Lichess4545 Ledger 030
Issue #030 - June 27, 2017
State of the League
We are already onto round 3 and have 5 teams tied for first with Sac-o-holics leading the pack on tiebreaks thanks to a dominant 5.5-0.5 win in round 2. This past week also saw more action in the other side leagues under the Lichess4545 umbrella including #blitz-battle and #ladder. See below for more info.
ChessLeagueTV now has a somewhat consistent schedule: Join @quirked and select cohosts: on the following dates
- Monday - Openings and Endings
- Wednesday/Thursday - Bottom Board Bonanza
- Saturday/Sunday - 4545 League Coverage
Quick updates on the other leagues
- Round 10 of Lonewolf starts this week. The penultimate round will set up the battle for the top spots in Lonewolf #7! Exciting!!
- Competition is still going strong in #ladder! Many new faces have joined! For new members check out #ladder on slack.
- #Blitz-battle: Returned from it's hiatus this past weekend with 14 participants. IM Lovlas took first place in Blitz-battle #15 See standings here.
Notable Lichess4545 community member video/contributions:
ChessLeagueTV had a full week of streams. Check out the VODs. Learn more on the f3 Nimzo. Check out live commentary on @glbert vs @cptkirchoff and @revoof vs @chennis
Quirked is joined by @somethingpretentious to cover @GetAGripWhitby vs @matt_p_14 and @mingpro vs @LeoLegend. He also streams the blitz-battle
TonyRo live recorded his 4545 game with ErinYu. Instructive and entertaining as always. Video includes a bit of how Tony prepped for the game and quick post-game analysis.
@god666 has been in the chess youtube game for a bit and has made a few videos of his games in both Lonewolf and 45+45 (4 in the past week!). Check out his channel for both English and French content! It's also very instructive!
@archone returns with a weekly annotated game. @Delpire vs @archone
@kferapont has put out 2 more great blog posts. For fans of the Spanish, Paul Keres, and/or old chess books check out How I Started Playing the Spanish. For fans of chess exercises, check out Four Exercises From Polgar's Chess Middlegames (with detailed Lichess studies included!!).
Thanks to @somethingpretentious for his work to automate the process of coming up with these stats. It is much appreciated!
Stats for Round 2 of Team (45+45):
- Biggest upset: 164 point difference kido25 1679 against ChukoDiman 1843 Gamelink
- Lowest ACPL game: 3 ACPL hetraie against Rakpyrogravas Gamelink
- Lowest combined ACPL game: 7 combined ACPL Rakpyrogravas vs hetraie Gamelink
- Highest ACPL game: 118 ACPL elusiveness in loss to Petruchio Gamelink
- Highest combined ACPL game: 200 combined ACPL Injektilo vs j7barbs Gamelink
- Longest game: Reached move 83 badplayer_CM vs KFerapont Gamelink
- Quickest mate: Mate on move 24 B_Sharp against spuntachessTs Gamelink
- Fastest draw: Ends on move 25 Seb32 vs dahdah Gamelink
- Fastest resign: Resignation on move 11 by geekymofo against Saschlars Gamelink
- Longest think: 22 minutes 52.0 seconds on move 25 by JuanSnow against dose7781 Gamelink
- Most time left: 57 minutes 41.0 seconds JulianProleiko in win vs hicetnunc Gamelink
- Most time spent: 99 minutes 28.0 seconds badplayer_CM in win vs KFerapont Gamelink
Stats for Round 9 of Lonewolf:
- Biggest upset: 228 point difference bobwooster 1946 against Malamutt 2174 Gamelink
- Lowest ACPL game: 2 ACPL by lakinwecker against Romelofeu Gamelink
- Lowest combined ACPL game: TIE 20 combined ACPL
- Highest ACPL game: 262 ACPL Arteme in loss to gloup Gamelink
- Highest combined ACPL game: 267 combined ACPL Arteme vs gloup Gamelink
- Longest game: Reached move 61 jg777 vs badplayer_CM Gamelink
- Quickest mate: Mate on move 36 by Cubra against DeoFavente Gamelink
- Fastest draw: Ends on move 23 chess4life vs Little_Dead_Bertha Gamelink
- Fastest resign: Resignation on move 4 by Arteme against gloup Gamelink
- Longest think: 14 minutes 33.0 seconds on move 14 by ep14n05t against leinax Gamelink
- Most time left: 37 minutes 57.0 seconds by david-innes against Napoleon_Solo Gamelink
- Most time spent: 56 minutes 42.0 seconds jg777 in draw against badplayer_CM Gamelink
Finally as always feel free to join #lichessledger on Slack if you want to help or contribute in any way to this newsletter.
