Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fun, Unofficial Time Formats

It's been a while since I posted something. This is mainly due to my recent non chess-related interest, following South Korea's long-running variety show, Running Man. Jeon So Min, is my clear favourite in the show.

I finally found enough time and spirit to make a short post due to the long weekends!

Did you know that the regulars at the Singapore Chess Meetup came up with this special time format which was quite enjoyable? We refer to it as "10 second chess (10s)". In a nutshell, you have 10 seconds to make each move. The 10-second timer resets with each move, and there is no accumulation of time to subsequent move(s).

Instructions on how to set the Clock for 10s

  1. The way to do this, is to use Delay mode, where the initial time is 0:00 and the delay is 10 seconds / move.
  2. If you are using a chess clock model similar to LEAP PQ 9903, you can make the adjustment from option #10.
  3. For this particular format, do remember to switch on the sound/alarm (assuming your clock has this function). As seen in the video, the effect is that the timer will beep once per second when there is only 5 seconds left on the clock.
  4. Happy playing!
Interestingly, players who are good at blitz may fare poorly in this format. The general tip/trick, seems to be, that one should try to maximise the 10 seconds per move.

Last but not least, my personal favourite time format is actually hourglass, which I tried out playing with a kiddo at Siglap South CC some time ago.

Care to share what is your favourite 'fun' time format that is not used in official tournaments?

Yours sincerely
Ong Yujing (Eugene)
a.k.a. newbie_learner
Siglap South CC Chess Quartet

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Personal Chess Journal (5 May 2019)

According to games archive, it's been more than 4 years (!) since I started playing online chess. I will fully attribute this to the greater enjoyment derived from playing chess over the actual board, with a real person sitting right before me. BUT, I have to say, that I find playing a lot of blitz games useful in a couple of things, like tactical sensing, copying with time pressure, and above all, getting more familiar with the type of opening positions I play.

This is how I would divide my chess playing time:

  • Play Blitz games online -- it is useful in that all game moves are automatically recorded for review
  • Play Rapid games when playing at various chess sites -- I should be able to record most of the game moves (esp. opening/midgame)
  • Play Standard games at chess tournaments -- this should be the ultimate test to the application of whatever little chess knowledge I have.
This is my current self-identified weaknesses:

  • Over-eagerness to push pawns to engage without adequate preparation (esp. placing the Rooks on the files most likely to open up
  • Opening bias -- I should stop playing side-lines for the sake of sidestepping. Instead, acquire the knowledge required to play the position correctly. (Yes, especially when playing against the King's Indian Defence as White.)
Let's see how I would fare in this coming SG City 2019 Open tournament!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Friday Night Casual Training Game

It was a great feeling to see so many adult players in the QCD Chess League 2019 playing training games at the same place! I actually love the temporary location of the Thomson CC Chess Club's chess site at Bishan CC (first floor, just below Singapore Chess Federation).

Anyway, I was glad to have played this long game with Ms Zhemin. After losing 0-3 several weeks ago, I finally managed to even out our head-to-head records a little with a win tonight =) More importantly, I felt I learned something out of it. Truth be told, at certain phases of the game, I felt uncertain even though by the general principles, I thought that I have not committed any chess sin and surely I should be able to punish my opponent for breaching the opening principles and falling so behind in development speed. I guess this is something all fellow beginners / club players like myself need to experience and grow from.

Even though the game was played without the use of a clock, I took extra care to ensure that the time consumption was reasonable (i.e. I would not have flagged, or ran into time trouble, had the game been played under 90+30 conditions).

The game replay can be found in the following link. As per my current practice, I first describe my own thoughts and feelings during and after the game, without the use of engine, before checking for tactical mistakes using Chessbase 15's Tactical Analysis function, and compare the 2.

External link to game replay:

For this particular game, I'm glad that I wasn't too far off at large. Perhaps the big moment for me in the opening phase of the game was this:

I was playing the opening moves based on general principles. I wasn't even trying to play anything too fanciful after a standard-looking move of 7.Nc3, and then a question popped up in my head: What am I supposed to do against 7...Qb6 which targets against my d4 pawn? I was actually quite worked during the game, and even though my instinct of 7...Qb6 8.d5 seems passable by the engine's standard, it was uncomfortable enough to upset me. There is still much more imbalance for me to learn to appreciate, and I cannot just look at things superficially, that White seems to have dropped a pawn. White does get quite a bit of tempo for it.

Back to Playing Online Chess
It was around 3-4 years ago, when I stopped online chess completely after finding out the wonderful Singapore Chess Meetup started by Bradley Loh. Why would I waste time playing online, when I derive the greatest satisfaction playing chess games in person over the board? I think that was why I quit online chess. Another reason was the abuse and swearing online that sours the gaming experience.

But I have to admit, that blitz games have its important place in a chess players learning. I do find it useful in experimenting and checking one's familiarity with openings, coping with time pressure/stress, as well as tactical sensing checks. Yet I wish the games are recorded (I recall my original reason to buy a DGT Smartboard Set was to record the blitz games I play over the board!). Hence, I have decided:

  • To play more games of slower time control (standard or rapid) at various chess sites. This allows me to record and review the games. Of course, given the practical considerations such as time constraint (we can play more games under rapid time controls) , I suspect I would be playing more rapid games at the various chess sites I visit, and the standard games would mainly be clocked during tournaments. I would play blitz games as a form of warm-up.
  • To play blitz games online whenever I feel like it. The best part is that the games are all recorded as played. Also, I have agreed to play some correspondence chess with my QCD team mates as part of training and preparations. 
Now I really understand why they say chess is life. Because it takes up the bulk of your lifetime ^o^

Yours sincerely
Ong Yujing (Eugene)
a.k.a. newbie_learner
Siglap South CC Chess Quartet

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Meeting His Chess Goddess Ju Wenjun

My chess friends, especially my in-group from Singapore Chess Meetup would know that there are 2 female chess personalities whom I regard as "goddess" -- Anna Rudolf, who made a video message for me (!) as well as Ju Wenjun, who came to Singapore today! As a chess enthusiast who hardly travels overseas (packing luggage is too much a hassle for me, LOL), I can't thank the Overseas Family School enough for bringing my chess goddess, more popularly know as the reigning Women's World Chess Champion, to Singapore. Of course, I would not give up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close with my chess goddess ^o^

Because it was a very happening full-day event for me, I would have to skip the not-as-interesting details. Also, my personal update and reporting on Round 2 of the QCD Adult Teams Chess League would have to take a back seat (Sorry, my 8.c4! team mates. Despite making a dramatic comeback from 0-2 to tie the match 2-2, which I witnessed the drama unfold in person, my chess goddess' event experience has priority!)

Things of GREAT Interest to Me:
  • Photo-taking and Autograph Session with Ju Wenjun
  • 15+0 Training Game
  • Ju Wenjun's Simul with 35 students
  • Post Event Dinner & Drinks (!)
Photo-taking and Autograph Session with Ju Wenjun

I don't think there were that many adults who attended the event as members of public (i.e. non-parents who are hoping their kids get to play in the simul). To the best of my knowledge, I ended up as the only one who had to queue twice for the autograph / photo-taking session, because I was taking way too much time! Not that I am complaining -- I am happy about it. In fact, I had mini A4 posters to be printed in preparation for this event (wish I actually prepared as hard before I play a tournament game, LOL)

Out of the following autographs, are you able to guess which is the one most meaningful to me?

