Man de la Maza

Friday, February 25, 2005

Playing Chess like Hawkeye

I don't watch TV anymore. There are many reasons for this; chief among them is that I have already seen every episode of M*A*S*H at least twice. Every child has heroes. Mine was Hawkeye Pierce, and yesterday he came to my rescue.

I was up to my elbows in level 50 problems, and it wasn't going well. Some of these can go 10+ moves deep. Even though I have seen them 3 times before, they stumped me then and I haven't had time to study them since. I say, "I can't do it that fast, dammit" out loud several times. The first set of 33 takes me an hour. I'm exceeding the 1.25 minute max on every problem, and my solve rate is they same as prior circles. Very frustrated. Wife and children have long since run for cover. Even the cat is keeping a cautious distance.

This isn't Boston General, Charles. There isn't time to do it right. It's meatball surgery. Get in , get out and move on to the next guy.

Meatball surgery. The phrase rings in my head as I dive into the second 2 sets. Meatball surgery for chess problems roughly equates to the mindset one has when looking for cheapos in time trouble when losing. It works. I solve the remaining 65 problems in an hour, and my solve rate improves (albeit modestly).

I've recognized patterns before, but before yesterday, I don't hink I've looked at a position using only pattern recognition. This may be the gem in these last circles.

Meatball surgery.


Another Gauntlet Thrown
Jens of Chessville fame has thrown a challenge to the Knights Errant on his blog. I haven't had a chance to give it a think, but I'll see if I have some brain leftover after polsihing off level 60 today. I could use the book which I don't have. Must solve by Monday to win.

147 days down, 8 to go
955 problems down, 84 to go in Circle Four
Level 10: 99%, 27 sec/prob
Level 20: 95%, 45 sec/prob
Level 30: 85%, 72 sec/prob
Level 40: 75%, 88 sec/prob
Level 50: 66%, 87 sec/prob

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Quiet Room

Thanks you for joining us today, Mr. Queue. Do you know why you're here?

I'm not sure. Does it have to do with the "incident" at 7-11.

Yeeeesss. Can you tell us in your own words what happened?

Well, I wanted a Diet Coke. A big one. So I went to sleven to get me a Super Big Gulp, but the guy the guy there said they didn't have any Super Big Gulp cups.

Yes, then what happened?

Before or after the police arrived?


Oh, I guess I kind of freaked out. You see, I'm under a lot of stress because I'm doing a lot of chess problems and ... well ... you see, I really wanted a Super Big Gulp ... and well ... I'm kinda embarrassed ...

It's OK. We're all yor freinds here.

OK, well. I beat him with a stick of beef jerky until he was unconscious.

And why did you do that?

Because the Twinkees weren't hard enough, and I couldn't lift the soda machine.

No, I meant why did you hit the clerk. It doesn't seem a cause for violence.

Yes well, I was also en prise, and I thought if I could take the clerk then the bishop could make a discovered check in aisle 5.

I'm sorry. I don't follow.

I was en prise -- means I was able to be captured. Like I was saying, if I take the clerk and the police take back, then the bishop in aisle 5 moves to aisle 7 -- right ? The pork rinds are now in check, so the cough drops have to interpose and ...


Well, the RC cola delivers mate in aisle 3. Actually, it delivers mate on the "Moon Pies" which is kinda funny. It's like the Redneck Mate.

Ahhhhh Yeeees. Thank you, Mr Queue. I think you'll be staying with us for a while.

145 days down, 10 to go
738 problems down, 301 to go in Circle Four
Level 10: 99%, 27 sec/prob
Level 20: 95%, 45 sec/prob
Level 30: 85%, 72 sec/prob
Level 40: 77%, 86 sec/prob

Got Sleep

Called it quits last night after my first set of 30 problems. I was not able to focus because I was too tired. It was clear that I needed a good night's sleep. I probably would have brassed it out, but I knew I would be in the same boat Thurs and Fri night. Seemed stupid to burn 3 days of a 8 day Circle. I made an executive decision and went to bed at 8PM. This will put me 90 probs behind. I will have to think of a way to work them in over the next 4 days.

