Category Archives: Progress report

Weekly Progress Report #77

Just two and a half hours this week, spent playing and analysing a local league game.  In non-chess news, after five and a half months spent getting precisely nowhere in my fourth-year project (finding a laser-based method to measure ultralow interfacial tensions by deforming the interface using radiation pressure), I’m finally getting results.  The game is given below:

I’ve added a couple of games from the Durham Congress to last week’s report, in response to a request.

Weekly Progress Report #76

I did thirteen and a half hours of chess this week, of which almost all was playing and analysing at this weekend’s Durham Congress.  I was the bottom seed in a strong Open section, and scored a disappointing 1.5/5, or 1/4 discounting my half-point bye.  Interestingly, each of my four opponents was called David!

I got a good position out of the opening in my first game, but spent far too long trying to find a forced win (which was probably never there).  For some reason I also thought that the time control was at move 30 rather than 36, and ended up blundering in time trouble in the lead-up to the time control.  In the second game I got a bad position out of the opening (which I didn’t know well), and although it seemed at one point like I may save it, I never fully recovered and resigned shortly after reaching the time control.  My third game was a King’s Indian Bayonet variation, and some move-order confusion gave me a nice advantage out of the opening.  Although my opponent fought hard and generated some chances to save the game, he eventually succumbed.  In my final game I played into an opening trap and lost fairly quickly.

I’m playing in a league game next week, and may play another game or two in April or May.  Apart from that, I won’t be doing much chess until the start of June when my project report, exams, viva and other fun will finally be completed.

Edit: I’ve uploaded the first and third of my games in response to a request.

Weekly Progress Reports #74-75

Over the last fortnight I’ve done a little over 9 hours of chess.  In the first week the time was split (mainly) between a league game and analysing a couple of my games.  The league game wasn’t a great success, as I ended up drawing against a somewhat lower-rated player.  I played a line I had previously played against the same player, and he had prepared a forcing line which was unknown to me and took us into a very level position.  In my efforts firstly to avoid falling into a trap and secondly to generate some winning chances I consumed a lot of time while he used very little, and was obliged to accept his draw offer when it came.

In the second week the majority of my time was spent playing and analysing my game in the 5th round of the club championship.  I eventually managed to overcome my young and relatively inexperienced opponent, but he put up a spirited fight.

Finally, I’d like to address a question I received in a comment recently, in case others are wondering the same: ‘Given your relative lack of recent activity and progress, have you given up?’  No, I’ve not given up, but I am focusing very much on finishing the 4th and final year of my degree at the moment, so chess is currently not my top priority.  It’s likely that I will have a gap year or few months after my degree to focus on chess, but what I do after uni is quite a big decision and I won’t decide on any plans for certain until after I graduate in June.

Catch-up Report: weeks #71-73

Week beginning 6th of February

On Wednesday I had a match against Ken Neat to decide the leader in the club championships.  As pointed out in a comment on my last report, Ken is a legendary translator of Russian chess books, and is responsible for, to give a recent example, Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors series.  He’s also a very strong player, having achieved a rating over 2300 in the past and still playing near that level.  A few weeks ago he drew with IM Jonathan Hawkins (=2nd in the last British Championships) in a local league game.  I felt that my best chance of beating him was to be on the attack in his time trouble, and so made the risky decision to surprise him with the Budapest Gambit.  This backfired almost immediately when Ken chose an offbeat line I wasn’t aware of, and I quickly became the one in time trouble and on the defensive.

Including Budapest preparation, the match with Ken, and a bit of other opening work, I did nearly 7 hours of chess work over the course of the week.

Week beginning 13th of February

I only did a little over 2 hours of chess in this week, consisting of online games and a quick analysis of the openings.  (It was a busy week with uni work, as regrettably they all will be from now on until my finals are over.)

Week beginning 20th of February

This week we took a Durham University team to the British Universities’ Chess Championship in High Wycombe.  We had (new-to-Durham) Callum Kilpatrick on board 1, who has an ECF grade of 224 and a GM norm, and high hopes of doing well.  Unfortunately none of us performed as well as we’d have liked, and all apart from Callum scored under 50% (although we tended to score points at the right moments, leading to a team performance of 50% on match points).

Personally, I found the time control of 60 minutes plus 10 seconds increment difficult to adjust to, and suffered from chronic time trouble in every game.  I won my first and last games, but lost the middle three despite having a winning position in two of them.  I’d like to show my game against Clement Sreeves (rated 2209 FIDE, and something of a GM killer, having beaten both Nick Pert and Daniele Vocaturo last year).  Clement won the board 4 prize, and his team, Edinburgh, went on to win overall after whitewashing us.

