Sunday, November 29, 2009

de Groot Exercise

As part of some recent analysis of my analysis, I decided to do the last two exercises at Chess Tempo using a de Groot exercise. Most of what I just learned comes from NM Dan Heisman's Novice Nook #29. In the late 1930s, Dr. Adriaan de Groot published research on the thinking processes used by players of all grades from world champions down to class players on a small series of positions. Mr. Heisman has an excellent discussion of both Dr. de Groot's conclusions and his own from administering the de Groot exercise to hundreds of his students. One set of Dr. de Groot's conclusions was quite interesting:

Strong players have four phases of thought process:
1.Orientation to Possibilities.
2.Phase of Exploration.
3.Phase of Investigation.
4.Striving for Proof.

Without reading more on de Groot, I'm a little fuzzy on the difference between steps 2 and 3, but 1 and 4 seem clear.

The proper de Groot exercise utilizes positions that are rich in possibilities, not tactical move and win positions like at Chess Tempo. Nevertheless, I am trying not to miss things that are there, so I'm curious what things are slipping through my dragnet. My de Groot exercises involve two successes, so in that sense, perhaps I will not learn much, but perhaps eventually I'll meet more failures and then be able to produce refinements.

Chess Tempo #41477

Material is even. My black queen is attacked by white's last move g4. Wild checks go nowhere. I have a threat of Bd4 pinning White's queen to his king. The Nc3 is a little insecure from a removal of the guard on d2 either from Rxd2 or from a queen trade offer and takeback. My Nb4 is loose.

-Qa5 to hold my knight in the middle of the melee?
-Bxg4 fxg4 Qxg4 doesn't look so good, but the threat of Bd4 increases the possibilities of crazy moves working. My evaluation says that I'm simply losing material.
-Nc2 threatens White's queen and if gxh5 Nxe3 forks rooks, but Bxe3 Bxc3 is just equal.

So back to main line Qa5 Qf4 Rd4 or better yet Qa5 Qf4 Qc5+ to hit c3 twice.
But what about simply Qa5 Kh1 then Nc2 Qg5 (Qf4 Bxc3 Ah, the Qa5 was also hitting c3.)

After Qa5 Kh1 Nc2 Qg5 what about Bxc3? Qxa5 Bxa5 Bxa5 Rxd1 Rxd1+=

What about Qxg5 Bxg5 Bxc3 but doesn't Rc1 get one minor back? Bd2! holds the extra minor. Then Bxe7 Bxc1 Bxd8 Be3 Bf6.

After Qa5 Kh1 Nc2 Qg5 Qxg5 Bxg5 Bxc3 Rxd8+ Rxd8 Rc1 Bd2 Bxe7 Bxc1 Bxd8 is still a minor up.

My line was correct. The problem had a rating of 2103 when I did it. I could have been #6)overconfident, not seeing my own hanging knight at b4. I also could have #3)overlooked the defensive resource Kh1. I almost #4)pruned too early after Bxc3 and before Bd2!

Chess Tempo #50698

Material is even. White has doubled b pawns, Black has two bishops.
White is fully developed, Black is behind on QB and QR development and has vulnerable dark squares around his king.
Crazy checks: Nf6+ seem to dead end, but there is a discovery from Re1 if I get the bishop out first.
Forcing moves: Bc5 hits queen, Rxh4 distracts queen. Preparing Nf6+

Line: Bc5 (One fantasy is Qd8? Rxh4 Qxh4 Nf6+ Qxf6 Rxe8+ Kg7 Bf8+ Kg8 Bh6#) gxh5 Bxe7 Rxe7. White comes out with the Q vs R+B advantage of +1 nominal material. Black's kingside pawns are messy.

Other line Rxh4 Qxh4 Bg5 {intending Nf6+ and Rxe8} Qxg5 Nxg5 Rxe1+ Kh2 seems worse -1 disadvantage of Q vs 2R.

Bc5 was right! Rxh4 suckered a lot of the commentators. This problem had a 2125 rating when I did it. I probably still #4)pruned too early because I didn't think about what to do about my pinned Ne4 to my loose Re1 at the end of the Bc5 variation. I have to go back to my mini-study to figure out why I missed some #7)bishop complexities, like the key move here. I almost missed #3)defensive resource and #1)queen complexities on the Qxg5 ending to the Rxh4 line.