Chess For You
Quirked has been a player in 45+45 for multiple seasons, but is taking a break from playing in 45+45 this season. Nevertheless, he has been a very active community member as the host of ChessLeagueTV. After the previous co-hosts left, it seemed that the small ChessLeagueTV venture would join the pile of short-lived chess projects. However, thanks to the enthusiasm of @quirked who had hosted a few streams for 45+45 members in the past (to study some Silman material) ChessLeagueTV is back for season 8!
Quirked is a fantastic OTB player who recently made expert (greater than 2000 USCF) and recently tied for first in the New York International U2000 section. So now, let's get to know a long time 45+45 member and our ChessLeagueTV host a bit better!
Glad that you've taken the time for this interview. How about you start with a short introduction of yourself for the Ledger readers?
Hey! I'm quirked, and I've been playing chess seriously for about 2 years now. I currently run ChessLeagueTV and play OTB at the Marshall Chess Club quite a bit.
When did you first learn chess?
I first learned when I was probably around 5, I would play with my Dad and my brother, but nothing very serious, just for fun.
DId you ever compete as a youngester in scholastic tournaments?
No, I actually played my first USCF tournament approximately 1 year ago, at the age of 23.
So what got you back into chess and why did it take so long?
I started playing again at my university chess club, which was a lot of fun. Good group of people, lots of nights staying up til midnight playing bughouse, and it really renewed my love for the game.
Would you say that you picked it up quickly?
Yeah, I think there were a lot of factors that led to me being able to improve quickly. I already knew the game and basic strategy and tactics, so my initial rating was 1600 USCF. I've been very fortunate in that I only have to work around 15 hours a week, which gives me a ton of time to study and play chess, I had a wonderful coach, and I have a lot of resources nearby in a number of high quality chess clubs.
How did you go about learning the game once your passion for chess was re-ignited?
For me it's really been about tactics, which I know is so cliché , but all clichés have some truth in them. Strategically, I've always been very sound, but I blunder A LOT, so most of my journey has just been eliminating blunders. Also, my coach was very helpful in shaping my opening repertoire, which leads me to get good positions in most of my games.
Would you mind sharing who your coach was?
Matan Prilleltensky, he's a strong NM and a well known coach in the NYC area.
Why did you decide to go with a coach in the first place? Were you struggling on your own first, or was it an early part of your getting back to chess?
Hmm, that's a good question. I think shortly after I started playing in tournaments I realised I really wanted to make master, and having a coach is a large part of that in my opinion. Me personally, I always have a strong desire to be very good at what I do. It's difficult for me to take something on as a hobby without wanting to excel at it.
That makes a lot of sense. Are you still with the same coach?
No, when I hit 2000 we both agreed I should find someone stronger, likely a GM. Still in the market for a new one!
OTB Tournament Chess and Chess in New York
Well good luck in your search! Can you talk about any early tournament experiences you'd like to share? Any fun stories from OTB experiences?
OTB is a ton of fun and I recommend it for anyone. There's nothing to be scared of! My 2nd ever tournament game I hung a knight on move 9 and ended up drawing the game. Also, if you join a club you get to see a lot of the same people every week. There's a bunch of old guys at the Marshall that I know really well and I really enjoy talking to and analyzing with. There's a master that I love talking to because he has funny ways of talking about chess, like he calls developing pieces "giving them a job" and pinning a knight "putting glue on the knight". Most people are fun to talk to, and I have only had positive experiences.
How do you find the Marshall as a chess club? Is it your "local" club or do you travel a bit to play chess there?
It's about 45 minutes by metro, so as close as anything else is in New York City. I enjoy the Marshall as it has a very active tournament scene, and if you wanted to you could probably play USCF rated chess there 6 nights a week. Not a lot of casual play, but if you make friends with the old guys they are usually there an hour or so before the tournaments start to chat about chess.
Also, I should mention my chess nemesis. One of the older guys, his name is Wesley, I kept getting paired against him. I've played him probably 8 times by now, and the first 4 or 5 times he played me I horribly blundered. But now I can hold my own against him, he's almost like a measuring stick to see how I've improved.
It's great that the Marshall is so active that you have developed a nemesis lol. Can you talk about the chess scene in NY more broadly?