Overall I did about 13 and a quarter hours this week – most of that was BUCA games and post-mortem analysis, but I also played a little online blitz.

Weekly Progress Report #70

I did a little over 5 and a half hours of chess this week. Some of that time was spent on opening preparation for a local league game, but in a repeat of two weeks ago I wasn’t paired against the person I was expecting. Instead I played a significantly lower-rated opponent, and won without too much difficulty. I also solved some problems from a little problem book I received for Christmas.

The Durham City Club Championship is hotting up, and on Wednesday I’ll play co-leader on 2.5/3 Ken Neat (ECF 196).  Last year I managed to play quite a good game and beat Ken, but he still went on to take the title and I expect this game to be very tough.  Later in the month I’ll be playing for Durham University in the British Universities’ Chess Assocation Championships.

Weekly Progress Reports #67-69

Week #67: I did around 6 hours of chess, with about half of that being a Somerset league game for my home club of Sedgemoor.  I lost the game on the black side of a slightly strange fianchetto King’s Indian where white left his king in the centre and attacked on the kingside, but somewhat embarrassingly I’ve misplaced the game score and so can’t show you the game (yet).  The remainder of the time was split between online blitz games and a little opening work.

Week #68: My first week back at uni, and I did about two and a quarter hours, of which most was a Durham league game.  The opponent for which I had prepared couldn’t make it, so an inexperienced player filled in for him and I won the game.

Week #69: I did about 5 hours of chess work this week, including some online games, watching this video, and playing a Club Championship game.  The game is shown below.  My opponent appeared not to be familiar with the slightly offbeat Arkhangelsk variation which I chose, and I got a pleasant position out of the opening which turned into a crushing attack after a few strange moves from white.

Weekly Progress Reports #65-66

Happy New Year to all my readers.  I only managed about 3 and a half hours in the week after Christmas, consisting of analysis of a recent league game, as well as playing and analysing some online 15-minute games.  In the following week I managed 7 and a half hours, including more analysis of the league game and an online study session (serious games and analysis).

I’ve got a large piece of university work due in soon, which isn’t allowing me to do as much chess as I’d like at the moment, and unfortunately I don’t see the pressure easing much until after my finals at the end of May.  The only tournament I’m currently planning to play in before then is the Blackpool Chess Conference in March, but I may also find time to play in the Durham Congress the following weekend and will continue to have local league games.

Weekly Progress Reports #62-63

I’ve had a busy finish to term, and so have only done around 5 hours of chess over the last two weeks.  In the first week I lost a tough league game to Mark Reynolds (167), and as a result am not really expecting an increase in my Standard ECF grade this January (they now come out twice yearly).  I also played a bit of online chess, and in the second week I did a little opening work.  I’ve not currently got any tournaments lined up over the Christmas period, and instead am going to focus on analysing and re-analysing some of my recent games.

Weekly Progress Report #61: Ups and Downs in London

I’ve spent about 17 and a half hours on chess this week, with playing at the London Classic taking up most of that time. I’ve also spent a bit of time looking at the opening repertoires of some Grandmasters who interest me, and I played round 2 of the Durham City Club Championships on Wednesday, which I won.

The London Classic started inauspiciously, with an otherwise decently-played game being ruined by a last-move-of-the-time-control blunder.  I don’t usually like to make excuses for my performance, but I had an upset stomach during this game which used up some of my clock time and I think can fairly take a small part of the blame for my eventual demise.

I played pretty horribly in the next two games, losing both deservedly to Tony Wells (183) and Jasper Tambini (168), the latter gaining revenge for my victory over him at last year’s London Junior Chess Championships.

I managed to pull myself together the next morning, and played a good game against David Morris (176) almost up to the point of victory, but missed a perpetual in the time scramble at the end and had to concede a draw.  With a measly half point from four games I was given a bye in the final round, so I asked whether there was anyone in need of a repairing who I could play.  Arbiter Lara Barnes suggested I play in the last three rounds of the Open section of the rapidplay instead, which gave me a welcome opportunity to redeem myself.

I won a game against a hard-fighting youngster in the first of these games, and then managed to draw the second against a 180 despite turning up 10 minutes late due to a misunderstanding about the round times.  In the final round I was paired against International Master Gavin Wall, and managed to win my first ever tournament game against a titled player!  I was defending a cramped and passive position for most of the game, but stayed fairly level on the clock and hung on until we were both in time trouble, when a desperate counterattack proved successful.  Here’s the game: