Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Quest for 2000 (but I'll settle for 1500)

I am a chess player.  It is a game that I find both enjoyable and perplexing.  The vast amount of opening theory alone is enough to fill a bank of super computers.  But I suppose that is what I love about it.  It is a game of unlimited challenge.  It is practically unsolvable (though the computer engines are hard at work trying to prove otherwise).

I don't get much of a chance to play chess.  When I do, it is usually against one of the personalities in Chessmaster 9000, the computer game.  Practically no one I know in real life plays chess.  So when I grow weary of silicon-based opponents, I turn to the internet.

My favorite place to play (read: the only place I play) is the Free Internet Chess Server, or FICS.  As the name implies, it is free to play here and it is always easy to find a game, no matter what your skill level or time control preference.  And, if you don't want to use the web interface on FICS, they offer several graphical interfaces that are powerful and easy to use.  I use Babaschess which is the most popular of the interfaces, but there are lots of choices.  There are even ones for mobile phones.

To play chess on FICS, you don't even have to register, you can play as a guest.  However, if you want to play rated games, and thereby earn a rating, and play tournaments, then registration is required.  I play under the handle of DissidentAggresor.  Although I have been a member at FICS since 2007, I have only managed to play 8 games (7 rated).  That's not exactly an accelerated pace.  As I said, I rarely manage to find time for chess, especially against living, breathing opponents.  I think that's why I play so much against my computer.  Time is not as much of a factor.  I can pause the game or start and stop whenever I want.

Anyway, my rating on FICS is presently 1282 for blitz (5 games) and 1583 for standard (2 games).  My record for blitz (any game less than 15 minutes per player) is 3 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw.  The 3 wins came in two 10-minute games and one 12-minute game.  In standard time controls, I managed 1 win and 1 loss (both 15 minute games).  I prefer standard time controls to blitz because I'm a slow thinker.  But it is easier to find opponents at the shorter time controls.  Still I try to play a mix of game lengths.

So, why am I telling you all this?  Because I have decided to play more chess online.  I want to improve my chess.  I want to achieve a rating of 2000 in either blitz or standard or both.  Now a rating of 2000 is a lofty goal in chess, even on an online chess server.  So I threw in the caveat that I will settle for 1500.  Now, my current standard rating is 1583, but because I have played so few games, it most likely isn't very accurate.  My ratings would be what FIDE, the World Chess Federation, calls provisional.  FIDE requires that you play at least 20 rated games before your rating becomes standard.  So I have a ways to go.

So let the quest begin!  I will continue to post updates as I go along.  My goal is to play at least one game every week, hopefully more.  I guess you could say it's my move.

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