I'll try to Google some more resources on de Groot to try to understand the difference between Phase 2 Exploring and Phase 3 Investigating.

Friday, November 27, 2009

TPS Report #17

I made it to #4 on the list of Chess Tempo endgame theory rankings. I recommend training with Chess Tempo to players trying to improve their knowledge of endgames. Although there are several endgames such as QvR, RBvR, and NNvP that are fairly impractical, I enjoy their challenges and collecting their weird secrets, that someday I hope to present in a coherent manner. However, there are many RPvR and a few QPvQ which are quite practical.

I went through and fixed a lot of my blog entries with games that used to be on Chess Publisher and converted them to ChessFlash.

No openings work. No master games. No middlegame tactics. No checklist training.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Skill, Luck, or Pity?

Last Thursday I played against my friend and coach Nate Garingo. The night started off rocky. Jerry was late and the TD duties once again sucked me in. I can't seem to avoid working for the club. I asked myself, "Why didn't someone else make the pairing cards by now?" "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in." I'm trying to avoid responsibilities because they detract from the fun of the game. So the pairings were almost an hour late. My passive aggressiveness kept me from suggesting that I could pair the round in 2 minutes on my computer. Jerry wouldn't approve of the computer and USCF pairings anyway. It's his tournament, not mine.

So my mindset was that even though the round was starting an hour late, I would still get home at a decent hour because my defeat would be quick. When Nate and I sat down, he asked if this was our sixth game. I thought it was our fifth. He recounted each of our games by their openings. I didn't remember the first one, but eventually his description of an errant knight maneuver in the English jogged my memory. A couple dragons, a bayonet King's Indian, and a Scandinavian. Yeah that's five. Nate won them all. This would be the sixth.

The game itself also started off rocky. It was my second French game ever. Book was quickly thrown out. First I made mistakes, then he made some. And then a surprising thing happened...

Here are three crucial positions from the game:

White to play. White has wedged his Queen into a tight spot. Is he genuinely in trouble? What's the best move for White?

White to play. Can White get some compensation for his pawn?

Black to play. How should Black deal with the threat of Nc7+?

The answers are in the analysis of the game:

I was proud that I found 11.Ne5, 17.Nxd5, and worked out almost all the lines of how to rescue my knight. I'm disappointed that I didn't see moves like the first 13.Bb5+ and the analysis Kb8 Rxg5 idea. Most importantly, I broke through a psychological: that I could no longer beat the strong tactical players in the club.

Capablanca said, "A good player is always lucky." "Luck" in chess seems to happen when your opponent's blind spots coincide with with your good plans. I was lucky I didn't blunder 9.Qh8?, didn't miss Ne5! with alternatives h4/g3/Be2, didn't choose 19.Bxc6, and didn't "blunder" 22.f3. I was lucky Nxd5 worked out with the knight getting away. I was lucky Nate missed 13...Bd7, 14...Rh8, 17...Rb8, and overlooked 20.Rxb5.

I half-jokingly accused Nate of throwing the game in order to prop up a friend's fragile chess ego. My case would include points like: he chose to give up his book advantage, he allowed the trade of queens which dampened his dynamic strength, he miscalculated the critical phase, and he shuffled his pieces around almost aimlessly (Nb8-d7-f6xh5-f6-d7, Bc8-d7-c6-b5-c6). Funny enough, the last game we played was 364 days prior in the 2008 edition of the Holiday Swiss. He knew that my enthusiasm for chess had tanked around then. Nate assured me that he wouldn't lose a game on purpose, but my ISTJ personality keeps the nagging doubts close.

Nate and I have discussed chess and pity before. I think Larry Evans tells a story about the most beautiful chess move in history involving someone resigning before his opponent's flag fell. This move doesn't strike me so beautiful as dumb. Chess is not a place for mercy and pity. If you play with pity for your opponent and somehow play weaker because of it, you not only hurt your game, but you also rob your opponent of part of the spoils of victory because you have only allowed him to triumph over your sympathetic chess avatar. "Oh, I was trying to go easy on him" is a rather lame excuse unless you're trying encourage a child, and even then, it's questionable. A French Proverb says "You cannot play chess if you are kind-hearted."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Broadening Vision

My friend showed me this problem about a week ago. He said that he couldn't get it. I similarly failed. Here's your chance to show you're better than two experts. White to play:

Highlight this box for a light hint [Nd8 is in most lines somewhere.]

