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Laramonet's journal 
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Rook

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:58 am
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Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Ordered "Reassess" today...

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Coming out of retirement!


Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:16 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Kidwelly, Wales
Rating: 1940
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Hi All,
I am still trying ! Minor disruptions have led to no updates for a while. Anyway:

Endgames Progress with the Hansen "Secrets of Chess Endgame Strategy". It can't be rushed but I feel that it's doing me good. Most importantly I'm enjoying it !
Postal Closing on second place in the Gwyddbwll.com lists. I need to complete the two games I have in play, hopefully both with wins, before my holiday. If I can win both it may take me to second.
Over the Board A couple of disappointing results recently. I lost as black in a main line Caro Kann. The game had gone well, I had a clear positional advantage and missed a relatively simple combination and lost. Particularly annoying but you most close out an advantage. It's never over until it's over. The second game I was on the black side of an Exchange Caro Kann. I played a line involving g6 and followed with Bf5, allowing white to play Bf5. I answered with gf, getting the open g file and a knight on e4. Again positional advantage but drew a Q + N v Q + N endgame.


Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:04 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Kidwelly, Wales
Rating: 1940
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Good Morning !

Openings This topic, like many other players, takes up too much of my time and attention. No more than 25% is advice I've seen and this sounds about right. If I do change an opening, I try to do one at a time. I mean my aim is for a settled repertoire as white, and as black a choice versus e4 and one versus d4. I wonder if other people play more than one opening either as white or against e4 / d4 ?

Currently I play:

White e4 Scotch
Sicilian with Bb5
French Tarrasch
Caro Kann Advance
Alekhine Exchange
Pirc h3 / Be3
Scandinavian Nf3 / c4

Black v e4 Caro Kann Bf5 main line
Bf5 Advance
Nc6 Panov
Qc7 Exchange
e6 Fantasy

v d4 Dutch Leningrad

As White I've played e4 most of my life. I did have four or five successful seasons playing the Kings Indian Attack. I am starting to feel like an addition would benefit me. I have tried d4 for a Trompowsky in some email chess but think that the English has always attracted me. While playing the KIA I felt the benefit was often that I increasingly knew more about the positions, plans and themes than my opponent. I believe the English may have the same benefit. However, it would be very difficult to maintain both e4 and c4. I think I will have to play c4 exclusively for at least a season to get up to speed, having started off in email / postal.

As Black I switched from e5 against e4 to the Caro Kann maybe three seasons ago. I'm happy with the switch and feel I learn from almost every new game I play. I already feel more confident in "knowing" my opening more than I did with e5 even after playing it for ten years or more. I think it is a benefit to try to stick to a repertoire inside the opening but occasionally move to a different variation. For example, I play the Bf5 main line but have experimented with the Nf6 and gf line. This increases understanding I think.

I changed to the Dutch about eighteen months ago. This fits my normal want for a universal reply to d4 / c4 / Nf3 and all. I played the Kings Indian for a long time. Eventually I decided that it was incredibly difficult to develop a feel and confidence in an opening that has so many seemingly unrelated lines. I then tried d5, playing the Semi-Slav and then the a6 Slav. I wanted to get the plus I felt I got from having played e5. That is a classical background. I enjoyed it but never felt totally comfortable. The Dutch is exciting. It commits to a battle from move one and is ideal against Colle / Torre players and I believe it unsettles people who just want a solid start as White.

Ideally, I'd like two options in each category:

White e4
c4

Black v e4 Caro Kann
Accelerated Dragon

Black
v d4 Dutch
Nimzo & Queen's Indian

Is this unrealistic for an amateur ? Maybe, as the plus of feeling confident and well prepared certainly affects the rest of my game. Is it possible to feel well prepared with two options in each category and only spend 25% of my time on openings ? That's the $64,000 question !

I still have my opening plans but want to prioritise Endings, Tactics and Analysis of my own games.


Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:26 am
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Rook

Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:18 pm
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Rating: 1740
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Lara, re your first point, I used to exclusively play the Petroff against 1. e4, but I've now branched out to include all 2...Nc6 openings. I also mix in the Caro-Kann albeit I'm still learning because I suck at the main line :P I now play the Slav but I would not worry about playing a QGA for example against a particular opponent. Not that those are entirely separate openings, but I'm still only a year into learning the Slav; I certainly intend to use an Indian defence alongside that in a few years.

