Friday, December 23, 2005

My Chess Goals For 2006

As the new year approaches it is time for me to be thinking about my new year's resolutions. I like to review my goals for the year that is ending and see which ones I met and which ones I missed. I lost my list of chess goals for 2005 when my former chess blog got messed up by my hosting company. So, I will have to go from memory as to what the goals were and whether or not I met them.

I have several chess ratings. I have 3 with the US Chess Federation (USCF). They are: Regular Over The Board (OTB) rating - 1512 (That rating will drop to 1500 because I lost all 3 games that I played in my last tournament.); Quick Chess - 1646; and Correspondence - 1893. My goal for this year was to win an Under 1600 class prize and then get my rating over 1600. I had no goal for my quick chess or correspondence ratings. I failed to meet my OTB rating and prize goals for 2005.

I also have a rating at Stan's NetChess. That is a provisional rating of 2143 - P24. I'm not sure how many games I have to play to get an established rating. My goal for 2005 was to get that rating over 2200 and I failed. So, my goal for 2006 is to get that rating over 2200 and get an established rating.

I also have some ratings at the Internet Chess Club (ICC). Below is a table that summarizes my ratings and games played so far. The number of games needed to get an established rating and my highest rating are also listed. My ICC handle is OnGoldenPawn.

Statistics for OnGoldenPawn

rating [need] win loss draw total best
Blitz 1394 [8] 14 28 6 48 1441 (13-Mar-2005)
Standard 1555 [4] 56 64 18 138 1674 (03-Jul-2004)
5-minute 851 [8] 1 2 0 3
Correspondence 1682 2 2 1 5

My goal for 2005 was to get my Standard rating back over 1600 and I failed. My goals for 2006 are: get my Standard rating back over 1600; Get my Blitz rating over 1500; get my 5-minute rating over 1000; and to get my Correspondence rating over 1700.

The problems that I am having with Blitz and 5-minute have to do with the fast time limit. If I take about 5 seconds per move I blunder and lose. If I take the time needed to find good moves, or avoid bad ones, then I lose on time. I have lost several games on time when I was winning on the board. I seldom win on time forfeit. Somehow, I need to be able to find good moves very quickly or I will never get my Blitz and 5-minute ratings over 1600!

How do I plan to reach my goals? I can start by studying and practicing. I didn't do enough of either in 2005. I have chess books and get Chess Life magazine. I need to read them. I cannot afford lessons from a master or even a class A player. I do know a class A player that lives near me. Maybe I can get some practice with him. I'm also thinking of buying and watching the chess DVDs by Grandmaster Roman Dzhindzhichasvili. They seem reasonably priced so I just have to work them into my budget.

I'm not sure how I'm going to overcome the problem I have with fatigue. I'm already taking expensive multivitamin and mineral supplements, as well as herbal supplements. I'm also working out at the YMCA 2 to 3 times a week. I also need to work on my patience. I sometimes get impatient, and even bored, when I'm not winning outright. Sometimes I get positions in which I have trouble finding a decent plan. At other times I just move too quickly and blunder. These are all times when I need to take a few extra minutes to look at the board and consider my best moves as well as all of my opponent's possible replies.

In about 6 months I plan to do a review and update on these goals to see how I am progressing toward the goals posted here today.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Mike Serovey's Chess Tournament Results This Year

So far in 2005 I have played in only two USCF rated events. Both were tornados at the ST. Petersburg Chess Club in St. Petersburg, Florida. Both were 4 round swiss system events with a time control of game in 60 minutes. Using digital clocks with a 5 second delay it was game in 55 minutes.

In the event I played on July 30, 2005 I won my first round against Nolan J. Denson, rated 1947. After that I lost to Michael A. Sperber, rated 1718 and to Remo Navales rated 1940. In the last round I drew Eric Lang, rated 1516. Later on I will post these games to my chess site located at This tournament shows my lack of consistency that I have had for several years. I beat a 1900 in this tournament and then lose to a 1400 in the next one!

In the event that I played on December 10, 2005 I lost all three games I played and got a bye in the last round. I lost to a 1700, a 1500 and a 1400 before getting my bye. That will bring my rating back down to 1500 even. I cannot go below 1500 because the USCF has a rule that puts a rating floor on players to prevent sand bagging. My highest ever regular USCF rating was 1793 so my floor is 1500. I will eventually post those games, too, as I believe them to be instructive.

For those who don't know what sand bagging is, it is deliberately losing games in order to keep your rating from going over a certain point. For example, a player will win the under 1600 prize in a tournament and it will be $400. Then, a week or two later he will enter a smaller tournament with small prizes and a low entry fee and deliberately lose two or three games to keep his rating from going over 1600 points. That way he can continue to win the bigger under 1600 prizes. However, once a player has won a class prize of $1,000 or more then that player is no longer eligible to win prizes in that class. I really wonder how that rule is enforced!