Lichess4545 Ledger 002

Lichess4545 Ledger

Issue #002 - October 3, 2016

State of the League

Week one started with a lot of anticipation. First of all, welcome to all the new members who joined the ranks of the lichess4545 community. Secondly, all of us, new and old, are using the league website for the first time to keep abreast of all league information. Long gone are the dreaded spreadsheets! Third, we welcome some really strong players. This appears to be our strongest season yet! Board 1 and 2 are especially strong.

Here's some graphical representation of the rating distribution of season 5 in comparison to season 4: Thanks @dkillian for the following figures.

Standings update: After a great start to the season we see The Littlest Pawn Shop tied with 9 other teams but atop the rankings with the most game points.‚Äč

This biggest news from the past week has probably been the youtuber review for Season 4. This time IM Alex Astaneh did a livestream on Twitch covering the selected games from Season 4 and spent a great deal of time analyzing the selected games. Thanks to to the folks who help put it together, to everyone who donated to cover the cost. VOD is on his twitch channel as well as on his Youtube. Update: Link to playlist of all 6 games!

Thanks to all who are participating. Great week 1 everyone!

Stats from Week 1

Disclaimer: All info accurate to the best of our ability. However, since games occur up until the time the ledger is released, we may have missed something.

  • Biggest upset: MrTwoEyes 2179 beats NM Unicornz 2404 (225 point difference) Gamelink
  • Lowest ACPL game: TIED 6 ACPL by 2 players
    • dakillian in his win against Festivus Gamelink
    • mayisafterapril in his win against plasmacat Gamelink
  • Lowest combined ACPL game: TIED 2 games with 16 combined ACPL
  • Highest ACPL game: 71 ACPL JuanSnow in loss to KSops Gamelink
  • Highest combined ACPL game: 119 combined ACPL  dkillian vs Toperoco Gamelink
  • Longest game: TIED. Both reached move 71
  • Shortest game: Only reached move 15. llimllib vs thephobia Gamelink
  • Quickest mate: Mate on move 29 by CarlosMagnussen against dose7781 Gamelink

Chess For You

An interview with @Atrophied

Interviewer: tnan123 on Sept 21, 2016

The ledger is about building community. To that end, why not get to know a bit more about one of our members. Who better than Atrophied? I can't think of a better representative. He's among the few members who has participated in every season of lichess4545 and is perennially one of our strongest players. He even posts his 4545 and lonewolf games from time to time on his youtube channel. Our resident crazyhouse aficionado graciously accepted my invitation for this interview. We cover some big chess ambitions, chess training, and the fascinating world of crazyhouse chess. We also talk a bit about his youtube channel, lichess4545 and his hobbies.

Personal Chess Journey and Training

Thanks a lot for granting me this interview! Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started with chess?

Thanks for having me, as well! My father taught me chess when I was a young child, but he was very much a casual player. He even thought stalemate was a win for the side with more material, which I didn't realize was untrue until I joined my middle school's chess club and started playing against more serious opponents.

Nice, how old were you when you first learned?

I don't remember my exact age, maybe around six years old.

So you only got into chess in a scholastic sense in middle school? Were you doing tournaments as a child?

Right, in middle school I joined the chess team and by the last year (8th grade) I was the strongest player. Before joining the team I hadn't played in any tournaments. After joining the team I played in local tournaments and then eventually started to travel to national scholastic tournaments. I was also fortunate that my county had a larger "team" of sorts, which had much stronger players than the ones at my school. Some 2000+ USCF scholastic players and such.

Has chess and competitive chess always been a part of your life or were there periods where you took a break from it?

I played competitively in high school and my first year of college, but after that I took a long break from tournament chess. My scholastic chess friends went to different schools and although we kept in touch online I didn't enjoy going to tournaments alone nearly as much. I was also starting to get more into bughouse than chess in high school.

Earlier this year (March 2016) you posted a youtube video in which you set for yourself a very ambitious goal - to reach the FM title by the end of this year. This ambitious goal would require you to gain about 500 rating points in about 8 months. Tell me a little more about that?

Yeah, that was very ambitious. I wasn't expecting to achieve it but I like to set ambitious goals (which can backfire). Earlier this year I decided to start preparing for the Chicago Open, where I played the U1900 section. Things started off well; I tied for first in the U1900 section despite dropping draws in the last two rounds. I gained approximately100 rating points from that, but then I took a break from studying and my next tournament didn't go as well. After that tournament I never really got back into studying chess with the same intensity as I did in March/April/May. During those months I was studying several hours per day.