I know there is an incredibly active scholastic scene in NYC. Most public and private schools have teams, and NYC is home to the Success Academy charter schools, which puts a very strong emphasis on chess. As far as more casual chess in NYC, the hustlers in Washington Square and Union Square are somewhat notorious, and they're good for some quick fun if you have some money to spend. Also, in the summer, you can play chess in Bryant Park, some quite strong players play are there. Other than the Marshall, I know there is a club way out in Queens that sometimes a friend plays at, although I think it is quite small. Also, any tournament you enter at the chess club is littered with junior players, and some are super strong. I've lost twice to an 8 year old who is rated 2050.
Wow! I'm sure being in such a chess scene has definitely helped you with your chess. You've already made expert and recently tied for 1st in the New York International U2200. Can you talk about making expert first and your recent tournament success? Perhaps you can touch upon the recent experience from the NY International U2200.
Honestly, making expert came as a complete shock to me. I was rated 1930 and I had an absolutely massive tournament where I scored 4/6, drawing a master, beating 2 masters, and drawing IM Jay Bonin. So my rating leapt straight from 1930 to around 2020. It might sound silly, but I get really motivated by seeing people who I think are bad players on a higher board than me. If there's someone whose play I don't think highly of on like board 2, it lights a fire in me.
As far as the New York International, it's incredibly exhausting. Playing 2 4+ hour games a day for 3 days straight really takes a toll on you. I was fairly fortunate with my pairings, but had some nice wins and managed luckily to coast into a tie for first with 5.5/7, which felt great. So much of my recent success has to do with me not dropping pieces randomly any more (which happened with frightening regularity before!).
Do you have tournaments planned for the rest of 2017?
No, not really. I'm considering jumping into the World Open in Philly that's coming up, but that would be quite expensive, so I'll likely skip. I get Continental Chess updates, so I should look into what's coming up. I've never traveled for a chess tournament, which would be an interesting experience. Perhaps I can during the summer when I don't have class (Quirked works as a SAT teacher)!
What are your goals in life moving forward? How does chess fit into that, and finally what do you realistically think you can achieve chess-wise?
It's definitely my goal to make NM, hopefully within around a year's time (although I understand it could take much longer). I also plan to transition more into chess teaching, as I currently teach SAT and Regents prep classes which are fine but not really my passion. I've been very fortunate, as my old coach's schedule is completely full so he has started referring me clients to work with.
Making FM, IM, GM, and all are very difficult to do while living in the US. Most US players are underrated in terms of FIDE (my FIDE is only 1725) so gaining FIDE rating while playing in US tournaments can be very difficult. If I was interested in making an international title, I would likely either have to travel to Europe for quite a few tournaments, or perhaps even move there. Not saying it's totally out of the question, but it would definitely require a lot of planning and thought on my part.
Best of luck in that journey. I'm sure you've had doubts at times about chess or had some negative experiences. Any that come to mind that might be insightful or just interesting to share?
The same part of my personality that drives me to excel in chess also makes it difficult for me to handle losses, especially in games where I felt I was better or had a winning position. I've made a compromise with myself that I'm only allowed to get the soft serve ice cream near my apartment when I lose at chess, so that when I lose I'm at least looking forward to something on the trip home and I don't just sulk the whole way. It can be difficult to keep a healthy mindset because for me, losing can hurt my ego or make me feel somehow less, and I have to remind myself of the fact that I can be skillful and still make mistakes.
Ok, so we've talked quite a bit about your background in chess and your own recent chess adventures. I'd like to move onto chess projects you're participating in, specifically, chess coaching and chessleaguetv. Before that, are there any other chess related projects you want to mention?
Not really, those are my main two undertakings right now, as well as my own personal study.
So, I think I'll save the coaching bit when we talk more about your thoughts on chess training and improvement in general.
About ChessLeagueTV. Why do it?
So, a fun fact. I actually went to university and got my degree in theatre. I do enjoy performing and putting on a show. I thought ChessLeagueTV was a really nice combination of my interests as it is a bit of a show, I have some vague knowledge on the content matter, and I am already part of the community and know a lot of 4545 players.
You had some experience with streaming chess before ChessLeagueTV, which existed before you took it over, so some of the work had already been invested in it. Can you talk about how easy it was to step in as the main host and how easy it was to get things up and running logistically for season 8 of lichess4545?
It's been so much easier than if I had to get it off the ground myself. I'm not terribly technically literate, so having templates and the friendly tnan123 to hold my hand through the process has been a great help. I've mostly been following @Determination's format, which has worked well for the shows I've done so far. Also, I had a blast chatting with @chessanalyst yesterday, so I hope to have him back on the show as well.
