Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Only 200 problems left in Circle #1

setc1c2c3c4c5c6c7
Beg.164%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.251%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.350%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.172% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.253% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.345%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.447%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.144%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.2n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.3n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a

My score wasn't all that high, but man, these problems are getting tough. It's pretty bad because at my level, because there is no clarity to the type of problem that it is (go for mate, or the type of tactic), it is increasingly difficult to figure out what to do.

Further, a lot of these problems win a couple of pawns, or go up an exchange, or, more interesting, winning two rooks and a minor piece for a Queen, which will put you up by the rough equivalent of four pawns, but that makes the attack remarkably difficult to find. In addition, I don't believe that I am playing at the quality yet where two rooks and two knights would be able to clearly defeat a Queen and a Knight, because, lets face it people, I suck!

My wife got me Fritz 9 for Christmas, and I've been playing against it on friend mode. What fun, at least it gives me chances by not playing brutally. Kind of plays like a real person, unlike Chessmaster. So far I am +0 -1 =1 against it, so hopefully the handicap modifier will change and I'll be able to see progress that way as well.

Until later!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Just a Question...

I blundered away my queen yesterday. Does this still happen to the rest of you? I was playing a quick game with a friend (10 mins), and I was distracted because I had to be somewhere.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Completed Initiate #4, 47%

setc1c2c3c4c5c6c7
Beg.164%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.251%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.350%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.172% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.253% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.345%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.447%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.1n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.2n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.3n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a

This is better than my runs (or first run, whatever), on my last two problem sets, so I'm happy that I seem to be getting better at the problems. Because I have little time to actually do the problems, I spend most of my time playing on Chessmaster, but I'm sure that everyone notices that in Chessmaster (for the XBOX, in my case), that even 1000 - 1200 players have a great tactical mind. While I win most (if not all) matches at that rating, I do still have some losses, and I haven't won all of the tournaments from the 1000-1200 ratings with first place. When I do, I'll let you all know.

Although I don't play all that often online, I'll let you know how well I do at all my public games, and I have some to post up. Well, now onto the advanced problem sets. I'll see how they look. It's amazing how some of these positions are those that I would never give a second look, and how there is a Rook or Queen for free in many of them.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Salcido Chess Set


Salcido Set Demo
Originally uploaded by psalcido.
Based on input from the last set, and just for fun, I continue with a new set, and an FYI on this tactics problem displayed, White to move.

I tried to make a queen that was more like the Queens of the standard chess set rather than the 'jester' hat, and I don't think that it works very well because it doesn't have the Jester hat that I am so used to. Thus, will I always to for the jester hat in the future.

BTW, I am still working on my circles. I am halfway through Intermediate set #4, analyzing the problems as I go, so it's slow going, but hopefully I won't have to do so much work in my next couple of sets, given that I will already know that the problems have been fully analyzed.

This is the output of the current development iteration of my program, not the production iteration, but what do you guys think?

Enjoy! Paul Salcido.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

New chess jpegs for use with Crafty, etc.


TestBoard
Originally uploaded by psalcido.
Hello all, I thought that I'd show you a set of images that I have made for use with Crafty (for that matter, I found an opening book for Crafty, if anyone is interested). Here is a basic image showing the game after 1. e4 h5 2. d4, just to show what the pieces will look like.

First, I know that these are not perfect, and I have no intention of them being so. This is my first serious excursion into image creation. My question is, how do you think that they look, and which pieces need to change?

I personally cannot stand the Rook and the small knight, but I still think that they look better than any free image set out there. I have some work to do, but I think that I'll probably call this the Ahartz Set, if I should name it, after my mothers maiden name.

I intend to continue working on satisfactory sets in the furthre. Let me know if you guys want a copy of these jpegs to use for your own output. If not, that's cool too. I'm probably going to zip em up and put them into my yahoo briefcase later.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Completed Int #3 -- Ouch...

setc1c2c3c4c5c6c7
Beg.164%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.251%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.350%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.172% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.253% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.345%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.4n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.1n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.2n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.3n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a

I have decided to continue moving forward with my circles despite the score of 45% on the last one. It was quite difficult (as I don't really know the difficulty of these problems when I start) and many of them are only working towards positional advantage, or an advantage of two pawns, things like that, making it difficult to know what you're looking for when you start.

Either way, I have noticed a slight improvement in my chess up to this point. I now see good Queen sacrifice threats, things like that, and I would like to post some of those games, but I'm also working on my own Chess images to show them here.

Well, Although I'm moving forward, I have been spending a lot of time analyzing each problem, and seeing if there are better responses, and validating the value of each move with Crafty as well, just to make sure the problem is totally valid.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Continuing Circles...

setc1c2c3c4c5c6c7
Beg.164%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.251%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Beg.350%n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.172% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.253% (2)n/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.3n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Int.4n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.1n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.2n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a
Adv.3n/an/an/an/an/an/an/a

The first time through Int.2, I got 43%, so I don't feel that this is the level of improvement that I wanted my second time through it, but for now I'll call it acceptable. The problems are getting difficult, and are not becoming any more enjoyable. I get small headaches from time to time, but nothing major.

I do not understand why Int.2 came out as it did compared to Int.1, but I'm not going to fret about it at this time. I am at day 22 of 64, so I'm slightly ahead, which is good because the last few sets are probably going to take me far longer to complete than anything up to this point.

With 42 days left, I need to complete 5 files, giving me 8 days per file. If it takes me longer than that on any of them, I will simply force myself up to the next, although I have no code put in to do so. That is something that I may wish to do in the future. It is only one simple command that I gotta toss in, so no biggie.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tactics Problems .... AHHHH!

2rq1rk1/5p1p/3pb1p1/p3p1bP/P2nP1P1/3P1P2/3B1NB1/1R1QK2R b K - 0 1
Black to Move

I decided it would be fun to give a taste of what my tactics program has stored up. Here is a problem from Initiate problem set #2 (with 9 Initiate problem sets, and 5 or so advanced, I can't remember what I have stored up). This is the second problem. I had trouble with it, so I want to see, is it really so difficult? Am I just not able to think tactically yet?

If the goal of the program is that I can eventually see positions like this on the board and be able to resolve them with some degree of accuracy, then I will be a happy camper. I don't think that most patzers (like myself) would ever look at this board in any game and go 'I can win, right here, can you see it'. I can see the pressure on white, but he is about to castle, and it doesn't appear that I can do anything about it.

Well, anyhow, see if you can solve it, and let me know if this is what you would call easy, medium or hard, or whatever else you wanna call it. I am redoing problem set Initiate #2 currently, as an FYI, and that's why I posted this, out of interest of what you guys think.

Oh, plus, I wrote a PGN Parser class in Perl, along with another class that checks moves. Anyone working with CGI or such might like something like that. In the future, I plan to write a program that takes a PGN or PGN DB and a game number as input, and displays the game on a web browser. I've seen others, but they're not pretty.

Do we have any graphic designers on the squad that might be able to create a set of images like pawns, queens and the like, but prettier than what I have above?