At this point I'd say it's fairly impossible for me to reach FM by the end of the year but hopefully I'll at least reach Expert (2000 USCF). I ended up taking a break from playing IRL to give more attention to crazyhouse but I'm planning to get back into studying and playing chess now.

How did you tweak your chess training early this year to try to achieve that goal? Did you work specifically on openings, tactics etc?

I split my training time into three activities: openings, tactics, and playing games. I hadn't studied any openings before, so I was starting from scratch. I basically memorized an old edition of Chess Openings for White, Explained by using Chessable. I didn't finish my black repertoire completely, but I was starting to memorize some books on the Sveshnikov Sicilian and looked over a little theory in the Lennigrad Dutch. For tactics I just tried to spend an hour on ChessTempo per day, alternating between standard and blitz modes. Playing games was IRL with friends, 15 minute games on ICC, and the league games.

I also spent a little time on strategy and endgames, but if I could do things over again I would spend way less time on openings and more on endgames or strategy.

Well, that training seemed to do you pretty good based on your good result at the Chicago Open U1900. Any comments on that tournament?

I made a YouTube playlist about it, although I still need to analyze the last two games. I had a really strong start (5/5) but the second day didn't go very well. Especially the last round, in which I was lost out of the opening and had to fight for some counterplay.

Any favorite chess players/heroes?

I haven't studied Grandmaster games so it's hard to pick a favorite player based on style, since I only know famous players by the reputations they already have. As a child I always enjoyed stories about Tal because I wanted to be a tactical player.

Ah, so maybe hard for you to pick a favorite game as well?

Yes, though a few come to mind: Short's king walk is especially beautiful, the Marshall game with Qg3! (a tactic that was mind-blowing as a scholastic player), and the Evergreen and Immortal games are all ones I remember.

Crazyhouse and Streaming/Youtube

Lets talk about crazyhouse and youtube/streaming.

Oh good, something I'm actually an expert in. cheeky

I think you're best known for crazyhouse. What is it about that variant that attracts you?

The tactics. Tactics are my biggest chess strength (I'm approximately 2250 ChessTempo which I think is unusual for my USCF rating), and crazyhouse places a far higher importance on tactics than chess does. Endgames are one of my chess weaknesses and they don't exist in crazyhouse. Really everything about crazyhouse seems to favor my strengths, even the fact that it's usually played at shorter time controls. So it was probably a cycle of positive reinforcement: I tried the game, found I had a better aptitude for it than I did for chess, started to enjoy playing it more than chess as a result, and that shift in focus only increased the difference in my respective skill levels for the two games.

How would you suggest a club player learn/get into crazyhouse? There's definitely not a lot of resources compared to standard chess.

I'd plug my YouTube channel; I started off by making some videos aimed at chess players who didn't know even the rules of crazyhouse. There's also a /r/crazyhouse subreddit and JannLee's YouTube channel is great for more experienced crazyhouse players.

Atrophied's Intro to Crazyhouse

Is that why you decided to start posting youtube videos/ streaming? To highlight crazyhouse? Talk to me a bit more about that decision.

I didn't even realize chess videos/streaming was a "thing" until my friend showed me Fins's YouTube channel. I started watching his videos religiously and eventually ended up watching chessbrah's Twitch channel as well. I thought it was really cool, but there was a lot of saturation. I didn't feel like I had anything to offer as an untitled player; I don't consider myself especially entertaining. But when lichess added crazyhouse I realized that I could offer something to people in that game because there were so few resources available. At the time I think I was the only person making videos and streaming primarily crazyhouse content. Now there's JannLee channel also, which is great -- it's really cool to see the top player streaming.

Agreed! Now that your channel is somewhat established any future plans or projects for it?

Yeah, I think I'd like to focus more on the instructional content. When I started the channel I tried to release videos daily, and at the height of my studying I was putting out a few videos per day. That schedule became hard to keep up with though, and eventually I started posting mostly live commentary of arenas because I didn't have time to make daily videos of any other type. Now that I'm getting back into studying, I think I'll continue to post recordings of my training games/sessions as a kind of vlog of my progress, but I want to play fewer arenas and work on continuing some of the playlists I've made (like the Chicago Open and Tactical Motifs playlists).


