24 January 2009

Comments on Comments

One of the fringe benefits of blogging is getting public reactions in the form of comments. Unfortunately, any further discussion in the comments is likely to be overlooked and/or forgotten. Here are a few comments I've received over the past month, along with some thoughts.

1893 Tarrasch - Chigorin (Anatomy)Justonovich: 'Do you analyze games with software?' • Yes, I do and I believe that most keen players do. One trick I use is to step through a game with the analysis engine turned on. Skipping over five or six move pairs at a time (easily done with 'cursor down') isolates the turning points, the moves where the evaluation jumps from roughly equal to a significant advantage for one side. Those turning points can then be analyzed in more depth. I use other tricks, but to describe them properly would take a full post.

Odd Year Means USCF ElectionJohn Hillery: 'Am I an insider? I must have forgotten to ask Them to teach me the secret handshake.' • Yes, John, anyone who can give an informed opinion on the EB candidates within a day after their names are revealed -- as in Just when you thought it was safe ... -- qualifies as an insider or, at worst, a keen observer.

Useless Stats/Qs about RatingsJames Stripes: 'I saw that you've started following my Chess Skills blog, so I stopped in to say hello.' • Hello, James! The Blogger.com feature allowing bloggers to track ('follow') blogs via the dashboard is the best tool I've found to stay up-to-date with other blogs. The list of the blogs I follow is visible in my profile. It appears that anything producing an RSS feed can be tracked.

As an aside, I discovered both of the preceeding bloggers (John Hillery and James Stripes) thanks to the latest blog carnival (see label in my sidebar). Discovering new blogs that are worth following is an important challenge for which I don't have a reliable method.

Undefended Pawns in Chess960 Start PositionsTom Chivers: 'I've been thinking about the 960 start positions too. In particular, I've started questioning whether comparing % scores of any of the 959 positions with chess makes any sense at all. After all, the 959 positions are basically played out with zero theory: so it would make more sense to compare them with chess results around the time of Greco, not chess now.' • This comment raises so many points that it's also worth a separate post.

Dragons and ConcretenessWahrheit: 'Edward Winter had a Note about an amateur beating Lasker with Rxc3 in the Dragon WAY back, but the game remained virtually unknown, and that the idea was "rediscovered" in the 1960s. I'll see if i can track it down when I have a little more time.' • Thanks for the tip. I searched Winter's site, but couldn't find the reference. Any help would be appreciated.

I've been sitting on other interesting comments that are even older than these. Maybe I'll tackle them one of these days.


Temposchlucker said...

I get the impression that with the USCF every year looks odd.

Wahrheit said...

Mark, so sorry to send you down the wrong trail and waste your time--after considerable searching myself, I found I was remembering something from Tim Krabbe--see #339 here: http://www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/chess2/diary17txt.htm

Not the Yugoslav of course, but interesting.