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ChessatmyboarD

My Chess Blog
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Slow progress on blitz rating improvement….

Posted on June 16th, 2013 by Richard

I haven’t blogged here recently and also haven’t played much chess recently on FICS. When I did have a few games last week my rating fell! I played poorly and my rating has dropped to 1100. I just wasn’t concentrating properly on the games and made silly errors & lost. One game I was in a very good position but twice played poor moves that let the opponent off and then the opponent started to exert pressure on my position. I did win the game in the end when the opponent was greedy and took a piece he shouldn’t allowing me to fork his king & queen & he resigned but I had made very hard work of that game!

Yesterday I played a good game as black in the English defence & posted it to my chess YouTube account. Here is the link: rpdatutube

Below is the embed:

Blitz rating improvement

I do know why my blitz rating is so low and it is because I am often very careless in the middlegame. So I will improve this and try & calculate better in the middlegame! This is something I have not done in the past. However I have to acknowledge that currently the middle game is my main weakness and I need to start calculating moves here better if I want to win more games. Game on!

I also need to play a bit quicker as my main play is 5 minute blitz and I have lost good game positions on time which is silly and frustrating. So hopefully I can try to get my rating back to between 1400-1600 where I want it!

Happy chess playing… :-)

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Chessboard in CSS

Posted on March 12th, 2013 by Richard

I enjoy coding chessboards in all types of programming languages eg C / C++ /C# /VisC/C++ HTML/ HTML5 and CSS.

I have done some work on creating a browser based HTML5 dragndrop chessboard and one day will revisit the folder it is in and post it here online. Googling for browser based chessboards the most popular type I find are table based chessboards and I can code these. Less common are CSS based chessboards using divs and classes. Tonight I have just made a simple CSS chessboard using the following code:

CSS Chessboard

CSS for a chessboard I made using divs & classes eg.dksq & .ltsq & div id =”row” & float:left;

<style type=”text/css”>
.dksq{

height:20px;
width:20px;
background-color:blue;
}

.ltsq{
height:20px;
width:20px;
background-color:white;
}
#cboard{
height:160px;
width:160px;
border: solid 1px;
}
#col1{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
#col2{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
#col3{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
#col4{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
#col5{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
#col6{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
#col7{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
#col8{
height:160px;
width:20px;
float: left;

}
</style>

<div id=”cboard”>

<div id=”col1″>
<div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div>
</div>
<div id=”col2″>
<div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div>
</div>
<div id=”col3″>
<div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div>
</div>
<div id=”col4″>
<div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div>
</div>
<div id=”col5″>
<div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div>
</div>
<div id=”col6″>
<div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div>
</div>
<div id=”col7″>
<div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div>
</div>
<div id=”col8″>
<div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div><div class=”dksq”></div><div class=”ltsq”></div>
</div>
</div>

ENJOY!!!

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My chess goal…

Posted on March 6th, 2013 by Richard

I am going to try & blog regularly about attaining my chess goal. What is my chess goal?
Well, very simply it is to get (& maintain) my 5 min blitz rating consistently over 1400 on FICS.
My rating right at this moment is 1201 (but in July 2010 it was at 1480). So I want to get a 200 point plus rating increase as quickly as I can.

How can I do that? Well I intend to try & do some practice games daily versus chess engines with the free software ‘Lucas’ chess and try to play at least x2 rated FICS games per day. I also own Chess Position Trainer, Fritz9 & COWPro chess software and I hope to use all this chess software to help achieve this goal. I will have to make time for training & playing each day-most likely in the mornings and evenings. I shall outline my progress here with posts about my games and comments on improving. I have had my rating in the past above 1400 but have never consistently held it there. I feel this is a fairly modest yet hopefully achievable chess goal for me to try and accomplish. Presently I can win against 1300/1400 rated players but I have played several poor games and can lose to players rated 900-1000! So I want to eradicate those poor games. I far prefer 5 min blitz play ie quick time control games to slow play chess and the internet and computer chess engines are ideal for this.

