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Oct 14, 2014
Last Login
9 hrs ago
Supporting member since Dec 5, 2014

Sometime in the Sixties and Seventies
This was when I started to play chess. Familiy based only and I was no good player and not talented. Losing against my relatives was not motivating. The virus didn't get me then.

I remember a few games in the seventies against a fellow student in Hamburg. He drove me crazy scratching his beard while playing — and it made me even more sick how easily he won.  No, chess was not my thing being 21.

Rock of the Eighties
The eighties found me playing a few times in cafés. This was nice mainly because of the tons of ice cream and coffee I had. I bought a solid chess board because I started to play more.  Not successfully though. I remember how frustrated I was. Playing chess didn't produce good feelings. There were more exciting things to do for a young man in a big city.

A friend produced a deep scratch in my brandnew board when beating a piece rather aggressively.  That scratch resulting from the first game on that board still reminds me of my poor play.

Well, I was young then and in deeply involved in that rat race called work.  I was traveling like mad for business reasons and moved several times.  Chess was not on my list of important things to do.  The new chess board moved with me and got older with the years.  It was without meaning when I unpacked it in a new city. 

The chess break I took lasted longer than a quarter of a century.


November 2014

It was more a coincidence that a friend of mine and I met to play chess. As we live about an  hour away from each other we tried online chess.  The bug bit me.


I was curious if I could become a better player.


February 2015

I've learned that I need time:  I make too many blunders under pressure.
— My Tactics Trainer (TT) is a roller coaster:  Some days I am really good, on others I fail like 70 %.
— I've discovered 5 minute games (Live Chess):  It's not only fun, I feel that I can use the effects of TT.
— Results are  still poor though — due to the time pressure.
— People:  Most are quiet, don't answer in chat (I feel that a "thank you" from time to time is not a bad thing).  Many don't accept a rematch, which gives me the feeling that they take the victory and run (trying to prevent a loss in a next game).  A few were nice. :-)


It is exciting to play with people from other countries and cultures.  I often start thinking how my opponent lives.

Goals until the end of the February

a) trying to survive the first round of my first tournament
b) establishing a TT level above 1300
c) reaching a 5 minute level (Live Chess) of 900 (that's ambitious for me)


26.2.2015:  Sometimes it is really frustrating how few people respond in chat after a match.  I just gave up early in a match because I am way too tired (never should have started to play tonight) and explained that in a few words.  No reaction.  This makes me feel bad.

So much for February.


March 2015

Not many of my goals for February have been achieved.


Review: Goals until the end of February

a) The Tournament
The good news is that I am still in that tournament — mostly because I play slow. I need the time, but that is within the rules.  My goal has not been achieved though: It is questionable if I will survive the first round of my first tournament.

b) Tactics Trainer
I tried to establishing a TT level above 1300.  I was there once — but far away from that now.  So no way of using the nice expression "establishing". No, TT is really like a box of chocolates to me: I have rather good days but way more disappointing ones.

c) Playing 5|0 Blitz
I was/am there somehow — but I wouldn' call that stable: My status is above 900 most of times now. I don't feel that the curve points upwards though.  Too many days with poor results, many triggered by time problems.


Goals until the end of March

a) The Tournament
continuing: trying to survive the first round of my first tournament

b) Tactics Trainer
pushing my level closer to 1300 — and not falling under 1200

c) Playing 5|0 Blitz
— staying above 900
— getting closer to a winning rate of 50 % (was 43 % end of February)


April 2015

So what happened to my plans for March?


Review: Goals until the end of March
a) The Tournament
I am still in that tournament due to the rather slow games.

b) Tactics Trainer
I tried to push my level closer 1300 on a more constant basis.  I cannot say that I feel good regarding this goal — it was more a roller coaster than a clear upwards path.  Reaching a low of 1189 in mid march, coming from 1316 on February 28th and ending the month at 1247 it shows that my TT performance is still a mess.

c) Playing 5|0 Blitz
I am above 900 and rather stable in that area which was one of my goals.  I must admit though that I switched from 5|0 to 10|0 some time in March.  It is still Blitz but the extra minutes fit my abilities much better. My second goal was to get closer to a winning rate of 50 %.  Having 43 % at the end of February I could bring that to 45.6 % which is not bad.


Goals until the end of April

a) The Tournament
continuing: trying to survive the first round of my first tournament

b) Tactics Trainer
pushing my level closer to 1300 — and not falling under 1200 (again)

c) Playing Blitz
— attacking 950
— getting closer to a winning rate of 50 % (was 45.6 % end of March)


May 2015

Any news regarding April?