Have you participated in slow online chess leagues elsewhere?

Yes, actually I wanted to talk about this. I've played in the equivalent 45+45 leagues on both FICS and ICC, but I like the lichess league the best. In the FICS or ICC leagues, if you're lucky, you get a team with a channel on the server or a forum and feel some camaraderie through that. If not then you never really talk to your teammates, or at least I didn't. Slack sets this league apart in my opinion, I feel like I interact with my team more in any one season than I interacted with my teammates from other servers in all the seasons I played there combined. Supporting both asynchronous and synchronous communication is a huge advantage over using a channel on the server.

Why do you participate in slow online chess in the first place?

Originally for fun, but after the first season I started trying to treat every game as a serious training game and use the league for practice, especially since I wasn't playing IRL.

Any ideas for improvement for lichess4545?

I can't be sure it would be an improvement, but I'd be interested in exploring the idea of creating sections based on rating or otherwise making it easier for teams to stay together from season to season. I think that would develop the sense of camaraderie even further. @chesster and the website are great additions. There's additional functionality that could be built into them, but I'm sure there are already plans for that.

Outside of Chess

What are some hobbies and interests outside of chess?

I've dabbled in poker, Magic the Gathering, cybersecurity, running, bouldering, and video games. Currently I'm only doing bouldering and running, but both fairly seriously -- running every day and bouldering 3-4 times per week. I consume the usual media: music, books, and series, if that counts as a hobby.

Very cool! Give me some book/movies/tv series recommendations since you mentioned that!

Currently I'm reading The Count of Monte Cristo, which is my favorite book. I have trouble picking favorites for movies/series. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia would definitely be a strong contender. Lost in Translation is a movie I'm planning to re-watch soon.

Favorite dish and favorite drink?

Ramen, though that's a bit of a cheating answer since there are so many different styles. Water for a drink, or if I ignored nutritional value then a chocolate milkshake.

Interesting answer

Two months ago I started trying to eat healthier, I think it's working well.

OK, a hard question, I know, but what are/list 3 things you'd take to a desert island?

It depends on the constraints (Am I stuck there? Can I only take things I own?).

Lets say yes and yes.

If there's a possibility of rescue I'd take my phone and hope to have coverage. I don't own much survival equipment, a bow and a tent are the most useful things that come to mind.

You're having a dinner party. Invite a few people dead or alive.

I'd probably invite Jesus, could settle the debate about him. Maybe some top chess players and try to get them to play bughouse with me -- I'd love to see how I stacked up. Maybe also Alexandre Dumas, or other people famous for their works of art.

Any predictions about the upcoming world chess championship between Magnus and Karjakin?

I think Magnus has to be the favorite. I wish Caruana had pulled it out though, could have been great for the American chess scene.

Okay last question: tell me a chess secret or a really important lesson you learned from chess.

Saved the toughest question for last, eh? Hmm...

I think playing chess has made me realize how large of a role pattern-recognition plays in other fields. I'm studying cybersecurity and the process of identifying and exploiting technical vulnerabilities is a lot like solving chess tactics. You learn a set of motifs and then have to recognize when you can apply them. I suspect it's similar in mathematics and other technical fields, though I can't claim to have studied those at an advanced level.

Anything else you wanna mention?

I'd like to shamelessly promote my YouTube channel. I also finally got around to completing my coach profile on lichess. Also thanks for interviewing me, this was fun!


Thanks for the honest and insightful responses. Atrophied, best of luck in your continued chess pursuits. I encourage you to check out Atrophied at his Youtube channel and at his coach profile at lichess.

Chess Puzzle

Here's a good tactic from a board 5 matchup during Round 1: gambytes vs Philgood84. White just played Qd2. What can black do to take advantage of that queen position. Unfortunately this was missed by black during the game and they eventually went on to lose.

For the answer see gamelink: (Spoiler) I recommend trying to solve on your own!  Gamelink


Thanks to @petruchio and @lakinwecker for editing.

Creative Commons License

Lichess4545 Ledger #002 ©2016 by Thienan Nguyen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Credit to Dan Killian for the figures.

An Interview with @Atrophied ©2016 by Thienan Nguyen and Nikolas Theiss is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.