Answer: The simplest one with the message, "Greetings to my Singapore Chess Fans!". The original picture was originally acquired through Olimpiu G. Urcan, a great chess writer, scholar and journalist, and was dated 18 Feb 2019. I thought it was cool for me, the fan(boy) to show up in person as a response to her greeting. Which was why I requested her to sign and date her signature ^o^ Was pleasantly surprised to get a simple response from Ju Wenjun, that "I remember this one!" A small pity for this picture is that Olimpiu declined to be on stage with me for the photo-taking/autograph session. Also, she misunderstood my request -- I only wanted her to date the signature for this particular message, but she dated on all subsequent posters instead. Of course, I did not want to cause any more confusion and happily accepted her kind gesture.

I have been asking the teachers in charge before my turn, whether there is any issue for me to get multiple autographs. Initially, they all assured me that it was alright, but after realising I do have quite a number, in fact, 9! I was requested to re-queue. Not a problem to me at all, since I was prepared to re-queue in the first place. 

During my "re-queue", Ju Wenjun actually asked, "How did you have so many pictures (of me)?" Remembering the advice from Seng Chin, a fellow Siglap South CC Chess Quartet member, that I should take care to avoid making myself appear as a "Stalker", I made a one-word reply, "baidu" (百度), the Chinese search engine, and we just laughed.

In addition, I also had the help of my fellow chess friend, Weng Chew, who runs the Cashew Chess Club and the Senja Cashew Chess Club to help take and share some photographs at the event. Sorry to bother you on your birthday, but here's wishing you many years of great health and good chess ahead! 

Due to my poor skills and poor equipment, the pictures taken with sharable quality are limited. Again, I thank Olimpiu, Weng Chew, and the Overseas Family School Staff for helping me.

The Overseas Family School was thoughtful to prepare chess sets for players while waiting for the event to unfold.

Mr Weng Chew queuing for the autograph

Mr Weng Chew with Ju Wenjun

First but not the last...

More to come.

If I recall correctly, this is where the mini question ("Where did you get so many pictures (of me)?"and my one-word answer ("baidu") came about.

Apologies to those behind me in the queue, which got longer and longer ^o^

How fortunate to be just side-by-side with my chess goddess

Victory achieved at last! And yes, I am a supporter of PubXChess Initiative. Hence, my preference to wear their T-Shirt during local chess events.

Ju Wenjun with the participants. The draw was done first before the lunch break followed by the simul event proper.

(Note: There was also a blitz game between Ju Wenjun and Overseas Family School Chess Teacher Dijana. Unfortunately, I was unable to take any quality picture for sharing.)

15+0 Training Game

Who cares about lunch when there is chess to be played? I was fortunate enough to get to squeeze in a 15+0 training game. And it has to be the King's Indian Defence (KID) which I always struggle against when I play White. But that makes it all the more a valuable learning experience! I only hope that I recorded the moves correctly, but only getting 4-5 hours of week daily for the past week certainly didn't help ^o^ And yes, in response to Chessbase 15's one-click analysis question in the end, I lost on time.

Personal Training Game

Ju Wenjun's Simul with 35 students

Frankly, I think I took more than 100 pictures =) But I will only show the few more decent looking ones -- man I really need to up my photo-taking game!

The best looking picture I have for the simul, courtesy of Olimpiu once again!

The rest of the pictures taken by myself are of sub-par quality =(

At last, here comes the more special shots for the simul event!

As a patzer, I really liked Lauren (Board #2)'s position when I observed it live -- surely, Black's protected past pawn makes a difference? 

A more reader-friendly version. My beginner's view is that Black has something given the protected pass pawn on c4, which would cause White some inconvenience. I'm not saying that Black is winning, but I do not think Black can be worse. I stand corrected by my stronger chess friends and Stockfish 10, both evaluating the position as equal.

Ju Wenjun - Lauren Rice
Actual Game Position before ...Qb7 and d5 was played.

The only 2 games remaining, both representatives from the Singapore Chess Federation. The scores was 32.5-0.5, with the only draw achieved by Jayden Wong. Clocks were introduced, set at 10 minutes with zero increment. Because Ju Wenjun already has a winning position in Board 1, she focuses on Board 2. Wenjun only turned back to Board 1 upon hearing the pressing of the clock.