I agree fully that maintaining both 1. c4 and 1. e4 at your rating would be very difficult. I don't know if you play online, but what I've done is create two accounts (legitimately approved by the admins) on chesscube; one for my prime repertoire, the other for the Caro-Kann and also to play 1. d4! That way I get an accurate portrayal of my results independently. In real life I haven't started either of those openings yet, and I shalln't until I find I'm satisfied with my full range of variations. Looking at your repertoire I can see clearly you play practically in trying to avoid huge great whacking theoretical openings. Is that why you haven't suggested anything with 1. d4 in?

I certainly don't think two options is at all overambitious for anybody of your rating, though I would hesitate at calling you an amateur in the total sense of the word. I suppose it depends on your ambitions in the game. Being only 24, I think I could make it to at least ECF 200, possibly FM if I work for another 25 years, since I've already had a couple of leaps from 1000 area to 1400 in one go, and now up to nearly 1800. I might add though that the Dutch at least in my view seems to be one of those systems where you have to work for your points, and playing the huge Nimzo/Queen's Indian complex on top might be a bit much. Have you ever tried writing down your own views on these openings, and their pros/cons? You might just see how ready you are to take them on fully: no pain no gain. I'd rather be forced into 1. d4 for a season, and lose every game, but learn from it, than continue to smash 1600s with the Ruy Lopez and Italian just on autopilot.

If you're going to learn 1. c4, that is a huge amount of work unless you truly believe you can outplay most of your opponents regardless of book. The Anglo-Indian complex is one branch, I assume you'd feel fine in King's since you could just play 2. g3 and go to a sort of reverse Sicilian, but then there's also the Symmetrical and 1. d4 transpos. You could almost say, that every branch is as thick as the Ruy Lopez is. How does it sound put like that?


Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:59 am
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Location: Silicon Valley, California, USA
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Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Hi Laramont,

I'm probably at a similar playing strength (2274 peak rating on chess.com), and I see no reason to have two opening repertoires -- unless you play the same people over and over again, in which case (1) it's nice to have them guessing what you're going to play today, and (2) it's harder for them to prep for you in a serious game.

I know my chess would improve a lot faster if I stopped messing around with different openings, stuck with one set for a year or two, and spent most of my time on analyzing master games, analyzing my own games, endgames, and tactics -- with tactics probably being the most important of the bunch. I've also decided that my standards of "being prepared" are way too high for someone with a 1700 OTB (USCF) rating, and that I ought to simply prepare at the level my peers are prepared (not very, really, if I'm honest about it...) and work on being a better chess player overall. The opening obsession is just deadly for one's game. I haven't really improved very much in the last 2-3 years -- largely because of it.

Right now, I'm taking a chess break. I'm not playing at all (due to the overall craziness of my life at the moment...), but I'm doing a little bit of tactics and endgame stuff at a "maintenance level" to keep from going completely stale. I'm also thinking about what I'm doing wrong and how to fix it.

Good luck!
=wild=

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Sat Apr 10, 2010 8:04 am
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Pawn

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Kidwelly, Wales
Rating: 1940
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Hi Arbiter / Wildman / all,
I've not posted for a while but I'm still trying to improve. A two week vacation in Turkey without a chess board nor book has got me raring to go !
On Goals, I've one OTB game left in the season, a cup final and if I can win I may achieve my goal of maintaining my rating despite some poor results. I'm currently 1946.
On Gwyddbwll.com, I've not played a lot but am third on the list, some way short of the guy in first, another target.
On Chess.com, I'm doing okay. I still struggle with achieving the best at correspondence. It's good for exploring openings and I've recently found much more enthusiasm for grinding out the win in a long endgame, probably very beneficial. However, I still slip up sometimes. For example, I was sure I was winning as Black and played the first move of a line 5 or 6 moves deep. When I came to the third move in the sequence my mind went blank and I could not find the previously planned line ! I spent my full 7 day allowance trying maybe three times before choosing a different move. Now it's come back to me I'm again trying to use the same idea !
"Studying Chess Made Easy" by Soltis has switched me on to his championing progress by independent effort. I must analyse my own games. It will highlight strengths and weaknesses, show up "soft" issues like clock management and attitude in different situations. I will restrict my opening studies to improving on games I've played. That means sticking to the e4 / Caro Kann / Dutch repertoire that I currently have. C4 / accelerated dragon / NID - QID may be used solely in correspondence.
Now I just need to stick to my plan.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 1:01 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Kidwelly, Wales
Rating: 1940
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Hi All,
I'm still here ! Sorry to see TheArbiter has left us. It would be great to see him return.

