Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quiet Times

I've gotten a day off from work today so I finally have time to catch some breath.

I thought this would be a good time for some down time to continue my chess studies. I could not help but feel that my chess skills have regressed. I used to be able to do my tactics puzzle with relative ease and today, I found to my horror, that out of 7 chess puzzles, I only got 1 correct and even then, I stopped my calculation short by 4 ply moves!

Of course, being out of shape made me realise I need to put in more effort in my chess studies.

Tomorrow evening for the North Sydney Club Reserves A Club Championships, I'm facing young Thomas Zhou with the White pieces. Last week, I finally got over my fear of my opponent, Horst Bleicher who has beaten me nearly every time we met and managed to defeat him in an Open Sicilian (I was Black). So I'm now on +3-2=2 .... still an average performance so far.

Last week, my brother-in-law Steven asked me what my target was for this competition. I still have another 4 games to go till the finish line and I've not actually taken time to think of what I should aim for, maybe 5.5/11 points? Or maybe aim higher? It's interesting, because before the start of the competition, I try not to think about results and to focus on each game with as much energy as possible.

So far, I've not had that bad a result but to progress further, I really need to put in some serious study.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lumbering From One Loss To Another

Apologies for the lack of updates. So far, I've had 2 successive losses now at the North Sydney Reserves A Club Championships.

My friend even remarked to me that I look quite haggard in recent weeks, which is not surprising. This week's game against Robert Pike had me totally flat out before the game because of work.

Last week, I also got pulled aside by my boss for a talking to (he was planning to put me on report) in spite of putting in some good work in recent weeks and it's completely knocked me out of my rhythm. He doesn't want me to put in good work, he wants me to put in great work like I used to do.

As a result, I just could not concentrate over the board. Instead, I just played without calculation and that usually invites disaster.

I would like to put some "other" comments as well but I think this should be a "kid-friendly" website. :)

Anyway, up next week is Horst Bleichter and I'm playing Black.

Current results: +2-2=2

I feel like I should be continuing my chess studies but difficulties in maintaining concentration and getting the necessary motivation has been my major stumbling block.

Instead, I've spent my remaining free time, reading some old books on fiction. This week, I finished Agatha Christie's 4.50 From Paddington, James Wyndham's The Chrysalids, Richard Bachman's/Stephen King's The Running Man. With my ebook reader, I've been surprised by how fast I've been reading books of late and it's definitely brought back my love for reading. I find that reading fiction has also allowed me to take time out of any current worries and it's a great way to relax.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chicken Pox Scars

Hmm.... it's been 2 months since my first outbreak of chicken pox and my face is still punctuated with chicken pox marks (although a lot has since subsided).

My good wife has constantly encouraged me to apply whitening cream, moisturiser, toner.... etc. etc. and so far, it looks like it does help to soften the brown spots. But this week involves me trying something for a change. I'm going for a facial. I've never been to one before in my whole life. I don't know what got into me to agree to my wife's request.

So that got me thinking. When was the last time I tried something new in my chess openings?

I might be tempted to try a new opening for the next competition (too late to prepare anything for this one). Maybe I'll learn to play the Jaenisch Gambit of the Spanish or the Grob.... hehehe.

Strangely, tonight, right now I'm feeling a bit sick while waiting for the tournament to start in an hour's time as I'm blogging this. And for some odd reason, I've not been fully satisfied with my chess performance so far.

My opponent tonight is Stephen Javor who's rated some 50 points above me. I hope he finishes me quickly because I don't like long grinding games. I really want to go home early and sleep (due to me overexerting myself in the gym earlier in the day) and I'm flat out tired. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Formal Complaint Officially Sent To ICGA About Rybka

Something just hit the fan and it's not pretty.

I had been quiety monitoring the Talk Chess forums for sometime now and the it appears that the dam has finally broken.


The creator of Fruit, Fabien Letouzey has filed an official complaint to ICGA complaining that Rybka has taken code from Fruit in direct violation of the GPL. Instead of reproducing the letter, I've provided the link to it. You can see it here from ChessVibes .

I had originally heard about it on the grapevine and was waiting for some official confirmation but it looks like ChessVibes was the first to report it.

What has given enormous weight is the list of whos-who of programmers who put their names on the letter. To those who are unfamiliar with the names, allow me to give a quick blurb for all of them.

Fabien Letouzey - creator of Fruit
Zach Wegner - co-developed Rondo
Mark Uniacke - creator of HIARCS
Stefan Meyer-Kahlen - developer of Shredder
Ed Schröder - creator of Rebel
Don Dailey - a computer chess engine developer since the 90s
Christophe Theron - programmer of Tiger
Richard Pijl - programmer of The Baron
Amir Ban - co-author of Junior
Anthony Cozzie - author of Zappa
Tord Romstad - needs no introduction
Ralf Schäfer - author of Spike
Gerd Isenberg - author of IsiChess and HansDamf
Johannes Zwanzger - author of Jonny

This is a very serious charge. Make no mistake, these are highly respected computer chess programmers with years of experience under their belts and when you get these many people putting their names directly accusing Vasik Rajlich (owner of the hugely successful Rybka) of violating the GPL and using code from Fruit, you can be sure that this will cause a major shakeup.

What now remains to be seen is how David Levy, Jaap van den Herik and the ICGA Board will respond to this serious charge.