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Status: Chess (2011 - June)
(Text as at 06/07/2011 23:13:55)
(For other versions of this Note, see the tables at the end)
Rationale for this Project
I had been thinking of returning to chess after a very long lay-off, though this thought is currently on hold. I’ve hardly played since I left school, where I showed some aptitude – especially in my first season when, in the 3rd year at Grammar school, I won the local under-15s championship (it was only North Gloucestershire), but things never really took off; for instance, I only ever came runner-up in the under-18s. I played in the local adult league while at school and my grade meandered up to 158, if I remember correctly. I played on a low board for Gloucestershire seniors and captained the Gloucestershire juniors, though not from top board. Anyway, I eventually gave the game up and switched to bridge at university, and then stopped playing mind games altogether. My trouble was, I think, that I had a natural ability to calculate variations which stood me in good stead against players who knew next to no theory – but against stronger players I never got into positions where calculation did more than tell me I was losing. I only ever used to play matches, never practice games, and have never actually read a chess book beyond the first few pages.
So, I don't want a repetition of any of that - I'd like to learn to play the game properly. The question is how? I have a box of old books, but I've never been a keen reader of chess books – I can't easily envisage what's going on without either a lot of effort or setting the position up on the board. I suspect some chess software might be the best way forward – what I want is something that's fairly interactive and which will get me to learn both the principles of positional play and some opening theory, as well as play some practise games, in as painless a manner as possible.
My brother-in-law runs a team in Division 2 of the Middlesex League and Division 4 of the London League, and I "kind of" agreed to play as from the beginning of the season commencing September 2009. So, I wanted a plan of campaign that would prepare me for this. After advice from The London Chess Centre (follow Chess & Bridge), I’ve purchased some software, as below. Unfortunately, the plan to make use of if hasn’t come to much.
Summary of Progress during April - June 2011
Now that I’ve decided not to continue with the MA in the Philosophy of Religion, and have now retired from HSBC, there’s the opportunity to progress this project. Even so, my focus will not be on chess, not in the near future any way.
However, I did manage to pop along to the Billericay Chess Club (Billericay Chess Club). They meet on Wednesdays at 19:30, which clashes with Bridge, but my partner was away on 6th April. There was a club match, so I couldn’t play any of the better players, but played a rather sad young man who didn’t make the cut. It was interesting to see how rusty I was, though I won all four games. I had a chat with one of the committee-members afterwards, and left my email address. I’ve not heard back, or been back. No-one in the club is as strong a player as I was in my prime, so I don’t think I’ll pursue the club further.
See Essex Chess for the Essex Chess site.
- Chess - Magazines (Read, 2.5 hours)
- "Fine (Reuben) - The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings" (Read, 0.75 hours)
- 1Q11 Status Reports (0.5 hours)
- Billericay Chess Club - Discussions (0.25 hours)
- Discussions with Chris (0.25 hours)
- Investigating the Billericay / Essex Chess scene (0.75 hours)
- Billericay Chess Club - Practice Games (2.25 hours)
- Chessmaster - Configuration & Orientation (0.5 hours)
- Chessmaster - Openings (0.25 hours)
Time spent is summarised in the table below. As in all my reports, “YTD” is academic YTD, ie. from October 2010:-
|Task||YTD||YTD%||April - June||April - June%|
|Chess - Admin||2.8||22.9||1.8||21.9|
|Chess - On-line||0||0||0||0|
|Chess - Play||2.3||18.8||2.3||28.1|
|Chess - Reading||6.3||52.1||3.3||40.6|
|Chess - Study||0||0||0||0|
|Chess - Training||0.8||6.3||0.8||9.4|
|Chess - TOTAL||12||100||8||100|
In the above, “Chess – Admin” basically involves Status Reporting, investigations and set-up, “Chess – Reading” is casual reading of chess literature, “Chess – Study” is more intensive chess reading, “Chess – Training” is playing chess against Chessmaster.
Plans for the Near Future
- Read "Chess - Chess Magazine",
- Repeat "Martin (Andrew) - The Basics of Winning Chess",
- Get to grips with Chessmaster – Grandmaster Edition.
Summary of Progress to Date
- Catalogued and categorised my Chess Book Collection.
- Started reading sundry of the above, and investigated various on-line material (Fritz, Rybka, Chess Mentor, etc) before contacting The London Chess Centre.
- Completed first run through of "Martin (Andrew) - The Basics of Winning Chess".
- Installed "Aagaard (Jacob) - Basic Positional Ideas". Study commenced.
- Installed Chessmaster – Grandmaster Edition, but haven’t really got to grips with it yet.
- Subscribed to "Chess - Chess Magazine", and skimmed the March 2009 – June 2011 editions.
- Visited Billericay Chess Club on 6th April 2011.
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- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019