Sunday, January 29, 2012

Non Computerium

Inspired by the disucssion on Nigel Davies's Facebook page of this post from his excellent The Chess Improver: An Experiment in not using computers for chess analysis for a year!

A Scandalous Confession

I've rarely had the board and pieces out over the last months, except for a foray to play real people once every month or two at the new iteration of the Juneau Chess Club. Most of my chess activity has been (shame!) blitz on FICS, with the occasional game of mine I have input and analyzed in my database with the "help" of the engines included. In fact, I have not analyzed these games on my own first as recommended for self-improvement. Mostly I have just imput moves and noted where the engine informed me that I or my opponent screwed up.

A Major Change of Scenery

With no formal rated competition in over a year, no stronger players to battle in person and too much passive reliance on computers I can tell I'm not moving in a positive direction right now in chess. So I'm trying an experiment: For one year, until January 30, 2013, I'm not going to 1) use engines for analysis or 2) play online blitz. I may still play some long games online like the very stimulating set I had with ChessAdmin but mostly I'll be analyzing on my own from books of master games and the collection of my own games that I recently organized, and playing real chess on a real board with a real opponent in front of me. We will see if this has a significant positive effect on my playing strength and attitude toward the game. Perhaps near the end of this year I'll have a chance to play in our State Championship and test myself.

I'll post from time to time on how this is working and what it's like. I'll still use the computer for blogging, anyway. The first post of The Best Of! Chess Blogging will be coming in a couple of days.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Submit to the Chess Blogging Carnival: The Best Of!

UPDATE 01.24.12 - Only three more days to submit material for the "Best Of! Carnival! If you've got it, link it.

The Chess Blogging Carnival flame was kept alive by the great Blue Devil Knight of Confessions of a Chess Novice, and now the torch is passed. See here for December's posts.

For the New Regime, we will no longer be using the Carnival blogging software, because between BDK and myself, two titans of tact, intellect and manliness, we couldn't get it to transfer title to me. To quote him, "I think the blog carnival site, and software, are not very well tended."

So here's how it will go down, at least for this month:

1) Find the "best of" ever posts in your blog, other people's blogs or even articles from the big non-blog chess sites (just this once). I'm talking back to the dawn of the Web, or even before (PDFs of Howard Staunton articles anyone?). Are there any great flame wars on the chess BBS boards from 1998? I don't know, but maybe you do. I'd especially like to see good games. If you have a good game that you've never posted, use the excellent Chess Flash (thanks to the excellent Glenn Wilson!) and post it. Or in the gravest extreme, send it to me in .PGN and I'll post. It had better be golden in that case.

2) Since we're not using the Carnvial site, copy and paste a URL in the comments to this post. Note that you don't have to have a Google account, and can comment anonymously on my blog, but I'd appreciate it if you'd leave your name, and if you'd make some comment about why the item is good beyond just dropping the URL. But it's not a requirement.

3) I'll take up to five posts/items from any one blog or website. This is a one-time deal for "The Best Of!" I wouldn't mind getting 100 or more entries, and breaking them up into a series of posts. I envision this as a kind of historical survey, where the chess blogs and other sites have been. Then maybe we can get ideas of how to do more good things in the future.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to contribute. January 27 is the deadline for submissions, and the first post is scheduled for February 1. Now get those links coming!

Best regards to all,