65th Square

Monday, April 25, 2005

Farewell for now

Due to a recent change, it is time for me to set aside this quest, at least for now. It's really a good/bad news situation.

The Bad: I've been working for the same company for the past 7+ years (my previous record was 2 years) and while it's been a fun and convenient (10 minute commute) place to work, it's been clear that a change was necessary. It's been 4 1/2 years since my last raise and with the rising insurance premiums I have less net pay than when I started out with the company. Though I was one of the lucky few that didn't get laid off so I guess it wasn't all bad. Basically I was one of the remnants of a dying company and it looks like it's only a matter of time before it closes.

The Good: Finally found and landed a new gig late last week. Better pay, cheaper health care and I'll be working with/for an old friend of mine. The down side is that my daily 20 minute round trip will turn into about 2 hours. That combined with the challenges of a new job have convinced me to take a break for awhile.

In the short time I've been on the training regime I've noted a marked improvement in my tactical skill, so if you're reading this and wondering if it's worth the effort... it is. My recommendations, for what they are worth.

  • Go through a basic tactics book before you start the circles. Even if it's just a quick review.
  • Don't stress about percentages.
  • Use random problems for each level.
  • Warmup for a minute or 2.
  • Join up with the Knights and take advantage of the support.
All told it's been an enjoyable and educational trip, and one that I'm glad I took. While I'm saddened that I have to step back for awhile, it's nice to be excited about work again.

Thanks and good luck to all. I'll keep reading the blogs as time permits.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Days 53-54: 1 down 9 to go

Finished up level 30 Friday evening. Managed to get the percentage up to 60%. The last 3 days I was at about 75% once I started warming up, so I'm felling pretty good about the whole level.

I want to make sure that I thank everyone for their support. As you all know it does help. Dozens of times the last few weeks I was tempted to hang this up or put my fist through the laptop screen. Thanks everyone.

Since I'm done with this circle a few days early, I'm going to do a bit of review and run through the tests in Seirawan's tactics book. I reviewed my level 10 failures today. Still missed 2 of them, but the others seemed quite easy. I think I'll do the tests Sunday.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Day 52: Woohoo!!!

I think I may have figured out one of the reasons for my recent poor results. Last night I did my normal 10 problems, and scored about 55%. Then later I had some free time a bit later and did 25 additional problems at about 85%. So either the brain genie stopped by for a visit between the 2 sessions, or I need to start "warming up" before I start doing problems. Less than 50 problems left in this circle, but that should be enough to test my warmup theory.

Well anyway it's nice to finally have something positive to report. Also good to see our ranks swell with new members. Welcome all. I'll get around to updating my sidebar soon.

Now for some real fun! Tax time. I was all ready to get it done early this year, but of course I didn't get all of the forms until a few days ago. Cheers

Friday, April 08, 2005

Day 47: Why am I doing this again?

I've been thinking that maybe it's time for a new obsession. Ye gads level 30 is completely frustrating me. I'm cruising along around 65%. Ah for those days past when I could convince myself that I kinda knew what I was doing...

Not giving up though. It's gotta get better someday.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Day 39: Alive and still kickin

Still here, still solving, still sucking at solving. Level 20 has not been kind. The frustrating part is that when I miss a move, I've usually examined and discarded it. Though I suppose that's good in a way. I've thought about repeating the level, but since I'm doing the modified 10 circles I'll be back to level 20 in a few weeks anyway.

I should finish up level 20 tonight or tomorrow. Which will leave me just under 3 weeks for level 30. Looks like I may need to adjust the schedule, since I seem to be about a week ahead.

Now for some fun. Tempo and Margriet aren't the only online chess couple amongst us. Figure out my wife's FICS handle and you get your choice of Seirawan's "Winning Chess Strategies" or a genuine Lance Armstrong Foundation yellow "Live Strong" wristband. If needed I'll add a hint every day or 2. Just add a comment with your guess. And Logis no telling, since I know you know.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Day 30: Level 10 is history

After a particularly pathetic blitz outing at FICS I decided to solve a few more problems around last night. I ended up finishing the last 35 to complete level 10. Got on a roll and didn't feel like stopping. Anyway this should give me a good head start to this week.

I do want to try and mix in at least one long game a week. If I can keep up with the problems. Guess I'll try my hand at some slow online games. I'm usually way to impatient, but we'll wait and see.

Day 30:
110 problems complete out of 110 for Level 10 Circle One
Time Today: 0:45
Level 10: 93%

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Day 29:

Got the problems out of the way early today. Still cruising through level 10's. Not perfect but better than I'd expected. Trying to work ahead bit, since we're off to visit my mother-in-law, for Easter later this week.

Looks like I forgot to include my stats yesterday. Since I'm a big time stats geek here they are:

Day 28:
30 problems complete out of 110 for Level 10 Circle One
Time Today: 1:15
Level 10: 95%

And now for todays:
Day 29:
75 problems complete out of 110 for Level 10 Circle One
Time Today: 1:30
Level 10: 92%