Monthly Archives: December 2010

Weekly Progress Report #11

Apologies for the delayed weekly progress report; I’ve been in London playing the London Junior Chess Championships and haven’t had internet access. I managed 7 hours 55 minutes last week, which is alright given that we had family staying for a few days around Christmas. Here’s the breakdown:

Monday 20th: 30 minutes ICC TrainingBot problems, 50 minutes playing 3 0 blitz games with GM derfel, 10 minutes playing a 2 5 blitz games with GM Blitz-King in ICC’s PlayTheMaster

Tuesday 21st: 15 minutes PlayChess tactics training, 1 hour 15 minutes opening preparation

Wednesday 22nd: Quite a while inputting positions from Livshitz’ ‘Test Your Chess IQ 2’ to ChessBase (not counted), 15 minutes ChessTempo problems, 1 hour 15 minutes doing Livshitz test 1 + 15 minutes checking answers

Thursday 23rd: 10 minutes ICC TrainingBot, 15 minutes playing 3x 5 0 games, ages preparing ‘Kirsan Baby’

Friday 24th: 2 hours 15 minutes playing a Team 45 45 league game + brief analysis, 20 minutes opening preparation

Saturday 25th: 10 minutes PlayChess tactics training + 10 minutes reviewing mistakes, 1 hour playing chess with my Great Uncle Maurice (not counted), 40 minutes opening preparation

Sunday 26th: 10 minutes ChessTempo problems

There was some focus on opening preparation as I thought it would be more immediately useful for the London Junior Chess Championships.  This week I seem likely to reach my 30 hour weekly target.

Kirsan Baby

Road to Grandmaster has branched into music and political satire for the festive season. My altered cover of ‘Santa Baby’ – retitled ‘Kirsan Baby’ – can be found below. It’s a lighthearted tribute to the FIDE President.

Here are the lyrics:

Kirsan Baby, slip three GM norms under the tree, for me.
Been an awful good boy, Kirsan baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Kirsan baby, 2500 rating points too, from you.
I’ll wait up for you dear, Kirsan baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Oh! All the blunders I’ve made,
Think of all the brilliant moves I haven’t played,
Next year I could be just as good,
If you’ll check off my Christmas list,

Kirsan baby, I wanna chess set with flashing lights
Been an angel all year, Kirsan baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Kirsan honey, there’s one thing I really would like, the right,
To a championship match, with Anand,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Kirsan cutie, and fill my stocking with MegaBase, from ChessBase,
P’raps a DVD too, Kirsan cutie,
And hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
With some Staunton chessmen bought at Regency,
I really did vote for you,
Now where is my Vice Presidency?

Kirsan baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ride.
In your friends’ UFO, Kirsan baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry down the chimney tonight,
Hurry, tonight.

Vocals: William Taylor
Backing track:
Lyrics: William Taylor and Tim Taylor
Video: Tim Taylor

Original song ‘Santa Baby’ by Joan Javits, Philip Springer and Fred Ebb.

I hope you like it, and I encourage you all to record your own chess-related Christmas singles!

Holiday Training Plan

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
Muhammad Ali

Term is over, and with the Christmas holidays comes the chance to do some serious training.  I’ll be aiming for 30 hours a week, with the exception of this week as Christmas will get in the way.  I intend to do 5 hours a day, which leaves 1 day a week spare for a break or for making up the hours if I haven’t managed them earlier in the week.  The daily plan is as follows:

1 hour of tactics problems
Sources: Chess Tempo, ICC TrainingBot, PlayChess tactics trainer, and CT-Art 4.0 if I can get it to work
Method: I will alternate between sources, using them approximately evenly. With TrainingBot I will continue to use JimGrange’s method, as described here.

1 hour of opening study
Sources: Various DVDs, books, databases, chess engines and online sources
Method: I will be creating ChessBase databases covering my repertoire, using all of the above-named sources to determine the most desirable moves.

