Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Life's Ups and Downs

When it rains it pours . . . . but when the sun shines, it shines bright.

My personal life has been a real wreck lately. Lots of crazy stuff going on and almost all of it deals with work. That, however, is for another web blog! One that absolutely no one would want to read (who wants to hear about some person griping . . . about non-chess related stuff!).

The reason I bring it up though is that it is amazing how well I have been playing chess lately. Oh, I still hang pieces, miss obvious wins, and fumble openings, but for the most part things have been very solid. I have had higher FICS ratings before, but never consistently. My FICS score has been floating a good 20-30 points higher than where my general average is. . . . and it has been doing this for a couple weeks! It strikes me how strange it is to have my chess life so up, while my career is looking so down.

Maybe God is taking some form of pity on me?! Though if the Heavenly Father is reading this web blog, while very appreciative of my chess related successes, I would much prefer help with the career aspects of my life (unless I can make chess my career . . . . which I don't think even Divine Intervention can provide!).

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sore Losers Part Two

(EyesOfBlue vs. NN)
(FICS Nov. 2005)
(White to Move, Mate in Two)

I posted a couple weeks ago complaining about poor losers -- most particularly people who abandon clearly lost games.

I was kind of surprised by the backlash I got. Many people felt that my frustrations and anger were both unjustified. Many users were particularly hard on me -- complaining I was the one who should apologize.

The problem to the left is not rocket science. White is clearly ahead, but there's a pretty clear mate-in-two. 1. Qxa6 bxa6. 2. Rxa6#. I caught black (who once again will remain nameless in case he was just having a "bad day") totally off guard. Well, I saw the (relatively easy) winning move and played 1. Qxa6. Black had exactly 4 minutes and 16 seconds on his clock (I was playing 2 12 on FICS, nonetheless!).

What happened?

Well, I sat there for 4 minutes and 16 seconds as NN let the clock run down to zero. Round about the third minute, my anger just boiled over. "There is one legal move. . . can you please make it or resign?!" No answer. "I'll give you a hint, it involves using your pawn to capture a piece." Again, no answer.

To all my earlier critics, I present Exhibit B in the growing array of evidence I have against poor online chess players. Does this kind of behavior not bother anyone else? Am I the only one who calls people out on this kind of stuff?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Not much to report

I've had many slow chess days lately . . . too many I am afraid! I have a nice 5 day holiday coming up (Thanksgiving, plus one vacation day), so that'll be a good time to get some matches in.

Alas, winter has raised its ugly head here in Washington. Apparently it was down to 29 degrees here this morning. All the chess players in Dupont Circle are gone -- the true sign (at least to me) that the cold season has truly begun. I'll miss those guys (and girls -- a few!). It was always nice to come home and see them duking it out on the chess tables.

For those who don't know the Washington, DC area, here is a quick link to Dupont Circle where a lot of people play.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pawn Game Debacle

(FICS Nov. 2005)
(Eyesofblue vs. NN)
(White to move and win)

I like pawn endgames because they are conceptually easy . . . relatively of course! Indeed, often times pawn endings are extremely difficult.

The following position (See Diagram One, left) is hardly a Class A endgame problem, but it is deceiving. Black has just played f3. The winning move is, of course, 1. h5! The move is unbeatable. 51... gxh5 allows 52. g6 and easy promotion. 51... fxg5 allows 52. hxg6 and once again an easy promotion.

The conceptually difficult part is that white must "sacrifice" a pawn, but it hardly matters as the other king-side pawn will easily queen. I played the awful 1. gxf6?. This throws the entire game away. After 1... Kxg6 the game is hopelessly drawn.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sore Losers

(Black to move and Draw)
(EyesOfBlue vs. NN)

Scholars will look at this problem in disbelief. Black can acheive a draw out of this position? How?! Simple, it's called "logging out."
Ah, the joys of online play. This is a common phenomenon on the internet chess circuit. People have perfect, impeccably working computers during the match only to have those very same computers go terribly heywire when they suddenly fall behind in material. (Funny, how nobody's computer ever crashes when they are a queen ahead?!). I won't give the offender's name away. Everybody gets a bad day (maybe he was having one?), but I thought I would share with everyone the interesting dialouge that followed. Needless to say I was angry, hence my opening barrage.
EyesofBlue: Nice.... your computer "loses connection" when I am up a full queen and rook. Real nice. I'll wait the two weeks and have this adjudicated.
NN: well since your being a dick about it fine wait two weeks atleast i attemted to come back
Eyesofblue: You are the one who bailed.
NN: idid not bail out the damm phone range i have a phone line moron
EyesOfBlue: right when I promoted my pawn to queen and had you beat the phone rang?!
NN: thats what happens when your on call
NN: gosh what a marvel
And this where I dropped the conversation. You can't win with these people . . . I mean literally . . . they will just continue to bail out of games when they find themselves losing. My favorite part of this story is that this guy still hasn't conceded defeat. If his phone reallly did ring, he could just resign this game. But no . . . this is his tactic.
It won't work with me though. God bless the "adjudicate" function at FICS. . . it's the only weapon people have again such poor sports.