Wednesday, September 09, 2015

My (Slighty Tattered) Chess Career

So going on seven weeks ago I was happy to report that Derek Slater was back "And (Perhaps) Me Too" but there's been no follow-through, as such. A few times I logged in here thinking about what to write and nothing came, because looking back the events that really inspired my postings in the past, like glorious USCF-rated tournament victories and soul-crushing defeats, are currently on hold.

I haven't played any "real" chess, rated tournament chess, in almost five years. In the meantime I've had some decent success at "correspondence" on (where I'm RobertPearson, and if you want to challenge me I'll play anybody [with a pulse]), and played a few thousand online blitz games and gotten slightly better at that. But none of these things interests me as much as rated games with real humans sitting across the board.

Looking back, there were some fun times going on with the chess improvement movement and especially the "Knights de la Maza" in those good old days from about 2008-10. I've been reviewing my archive today and found a few problems with looking at it--all of the game replayers I used then don't work now, and one of them causes the page to crash! So it's going to take some effort to be able to see those posts. Links are temporarily on hold, until further notice...

Most of the bloggers in the sidebar are inactive/deleted/404'd now, but there are a few interesting points. Path to Chess Mastery is still going strong, probably because "admin" is quite together and sane, which helps.  Ivan didn't quite Get to 2000.

Temposchlucker, who was "The Hardest Working Man in Chess Improvement" at one time, fired off one last post about a year ago...Final Conclusion:

What this blog lacks is a final conclusion. I will provide one now.

There are things in life that one can call "unfinished business". In my life I had two which stood out: fishing and playing chess.

I hardly caught any fish when I started to experiment with fishing.
It took me 25 years to get the hang of it. At the moment I understood how to do it and started to catch lots and lots of fish, I abandoned fishing. Since I don't like fishing. Experimenting and finding out  how it works was a definite challenge, but when the challenge was over, it was finished. I never touched an angling rod again.

I made a genuine effort to get substantially better at chess. I failed. The final conclusion is that the common belief that you can become good at anything just by willing it and working hard is not true. No matter how intelligent you are.

I learned lots and lots of things about the workings of my own mind, so I don't consider it a waste of time. The lessons reach way beyond chess.

What is left is a monument of which others can take advantage. You can save yourself an awful lot of time by reading this blog well.

Good luck to all of you.
Now that's useful, frank and honest. Thank you, sir.

Here's something I wrote six years ago in a burst of clear thinking:

Most of my improvement came from playing good players from 1982-90, and that's it!

Play. The. Game.

I believe I'll never completely abandon the idea of improvement, and the quest, but at this stage what I'm looking for is more the joy of chess. That's still lurking, quite strong and sound, blood pumping softly through its veins...

Reassembler is doing something good and interesting in looking at his chess in coordination with Stockfish. Going forward here I'm going to do some of that too, looking at the old, my games and ancient Grandmaster clashes that have rarely seen the light since they were played, and have probably never been computer-analyzed. I haven't followed GM chess much for the last five years, but I'm aware that Magnus! has done some great things. However, there's a lifetime's worth of interesting chess to enjoy, that's older than I. Some of it is coming here, soon.

Also, Liquid Egg Product is still extant--even looks like its design out of the "oughts" and belongs in the second decade of the 21st century! Now LEP was never a chess blog, as such, but it was always something better--an island of sanity.

I'd like to make a comeback here and be that.

(ADDED: Anyone have a suggestion for the best game replayer on Blogger, these days?)


ChessAdmin said...

I completely agree with your bottom line. The best chess I played was when I played a lot (and learned a lot experientially). There's no substitute. Maybe I'll play more over this next year...

Thanks for considering me sane...although you use the same word in reference to LEP...which of course leads me to question your sanity.

Looking forward to the next chapter in your chess journey.

Robert Pearson said...

A good point; I was referring to The Egg. I have some reservations about Donnie... Thanks for stopping by and your gracious comment.

Kquotes Com said...

I completely agree with your bottom line. The best chess I played was when I played a lot (and learned a lot experientially). There's no substitute. Maybe I'll play more over this next year...

Rocky said...

nice post Robert! after all these years and attempts at improving, i've arrived at a couple of conclusions.

1. i'm not going to become an expert.
2. i simply enjoy playing chess - be it correspondence, slow or blitz.

and so i just play.

James Stripes said...

I have looked at several game replayers over the years. The basic criteria is that it must produce code that works on my blog. External links to hosts will always be temporary. That's why reading my blog is like reading a chess book with a lot of diagrams.

ChessBase software easily exports html files that can be embedded on a website, but I haven't learned how to embed them so they work on blogger.

The Aforementioned Derek said...

I think we agree that Donnie is very disturbed. :)

Here's the other thing about chess: Your thoughts on the game are essentially *interesting*. It's not that you are a 2700, but that you are like many of us: A random schmuck with a unique-but-relatable-and-rational-sounding frame of reference. And a fine writer. (As my teacher Mr. Yonce dismissively told me in 12th grade: "You just like a well-turned phrase.")

So, your analysis and writings may not turn me into a 2200 -aha! It's YOUR fault!- but we find them enjoyable nonetheless.

That's worth something, to me anyway.

p.s. 1: what about all those career-n-such changes?
p.s. 2: you remind me to go ahead and finish my draft about dead chess blogs. Thank you.

Robert Pearson said...

Dear Aforementioned Derek,

Seriously--thank you, that's inspiring!

Less seriously--this is by far the warmest I've ever felt from being called a "random schmuck." P.s 1 answer: After my last firing from the political world I was fortunate enough to find an utterly non-political position that I love. Have completely left politics; I don't even care who our next President is, as all the candidates are warm, caring, nice-but-tough-at-the-right-time wonderful human beings. Just look at 'em! The country's in the very best of hands.

Anonymous said...


Robert Pearson said...


ChessAdmin said...

So, since you last wrote, Temposchlucker is you really have no excuses...

Re: the game replayer, I've switched to using the Aquarium 2015 game export function (iBook for blog) which I think gives a superior presentation. For something free, the game replayer is actually quite good now.

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Liquid Egg Product said...

It brings me great sorrow to see no further posts since last year. Maybe the era of the blog--or at least these blogs--is just over :( It's like trying CPR, but knowing that there's a 25% chance of success (unlike on TV).

If you never post again, let it be known that you've provided us with great joy and reflection.

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