It soon became a 1v1 affair. And our young Singapore champion was still recording her every move (while her precious time was ticking away)! But hey, not everybody gets to play the Women's World Champion every day, so on top of learning and review, that's another big reason to record the moves.

Final Result: Wenjun won with a total score of 34.5-0.5.

A fine display by Lauren Rice, who earned the respect from the spectators.

Wenjun with Jayden Wong, the young hero for the day!

Wrapping up: Wenjun with the Chess Teachers for Overseas Family School

Confession of an over-zealous Spectator
As an arbiter, I believe in ensuring the game was fair. While taking photos and observing the Simul, there were actually multiple incidents of unfairness -- some of the kids were exchanging ideas with one another, and some kids were even outright moving their pieces on the board to analyse when Ju Wenjun was making her rounds. Incidents like delay playing a move when Ju Wenjun comes back to the board is also arguably unfair -- since other students are observing this requirement. As a spectator with "arbiter's blood", I really wanted to point out these observations to the arbiters on the field. But that would have created a scene and disrupted the flow of the event. Glad I managed o curb my "inner demons" and let it slide. 

Also, I'm really happy to see that the Chess Teachers of Overseas Family School actually telling the students nicely about their infringements, and what they should and should not do -- e.g. offering a draw in a lost position is not being respectful. And then, the forever dilemma of when / whether to resign in a lost position occupies my mind. Some games were outright lost but because the kids refuse to resign and "play till the end", it was dragged unnecessarily. While I personally respect resignation as a very individual choice, I am beginning to feel otherwise for Simul events. For 1v1 standard official tournaments, yes, you can do whatever you want (resign as and when you want to). But for simul, my current view is that one should resign and not drag on the game unnecessarily. 

Post Event Dinner & Drinks (!)
With very special thanks to Mr John Wong, I was able to join the informal post-event dinner and drinks session with Ju Wenjun. Although I did not get a chance to speak with her directly, it's all good. Goddesses can be appreciated from afar ^o^ Here's wishing her a safe trip back to Shanghai, and may she continue to produce more great and entertaining games for the chess community!

Thanks for tolerating my "fanboy" piece.

Yours sincerely
Ong Yujing (Eugene)
a.k.a. newbie_learner
Siglap South CC Chess Quartet

Friday, April 12, 2019

QCD League 2019 Round 1: Match of the Admins!

Today marks the beginning of the 3rd season of the QCD Team Chess League for Adults 2019. I was so excited to see my chess friends, make new chess friends, as well as new teams which I served as a "Matchmaker". I'm glad to see them enjoy playing with one another as a team.

Interestingly, I was playing with Andre, a fellow administrator appointed for Brad's Singapore Chess Meetup facebook page. Hence, our personal game was depicted as "Match of the Administrators".

The game was actually quite interesting, and more importantly, I actually felt I learned something. Potentially embarrassing to share this, but I actually have a real big newbie problem of not knowing where to place my dark square Bishop in my Queen Pawn games, LOL. I have quickly replayed this 'miniature game'.

Below is the external link to the game. As per my usual style, I first attempt to replay my thoughts during the game, and what I think on my own looking back, and then run the Chessbase 15's "tactical analysis" function to identify the tactical slips.

External link to the Battle of the Admins =)

My general impressions as follows:

  • The game was largely due to White being positionally outplayed than a "tactical knockout". While tactics and positioning are not divorced concepts, I genuinely felt my game was lost due to poor positional play leading to a series of inconveniences. 
  • The whole idea of b3 followed by Bb2 is probably not doing anything to Black (as compared to early Qc2 or Nc3 lines) but playable for an equal position. Interestingly, early Qc2 would have assured White that the c4 pawn can be taken back, and seems to be a popular choice.
  • Post-game I think I better understood what I'm supposed to do -- get the Knight on f3 away so that the Catalan Bishop on g2 can be released. If I do not like Ne5 stepping up (because my pawn formation may be crippled with lack of support (and only option to recapture on e5 is dxe5), then at least allow myself the option of Nf3-d2. 
  • Move-wise the biggest mistaken was not my move of 19.h3 played with 1 second remaining, but rather 13.Qb1?! On hindsight, I could indeed try 13.Qd3 which I ruled out during the game. Because Black has no support to do Ba3. Not saying that 13.Qd3 makes White better, but that move would have not gotten into as much trouble as 13.Qb1?! 
Position after 12...Rc8. I hope you do not make the same mistake I committed, but find something else that is good (in terms of maintaining equality in the position). 