Highlight this box for a heavy hint [The first four moves are all checks.]

Highlight this box for the solution [1.Qd6+ Kc8 2.Qd8+ Kb7 3.Qxb6+!! Kxb6 (3...axb6 4.Nd8+ Kc7 5.Nxf7) 4.a5+ Kc6 (4...Ka6 5.Nc5#) (4...Kb7 5.Nd8+) 5.Nd8+ Kd7 6.Nxf7 +-]




I think the reason why I missed this problem is that both the width and depth of my thinking were insufficient. I thought I solved it with 1.Qd6+ Ka8 2.Qe8+ Kb7 3.Nc5+, but I overlooked the defensive resource 3...Kc6. I couldn't even see Qxb6+ because it looks too daring. I noticed the knight could fork after 1.Qd6+ Kb7, but once the queen went to d8, I stopped thinking about it. The mating pattern also seemed novel. Many features that I noticed on my tactical evaluation are here:

#1.Queen complexities
#3.Defensive resource (3...Kc6)
#4.Horizon/Premature cutoff (3.Qxb6+ can't work)
#8.Knight complexities (Nd8 fork)
#9.Backward move (3.Qd8xb6 and Nd8 forking things behind it) AND
#10.Complex new pattern (Nc5 mate)

Here's one I'm proud didn't get away. Chess Tempo #61744 is one of the higher rated problems I've gotten lately.

Highlight the following for a light hint. [What is White's chief advantage?]

Highlight the following for a heavy hint. [Invite more people to the party.]

Highlight the following for the solution. [1.Nd2! Ke7 {unpins} 2.Rc6 Qxc6 4.Qxc6]




I started off moving around the queen and rook in my head, but I couldn't get much traction after 1.Rc6 Qb3 stops the idea of 2.Qe6+ Be7 3.Rc8+ and 1.Rc6 Qb3 2.Re6+ Kf7 3.Qd7+ Kg8 isn't much of an advantage. Suddenly it occurred to me that White's queen and rook are already putting heavy weight on Black's pressure point, the pinned bishop on d8. The pieces might be as good as they're going to get for the time being. Black's pieces were also about as good as they could get, almost in zugzwang. Because of the recognition that White's queen and rook don't get much out of moving, I turned my attention to White's knight which is not participating. Nxe5 and Ng5 didn't look good, so I began to think about the backward and quiet-looking Nd2. One thing I did gain from the early Rc6 lines was that the Black Queen could harass my king a little bit. Nd2 is useful for preventing both Qb1+ and Qc3. It also threatens Nc4 removing the queen as guard of Bd8 and blocking the attempt of the move Qb3 to protect e6 from the White Queen.

The problem has the following difficulties from my list:
#1.Queen complexities
#8.Knight complexities
#9.Backward move
#11.Zugzwang (not exactly, but close enough)

I'm still not consciously saying to myself, "Look for backward moves and zugzwang and weird defensive moves" but I'd like to think subconsciously my board vision is improving a little.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chess Is Hard

"Chess is hard." - Jerry Weikel, NTD and organizer/director of Reno's two large annual chess tournaments
"Chess is ludicrously difficult." - Stephen Fry
"Chess is mental torture." - Garry Kasparov
"Chess is so deep, I simply feel lost." - Vladimir Kramnik
"Chess is horribly, heinously, and hellaciously hard." - me, on maximum verbosity
"@#%*!" - Anonymous

Hearing Jerry say "Chess is hard" for the umpteenth time like a mantra got me thinking about chess and hardness. This thought led me to the traditional Mohs scale of mineral hardness:

Level 10DiamondSuper Grandmaster/World Champion
Level 9CorundumInternational Grandmaster
Level 8TopazInternational Master
Level 7QuartzMaster
Level 6FeldsparExpert
Level 5ApatiteClass A
Level 4FluoriteClass B
Level 3CalciteClass C
Level 2GypsumClass D
Level 1TalcClass E

FYI, soapstone is Mohs hardness 2, alabaster 3, marble 6, granite 8, cubic zirconium 8.

