Friday, 19 October 2007


I've been off work sick for a few days, so have been reflecting on my chess journey. According to FICS I've been a member since 28th July 2006 - about a year and a quarter. I didn't start playing regularly there until about November 2006. My provisional standard rating on 22nd November 2006 was 1277. I got my rating deviation below 80 on 1st January 2007 - 1307. My current rating is now 1487.

So that makes an increase of 210 in just under 11 months, or 180 in about 9 and a half. I doubt I can keep the same increase and am bound to plateau in a bit. But so far it's been a constant improvement. My short term goal is to break the 1500 barrier and stay there. Then hopefully this time next year I might be 1600.

As with my OTB chess, my strategy for the next year is to just play as much long time control chess as I can, gaining experience in different openings, and especially endgames. As important as playing, is analysing the games afterwards.

Since the new season started in September I've played 12 OTB rated games, giving me a provisional rating decrease from 46 to 42. But as I've been playing mainly stronger players I'm not too surprised and hope I'll pick up a few more wins in the latter half of the season. In the same period online I've played 26 standard games, increasing my rating from 1458 to 1487.

For future reference, here are my current stats on FICS and Chess Tactics Server:

rating RD win loss draw total best
Blitz 836 73.9 42 123 8 173 980 (27-Mar-2007)
Standard 1487 57.4 85 90 14 189 1487 (18-Oct-2007)
Lightning 1016 123.2 1 19 0 20

Total time online: 15 days, 14 hrs, 26 mins
% of life online: 3.5 (since Fri Jul 28, 00:30 PDT 2006)

Success71.4 %
Highest rating1146
Date of highest rating2007-10-06 22:09:59
Latest action2007-10-18 22:11:55

My CTS rating hasn't really changed since the last time I checked a couple of months ago. I think the problem from my point of view is that it expects you to answer so quickly. Maybe it will come with time. My FICS blitz rating continues to plummet, I don't play it too often though.

I had an interesting discussion about the blog with some people on FICS channel 101, the teamleague channel. I explained I prefer to write about my losses as they're more instructive, but people advised I should do an equal amount of wins and losses.

I've also had comments from a few people in OTB chess that they've read the blog after searching for their own names. Hopefully I don't write anything nasty and get into trouble like this!

Someone asked me what I use to practice tactics. I've tried various things which are all still ongoing. Books I'd recommend in rough order of preference are: Chess Tactics for Kids by Murray Chandler, Winning Chess Tactics by Yasser Seirawan and Learn Chess Tactics by John Nunn. Software I'd recommend trying are Chess Tactics for Beginners and Personal Chess Trainer. Good websites are Chess Tactics Explained and Chess Tactics Server. There are doubtlessly more I haven't come across yet.


Anonymous said...

Interesting reading...I like your blog : simple, honest and instructive. Not involved in 'inter-blog' politics or back-slapping and just documents your chess progress. Keep it up !
My RD finally dropped below 80 after my league loss to Introspection, so I now have a benchmark to move from. I've only been on FICS since September, and am finding it more satisfying now I've switched focus to standard and longer games. Blitz is fine ( & I notice that my rating seems to improve in that now too - must be the longer thinking paying off ! ) but it doesn't give the buzz & satisfaction of long-standard.
Did you find that moving into the U1600 helped, as you are against higher-rated players ? Its always good to win, but better to be stretched if the overall aim is to improve.
I also use CTB for training, but use Understanding chess tactics by Martin Weteschnik as the main book. Loads of examples with great explanations.
Strangely, I find that working through games on a 'real board' rather than a computer one, is better and far more pleasing to the eye ! You have a better feel...
Good luck in the next team league game. I see you have ( yet again ) a higher-rated opponent, so you'll need your wits about you.

Dean said...

Hi thanks for the comments. I've added a new entry to focus on these areas. The Weteschnik book was already in my 'wishlist' and I hope to get it sometime soon.