It’s been 5 years since my last rated game. I only play lightning or blitz occasionally on chess.com and lichess.org nowadays.
(And I STILL cannot consistently spell “occasionally” correctly the first time).
On days that I feel particularly sharp or dull, my chess performance seems to reflect it. So on days when I’m just not sure about how well the brain will function that day, I play a few games to figure it out.
Of course, this method does have some problems:
1. Do I selectively remember those days which support this hypothesis?
2. Did I control for the strength of my opponents?
3. Is my sample size even big enough?
4. [Other stuff I’m not thinking of]
Naturally, the answers for 1-3 are probably “yes”, “no” and “no”, but the hypothesis sounds good enough to me.
OK. So, there’s this guy Jay Love. He made a YouTube channel to show off his chess exploits…except he isn’t very good. (Imagine watching a couple of your friends who know the rules and not much else. You wince in agony* as you notice pieces being left en prise all the time. That’s pretty much what you’re getting on his channel.)
I also love how he keeps track of the pieces lost count as if it’s a sports score (“He came down and took my Rook, so he’s up 7 – 2 now!”).
But I’ll give him props for attitude and swagger. And who knows; maybe he’ll study up and become good enough someday to make me eat my words.
* In full acknowledgement that players Expert level and higher wince at my games.
In Western chess, we have accepted that computers outplay humans, full stop. (Some might say we’ve resigned themselves to this fact. Please hold your applause; I’ll be here all week!)
Shogi (Japanese chess) is quite a different beast. Western chess revolves heavily around material balance. If you’re down a Pawn, you’re expected to have a significant advantage in time or position. Being down a Knight, or even two Pawns is hopeless in a typical position. In Shogi, material is not as pressing. In fact, unlike chess, if you’re down in material, you probably want to exchange pieces.
That’s because of the coolest feature of Shogi…piece drops. In Western chess, a captured piece is out for good. In Shogi, when you capture a piece, it can be returned to the board under your control, with few limits. There are many more opportunities for positional exchanges of pieces.
With regards to the computer, dropping pieces greatly expands the number of possible moves, reducing the effectiveness of brute force searches. The board is always full, so there is no “endgame” with just few pieces. In Western chess, computers can use endgame tablebases to play positions with few remaining pieces perfectly…if they even have to play that far.
For those of you who follow chess, you knew the world chess championship is being held. But looking around the web, it doesn’t feel like a major or exciting event. (Granted, the first 6 games have been draws, many not that interesting. So maybe it’s just truth in advertising.)
Take a look at some major chess sites:
Chess.com. The headline event is some blitz event. Sure they want promote it, but could there be at least some sort of link or…something…to world championship coverage?
USChess.org. For some reason, the US Championships are being held at the same time as the World Championship. There must have been some sort of logic to this, but I’m still trying to figure it out. World Championship coverage is in the rotating headline…at number 8.
FIDE: The World Championship is being held by FIDE. At least it’s easy to find a link. But the page linked to is so bland…it should go to the main championship page, which at least has a video and tries to appear interesting.
Could you imagine ESPN or Fox Sports with such understated coverage of the World Series? Heck, no. During the event, you’ll have a huge headline right in the middle of the page with what’s going on. There will be major buildup leading up to the event with all sorts of analysis.
With web coverage so vital, the chess world needs to make important events look important. Team Liquid (for Starcraft coverage) can do it, why can’t chess?
For my 3 or 4 readers who have played Starcraft. The meld between Starcraft and chess was strong in this one (in a sense).
The premise of this video is that one of the casters is playing a team game with a random stranger. The other caster gives the player some ridiculous restriction, often leading to fail and hilarity.
For you chess players, imagine playing bughouse. Except your friend can tell you something like “You can’t advance your pawns past the fourth rank” or “Your Knights can’t capture anything”. Plus your teammate is not aware of how you’ve been handicapped.