I imagine mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812 rubbing two rocks together and recording the result in a notepad. This reminds me of a "scientist" who published a research proposal on Cragslist to find the genetically strongest M&Ms in his own Highlander tournament to the death and then breed them into a super-race of champion M&Ms. "There can be only one."

"Oh, Andy loved geology. I guess it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure, and time. That, and a big god-damned poster." - Red from Shawshank Redemption

RED: The man likes to play chess; let's get him some rocks.
HEYWOOD: Guys! I got one. I got one. Look!
FLOYD: Heywood, that isn't soapstone, and it ain't alabaster either!
HEYWOOD: What are you a fuckin' geologist?
SNOOZE: No he's right. It ain't.
HEYWOOD: Well what the hell is it then!
RED: It's a horse apple.
HEYWOOD: Bullshit!
RED: No, horse shit, petrified.
HEYWOOD: Oh Jesus! Damn!
RED: Despite a few hitches, the boys came through in fine style. And by the weekend he was due back, we had enough rocks saved up to keep him busy 'til Rapture.

I ain't no geologist and I wouldn't know a petrified horse turd from granite. I ain't no writer either. I just flesh out these ideas I get using Google and Wikipedia. My writing ability is simply a multimedia content aggregator which simulates originality only through eclectic plagiarism. Alfred Lanning asked, "When does a perceptual schematic become consciousness? When does a difference engine become the search for truth? When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote of a soul?"

A geologic age ago, my passion for chess was like a mass of hot lava which, like my heart, was about the size of my fist. Exposed to the atmosphere, the outer layer solidified into a shell of rock. Over time, the shell thickened until the only heat left was at the center, encased in cold inert laziness and anxiety. The shell is of a dull soapstone, lacking in any brilliance whatsoever.

Simon and Garfunkel sang "And the rock feels no pain. And an island never cries." Lately, I had experienced some unwelcome emotionality with regard to chess. I think my sportsmanship until this year had been impeccable, not showing too much animus toward myself or my opponent when the result was subpar. If I lost, I patiently accepted it as just another of Caissa's gifts of wisdom for her humble follower. I was a happy and dispassionate chess enthusiast. But recently, I internalized failures at the board as outward signs of weakness and lost sight of my happy place. The losses became a bitter medicine that I couldn't stand any more. I think it stemmed from forgetting that this game is fun and instead focusing on both the self-imposed mandate to improve and the frustration that comes upon seeing the paltry returns on investment of effort. I must return to my rational center. What would Spock say? "Frustration is illogical." What would Data say? "I am an android. I do not get emotional about chess."

During my recent forays into Scrabble, I found that sportsmanship as a lowest grade Scrabble player is surprisingly difficult. Scrabble has a much larger luck factor in that the tiles you draw from the bag can make or break your game. In Word Freak, Stephen Fatsis wrote of the tendency for Scrabble players to curse the tiles when they're losing, but true Scrabble champions play through adversity. I rapidly became one of the cursers.

Susan Boyle sang from Les Miserables, "I dreamed a dream in time gone by." I believed I could get to where the chess masters are if I only had enough time. But over the years the belief turned to lost faith, especially this past year when work hardly interfered with my chess study time. Instead of seeing the milestones recede in my rearview mirror, I was stuck in neutral, realizing that I had neither the skill nor the passion to see it through. "But the tigers come at night with their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your hope apart. And they turn your dream to shame."

In round 3 of this year's Western States Open, I had to substitute on the demo boards for a few hours. As I stood in the eye of the silent and invisible hurricane of variations calculated by the surrounding masters, I capitulated to the idea that they are just too far ahead for me to catch them in my lifetime. So I'm not destined for greatness. Well, boo-fucking-hoo. Have I become an ingrate who cries that his cup is only half full? Perhaps, I should count my blessings. Sheryl Crow sang, "It's not having what you want. It's wanting what you've got."