Further I have always enjoyed learning about openings and I have studied these more than mid & end game play. This has helped me but I find I am generally fine in the first 8-10 moves of games but I definitely need to improve my mid & endgame technique as I often make weak moves through the mid & end game phases.
Well, I will need to consolidate my opening knowledge and increase my mid & end game knowledge to try & achieve this aim.

Daily training:
Start-Day 1
FICS rating 1201

Example game Lucas chess (using Tarrasch Toy Engine):

This game shows Scotch opening (Mieses variation). It is my current favourite opening to the Kings pawn first move ie with 1.e4 e5. As white 1.e4 is my favourite opening as I liked the advice of Bobby Fischer who is quoted as saying “e4 is best by test”. Strangely the Scotch opening is not a Fischer opening but one played very successfully by Garry Kasparov & many years before by J H Blackburne who are also favourite GM chess players of mine. I like the Scotch as many players can be offguard with it as they maybe expecting a Ruy Lopez(Spanish) or Guicco Piano (Italian) opening after 1.e4. The Scotch is though deceptively simple to start but much harder to fully understand as it can lead to several variations that need some knowledge of & practice with before mastering! This is true of this Mieses variation which throws up some strange moves and is a good example that the Scotch can be challenging both for white and black!

I played about 6 FICS games to get my rating up but as I lost 2, drew 1 and won 3 and my rating finished at only 1205 – I finished just 4 points up from my start rating! As I don’t think the games are particularly interesting I will not post them here. I lost 1 on time which is an issue I need to address and play quicker. I beat a 1480 player who blundered his Queen & resigned. The other loss was an English defence game vs 1.d4 and I need to practice my English defence opening as black more.

Still at the end of every training day I hope to finish with a higher rating and see how quickly I can get my rating to 1400+ and keep it there! On to day 2…..

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French defence

Posted on March 4th, 2013 by Richard

Against 1.e4 I play 1…e6 and start the French defence. I have mentioned this before in my other posts and I have done a video or two with my French games and now I add a little more on the French defence.

After 1.e4 e6 the game can continue in several ways and it is useful to know something about these if you play 1.e4 e6 -the French Defence. 3 mainline French variations are Advance/Classical/Tarrasch variations and White can play other ways and commonly this might be a Kings Indian Attack with d3 or French sidelines such as the French Reti gambit & Wing gambits.

Against the French Advance Black often employs the Wade variation with Qb6. Then Black will try & play on the Queenside while White may try to play on the Kingside.

The French Exchange is just a very boring opening by White! It actually has a notable drawing record and imho is a very unimaginative way for White to play against the French. It tends to lead to very symmetrical positions and Black often remains the opening tempo down. So I always like to develop quickly and not give White any tempo with a6/h6 type moves until castled & fully developed. This openings main challenge is to look further ahead and prepare for a slow attritional game-not something I enjoy but needs to be taken seriously before one player gets too bored & makes mistakes!

Against the Classical is the Winawer with Bb4 (pinning Nc3) but White can reply with Qg5 pressurising Black’s kingside. There is a lot of theory to the Winawer (including Poisoned Pawn variation). Presently I do not play this as I have not taken up the challenge to play this very sharp opening. Instead against either Classical (Nc3) or Tarrasch I play dxe and go for either Rubinstein variation (Nd7) or I have just become aware of the Fort Knox variation with Bd7 & next Bd6 which have less theory for Black but also good chances for White.

I have played a few Fort Knox blitz games but unfortunately I do not seem to have saved any to show here.
I believe GM Neil McDonald plays this but I have only seen a video of him losing with it!(against GM D Howell). Here is a link to Melbourne Chess Club YouTube video about it:
French Fort Knox at Melbourne Chess Club
I have already had mixed results with the Fort Knox variation and I look forward to playing it a bit more and comparing it against the French Rubinstein.