  • Above all, I think I am blindly following the general guidelines in chess too much. Here, I tried to make each and every move contributing to my development in terms of speed in connecting my backrank Rooks (which signifies the end of the opening phase), but neglected the quality of my development. Specifically, I neglected piece activity. The position just went downhill from bad to worse.
That's all for my quick coverage on "Battle of the Administrators" for now. Please be generous with your comments and feedback to help newbie_learner improve!

(A separate post shall be made on the very interesting Round 1 of the QCD Team League. Will be waiting patiently for release from Andre -- he's also the official photographer of the QCD Team League!)

Yours sincerely
Ong Yujing (Eugene)
a.k.a. newbie_learner
Siglap South CC Chess Quartet
Proud Matchmaker of QCD League 2019 -- I think I should get a matchmaker norm! 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

PubXChess Invitational: An Arbiter's Report (30 Mar 2019)

If I recall correctly, this should be the 5th event I served as an arbiter since passing the examinations at the FIDE Arbiter's Seminar (25-27 Jan 2019). They are:

  1. The Defender v.s. Tyrant Blitz Match on 2 Feb 2019
  2. The Brew Master v.s. Tyrant Blitz Match on 15 Feb 2019
  3. The Chess & Jazz Blitz Knockout Tournament on 20 Mar 2019
  4. The Rapid Chess Tournament at the Tanglin Club on 24 Mar 2019
  5. The PubXChess Invitational Round Robin Blitz Tournament on 30 Mar 2019

Even though these events were informal and I do not get any arbiter norms, I enjoyed the experience very much. Hopefully, I can become a more effective arbiter with time.

This event was marvellous! Great players (not only in terms of playing strength but also etiquette and sportsmanship), great venue at LeVeL33 and great organiser! I love the thoughtfulness put into this event: a video cam set up to capture games to be selected as game of the tournament, and there was even a professional photographer covering the event! Everything was great.

Thanks for making such a nice pic for me, PubXChess!

Frankly, PubXChess is 1 of the 3 current local chess initiatives I will do my upmost to support. Check out their facebook page for updates and meetup page to register for the weekly free-to-play blitz tournament. (The other 2 local initiatives I support wholeheartedly are the Singapore Chess Meetup and the QCD Adults Team Chess League. For the former, you would probably know about my existence if you are part of the meetup community, and for the latter, I helped to matchmake players to form 3 new teams this year!)

Nevertheless, despite the great experience, I think there's still much more room for me to improve my service as an arbiter. I will share what I thought I did well, as well as what I thought I could've done better in future services.