My lava lacks gravity and its main geologic manifestation: pressure. My lava doesn't flow or grow; it is stagnant. The vain hope that the residual nidus of lava can still cool into a geode or a thunder egg will soon evaporate. It's just soapstone through and through. Still, there is a chance for a certain kind of order and beauty. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If life gives you shit, polish it into a thing of beauty. I've got soapstone and for now I'll keep on sculpting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Having been frozen in the near-absolute zero of entropic Ennui and then shattered by Heartbreak, my chess avatar now lay in scattered shards of glittering pyrite atop the velvety black asphalt. I had neither energy nor will to gather the pieces, so I left them there and walked away. In the first fifty paces, I felt nothing, not a trace of regret. I walked twenty-five more and wondered if I'd ever feel normal again. On my hundredth step, I suddenly turned to look back. To my utter disbelief, the angled, crystalline fragments had melted into pools of mercury and were coalescing into larger and larger pools, guided by a sinister unseen force. I turned and began to run...

Monday, November 16, 2009

TPS Report #16

During the summer, I stopped by a yard sale and to my delight found Office Space on VHS for fifty cents. So I promptly bought it and went home to watch it twice. My general fuzzy feeling that the movie was genius has now been sharpened into specific scenes that I have memorized for mental replay at any time.

Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. Just a moment.

It's just that we're putting cover sheets on all TPS reports. Did you get the memo?

The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy. It's that I just don't care.

I told those fudge packers I liked Michael Bolton's music.

Now we had a chance to meet this young man, and boy, that's just a straight shooter with upper management written all over him.

BOB: Looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately.
PETER: I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.

I can't believe what a bunch of nerds we are. We're looking up "money laundering" in a dictionary.

I do want to express myself, okay. And I don't need 37 pieces of flair to do it.

As the beginning of the end of my break from chess, I took up with Chess Tempo again in late August. One of the features I really like is the separate Endgame drill. They're not quite endgame studies, but a lot of the tests are some of my favorite endings: rook and bishop versus rook or queen versus rook. It allows me to test myself and fill in the holes of my understanding on these endings. One disadvantage is that if you don't pay the subscription fee, the endgames tests are limited to 2/day. If somehow this blog creates a mad rush to subscribe to Chess Tempo, perhaps someone can say "Soapstone sent me" and the proprietor there will give an honorary Gold membership to this cheapskate blogger who so far has resisted the urge to pay for tactical training.

On Chess Tempo, regular middlegame tactics have no daily limitation even if you're a nonpaying registrant. I used to have an accuracy of the untimed Standard tactics of nearly 84%, but that's dropped to 81% lately, aided by inexplicable streaks of failure after failure. My tactics rating has climbed back over 2100, but a lot of the time, I have to concentrate more than 30 minutes on each problem.

A month back a friend asked me whether I had a checklist to thoroughly analyze positions. The question is 'How does one see what one cannot see?' I stated that I didn't have a rigorous method. The reasons are myriad, but it still boils down to me stubbornly refusing to take my medicine and do things right. Up to now, I had just looked at positions and chaotically moved wherever my eyes and thoughts took me. The chaotic method had served me well to this point, but I think it has begun to fail me because my mental clock and attached calculator are no longer as nimble.

So after a particularly miserable streak of getting problems wrong on Chess Tempo, I got so frustrated I decided to do a root cause analysis. Why am I failing to get these problems right? I compiled my last 30 misses and tried to verbalize where my thinking went wrong. Then I went back through and tried to categorize the errors or difficult features. I generated this spreadsheet. The main categories in order of highest to lowest frequency were:

Queen complexities
Missed key
Defensive resource
Horizon/premature cutoff
Creeping move
Bishop complexities
Knight complexities
Backward move
Fear/Overestimating defense
Complex new pattern

I gained some ideas about what should go on my checklist. Here is my first approximation:

Checks on his king; follow all crazy sacs to quiescence
Checks on my king; follow all crazy sacs to quiescence
Moves that threaten material
Pieces that have limited mobility to withstand direct attack or assist in defense of the king (e.g. trapping the queen)
Loose pieces to fork
Pinned pieces to pressurize
Pieces on ranks, files, or diagonals - pins and skewers
Pieces on intersecting diagonals and files - forks
Knight forks - pieces on the same color square (from Andres Hortillosa)
Forcing a piece to a vulnerable square
Removing or overloading a defender
*Try to look at least 2 full-width ply to find implausible key moves such as defensive resources and bluffs, creeping and backward moves, wild knight jumps, rampaging pawns/promotion, zugzwang.

