Friday, 29 August 2008

Hack Attack

An amusing quickplay game that I played last night against Wood Green.

After the game, Opponent and I believed that 17 ... bxc3? was just losing. The computer, though, is reluctant to confirm this - not, as I'd initially thought, because it is too stupid to understand the white attack but rather because it sees some black resources that had completely escaped us. The win is, at the very least, harder than we'd realised. Over-keen readers might want to try and figure out what is really going on.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008 Chess Party Invitation!

All Barnet chess club members are invited, and viewers of the website!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Playing away

Over at the Streatham & Brixton blog, Tom has been running a series of How To Improve type posts. I'm a bit slow off the mark, but a couple of them caught my eye, for differing reasons.

The first was his recommendation to practise with a real board, setting up conditions to be as similar to tournament play as you can manage. I expect it's good advice; if nothing else it sounds like awfully hard work and I've a nasty feeling that this is the main thing that's required if you're serious about improving. What it reminded me of, though, was a match a year or two ago over at Wanstead (I think). I was playing a board or two below fellow-blogger kingscrusher, who had presumably been spending rather too much time playing online. Half an hour or so in he takes me to one side and says something like: "Dave, this over the board stuff, I'm finding it a bit unfamiliar. The thing is, it's very... it's very realistic isn't it?". Well, it made me laugh.

The other was his more recent discussion of statistics. Now, I'm not sure that I set all that much store in a statistical analysis of my own results, principally because I've only played 44 games in the last two years and I very much doubt that this is enough to provide a statistically significant result for any interesting question. Still, if you like that sort of thing (and I do) then it's a fun game to play.

So, having sliced and diced the numbers as many ways as I could think of, I've so far only found one conspicuous discrepancy - which is that for both of the last two seasons my results have been 20-25 ECF points better in away matches than in home matches.

In a way, I'd love to believe that this was meaningful. I could come up with all sorts of ways to improve my performance on the back of this information - perhaps I should try to kid myself that I was at an away match by always travelling to Barnet via Watford, or maybe I ought to refuse point blank to help with setting up the tables and boards when we are at home. Wouldn't it be marvellous if I could really gain those 20 points, just like that?

Sadly, though, I'm pretty sure that this is just a statistical oddity; so I'm stuck with having to work harder if I want to get better. Shucks.