What are your goals for ChessLeagueTV in the short term?
I'm going to be trying to do 3 shows a week: the normal show featuring marquee matchups, a show featuring games from boards 4-6 (which I feel can be instructional), and then my openings and endings show which I hope to continue throughout the season.
That's quite ambitious! I hope you can keep it up if able. How can people help you with ChessLeagueTv?
Watch the shows! I love interacting with chat, and I feel the shows are both more fun and gain in instructional value when I get more questions and comments in chat. Outside of that, if you have suggestions or ideas for the channel, feel free to message me on slack or Lichess. I can't promise I will implement them all, but I promise I will at least read and consider them.
Are you looking for other cohosts to join from time to time as well? Is chessanalyst gonna help with that in the future?
If you are interested in being a cohost on the show, you can message me on slack or lichess. Again, can't promise to have you on, but I will read and respond! chessanalyst is great and I will definitely be having him back, however.
Chess Coaching and Chess Improvement
You mentioned before that your own coach shaped your openings specifically. Can you maybe first talk about your own chess style (as you see it) and what openings you play?
I try to emulate Karpov when I play (don't we all). Of course I am no where near as successful, but I always try to get positions where I am slightly better and can just ratchet up the pressure and my opponent has no counterplay.
I play d4 as white, the french against e4, the nimzo or QGD against d4, and against c4 or Nf3 I'll get some vague QGDesque structure.
As a side note: I really need to learn e4 e5, but there is a ton of theory to learn and I haven't been willing to take the plunge yet.
How long have you been coaching chess and what would you say you bring to the table as a chess coach that may be unique?
I've only been coaching chess really for about 3 months. I am very very personable and entertaining, which I think is my main strength as a coach. I get along really well with kids, and that is the lion's share of the market in NYC, which is what makes me marketable.
Do you only do in person coaching and coaching of kids? if so, up to what age/chess level?
I currently only do in person. I do not only coach kids as a rule, but currently they make up my entire clientelle. Most of my students are quite young, I'd say my average student is around 7 or 8 with a rating of 700 or 800. I specialize in new or inexperienced students. A lot of the time early lessons are about how to castle or how to notate. Honestly, if you are reading this ledger, you are easily stronger than my strongest student currently.
What are some specific resource recommendations you may have (books, videos, chess programs, apps) for the typical club level player?
For books, I like the Yusupov series "Build Up Your Chess". Also, if you play the French, I highly highly recommend "the Flexible French" by Moskalenko. Also, I know there are a ton of tactics websites out there, but I think it can be really helpful if you are a 1200-1600 level to pick up a tactics book, as they really drill the patterns into your head in a way that solving random tactics wont.
Programs - I know it's expensive, but chessbase is a very good program. I have a database where I input all my OTB games, which means I don't have to save my scoresheets. It's also quite easy to input variations and analysis.
If you are serious about OTB chess, get yourself a nice board! They are fun to play on and it feels good to study with those.
Also, I should mention another part of my improvement. I seriously analyze every single OTB game I play. I usually take about 2-3 hours every game. I have a notebook where I write out the moves I play, I write out any variations I was looking at, I write out any new variations I discovered in analysis, I write out any conclusions I drew from my play, all by hand. This really helps me absorb the information.
So chess training probably is very different for different people and there are a lot of opinions about it. What would you say about various study plans? How much should you work on tactics vs endgames vs openings for example?
I think it's a case of know thyself. I subscribe to the theory that chess skills sort of bottleneck each other. So if one of your skills is much worse than all the others, you won't see much improvement until you focus on that skill. So I think the correct study plan should focus mainly on your weaknesses. And only you can say what your weaknesses are. If you aren't sure, analyze your games! You will quickly discover your weaknesses. Lost position out of the opening? Better study that opening. Lost a drawn rook and pawn vs rook ending? Time to study rook endings. For me I blundered all the time, so most of my studying was just solving obscene amount of tactics, but for others, they might be atrocious at endings and need to spend a ton of time on those.
Thats great advice! Do you have specific tips for various parts of the game? For example, how would you recommend someone study calculation or do tactics, or what tips do you have for studying openings, middlegames, or endgames?
For openings, look at master games! Find some GM who plays your opening and just look at all his games. I think Lichess now has a master database you can look up games in, so you have no excuse. For tactics, I like to use the site chessity.com. It requires a paid membership, but I enjoy it quite a lot and I think it is very useful. If not, chesstempo.com is always very good. Endings, you really need a book. Silman's book is quite good. Honestly, don't even touch Dvoretsky, I'll probably crack that open again once I hit 2200 because most of that STILL goes way over my head.
