 machine, and I have a dual-core now - so I bought Deep Rybka to allow me to throw all of my horsepower at it. I analyze each game I play on FICS (Free Internet Chess Server) immediately after I play the game - setting the engine to point out any move worse by a quarter of a pawn, and blunder marking anything greater than a half of a pawn.

Chess analysis is a fantastic tool - I now use Rybka 3 as a UCI plug-in engine to BabasChess (my favored FICS client). I haven't had the opportunity yet to work much with Aquarium, but it looks promising for examining lines and storing your work.

Also, Chess Position Trainer 4 development has started up again now that Stefan has decided to get back on the watch the Chess Position Trainer group on Facebook for news of where and when that will be ready. CPT is a great tool for studying your favorite lines.

I'd like to discover a good tool for just training Chess basics, if anyone knows of a tool that will do drills (like Knight drills - move from a to b in fewest moves as quickly as possible) please post it here.