1 hour of middlegame study
Sources: Jeremy Silman’s How to Reassess Your Chess, Garry Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors: Part 1, Maurice Ashley’s ‘The Secret To Chess’
Method: I will be changing the source each day, and so should use each twice a week. After looking over my games, Ken Neat, the leader of Durham City Chess Club, has suggested that a more thorough grounding in classic games would be of benefit, which is why I will be studying ‘My Great Predecessors’.

1 hour of endgame study
Sources: Mark Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual
Method: A thorough, cover-to-cover study, with a board and a computer engine running to answer any questions about variations which the book doesn’t explain.

1 hour of miscellaneous study
Sources: Various
Method: This can include playing and analysing games, or extra time on any of the previously mentioned areas. Twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, it will consist of working through Livshitz’s ‘Test Your Chess IQ: book 2’ (probably this, though my copy has a different cover).

I will also be playing at least one more Team 45 45 league game, and will be going to the London Junior Chess Championships from the 28th to the 30th, which will disrupt the schedule but will certainly be useful.  I haven’t put very much playing into the plan, as I will try to do a lot of that in tournaments and league games next term.  As always, I’d be interested to know your thoughts, and any suggested improvements.

Weekly Progress Report #10

The last week of term was busy with finishing off uni work, tramping around the wilderness collecting river water samples, packing, and travelling home (with long delays), and as a result I only managed a disappointing 3 hours 35 minutes. Over all 10 weeks of term I’ve done 107 hours and 35 minutes, so on average I have met the 10 hour weekly target this term. Here’s the week’s breakdown:

Monday 13th: 15 minutes opening preparation for a Team 45 45 league game, 2 hours 15 minutes playing that game

Tuesday 14th: I listened to ChessFM live commentary on the London Classic for a while, but I do that quite often and haven’t been counting it towards training time

Wednesday 15th: 4 hours playing chess variants, eating mince pieces, and drinking mulled wine at the Durham City Chess Club Christmas Special – although some of the variants were close to real chess, I’m not going to count any of this as training

Thursday 16th: 10 minutes of Chess Tempo problems

Friday 17th: 15 minutes looking over the interesting Anand-Carlsen game from the London Classic, 10 minutes playing 2x 5 0 games, 15 minutes researching the Vienna Game (I had a game against it at the Classic)

Saturday 18th: No training worth recording, though I did go into a G-Star RAW shop and embarrass my girlfriend by telling the shop assistant I was only there to admire the poster of Carlsen 😉

Sunday 19th: 30 minutes watching Shirov’s King’s Indian DVD

I will post the details of my holiday training schedule soon.  This week will be disrupted by family descending on us for Christmas, but I should still be able to fit in a decent number of hours before that happens.

London Classic, day 1

Last weekend I attended the London Chess Classic, which proved to be every bit as exciting as it was last year.  Highlights included an unusual encounter with Viktor Korchnoi, watching IM Lawrence Trent and GM Stephen play giant blitz chess (which can be seen here), and of course watching Vishy, Carlsen and the other top players slugging it out in the main event.  I was playing in the Weekender Open section, and was very pleased to score 3/5, with a 191 grading performance (which equates to about 2178 FIDE).

In the first round I was paired with Mike Lexton, and a quick search 5 minutes before revealed that he played the Dragon.  I went for the 9. O-O-O and 10. Qe1 line, which he wasn’t very familiar with, and I emerged from the opening a pawn up.  Unfortunately I was unable to convert this to a win, and the game was eventually agreed drawn after about 60 moves in a rook and pawn ending.

In the second game I was black against Jonathan Wells, who also managed to draw with Mickey Adams at the Paignton simul in September.  He played the fianchetto variation of the King’s Indian, and, without knowing any theory, I developed awkwardly with b6 and got a cramped position.  I was fortunate to get a draw, as my opponent missed some strong attacking ideas.

