Thursday, August 30, 2007

An "Over-the-Board" Experience!

Wow! The trip to a different city was definitely worth it to play against some people over-the-board! It was the club's first meeting, so there was a handful of people there, but that number is expected to rise quite substantially over the next few weeks. My son had a really good time, and really enjoyed trying his tricks against other people than his good old Dad. The club runs sanctioned tournaments every month, so me and my son will be registering with the Canadian Chess Federation and get an actual chess rating, I will keep you posted on our progress on that front.

The difference between over-the-board and online chess is amazing, and I am glad that I purchased a tournament set for us a month ago so we could practice with the real thing. While definitely the same game, seeing lines and tactics is a bit different with the real pieces than a totally top-down perspective on a computer screen.

If anyone hasn't tried an over-the-board club but really enjoys playing chess online, I definitely recommend it! We are fortunate in that the club we are joining doesn't have any fee's other than tournaments, but from what I can gather most chess club fees are pretty low anyway, and I can tell you first-hand that it would be worth it!

I am going to start getting my son (and myself) transcribing out our over-the-board matches, and will share some of them on YouTube as we get comfortable with things.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tonight's the Night!

Me and my son will be travelling to an actual over-the-board chess club tonight in a different city. We are very excited, and I will give you the full story tommorow!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

An Inspiring Chess Story

In one of the chess forums I frequent, I was told of an amazing chess experience by one of the forum members. I asked for permission to share this story with you, and am very happy that permission was given. Hugh Patterson (also known as Johnny Genocide) is a professional musician going on 27 years, and was diagnosed with cancer. He had to cancel a year's worth of his shows to fight back the cancer through treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Since he could not travel and do his life's passion, he began to study and play chess, which is something he could do during the challenges he faced undergoing such painful treatments.

I encourage you to take some time to read his reflections on how chess helped him on his road to beating cancer. You can read his post on how chess saved his life here and he also has the following MySpace pages to check out:

Hugh is now on the road to recovery, and with all that chess study he has done over the course of his cancer treatment, I am sure he will be quite a force on the chess board! Congratulations on your successful fight against cancer Hugh, and I am glad you have found some good friends in the chess community to explore your new passion for the game with while you work hard at your music career! You are in my thoughts and prayers.

A Rainy Sunday!

Well, it's raining where I live, and a little cold. Definitely not anything compared to the massive heat that is sweeping through parts of the US, so you guys have my prayers who are there. Hopefully it will break soon.

I have had a couple people recommend Fritz X to me from YouTube, and am considering getting that. There's so much stuff I would like to get to help with chess, the list keeps building up. I got a copy of Chessmaster 10 coming soon in the mail, and I think Fritz would be a good purchase. I am also interested in getting ChessBase Lite Premium, but depending on the functionality of Fritz X I might not need to.

Books are a completely different matter - there's so many out there it's hard to know which ones are worth getting! I am going to start compiling a list from the chess forums I frequent, and I will share that list when I get it together. If you know of any "must buy" books please don't hesitate to post a comment here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tactics! Tactics! Tactics!

One of my biggest challenges right now is chess tactics. Being able to recognize tactical blunders before they happen, and being able to capitalize on tactical attacks ahead of time. From what I can see from reading up on things, being less prone to blunders (both tactical and obvious ones) seems to be a big key from getting a consistent 1400-1600 rating. I found a really good tactics training site located here and I have placed it on my links menu. If this is something you would like to work on too, it seems to be a good online resource to do so. If you know of some others, definitely post a comment!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Video: How to use the Free Internet Chess Server with the Babas Client

One of my subscribers from YouTube had a couple questions regarding how to use the Free Internet Chess server and the BabasChess client for it. The video located here covers some basics, and hopefully some of you who haven't tried FICS will find it beneficial. I am not affiliated with FICS, but I enjoy using it for my online chess.

Searching for Josh Waitzkin ...

Subject of the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer", Josh Waitzkin was known to the chess world as a child prodigy. Did he reach the levels of Bobby Fischer? Absolutely not. Although he has won the US Junior Chess championship, he remains an international master, with USCF rating of 2525 that expired 2003-03-31. Could Josh have become a Grandmaster? Will he ever try again? According to a recent interview located here, Josh states a few interesting things. First, in regards to playing chess online, he says "I never liked playing on the Internet, because I always liked the feel of humans. I liked the psychological feel of my opponent, the drama of the game." The article ends with an ominous statement in regards to Josh's possible return to chess, stating "Waitzkin has no plans to return to professional chess or tai chi. Instead, he is tackling another sport, training for the 2011 World Championships of Brazilian jujitsu."

Hopefully one day he will return to competitive chess. I think it would be a great goal to work towards achieving Grandmaster distinction, especially after a few years absence from competitive play, and the chess world would benefit in many ways.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chess Match of All Time?

One of Bobby Fischer's most famous games as a young chess player was named the "Match of the Century". Could he return and provide the "Match of All Time?" I think he could, if he came back for a series against Kasparov. Let's face it, the chess world would erupt in such a way that it has never erupted before, and that alone would be worth the mark on history such a series would leave.

New Video: Live Chess Match: 3 Min Blitz #5

Hi everyone! I posted a fun video of a couple short blitz games. I generally play 3 min blitz games purely for fun, and expect no kind of learning whatsoever from them! I guess they are just an enjoyable way to test if I remember certain lines under time pressure I guess.

You can access the video here or from visiting my main YouTube page.

Charting the Path of an Amateur Chess Player

Hello everyone, and welcome to my small blog corner on the internet! I am jrobi, an amateur chess player who started playing chess in July, 2007. I have been keeping a recording of my chess efforts and matches at YouTube since the very beginning.

Through the help of my subscribers at YouTube, and self-study, I have been improving at the great game of chess, and hope to do so for quite some time. At my blog here, I plan on keeping track of my video updates on my YouTube channel, and making announcements of things happening in my chess life, along with news from the chess world that catches my interest.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and I look forward to hearing from you here through comments, and please feel free to explore my YouTube channel!