Monday, February 25, 2008

Wanderings in the 64, or The 17th Piece

More chess. More chess books. Better play? Maybe.

I've been playing chess (or at least knew how to play it) for nearly 4 decades. My mom taught me to play on her set which I still have fond memories of. (I think any child who is going to be introduced to the game should be done so using pieces that are not as abstract as the Staunton pieces.) From time to time, I've put chess on the top shelf of my activites. During those times I've read some books and played a handful of games. The result is that now, in my mid 40's, I have to play in the beginner rooms on the online chess rooms.

Some notes and observations:

The "social" room on a chess server seldom is.

I am beginning to see some of my faults when playing. One is that I almost always think I'm going to lose whenever I play anyone who is even remotely capable. The other is that I need to think about my opening moves with the same attention to tactics as I do the middle game. Either that or I need to really start memorizing opening books - like that's going to happen!

The perfect chess computer would be a wood board and pieces with a wireless link back to your PC where the software would run. Games would be saved on the PC and you could also link it into chess servers to play other people while sitting on your sofa or at the table. I guess a USB board that you could hook into a laptop would be almost as good.

I feel like I need to prioritize my chess book reading. I'm starting to build a decent library again and there are books that I should go through.

Different chess machines for different uses: table top ones to play against (good for quick play), PDA programs for game analysis, computer based clients to play against people online. And the occasional wood set for that true chess feel.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pawn Moves #5: Opening moves

If this keeps up, I may have to change the blog's name or start a new one. I haven't done any video gaming since my last post, unless you count on-line chess as "video gaming".

Nah, I didn't think so.

But so far, I'm still in the grip of Bobby's ghost. I've been surfing chess sites, keeping up with international tournaments, buying chess programs and books (I have to be buying something, you know), restructuring my environment to put chess materials in prominent locations, and, of course, playing chess on-line.

I've taken a slightly different approach to the books this time. At one time, I had a considerable library of chess books. Then, for whatever reason causes me to do these things, I either sold most of them or put them in an unmarked box in the garage. Under my previous ways of doing things, I would have gone to almost any lengths to find them again. Not this time. I fortunately kept the cream of the crop inside and these are now the building blocks for my new collection. I'm giving up on whatever I might or might not still have in the moldy (and slightly vermin attacked) garage. In addition, I'm going to add to it primarily from new books purchased with the frequent coupons I get from Borders and B&N. And, here's the good part, I'm actually going to read the ones I have and buy! Shocker, isn't it?

As for playing games, I've been doing mostly the turn at a time sites. It seems all the head-to-head sites are primarily for quick play. Pardon me if I want to take a few minutes and study a position!

I could go into more detail, but have to go back to the grind. Things to do, ya know.