In the third round I was white against Isaac Sanders, a young lad of 12 (I believe) who plays great chess already and whose rating is shooting up.  The opening was a Sicilian Najdorf, and I again played 6. Be2, as I did last month against Anastasios Nezis, but after 6…e5 my opening knowledge came to an abrupt end.  I played reasonably and the game was fairly equal most of the way through, but my opponent kept pressing and a few endgame inaccuracies eventually allowed him to win.

A post about my day 2 games, both of which I won, will follow.

Weekly Progress Report #9

I smashed the 10 hour weekly target this week, doing at least 16 hours 45 minutes.  Most of this was spent playing and analysing at the London Classic, which went very well and about which a report will follow within the next few days.  Here’s the breakdown:

Monday 6th: 15 minutes Chess Tempo problems

Tuesday 7th: 10 minutes ICC TrainingBot problems

Wednesday 8th: 10 minutes watching Maurice Ashley’s ‘The Secret to Chess’, 3 hours playing a local league game + post-mortem analysis

Thursday 9th: 10 minutes PlayChess tactics training

Friday 10th: 30 minutes reading Dembo’s Fighting the Anti-King’s Indians

Saturday 11th: 9 hours playing 3 games at the London Classic, including post-mortem analysis with my opponents and some with FM David Eggleston

Sunday 12th: 6 hours 2 games at the Classic with post-mortem analysis, 30 minutes watching Shirov’s King’s Indian DVD

I expect to be able to make the 10 hour target easily enough this coming week, and then next week I will be on a more intensive holiday training schedule, the details of which I will post soon.

Weekly Progress Report #8

I spent 10 hours 55 minutes on chess this week, but again must subtract some ‘chess relaxation time’ (playing ChessCube’s golden ticket tournaments), making 8 hours 45 minutes of study. This is again short of the 10 hour target, but on average I am still meeting it, managing a little under 11 hours per week. Here’s the breakdown:

Monday 29th: 2 and a half hours playing a Team 45 45 League game, 30 minutes playing a Chess Cube golden ticket tournament

Tuesday 30th: 10 minutes PlayChess tactics training

Wednesday 1st: 2 hours group lesson with FM David Eggleston

Thursday 2nd: 10 minutes Chess Tempo problems, 30 minutes golden ticket tournament

Friday 3rd: 15 minutes PlayChess tactics training + 5 minutes reviewing mistakes, 20 minutes opening preparation (the nature of which will remain secret for now), 20 minutes golden ticket tournament

Saturday 4th: 45 minutes opening preparation + 10 minutes opening prep for a Team 45 45 game, 20 minutes golden ticket tournament

Sunday 5th: 1 hour 15 minutes Team 45 45 League game + brief discussion, 20 minutes ICC TrainingBot problems, 15 minutes Chess Tempo problems, 1 hour Chess Cube golden ticket final (place 28 out of 353)

I am fairly confident of exceeding the 10 hour target this week, as I’ll be playing in the London Classic at the weekend, although my study during the week is likely to suffer because of uni deadlines (dissertation due in on Wednesday).

British Rapidplay games, part 2

I came to the venue much better rested on day 2 of the Rapidplay, and was resolved to make up for day 1 by winning most of my games. I was paired against Martin Seeber in round 7 (the first of the day), who at 131 was significantly lower graded than me. However, the game turned out to be anything but a walkover, and I was worse or even lost for much of the second half of the game. In the end it was sheer determination which won it for me.

Round 8 was a reasonably good victory on the black side of a Ruy Lopez, against Abigail Pritchard, with whom I drew last year in Blackpool. In round 9 I was doing well, but stumbled. Here’s the game:

Round 10 featured a crazy opening king walk, and is presented below:

I won round 11 on the white side of a Tarrasch French, and so completed a good comeback, with 4/5 on the second day. My next tournament will be the London Chess Classic next weekend, where I’ll be playing in the very strong Open Weekend section. I’m really looking forward to it, as it was a great event last year and promises to be even better this year, with Carlsen, Kramnik and Anand all playing in the main tournament.