Man de la Maza

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Flowers for Algernon (only worse)

It has been a year or so since I finished the De La Maza program. From the time I started to the time I finished, my rating shot up about 150 points. It probably would have gone up more, but I stopped playing in March 2005 when I finished. During the prior 3 months, I scored 9.5 of 11 with a performance rating of 1974. Impressive results, but were they permanent?

Last weekend, I was out of town on business, and I had a chance to play in a USCF tourney, U1800 section. I knew I would be a bit rusty so I ran through some level 1& 2 on CT Art the week before in my hotel room.

Results were worse than I expected. 1.5 out of 4 with a performance rating of 1050. My sole victory was over an opponent rated 560 (Beat the hell out of that middle schooler though!). My third round opponent looked at my dismal performance in our game and knowingly suggested that I must be sandbagging in an attempt to lower my rating. Can't say I blame him. I lost that game on move 10 when I hung a knight. Not "dropped a knight to a 3 move combination" but outright hung a knight.

I haven't done the math yet, but it is probably my worst performance in the 20+ years I have been playing tournament chess (and I used to play a lot of round 1 and 3's dreadfully hung over in my college years). If I had scored 2.5, I might have written it off to a bit of rust combined with a run of bad luck, but my performance required something extra. I was not playing nearly at the level I was before; I was not playing as well as I was before I started De La Maza training. In fact, I think I was playing worse than I ever had. I had become accustomed to playing very sharp lines that I could play better than my opponent. I had some good moves and saw a few choice patterns, but I couldn't calculate my way out of a (soggy) paper bag. I was thinking like a class A player and calculating like a class E player.

I play chess for recreation only, and I am always fighting the self-improvement rat race. It's just a game; and it should never be work. That said,

This cannot stand!

I absolutely refuse to be this bad.

Hiatus suspended.

I'm back.


  • Huzzahhhh! Huzzahhh!

    By Blogger Blue Devil Knight, at 8:38 AM  

  • Welcome back!
    As you see the Knights Errant are still alive and kicking, although the graduated Knights have become more sensible an slower in their postings.
    Don't let your rating be an ominous sign for your weight!

    By Blogger Temposchlucker, at 4:55 PM  

  • Nice post! Let the comeback begin.

    By Blogger Rocky, at 5:17 PM  

  • Sweet! nice to have you back.

    By Blogger generalkaia, at 5:28 PM  

  • Awesome man. Glad to have you back.


    By Blogger Pawn Sensei, at 6:26 PM  

  • Yes!!!!

    Our fearless leader is back in the saddle!!!

    Squire! Gather my horse, assemble my weapons.

    We ride!!!!!

    By Blogger Jim, at 11:42 AM  

  • Now don't go getting fat sitting in front of the computer.
    WB! You ole' sandbagger!

    By Blogger Sancho Pawnza, at 4:38 PM  

  • The problem with the whole de la Maza concept s born out in your experience. A high level of practise must at all times be kept, daily, or the skills you acquire will be lost.

    de la Maza only teaches calculation. Fundamental skills that more "normal" methods teach stick with you much longer.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:18 AM  

  • BTW, do you still check your yahoo email? I have sent emails to you in the past with no resonse.


    By Blogger Pawn Sensei, at 10:02 AM  

  • My yahoo email went dead and I'm having trouble reactivating it. You can always reach me at

    By Blogger Don Q., at 10:15 AM  

  • Welcome back. I know how you feel. I hung a queen against a little girl at the Boylston Chess Club at their new year day tourney. It Hurts!

    By Blogger takchess, at 8:06 AM  

  • WAHOOOO!!!! The MAN is BACK!!!!! Welcome back, brah!!!

    By Blogger CelticDeath, at 2:24 PM  

  • Been out of the loop. Just noticed the return. Huzzah!

    In the words of LL Cool J

    "Don't call it comeback!
    I been here for years!" and then he says a bunch of other stuff that rhymes.

    By Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza, at 8:08 PM  

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