Middlegames is probably the trickiest to study. Most of the time, middlegame plans are linked to the opening, so this can be an extension of opening study. Again, I would stick to studying master games, see if you see the same plans coming up over and over, etc. This is the area that I think getting a coach can be most helpful in, as they can really explain the ideas you see in master games and make sure you are understanding ALL the ideas of the middlegame.
I'm curious what part of chess you feel you need to work on? How are you personally going about addressing your weaknesses?
I think my tactics are currently catching up to the rest of my skills, but I can definitely do even more there. I'm generally quite a strong endgame player. I have a few holes in my opening repertoire that I need to clean up, plus I mentioned I will be trying to learn e4 e5 at some point for black, which will take a lot of learning.
I also need to find a new coach. I have a few referals, but haven't decided on who I want to work with.
Final Random Questions
First, what are your thoughts on lichess4545. Any ideas about it's future/suggestions for improvement?
I think lichess4545 is awesome. It can be really really difficult to get long time control games online, and the league has reached a point where it's incredibly well organized and not at all a hassle to get that game in.
I wonder if its possible for the league to officially partner with lichess.org in the future? Just a thought. No idea what that would look like or what it would change.
Who are your favorite chess players?
For current players, I do enjoy watching my crazy guys Rapport and Jobova. I would never play like that, but they create awesome games from a spectator point of view. Also, for some reason I really like watching Michael Adams.
For all time, Alekhine has to be my top player. His book of his greatest games is really awesome and I think you can learn a lot from playing solitaire chess with the games (where you cover the moves and guess the next move.) I also enjoy a good Capablanca game.
What's your favorite chess game (s) ?
I think Tal's Nf4!!! against Botvinnik in the world championship match really left an impression on me. Also there's another Tal game where Tal's heavy pieces are ridiculously stacked on like h8, h7, and h6. I also recently saw a game that totally blew my mind Khismatullin - Eljanov. It was Played recently! And definitely an immortal. Oh, also Kasparov's immortal vs Topalov is awesome.
You mentioned theatre! Are there other interests outside of chess you'd like to share?
I play League of Legends and Dota 2 which are both a lot of fun. One thing I really really love is musical improv, where you get together with other improvisers and make up a musical! It's really stupid and exhilerating and it makes me laugh every time.
Why do you like the theatre so much? Do you see yourself being involved in theatre in the future?
I'm a decent singer, and I've always enjoyed singing, so musical theatre made a lot of sense. I graduated 2 years ago in 2015. As far as being involved in theatre, probably not. New York City is hyper competitive, because everyone and their mother wants to be on Broadway, and I don't think I'm cut out for such a grueling and frankly unrewarding lifestyle.
Are there TV shows/movies/music/books that you like or would recommend?
I watch the dumbest stuff. I love cooking shows, so stuff like the great british bake off and america's worst chefs are right up my alley.
I can say you should listen to pentatonix, I love a cappella music and this group is really stellar.
For books, Terry Pratchett is my man. The discworld series will forever be my favorite book series
Favorite and least favorite part about living in New York?
NY is very much a city for young people in my opinion. Its a very energetic city, and it sort of drives you at this frenetic pace that I love. However, it can be really difficult to wind down. Also there's a lot of crazies in NYC. Also I heard about 20 gunshots in the distance while this interview was going on, not even joking. But that might be just the Bronx.
Favorite drink and food?
Naked juice is really really good, especially green machine. I love Italian food, probably my favorite is like a spaghetti carbonara.
Also 20 gunshots? is that normal?
No not normal, just tonight it sounded like there was a minor shootout. Sometimes there are one or two.
Anything else you want to mention?
No, I think you've got it all. Thanks for talking to me!
That was a fun conversation with Quirked! Thanks for taking the time to share a bit about chess New York, your recent OTB chess successes, your advice about chess and for letting us get to know our new ChessLeagueTV host a bit better. I can attest to the fact that quirked is a fantastic singer. Be sure to check out his streams at twitch.tv/ChessLeagueTV. Even if you're not into singing, there's a lot of great chess content to learn from and be entertained by!
From a round 2 game on board 5 in 4545: @Boviced vs @udaysatya. Black just played Kd7. White to move.
For the answer see gamelink.
Lichess4545 Ledger #030 ©2017 by Thienan Nguyen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Thanks to @quirked, @Boviced, @somethingpretentious, @TonyRo, @kferapont, @god666, and @archone for contributions this week.