Man de la Maza

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The Dream

I was wandering through a village after a long day of battle. I had vanquished two score evils knights blocking the road (who were perversely traveling with a man dressed as a shepherd). As I trudged into town, I came across a peasant. He asked for alms and I reached into my purse to give him some of my gold. When my hand came out, it contained only dented copper.

Suddenly the world around me changed. I was no longer riding the proud Rocinante but a broken down old plow horse. I was clothed in ridiculous armor with a barber's basin for a helm. My faithful squire Sancho appeared as a fat peasant on a donkey. All had changed. I remembered a far away home with a roof that needed mending.

I was not a knight errant but a foolish old man.

I screamed in agony and called forth the wicked enchater who had cast this spell on me. I drew my (rusty) sword, and all was a flash.

I must have slept for a long time to break off the spell. Back was my warhourse, my gleaming armor and my noble squire Sancho. (He will be governor of one of my islands some day, you know). There was much to be accomplished and I had lost 3 days in sleep. I worked out that even three days late, I would still arrive at my destination by Christmas day.

Come Sancho. There is evil just up the road. I have its scent like a hound to a fox.

To arms! To arms!

46 days down, 109 to go
536 probs down, 673 to go in Circle 1


  • Thanks to all for your good wishes and support. The journey continues.


    By Blogger Don Q., at 6:33 AM  

  • Whassup Quixie! Glad to see you back in the saddle.

    Played a game yesterday against my chess computer that showed why this type of tactical training is for people like us, and Silman's critique's are not relevant to our situation.

    I was playing against a Petroff, which I haven't seen that much of, but I was able to get through the early going without any trouble. I advanced on the queenside and forced doubled b-pawns, and I sat for a few crucial minutes deciding whether it was worth it to go over and grab the doubled pawn with my queen at the expense of aiming to put a knight on black's weak d6, supported by my pawn on c5.

    I finally decided it was still in question whether I could get a knight to d6, so I was better off taking the material. I got the lady in and out without trouble and started to shift over to the kingside for a rook lift attack, knowing that any wholesale tradeoff of pieces favored my extra pawn in the ending. What's more, my queenside pawn majority was looming as a hefty disincentive against black's committing sufficient forces on the kingside to beat back my assault. Using the knights, I forced the black queen to the back rank, disuniting the rooks and establishing a position of complete positional dominance.

    Then I overworked my bishop and dropped a knight for no reason at all. Game over.

    By Blogger RaulGroom, at 6:03 PM  

  • That's a pisser. I just came back from a 2.5 hour rated game tonight. I had black and got in trouble early, ultimately resulting in being a pawn down. I worked hard to create some chances with two knights who were working together very well. Turns out a missed a move that would have gotten me back the pawn and given me a slight advantage (pretty basic one too). Instead I opted for a wimpy knight retreat and folded like pup tent 5 moves later.

    Still working on it.

    Congrats on giving your computer a run for its money. I haven't been able to give my computer a good game since I stopped playing Sargon 3. What program do you use?

    By Blogger Don Q., at 8:06 PM  

  • Actually, I use Chessmaster 6k, but I don't play against the Chessmaster personality, I play against one of the stupid personalities. That's what's nice about chessmaster, you can basically set the "rating" of the computer opponent. I try to get to the point where I can beat the computer easily, and then I move up to a higher-rated personality.

    The problem with playing against a chess computer for me is mostly about concentration. When I play a human there's a tension there that keeps my mind focused on the game. Against the computer I can't really devote the necessary amount of thought to my moves.

    I'll rip Chessmaster 6k for you sometime if you're interested. It's not a bad program.

    By Blogger RaulGroom, at 9:30 AM  

  • I have the same problem playing against a computer. Can't quite put enough in the game to play really well. I never play the computer anymore though I do use it frequently to analyze games. Nothing like having a master level player check your games for tactical errors.

    I've always prefered playing people because the game is so much more unpredictable. With the ubiquity of chess on the internet, you can find a good game of chess anytime day or night against players of all levels.

    OTB tournament chess has always and will always be my favourite. When you devote a good 3-4 hours to one game of chess, you really learn a lot. This is when I truly feel I am experiencing the game.

    By Blogger Don Q., at 1:14 PM  

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