New Knight(s)
A warm welcome to Nezha. He sounds a perfect candidate for the program -- already had lots of study under his belt but has not seen the improvement he was expecting. Let me be the first to ask, "Who is Nezhmetdinov?"

New knights seem to come in two's lately, so where's the other one?

144 days down, 11 to go
591 problems down, 448 to go in Circle Four
Level 10: 99%, 27 sec/prob
Level 20: 95%, 45 sec/prob
Level 30: 85%, 73 sec/prob

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Need Sleep

Did a bit over 3 hours on the clock last night which translated to about 3.5 hours in real time. To add insult to injury, I was so keyed up from buzzing through variations that I couldn't get to sleep until after midnight. My alarm clock started its inexorable toll this morning nonetheless. Sadly, a hammer was not handy, but I did teach my six year old some new vocabularly words.

Think I can make it for another 12 days if my coffee supply holds out.

143 days down, 12 to go
561 problems down, 478 to go in Circle Four
Level 10: 99%, 27 sec/prob
Level 20: 95%, 45 sec/prob
Level 30: 87%, 73 sec/prob

Monday, February 21, 2005


Finished Level 20. There are maybe a handful of those probs that I need to review. Most all of the mistakes were just careless errors. Level 30 is off to a good start, but I've only done 15 probs. I doubt I'll be able to keep the 95% solve rate over the 150 I have to solve tonight, but it is nice to be off to a good start.

Glad I got ahead a bit as my meeting didn't go as late as I though it would, and I still didn't get to bed until after midnight.

142 days down, 13 to go
411 problems down, 628 to go in Circle Four
Level 10: 99%, 27 sec/prob
Level 20: 95%, 45 sec/prob
Level 30: 95%, 60 sec/prob

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Started Circle 4. Missed one stinking problem in level 10 and let out an emphatic "Oh!" the likes of which have not been heard in my house since Louis Lipps dropped a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl (in like nineteen-ninety-something). Level 20 went well too. These patterns are deeply ingrained now. It is shocking to think that they used to take me 4 minutes/prob, and I was missing 15%.

Yesterday was ... dare I say ... fun. I've pretty much got the first 2 levels licked. Blowing through them feels like I am one of those martial arts masters taking on 27 attackers ("You serve the evil Black Hand ... Fwap! ... and you stole my rice cakes ... Wonk! ... "). I did an extra 42 probs to get a head start on today. I have a meeting tonight, so I might not get to the problems until late.

Tried to do a little review of the Level 30 problems that have given me trouble in Circle 3. As I went through the problems on Circle 2 and 3, I would write down the problems I missed and maybe a hint or key to the solution. I have not gotten back to reivew all the ones I missed, but I try to get to the ones where I have made the note "Interesting mating pattern" or "Do not miss this one again, [expletive deleted]!" I note that once I see the "key" to the problem, I usually don't miss it again. I started dong this in Circle 2 because I noted I was not only getting the same problems wrong again but also calculating the same unfruitful lines.

141 days down, 14 to go
278 problems down, 761 to go in Circle Four
Level 10: 99%, 27 sec/prob
Level 20: 96%, 43 sec/prob

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Stick a Fork in It

because Circle 3 is done!

Tomorrow I start the eight day circle. 236 problems. That's a lot of chess problems, but a tomorrow problem.

For now, I am enjoying the traditional 24 ounce Arrogant Bastard Ale.

New Knights
We seem to be growing quite a bit lately. Welcome to Desperate Measures and Takchess.

Desperate Measures has been at it for a while and is considering doing a few pre-circle laps with "Winning Chess Tactics". (Fatboy might want to check this blog out. If I am reading between the lines correctly, he is our first representative from the Great White North.

Takchess comes to us via the interesting path of reading about chess politics in "Bobby Fischer Goes to War". Usually politics drives people away from chess. I'd like to hear what he thought of the book.

Welcome all!

140 days down, 15 to go
1039 problems down, 0 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob
Level 40: 70%, 141 sec/prob
Level 50: 65%, 148 sec/prob
Level 60: 55%, 160 sec/prob

Awoken by Jesus

As I have cited earlier, I really need my sleep. The Empress and I have worked out a scenario whereby, we each get to do whatever the hell we want one weekend morning a week. (Being that there are two of us, the math works out rather nicely.) My morning is Saturday, and 9 times out of ten, you will find me sleeping in. Today as an added bonus, Dulcinea and the kids had gone shopping. A blissful empty quiet house.

