Friday, December 25, 2020
Friday, December 11, 2020
Friday, December 4, 2020
Over the years I discovered that many players (most amateurs ?) at some point in their career stop playing mainlines and switch to smaller systems. That is not a surprise. As I wrote a few weeks ago here, adults have much less time for studying chess compared to children. Children have lots of school-holidays and very few responsibilities. For an adult it is often impossible to and have a full time job and take care of a household and keep track of all important developments in chess. This is also the reason why some players prefer to stop playing competitive chess as they don't like playing at a lower level. On the other hand by choosing cleverly your little systems, it is still possible even without having much time for chess to enjoy playing it.
Nevertheless the Chessbase-article Siem Van Dael unorthodox openings lead to success surprised me. End of last year I had played against Siem a very long theoretical line of the Svechnikov and this time he did exactly the opposite with openings like 1.h4, 1.a4, 1.h3, 1.a3 and 1.g3 g6 2.Bg2 Lg7 3.Na3. The lad is only 16 years old and it looks like he is fed up of studying openings. That is very young but maybe he is just rebelling. At home I also have 2 teenagers which prefer to ignore my advise. On the other hand the best school is always the one which allows you to make your own mistakes.
Also every player will in almost any game get to a moment in which there must be played without any prior knowledge. An experienced player should be able to handle a new non critical opening by just following the basic-rules of the opening. Besides the biggest danger of openings consists of critical lines of which a lack of foreknowledge will create a serious handicap. In this article I will show a few of those examples.
My final restriction is to chose openings of critical lines which I haven't studied recently. With recently I mean in the last 5 years. I realize there is an enormous amount of openings which need to be analyzed and then it makes sense to prioritize the unknown systems. So even with all those filters I still managed to select 3 out of 10. In the remaining part of this article I will elaborate 2 out of 3 to demonstrate how great this for me new method of studying chess is.
We start with a line of which I initially thought that black blundered a piece to discover later that this line not only has been tried out in about 50 master-games but also scores very well in practice. The young Turkish international master Omer Faruk Ozer defeated me spectacularly in below game.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
|Fide Newsletter #17 (October 26, 2020)|
Thursday, November 12, 2020
At TCEC there is even a permanent running gag about how often somebody requests for a match between Carlsen and the computer. In my graphic above you can clearly see when the strongest commercial engine has definitely surpassed the level of the strongest human. In 2006 it was Rybka making any further matches between humans and engines futile and the gap only increased since then.
Testing of the best engines only makes sense today between each other. Last year I wrote in part 1 that I liked executing those tests but they were too time-consuming so something I wouldn't repeat often anymore. Naturally the corona-crisis suddenly erased my calendar and allowed me to pick up again this hobby. In the last year I organized a dozen of matches each of them consisting of 100 rapidgames (15min + 10sec) using different computers between each time newer and stronger engines.
It is hard to deduct from above table how much the progress of the strongest commercial engine was in the last year. Therefore I also did a comparison between Leela v22 (end of last year) and Leela v26 (now) with Komodo 11 on my new laptop. The result was amazing. Last year I was already impressed by the score of 62,5 - 37,5 in favor of Leela but this is small beer compared with the new score of 75 - 25 of the more recent Leela-version. That is about 100 TPR extra. In other words it is time to update Leela if you are still working with a version of last year (the best test-results on my computers were achieved by v0.26.1 with network J92-210).
Sunday, November 1, 2020
Monday, October 19, 2020
I was already for some time toying with the idea of switching the viewer but only recently made work of it. Due to the corona-crisis all my regular chess-activities are on hold so I have now plenty of spare time. Besides I was also warned that by end of this year flash wouldn't be supported anymore. Some browsers like chrome were already trying to discourage the usage of flash for some time which was the reason why I mid 2017 made the switch to the Chess.com-viewer. More and more readers were complaining that they had troubles with the flash-viewer and I guess because of that many of them already lost interest in this blog.
At least that is also how I look to blogs. If the information is not highly informative then I am not willing to spend much time at it to figure out how to make e.g. flash work. Besides there exist probably hundred(s) of (chess-)blogs and honestly 99% or even more is not worth reading at all. So a blog should be interesting as well as easily to read/ consume.
