Saturday, August 24, 2013

Chess Study Tools: Status Report

I am writing some programs to help me study chess. In the last few months I have been working steadily on creating a program to write out an ebook based on an input pgn file. This was to allow the bulk of writing of chess books in a chess program by annotating moves and exporting the games to a pgn file, and also to create an means to easily review a set of games filtered from a chess database.

I have completed a prototype and have ironed out the most egregious bugs. The idea was to present each game as a chapter and each move as a position.  In an ebook a chess diagram using a chess font does not take up a lot of space, unlike a paper book. The font needs a lot of work.

I successfully used this on a recent vacation to review a bunch of games without using a chess set, just my tablet.

Here is a sample of Ruy Lopez games filtered on Kaufman's Repertoire for Black (2012) as I understand it.


  1. Newz: I downloaded and read your Ruy epub on Calibre. Good job.

    So the idea is to be able to follow games move by move using just a reader on a tablet? I can see how that would be handy.

    I've got pdfs of tactics puzzles on my cell phone that I'll work on at odd moments.

  2. Newz: Update on deflation...

    I looked up the ratings for the other serious chess player friends I knew in my twenties. Three became masters, one became an expert. All four experienced a 100 - 200 point loss in the 1998-2001 window.

    The two higher-rated went from high masters to low masters, but the other two got bounced down a full class and those two stopped playing tournament chess almost entirely.

    Judging by the drop in USCF membership from a high of 85,000 to 77,000 since then, I suspect that story played out for thousands of older members.

  3. Interesting, the only player I knew from my youth that is still USCF listed made master, but has not played much since the '80s (I am thinking he got a life membership as soon as he could afford it, then other things in life became more important)

  4. Newz: I looked up your rating too and that was a damn impressive leap upward of 300+ points you made in the first half of 2011.

    From what I've read, the USCF rating algorithm treats people who return to tournament play after a long absence like it treats unrated and provisional players. The algorithm gives these players a high K-factor so they can gain rating points quickly until their rating stabilizes.

  5. I had a friend who had an unbelievable run in his first tournament and emerged with a first rating of over 2000! He had gotten all his experience in clubs and matches.

    He was a decent player but I believe he was lucky that tournament plus he unintentionally intimidated his opponents. He was young, came out of nowhere, had an impassive face and never fidgeted.

    His next tournament was a disaster. He dropped 200 points and never played again

  6. I hope he is still playing at clubs. Tournament play is different somehow than playing with the same time control at the club.

    People used to expect unrated players to be weaker than the 1200 rating used for pairings. But with all the online play available, that is changing.

  7. Sadly my friend died some years ago of cancer.

    After college he devoted his time to career and marriage. He was a proud person and having been an expert, however briefly, I don't think he could adjust to working his way back up the hard way.

    If he hadn't done so well initially, he might have. But maybe not. He came to chess because he had friends, including myself, who played not because he had a strong personal interest.