Them: Knock,knock, knock!
Me: Wha ... RXN .... (snore)
Them: Knock,knock, knock! Ding! Dong!

I shamble out of bed and put on sweat pants and a T-shirt. I look approximatley like a piece of roadkill that a vulture would deem too unsavory to eat.

Me: May I help you?
Them: Hi, we're just dropping off information about out church if you don't attend a church already. I'm sorry. Did we wake you?

Many responses fly through my head. I'm just about to go with "No, I was busy sacrificing a goat to the Unholy One".I then recall that even though these people have woken me up and even though I did not invite them to my doorstep and even though I have had this conversation several times before, they believe they are here to prevent me from eternal damnation. This is a generous thing to do with your Saturdays, and such kindness should be treated with respect. I, for example, was obviously losing no sleep over their eternal souls. Thus, I suppose it is fair that I should lose some sleep from their concern about mine.

It is my practice to always talk to whomever comes to my door to save my soul. In fact, I usually invite them in and offer them a glass of water. (Used to offer them a soft drink, but I kinda freaked out some Mormons that way once.)

Me: Yes, but I needed to get up anyway. And yes, I attend the Quaker meeting ocassionally.

These people, however, woke me up. They get no water.

Them: Well great. Let me ask you this -- Are you sure that you are going to Heaven?
Me: No, I don't think any of us can be sure of that.
Them: Oh but you can. God has told us...

Pamphlets appear. She reads through some of the Bible's greatest hits. John 5:13, Romans 6:23, and the always popular Romans 10:13.

Me: Yes, but the Bible is a book. A book which has been translated many times.
Them: That's why we use only the King James version.
Me: Which was translated from ancient Greek.
Them: That's Right! I don't read Greek. Do you?
Me: And even that was someone writing down their revelations. We don't know anything about their experiences.
Them: Well that's why you have to have Faith!

I see Dulcinea pulling in with the children. She rolls her eyes as she has less patience with proseletizers than I. For their own safety, I wrap up our theological dialectic and send them on their way with my honest thanks.

I guess I want to reach out to these people because I see many of them as good-hearted folk who nonetheless accept everything they are told in Church. Spiritual life and worhip are good things, but I often see religion in my country being a weapon of cruelty. People accept beliefs wholesale because "That's what God says".

I don't think any us know what "God says" and the sooner we look at the issues as questions rather than answers the sooner we might make some progress. And who knows? Maybe we'll make it to Heaven one day.

New Knights

Welcome Fatboy and Margriet.

Fatboy comes from my old stomping grounds in Pennsylvania. I will be watching his blog with interest since he plans to follow the Don's Inferno program. I hope it makes a great program better.

Margriet and I share many interests besides chess -- singing in a chorus, philosophy and meditation. I hope I have not mistaken her desire to join our group, but as she cross linked all of us, I assume she desires to be a Knight de la Maza. (If not, just let me know).

Level 60 at 2.5 mintues per problem

Have you ever seen the movie "The Birds"? There's a scene where a woman walks into a room and birds start flying at her through a hole in the roof so fast that it makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

That's kinda what level 60 probs feel like in Circle 3.

139 days down, 16 to go
992 problems down, 47 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob
Level 40: 70%, 141 sec/prob
Level 50: 65%, 148 sec/prob

Friday, February 18, 2005

Not Eating, Drinking, and Being Merry

OK. Now this whole chess thing is starting to hurt. Today marks the first day on my extended family's yearly pilgrimage to a ski resort up North. My clan had to give it a miss this year due to many factors, one of which was that the vacation fell right in the hot spot of the MDLM program. I was feeling real sorry for myself last night when I was slogging through chess problems instead of hitting the slopes. (OK, I could probably live without the skiing; it's really the "after ski" beer and dinner that's to die for).

People who are feeling sorry for themselves are fairly lousy tacticians. I seem not to be an exception to the rule.

To counteract this, this afternoon I plan to ski in the front garden of the my office during lunch. Since there is no snow and I don't own ski equipment, they might really call the men in the white coats this time. Better yet, at lunch I'm going to go buy some really awful shoes that hurt my feet. When I get home, I'll take them off. Should feel just like the real thing.