Review: Goals until the end of April
a) The Tournament
I am still in that tournament — and it looks like I will survive the first round after winning my first game against the strongest rated player.  Hey, I am a little proud of that!

b) Tactics Trainer

Nothing new here.  Frequent backdrops and approaches to 1300 are my daily business. Disappointing.

c) Playing 5|0 Blitz
Too many things to do — that is why my Blitz rating is unchanged.  I didn' play one game in April.


Goals until the end of May

aa) The Tournament (Baltic Open 2014)
No special goal here for May.  There's one last match to be played for me.  As I am not experienced at all in playing tournaments (remember: this is my first ever) I am excited to see what will follow then.

ab) A new Tournament (Average Players Slow Thinkers)
I want to play a little more than in April and Blitz is no options right now.  So I joined another tournament:
Average Players Slow Thinkers.  Sounds like perfect for me — and I hope I will not be the only average player there.  Groups of eight and only two to qualify for the next round will be a real challenge for me.

b) Tactics Trainer
I want to cross that 1300 level and stay there.  No idea how to achieve this though.

c) Playing Blitz
Not on my list for May.


June 2015
What was going on in May?


Review: Goals until the end of May
a) The Tournament
No news.  There's one last game to play for me.
b) Tactics Trainer

I entered May at a rating of 1318.  Reached my best rating so far on May 28th, only to end the month at 1274. It is the usual pattern of ups and downs.

Losing more than 100 points in three days was rather frustrating.  I could not even solve 50 % of the puzzles.  There was something going on with me.  No idea what though.

c) Playing 5|0 Blitz
No activity in May.


Goals until the end of June

aa) The Tournament (Baltic Open 2014)
It felt strange:  I didn't have to win this game to move to the next round.  How would I play under these circumstances?  Winning the second match against the strongest rated player in my group would be nice.

ab) A new Tournament (Average Players Slow Thinkers)
Some of my opponents are playing rather fast.  I didn't expect that.  All games are in the opening phase.

b) Tactics Trainer
1300 is my magic number.  How can I manage to stay above this line?

c) Playing Blitz
Not on my list for June.


July 2015

Any success stories in June?


No an yes.  I took a chess break.  Did I need that?  No idea, it just happened.  So I used all of my vacation time, thought of other things, renovated, traveled.  After rather intense months of playing chess something seemed to tell me that it was enough for the moment.  And I could learn that there is still a life without chess.


So my review for June can be skipped.  As all of my vacation time was used I got back to online chess on July 3rd.


Goals until the end of July

aa) The Tournament (Baltic Open 2014)
I am sorry for the players waiting for the next round — but there's another game running in my group.  So I am not the only slow player here …

ab) A new Tournament (Average Players Slow Thinkers)
Well, no idea.  My first TT sessions after my break tell me that
I have to get used to think chess again. Hopefully I will not make too many mistakes getting back to these games now.

b) Tactics Trainer
1300 and stable.  Stable!  Seems like impossible to reach that.

c) Playing Blitz
Not on my list for July.



August – December 2015

I did take some breaks also in documenting if my chess got better or not.  It didn't get better though — besides a nice improvement in Tactics Trainer.


What happend?

aa) My first Tournament (Baltic Open 2014)
Finally the first round could be finished.  My second game against "Muckelchen" really took a long time.  Due to my opponent's blunder I achieved a lucky victory.


In the second round I play in a group of three.  One player didn't show up, so it's just a battle between "53farmers" and me.


ab) My second Tournament (Average Players Slow Thinkers)
Mixed emotions here:  I lost one game against "joek18"
.  I performed poorly and he deserved this win.  Somehow this tournament turns out to be hard for me, maybe 10 days per move is too long (which would be against my gut feeling that I need time to come up with a good move)?


I might have missed my chance to qualify for round #2 already with this loss.  I try to take the chance and learn to deal with it and play more carefully.

ac) My third Tournament (Unofficial 1st Chess.com Long Championship)
No idea why — but I started my third tournament in November 2015.  I probably wanted to play more.  This one is based on 14 days per move and gives me lots of time.


b) Tactics Trainer
That was a surprise:  1300 and stable was my goal (as stated in July 2015).  Stable!  It is still an up and down, but the general way is more on the upside.  To be extra-honest I have no clear explanation for this.  Reaching 1450 and staying mostly around 1350 after that peak is a nice move in the right direction.


After a year at chess.com with mostly intensive playing (at least for me) and several thousand TT problems looked at I feel that not everything was in vain.  For the first time …


c) Playing Blitz
No games. I think I should start that again sometime in 2016.



January 2016 – January 2017

Well, that was a long break — not in playing chess but in documenting what happend.  I will change to the chess.com blog though to benefit from the more readable format there. --> Check it out


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