Well, as my wife often remarks "There is no end to the chess season !". The OTB season finished and we won the championship in West Wales for the first time, as well as the cup. We got to the final of the Welsh Cup for first round losers. That was my last game before re-grading. I was Black in a Leningrad Dutch mainline. I got f4 in early in the middlegame but soon after dropped the exchange. This gave me some chances as it opened up White's kingside a little. Having regained the exchange the ending proved to have little excitement and a draw soon resulted. This gave me a new grading of 1940. A small drop from six months ago but a useful improvement over twelve months ago.
This weekend I'm playing in a five round weekender. My usual preparation amounts to cramming my head with opening analysis. i am determined to resist the temptation. So far I have started on my resolution to analyse my own games. I've decided to do this by opening, starting with the Dutch as Black. I amazed that I've played 23 games in the Dutch already. This has produced 11 wins, 4 draws and 7 losses, so 56.5 % - a reasonable return and full of interesting games. The resolve to properly look at my own games certainly pays off, particularly the losses. My worst loss of the regular season was against an opponent rated 1594 to my 1949 at the time. I hadn't been able to play over it, other than to right it into my scorebook and into my database until today. It hurt but highlighted how poorly I played. While I'm aware that playing against a lower rated opponent the sound advice would usually be to avoid complications, I still think the Dutch a good choice. It doesn't have to be played all-out all the time. I got a pleasant opening position but then avoided giving him the option to swap off the queens, for no good reason.
So far I've analysed 9 of the 23 in the Dutch. My preparation for the tournament will be to continue looking at some of the rest.
I'll let you know how I get on !


Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:45 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Kidwelly, Wales
Rating: 1940
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Hi all,
My tournament was okay with a 3 out of 5 return. One loss was to the top rated guy in the tournament and only the other loss really got under my skin. I'll return to that when I've properly analysed the games. Maybe I'll try and figure out how to post one on here for comment.

OTB my new grading is 1940. I've played four games in our not-for-rating club championship. Two poor draws to lower rated guys, a straight forward win and I very frustrating loss to the top rated guy in the club, my closest mate. I had prepared a line to get a small edge and give him no activity. It worked a treat, I went a pawn and 20 minutes up, then I blew it by going for a forcing line in mutual time trouble instead of the sensible pressurising move that I had seen. The forcing move kept it level but I blundered near the time control. The really annoying thing was that the pressurising move won clearly, my position was that good.

In correspondence I'm up to 2100 on chess.com. Onwards and upwards towards the 2200 target. I've won one more game on Gwyddbwll.com but I still in third but have started two games against the guy in second.

Back soon, all the best, Adam.


Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:49 am
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Pawn

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Kidwelly, Wales
Rating: 1940
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Hi All,
I'm back. I must work out how to put my games into this journal and annotate them. As well as being more entertaining, it would help to push me into analysing them properly. Okay, my next tournament is at the end of February. Since last posting I:

- Played in the European Club Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (only 1/6 but a great experience)
- Got my new OTB grade of 1941 (almost no change but I was 18 points up until losing my last game)
- Still in third on Gwyddbwll.com in email correspondence
- On Chess.com I've been up to 2143 and am now at 2132.

My tournament preparation will consist of finishing Silman's endgame course and doing the exercises at the end of Silman's Amateur's Mind. I will allow myself only a quick look at the Scotch as White and the Advance and Panov as Black in the Caro Kann. Other than that I'm sure that my opening knowledge is good enough. Analysying my games will provide enough opening research in lines I come up against.
I'm trying out the English as White in correspondence but that's for the future.
I played the most interesting and competitive game I've been involved in in a long time last night. The area closed championship third round led me to be playing White against my club captain who is 80 grading points above me. It was a draw in a bishop versus knight endgame after a Caro Kann Bf5 main line. I'll post it with analysis soon !


Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:49 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:34 am
Posts: 17
Location: Kidwelly, Wales
Rating: 1940
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Laramonet's journal


Hi All,
Here, hopefully, is the recent game I mentioned. I'll follow up with analysis as soon as possible !


Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:22 am
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Post Re: Laramonet's journal
Interesting game- looking forward to your analysis.

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Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:59 pm
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Post Re: Laramonet's journal
hey, you appear to be interested in getting better with your chess. If I can be of help please feel free: http://chesstrainingschool.com/

my contact info is there, any questions I will answer them.

Charles

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Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:06 pm
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