138 days down, 17 to go
946 problems down, 97 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob
Level 40: 70%, 141 sec/prob
Level 50: 65%, 148 sec/prob

PS Big shout to Sarah, Vanya, Anna, Olya, Sergey, and Sasha. We miss you guys!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Somebody Might Have Mistaken Me for a Chess Player

I was dog tired last night and yet I did fairly well on the level 50's. In fact, I had my overall percentage damm near scaring 70% for a while. The last 10 probs were not that pretty though as fatigue started to set in ("Oh, that's wrong too. I'm crushed. How about this?") I might have just hit a nice run of probs. We'll see.

I started a thread on Mikhail Tal on Chess ninja. I've noticed that when I miss a problem completely, it is often from a Tal game. (Another knight mentioned this but I can't find the reference). I thought AFTER I finish this quixotic quest, I might pick up one of his game collections. This should either improve my tactical vision or hopelessly confuse me.

137 days down, 18 to go
898 problems down, 141 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob
Level 40: 70%, 141 sec/prob
Level 50: 67%, 135 sec/prob

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Three Yards and a Cloud of Dirt

My day ended at 10 PM tonight (actually yesterday) which means that I didn't start chess problems until 10:20 PM. My overriding thought at 10:21 PM was "This sucks!" And it did, but I made it through my 50 probs.

Finished up level 40 and started level 50. My level 50 perecntage has lots of room for improvement, but frankly, I'm impressed I didn't fall back on the "let's sac the queen and see what happens" school of chess tactics.

Now it is nearly 1AM, and I am too wired to go to bed. Perhaps I should look into to getting a life. Even the cat's asleep, for Crissakes. I wonder if I could eat that 3 week old chilli in the fridge and get food poisining. Nothing too bad, just enough to make me throw up credibly tomorrow at work. I would fake my own death, but I just did that last month. I'm still having a bit of trouble convincing the Department of Motor Vehicles that I'm not dead. After you show up two or three times with a death certificate they really start to get pissy about the whole matter.

I could always watch Braveheart again.

136 days down, 19 to go
848 problems down, 191 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob
Level 40: 70%, 141 sec/prob (Oh Yeah!)
Level 50: 61%, 137 sec/prob

posted by Don

70% or bust

I have 24 problems left in level 40, and I am tantalizingly close to 70%. If I can really rock and roll on the last 24, I think I can make it.

Funny how one gets hung up on intermediate goals but something has to keep you going through hour after hour of chess problem. Although I am a relatively calm person, I find myself swearing loudly at my laptop and gritting my teeth. I received the green face of death once last night and hit my clock so hard I thought I had broken it.

Thus went my Valentine's evening with the lovely Dulcinea. She's a patient woman, but at least I remembered to bring flowers.

Two general questions today:

1) I note that Fussy Lizzard appears to be going through the problems in order. This way he knows what tactical theme is the basis of the problem. I let CT Art randomly pick the problems in each level, so I never know what is coming next. What are other knights doing?

2) I have some graphs that I would like to post. Can anyone recommend a good sceen capture and graphics tool? I want something that a) captures screen data, b) will let me simplify an image so it has a smaller footprint, c) and is easy to use. Free would be nice as well.

135 days down, 20 to go
798 problems down, 241 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob
Level 40: 69%, 142 sec/prob

Monday, February 14, 2005

3 Weeks to Go

Spent the weekend whimpering in bed. Not exactly sick, but I think I was fighting off getting sick. Mostly I slept, ate, napped, did chess problems and read a bit ("The Glass Bead Game" is quite good. I am enjoying it immensely). One challenge for me of this program is that I need a lot of sleep. I like to get 8 hours/night and then at least one night of 10+ hours on the weekend. Needless to say, when one if adding 2-3 hours of chess problem onto a normal day, it is hard to get 8 hours of sleep. This week is gonna be particularly hard since in addition to normal commitments I have evening commitments on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Considering purchase of time machine.