I think that I was always looking for the things on the list, just not thoroughly and methodically. The last item is the recent addition from my error analysis. Temposchlucker talked a lot about checklists, but after using some keywords, I couldn't find a tactical checklist that he published for the public benefit.

A week ago, I wandered over to chessloser to see that he blogged twice in October. Then I followed one of his links to Chessgasm who seemed to be interested in proper analytical methods. He reviewed Forcing Chess Moves by Charles Hertan and mentioned it again later as a comparison to Aagard's Excelling at Chess Calculation. I've mentioned Hertan's book before without actually knowing the content of his book, but now I think I've got to go buy it.

Computers play chess by brute force. They look at a position and generate all legal moves and then make those moves in its 'mind' and then generate all subsequent legal moves. This is what's called full width search. Besides the move generator, there is an evaluation function which checks statically who's winning and by how much.

Looking back at my spreadsheet, I surmised that the reason queen complexities were such a problem for me is that they have so many moves, making width quickly unmanageable. It suddenly occurred to me that many of my other weaknesses were problems of insufficient width: missed key, overlooked defensive resource, creeping and backward moves. Premature cutoff/Horizon effect is mostly the perpendicular axis of depth, but often times I'm pruning a variation because I don't see that the next move disturbs the quiescence rather violently, which makes it partially a width problem. The question once again is how does one see moves that one cannot see? Hertan's solution seems to be USE COMPUTER EYES. It's probably impractical for me to emulate the computer, but perhaps it would benefit me to at least calculate the first two ply completely in some settings to try to achieve better width in my searches and see past my blind spots.

So I've got some directions to go in my training. I'm still not conscientiously using my checklist, but like my many unopened chess books, it's there for me to pick up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holey Repertoire!

There was a period a year and a half back when I tried to learn intensively from a coach. I'd say my main weaknesses were tactics and a suitably tactical opening repertoire. So he showed me many different lines from tactical openings, and I nodded my head and said things like, "Neat!" and "Whoa!" But a few weeks later when he showed me the same openings, my neurons could only muster a fuzzy and faint recognition. I've almost always picked things up quickly and vividly, but the lack of retention really frustrated me about chess in particular and made me distrust my own brain in general. Grasping these slippery lines was like fishing with my hands for black eels on a moonless night. Part of it is laziness toward the role of drilling. But part of it I internalize as a hopeless decline of aging. But that's my mental enemy talking again.

Back in April, I was trying to qualify for the Club Championship and played Drunknknite. It was a quick loss mostly from an opening inaccuracy. Afterward I remarked that I had hardly faced the Gligoric in my years of playing the King's Indian and Drunknknite said, "So I found the hole in your repertoire." A week later he asked if I had seen Gelfand-Polgar. At least my opening mistake had been made by a grandmaster once.

For last Thursday's game, I eschewed the well-trodden paths of the open Sicilian for the trappiness of the Morra Gambit. But the choice backfired as I was out of book at move 6. My opponent found good moves and I soon found myself two pawns down with no compensation. Luckily, I managed to get some play and exchanged into a theoretically drawn endgame.

So repairing my leaky opening repertoire is climbing my To Do List again.

Monday, November 9, 2009


A while back I wrote a comment to my own post Ennui.

Come, rust, enclose me in thy ruinous embrace. Silence these incessant ply-crunching gears so that I may hear the music of the other dryads.

Except for one skittles game in September, I did no pawn pushing for six months. Instead, I spent some time consorting with the dryads of Scrabble and elliptical, the naiad of the swimming pool, and the muses of writing and piano playing. But the autumn chill prompts both vestigial hibernation instincts and thoughts of Caissa. I wonder what she's been up to lately?

I have come to a place where getting back into chess is not currently eclipsed by the fear and loathing that I'll discover how hopeless improving my game is. As long as I can, I'm going to concentrate on what's fun and try not to get overwrought about what's impossible.

With a thunderous screech not unlike the roars of the T.Rexes that roam Hollywood, the gears lurched into motion, breaking the seals of rust and grinding them into an orange powder which floated up and merged with black diesel smoke.

So I returned to the club and entered the first round of the Holiday Swiss. It wasn't a bad game. I think I limited my opponent's chances throughout and I found interesting ideas, just not all of them.