Now one could wonder what is the point of refreshing all those old articles. If I look around then I see almost no (chess-)blogger does. Also most content is extremely quickly outdated. Tournaments are (at least before corona) following each other at a crazy speed. What is the point to look at reports of events which happened x months/ years ago? It is nice just after the event to read such report but then it loses very quickly its value. Well if you look at my old articles then you will see news has never been my main subject. I can never compete with the professional news-sites so I decided from the very beginning that the content of this blog should be very different if I want to stay relevant for the reader.
Content on this blog has to be as unique as possible (plagiarism is a big plaque for most blogs but I am sure that this is not the case here), have a personal flavor (e.g. own experiences) and give the reader something to digest (ideas/ tools/ ... which could influence their own approach to chess). It is also why some topics of my Dutch blog weren't translated to English as I thought they would have little value for an international community. So in general I believe the content here on this blog is much less vulnerable to the erosion of time and therefore it makes also much more sense to keep it alive.
I also see this in the blog-statistics. Every day old articles are addressed so the content on this blog does keep a value even x months/ years after its publication. Besides I won't deny that I regularly use myself this blog as an archive to look up things as I also don't manage to remember myself everything what I once wrote. So for me keeping this blog as long as possible in a good condition, was an easy decision to make. To decide upon which viewer I should use, was a bit more tricky.
At I stated earlier mid 2017 I switched to the Chess.com-viewer. At that time it was the best available option see new viewers part 1. The viewer of Chessbase was considered slightly better but contrary to the Chess.com-viewer not for free so very rarely used by any blogger. I guess this probably convinced Chessbase in 2018 to stop asking money for it. What is the sense of keeping a nice tool behind a paying wall if almost nobody is using it?
Besides more bloggers got recently pushed to the Chessbase-viewer as Chess.com doesn't care much about the impact of software updates at their viewer upon older articles. Have a look to how ugly some old articles are now looking due to those unwanted software updates: an article of 2016 on the blog of the Australian grandmaster David Smerdon. When you just finished updating the html-code to restore the old look of the Chess.com-viewer, again a software update was launched creating an ugly second scrollbar at the right see : an article of 2019 on the blog of the Macedonian grandmaster Alex Colovic.
Correct there is no guarantee that this won't happen with the Chessbase-viewer. Still I think this is enough reason to try out the Chessbase-viewer instead of the Chess.com-viewer. Also I like it that contrary to the Chess.com-viewer all the games remain stored on this blog and not their website. Functionally-wise I don't see important differences between both. Downloading, analyzing, changing layout it is in both viewers possible. In the Chess.com-viewer you had initially the possibility to analyze on the blog itself but after one more software update you are now directed to their own site/ server. I think staying on the blog itself is a bit more easy, especially with "the maximize board" option (see below red circle).
Returning back to the blog is simply pushing again the same button (so don't push the x in the right-up corner or you close the complete browser by accident as I did a few times).
Unfortunately I have to admit that the Chessbase-viewer also have some smaller defects. While doing the migration from the Chess.com to the Chessbase-viewer I noticed some of the ascii-codes linked to the annotations got corrupted. To keep things easy I just removed them as I assume the reader can always push the wheel below the diagram to get an instant evaluation of a strong engine.
Another issue is that by opening several blogarticles on the same screen, the content of the viewers gets destroyed. I guess it has something to do with not closing in html after each article correctly the viewer which creates conflicts but I can't find out how this should be solved exactly. You can see this behavior clearly when you e.g. want to see the articles of September on this blog. It is the reason why I only allow 1 article anymore at once to be shown as default setting. I don't think it is a very important issue as my articles are anyway quite long so better to read one by one.
Last I also have the impression that the Chessbase-viewer is less stable on mobiles. I almost never use my mobile for it but I guess some people like to read an article while travelling on the train to school/ work. So all this made me hesitate to do the same migration for my Dutch blog. It will probably also take twice as much time to do. To keep 2 separate viewers has also the benefit of getting less impacted by sudden outages. I think big companies like Chess.com and Chessbase won't disappear quickly but chess keeps changing so you are never sure what happens over time. Anyway I invite you to take a look back in time on my blog. Comments on the old articles or new viewer are always welcome.