Hit a couple of hiccups towards the end of last week. I only did 25 problems on Thursday instead of the scheduled 74. I went to 2 meetings Thursday night. Naturally the first made me late for the second, so I rushed in not realizing that I had left my keys in the ignition with the car running. Called the "Emergency Road Service" who took and hour and half to get to my car. I would have been indignant at the length of the wait except for my belief that people who are so !@#^&% stupid as to lock their keys in their running cars should consider themselves lucky to be allowed to live outside of a supervised facility. Friday night I only got through 35 (but I did get a date with the lovely Dulcinea). I was supposed to have today as a rest and review day, but I will be using it to catch up.

The problems continue to be a bear. I am working on the pattern recognition because the harder the problems get the more impossible it is to calculate any portion of the key lines. I am striving to keep improving my percentage correct at each level of each circle. So far so good, but frankly keeping the same percentage is challening enough when one halves the time to solve each time. In order to better track the average time it takes to solve, I am now timing myself on a chess clock to keep track of the overall time solved within a session.

134 days down, 21 to go
738 problems down, 301 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob
Level 40: 68%, 140 sec/prob

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Picking up the Gauntlet

I received a friendly invitation to a joust from my net friend, Patzer King. He proposes that as true test of methods that we should post our OTB ratings and see who's rating goes up the most in the next 6 months by playing between 20-40 games.

I accept.

I cannot guarantee the number of games I'll be able to play, but I am pleased to post my ratings. In fact, I was planning to let readers verify these things for themselves later (like you can for Michael de la Maza), but now seems as good a time as any.

My name is Randolph Evans. My USCF ID # is 12485113. Here's the link to my rating. My starting rating is 1573, but I have already played 5-6 games that have not come through yet.

Well met, Sir Knight. To your lance!

PS I'll stil go by Don and will answer to Randy as well, but only my mother and USCF calls me Randolph.

PPS I got so caught up in all this that I forget to offer a warm welcome to our newest knight, Yet Another Patzer. He claims to write blog entries only once every 2 years, so in his next entry we should get a good idea of the long term impact of the program. Also pleased that our network now reaches as far south as Argentina. Very cool. Welcome YAP and good luck.

PPPS OK, I gotta stop reading blogs and emails and goto bed, but just one more welcome tonight for King of the Spill. Sounds like he's been at it for awhile, and I should be interested in hearing more about solving chess problems and having a life.

In addition, Fussy Lizard has now got himself a blog too.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

New Knights Errant

A warm welcome to Celtic Death and Temposchlucker. It also appears that we may be joined by Fussy Lizard. Yeesh, three in one day. Planets must be lined up or something.

The Dark Knight certainly is laying it out there when he says he will "improve or die trying". As a Welshman, I am pleased to see a fellow Celt (they're not just the Irish you know) taking up the path de La Maza. At the same time, could anyplace sound more apple pie American than "Normal, Illinois"?

With temposchlucker, we have finally gone international as a group. Looking at his profile, he also appears to be quite the polymath. I shall look for "Once Upon a Time in the West" at the video store and would recommend the little known "Tombstone" back to you. "Beelzebub Tales" sounds interesting as well. Perhaps when I finish the "Glass Bead Game". (Who am I kidding? I don't have time to read.)

Fussy Lizard is well into the program. He and and I met on "My Study Plan" topic on chess ninja. Earlier in topic you can find the genesis of the name "Sancho Pawnza". Fussy may not set up a blog, but I'm listing him anyway. Perhaps DG will call him the Silent Knight.

While I'm at it, here is my criteria for membership in the Knights Errant:
1) Must be actively pursuing a chess improvement program based to some degree on de la Maza's program
2) Must indicate you want to join.

Criteria 1 is up to you. If you think your program is based on de la Maza's, that's good enough for me. Criteria 2 is my attempt at good netiquette. It seems only polite for me to wait and see if someone wants to be associated with us before I go slapping their name up in a list.

I also am very interested in listing people who are pursuing chess improvement via some other method. Please let me know if you would like to be listed in the "Other Chess Improvement Sites- Active" list.

Received a mild butt whipping from CT Art on level 30 last night. I would really like to get over 80% this time.

