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My Chess Blog

FICS Server problems

Posted on August 3rd, 2014 by Richard

Presently I play most of my chess online at FICS as 5 minute blitz games which I generally enjoy.

There is a problem though I face regularly with this and this is when the FICS server loses connection to my computer. I play with Babas Chess GUI interface and there is no way to know the FICS server has lost connection except that the opponent is making no move!

This is a pain as FICS has a policy of forfeit games if a player manually disconnects from the server. So very often I find myself waiting for a reconnection to the FICS sever that never comes and I am forced to either disconnect via the Babas Chess menu and try and reconnect or just close the Babas Chess program and restart. Usually I will also need to reboot my computer as the problem can be persistent.

Often I lose rating points and the whole business is a frustrating waste of time for me and my opponent.
I wish there was a way for FICS to recognise when the FICS chess server stops of it’s own accord rather than being manually stopped deliberately by myself or any player for whatever reason!

FICS lost server connection

FICS lost server connection-example 1

The above screenshot shows this lost connection to FICS in Babas Chess with the opponent’s time showing as negative! Below is another example and this can happen repeatedly when I try and play FICS chess!

FICS no play connection  example 2

FICS no play connection lost_minus 30 secs_030814 example 2

(NB to see the screenshots larger click on the images and use the browser zoom function {often ctrl+} to enlarge).

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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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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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