What I thought I did well
  1. Pre-tournament briefing. Even though most of the players are active players familiar with the FIDE laws of chess, I still made an effort to go through the rules. What I covered includes the correct procedure to make a pawn promotion (and what happens if you cannot find the piece you wish to promote to), situation / penalty arising from the making of an illegal move, reminder that it is the arbiter's right to call any flag fall if I observe it (and explaining the rationale in doing so), encouraging players to press the clock even if the move they are making delivers checkmate (this is not required under the laws of chess, but I encourage the players to do so to avoid any potential claims that the checkmate may have occurred after the flag fall). Even though the organiser finds me a bit long-winded (LOL), I felt it an obligation to manage the players expectations at the onset. 
  2. Managing minor incidents. There were 2 minor incidents which I thought I handled well. First, one of the players kept switching on the alarm / countdown "buzz" of the chess clock by mistake. Because it was unintentional, I just reminded all players not to do it again, as the countdown buzz may distract other players or their opponent. In the other incident, one of the players was so passionate about the game, he made a shout out in the midst of his own game (e.g. if he made a serious blunder), or he made a cheer seeing his friend defeat a tough opponent. For both incidents, I did not single out any player to name and shame. Rather, I was just conveying my general feedback before the start of the next round of games, first explaining to all players that these offences were unintentional and then remind players not to do that again in case they cause unnecessary distraction to other players. I think the players who made these offences knew who they were and case closed. I don't think they warrant any concrete penalty.
What I thought I could've done better
  1. Choice of tie-breaker. The choices I recommended to the organiser (who followed my recommendations) were, in order of priority, a) direct encounter (because it is the most straight-forward, and which I argue is the fairest) ; b) Sonneborn-Berger (sum of the defeated opponents' scores, because the organiser specifically requested tie-breakers that will result in clear-placing, as due to schedule and time constraints, we are unable to play Armageddon tie-breaks) and c) Koya system (The number of points achieved against all opponents who have achieved 50 % or more, again with the intention to come up with clear-winners).

    While the top 3 placings (who get a prize) need not resort to any tie-breakers, it was evident afterwards that while Sonneborn-Berger was useful, Koya seems quite useless. As shown on the chess results page, while Sonneborn-Berger generated values with big variations / differences, many values were the same under the Koya system tiebreak. On hindsight, I should have proposed the Extended/Reduced Koya system instead -- that would have probably generated values with wider variance / differences. This is a learning point for me.

    Anyone who is interested to have a general understanding of how various tie-breaker system works can refer to this site with a rather concise explanation.
  2. A player did not want to claim an illegal move (he's allowing his opponent to take back without seeking to exploit the situation with a "discovered check"). There was 1 incident whereby 1 of the players pointed out his opponents illegal move, but rather than either claiming it for 1 minute to be added OR playing his own move to exploit the situation (he can make any legal move and the position becomes the situation of a "discovered check"), he actually requested his opponent to just change a move. Given that the player was a willing party, and in the spirit to not cause any undue disturbance, I allowed the game to continue with no time penalty imposed. (This was exactly what I did in a local team tournament 1-2 years ago as well, before I became an arbiter.) Luckily, this result would not have affected the final standings. However, what if it actually had an effect on the final standings? I would have been guilty, or possibly been accused of being guilty, to be unfair. On this, I still do not know exactly what I should have done. But during the half-time break in the tournament, I actually asked the player again regarding the incident, and he confirmed that he had no intention to make a claim and exploit the penalty. For now, I can only hope that such incidents would be kept at a minimum.

Final concluding thoughts
After serving as the arbiter for this pleasant event, I have to say that, I feel that to serve well as an arbiter, one should be, or had been, a tournament player. Because I feel that I can better empathise incidents of minor illegal actions. (For instance, adjusting the pieces during opponent's turn. Especially for blitz, sometimes the pieces are not placed in the most centralised position in the square, so after making the move and pressing the clock, the player proceeded to adjust the piece, arguably, to help his opponent confirm the intended piece placement.) Also, after the arbiter's seminar, I realised that my natural tendency was way too strict on imposing possible penalties on players, so I tried to counteract as much as possible. I do feel the quality of my service today was fine. Hopefully, I will continue to serve well in future chess events!

Yours sincerely
Ong Yujing (Eugene)
a.k.a. newbie_learner
Siglap South CC Chess Quartet

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Good Games at Singapore Chess Meetup 27 Mar 2019

A game can be good despite losing. I enjoyed 2 of the games I played with a younger adult opponent, even though I lost both. I also took the liberty to attempt reviewing a long game played between 2 of my long-time chess friends, Weng Chew and William.