Against the Kings Indian Attack? Well frankly I do not know this well enough yet to pass comment. I must start to study this more now…

As White I am playing the Advance variation myself and exploring the Milner Barry Gambit in blitz with Bd3. I have not in general had great success with it yet but it is exciting & I am learning from my mistakes and feel it is appropriate for blitz games. If Black is not careful with the “Wade” Queen(!) it can become a target & be lost with a crushing advantage to White. This is where having some ideas of what possibilities an opening gives is helpful over just choosing moves at the time over the board. Playing moves at the time over the board is fine in general but you will probably miss opportunities that are there if you know more about the opening through some prior study and preparation of it.

Anyway I hope this gives a little insight into the French defence, an opening I play and which I need to explore more. The French defence is a rich & complex opening for Black & White & I j’aime la francais! I hope you enjoy playing with & against the French too-Viva the French! :-)

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I don’t believe it!

Posted on November 15th, 2012 by Richard

Wow it appears to be just over a year since my last post here!
If blog posting was a chess game I would have lost on time ages ago! I must have been doing too many other things (I have even started a football blog following Ipswich Town FC-bet there aren’t many of those around these days! Surprisingly I have kept it regularly updated-see the sidebar for a link to it).

So what can I report on my chess front?
My chess playing has taken a step back over the last season. I played some poorish games in my club play and lost too many and sadly I felt I could get not enough support to help me improve. So I took the decision not to join the chess club for this new season. I feel I get much more enjoyment playing blitz chess online and playing chess programs on the computer as OTB in the club. Actually I haven’t played that much chess on the computer. I did treat myself to Chess Position Trainer (CPT) and started to practice with it but I have not used it in many weeks. I still would like to improve my online blitz rating and did have a good game against a 1350 player today but the game was drawn just as I was about to deliver mate! (at least I didn’t lose). I have actually been doing more chess programming recently and have started blog posts about this ( see Chess Programming page on nav/menu-EDIT-I have just noticed this page is not working fully & I will need to adjust my WordPress theme files to fix this). I have also done a couple more chess videos (see them at my Youtube video page rpdatutube).

I did play a rapidplay tournament a while ago- the Thetford RapidPlay and did better than last year with 3/6 in the Minor section. I had x2 wins x2 draws and x2 losses-consistently mediocre!

ThetfordRapidPlayChess_150912

ThetfordRapidPlayChess_150912

Finally I have recently had a good contact with another chess blogger Chris- he runs a fine chess site called Chess Musings. We have swapped links-see the link to his blog on the sidebar links.
Well of course I hope to do more regular posts on all aspects of chess here but for now happy chessing all! :-)

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Chess programming introduction

Posted on November 15th, 2012 by Richard

Chess programming is a hobby I enjoy.

I have done several code snippets in several programming languages for help with computer chess play.
I do have an ambition one day to have programmed my own chess engine.

So far I have done a java chess engine but that was with the help of ThinkQuest and used sections of premade code. My very first introduction to chess programming was writing Perl scripts to clean and parse pgn files using regexes. I learnt a little bit of Perl programming and of course it is a great language for text & data wrangling & so quite suitable for chess.
I even made a perl script that takes a pgn file and outputs music! Quite amazing what is possible to do in programming.

This week I made the start of a console chess game in C. Getting a good board representation (and with a GUI if you want good graphics) is a basic first stage in chess programming. GUI=Graphical User Interface and is a nice frame to hold the chess game and display nice images like a real chessboard in as opposed to a basic text output at the console (command shell).See screenshot below:

2 player console chess in C

2 player console chess in C

The next obstacle is to get the moves input and output & I struggled with this. It is a good, but for me, a hard learning curve and this was only for a basic console output without AI (AI=Artificial Intelligence)! Topics covered include array handling and string manipulation. Screenshot of part of the code in code editor below:

Code for chessgame in C

Code for chessgame in C

I started then to look at wrapping this all in a Windows GUI with a Win32 project in Visual C++ (MS Visual Studio) but this needs a lot more work. So there is still a lot more to be done with the chess logic and GUI programming. Great fun…..

I have also looked at chess in a web browser with JavaScript and HTML5. Hopefully I will do some posts on this later. The joys of chess are not just limited to playing but for me extend to programming too!

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