128 days down, 27 to go
484 problems down, 555 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 78%, 114 sec/prob

Monday, February 07, 2005

Think fast

Dipped into Level 30 tonight. Not a whole heck of a lot of time to think things through. Given that problems sometimes go a few moves deep, I'm going to have to make a move at about 95 seconds whether I see something or not. I think I got into the habit of settling into a problem over the first minute. I'm thinking I'll have to revamp that to be more like 10 seconds. 150 seconds is not a lot of time.

127 days down, 28 to go
410 problems down, 628 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 79 sec/prob
Level 30: 80%, 107 sec/prob

One Month to Go

I have 27 problem days and 2 rest days left.

In an effort to be organized, I sat down and calculated out my schedule between here and March 7th. Surprisingly, Circle 5 and the second half of Circle six are not problems. One of the biggest gotchas will be the beginning of Circle 4 where the first 3 days could average in the 4 hour range. Though Day 1 of Cirlce six and Circle 7 are montsters (6 & 9 hours respectively), I'll be in the home stretch by then.

Here is my schedule for the remaining time

Day Circle Target Target Running Max Time
1 3 90 405 3.75
2 3 74 479 3.08
3 3 74 553 3.08
4 3 74 627 3.08
5 3 60 687 2.5
6 3 60 747 2.5
7 3 50 797 2.08
8 3 0 797 0
9 3 50 847 2.08
10 3 50 897 2.08
11 3 48 945 2
12 3 48 993 2
13 3 46 1039 1.92
14 4 236 236 4.92
15 4 175 411 3.65
16 4 173 584 3.6
17 4 140 724 2.92
18 4 106 830 2.21
19 4 88 918 1.83
20 4 60 978 1.25
21 4 60 1038 1.25
22 5 340 340 2.83
23       0
24 5 272 612 2.27
25 5 241 853 2.01
26 5 186 1039 1.55
27 6 700 702 5.83
28 6 336 1038 2.8
29 7 1039 1039 8.65

126 days down, 29 to go (including rest days)
320 problems down, 719 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 93%, 80 sec/prob

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Feel the Need for Speed

Circle 3 has started off with a lowlight. I scored a lower percentage on the Level 10 problems than I did last time. Second surprise is that I don't mind. I was focusing a lot on trying to complete the problems in less than 30 seconds. I can't imagine I will be able to solve any level 60 problems in circle 6 or 7 with the 30 second max because the level 10's were hard enough. Takes me a few seconds just to register color and material imabalance.

Level 2 is going very well. I am solving quickly and at 94%. In fact they don't seem a whole lot more difficult than the Level 10's. Who knows though? I was pretty tired friday night when I did the level 10's and very well rested today when I did the level 20's. We'll see.

126 days down, 29 to go
205 problems down, 839 to go in Circle Three
Level 10: 96%, 44 sec/prob
Level 20: 94%, 80 sec/prob

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Circle Two complete!

So the bishop takes the knight but what about the queen. Oh wait, it's pinned. Aha, take that! No wait, that's wrong. Rook takes knight and ... "test complete".

Thus finished my second lap around the track. Tonight at approx 10:30 PM, I finished problem number 1039 (I had counted wrong all along). In the past 96 days (and change), I have now completed 2248 chess problems. I don't have my Oxford English Dictionary handy, but I think that qualifies as a sh*tpile of chess problems. At approximately 10:32 PM, I opened the traditional celebratory beer, a 24 ounce Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Life is good.

32 days from now I should be done with the program (one rest day). I'm optimistic and would put my odds at 1-2 to finish. Quite an improvement over my original 10-1. Stay tuned! I think it's gonna start getting a bit crazy.

124 days down, 31 to go
1039 problems down, 0 to go in Circle Two
Level 10: 97%
Level 20: 88%
Level 30: 76%
Level 40: 68%
Level 50: 63%
Level 60: 59%

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Why play chess?

Playing chess has many cognitive benefits. Children who study chess turn out to be better readers than those who don't (particularly if they are having trouble reading in the first place). It is good for improving concentration, spatial thinking, and memory. It helps develop personal responsibilty and self-control.

All that AND you might get to meet this woman.

122 days down, 33 to go
982 problems down, 54 to go in Circle Two
Level 10: 97%
Level 20: 88%
Level 30: 76%
Level 40: 68%
Level 50: 63%
Level 60: 63%