All the 3 games (self-attempted review on my own, followed by Chessbase 15's tactical analysis) can be replayed on the following external link:

Interesting snapshots

Game 1: young adult v.s. newbie_learner
Game Position after 16.Qc2 

Here, I really wanted to play 16...Be3, but I had concerns over 17.Bxe3 Nxe3 18.Qb3 Nxf1 19.Rxf1, despite Black winning an exchange, I did not enjoy the fact that both my b7 and f7 pawns are vulnerable to the White Queen. Instead, I played a much tamer 16...Nxf2 forcing 17.Kxf2. I knew something bad was going to happen -- Caissa will never forgive a chess player for giving up such an opportunity. Yet I tend to try and (over) simplify whenever I'm down on time. Need to grow some... courage. 

Game 2: newbie_learner v.s. young adult
Position after 6...c5

Here, I really like my own find of 7.Bxb8 Qxb8 8.Bb5+ causing Black practical inconvenience -- the Black King had to stay in the middle of the board with so many pieces yet on the board. Unfortunately, I went astray too much and despite having a 1 pawn advantage, I blundered horribly in the endgame and lost. Maybe the final position was still playable, but I was too disgusted and demoralised with my own play and simply opted the easy way out ^o^

The best, most interesting one is saved for the last!

Game 3: Weng Chew v.s. William
Position after 28...gxh4

Here, the Asia Square folks who were observing this game were debating over what is the best continuation for White. I actually like my "safe and quiet" approach of 29.Qc3 (which turns out to be the engine's preferred choice too!) The point being, it is the easiest to deny Black Queen control over the c-file, and the resource of ...Qc1+. Of course, 29.Bxd7, which was played, is also winning, although interestingly, the engine recommends 29.Bxd7 Qc1+!? as best try for Black. Even in a losing position, the engine prefers to go all out and get some activity, rather than the passive recapture with 29...Qxd7. Interestingly, another 2 candidate moves that were discussed, 29.Qd6 and 29.Qe7 were dismissed, as Black Queen will have the resource of 29...Qc1+ followed by 30...Qxb2+. If White is careless, the b5 Bishop would even fall (so 29...Qc1+ 30.Kf2 is forced and then 30...Qxb2+ 31.Be2 should be a draw.

From my own games and the Weng Chew-William game, these are my current "conclusions":

  • Time management is a HUGE part of the game. Are there actually any chess books that teaches time management? Also, for players with ambition to improve, always play with a clock. It does not matter so much what time control is played -- you can play a long time control, but the very presence of a chess clock ensures fairness in terms of time resource and forces you to play well under time pressure. 
  • We (Or at least I, lol) tend to play badly under time pressure. No more "pressing the clock with 1 second left" kind of luck I used to have last year. Which is fine, I'd rather seek real improvement than rely on luck in a dishonourable fashion!
  • There was 1 period of time when I severely doubted the very little bit of chess understanding I have. After yesterday, my conclusion is that it is not all-bad. I have my strengths and weaknesses. There are certain positions which I do not play well (e.g. not taking enough chances) but on the other hand, my judgement to deny Black of any counter-play with 29.Qc3 in the Weng Chew - William game is on-point. And this is important to me, because most of my other chess friends do not appreciate the value of denying counter-play completely. Not that they are wrong, but I am even more assured that there's nothing wrong with my "safety first when winning" approach. I just need to be even more effective with it!
Last but not least, I really think Weng Chew improved in his play. He shows great understanding in simplifying a won position. And his accuracy in this particular game is a high 43%. Engine scores evaluate (so it's "objective") White to be at least equal if not better, from the beginning to the end.

May losses be a source of motivation to improve our future play. Again, we can always turn to Juga's music for some comfort! 

Yours sincerely
Ong Yujing (Eugene)
a.k.a. newbie_learner
Siglap South CC Chess Quartet

Fun, Unofficial Time Formats

It's been a while since I posted something. This is mainly due to my recent non chess-related interest, following South Korea's long...