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  • Glenn Julich

So I've been studying... doing puzzles... meeting with my coach... watching videos. Seeing improvement!

Then... in a live, timed 30 min game I manage to hang my queen on turn 12!

Yeah, I'm a Patzer. But I hadn't hung my queen in WEEKS!

I was so frustrated with myself. My mouse pointer was hovering over the resign button. Then I figured... nah, I'll play it out and see if I can outmaneuver him.

So clearly at that point, I was losing pretty badly. Then around turn 27 I started to really use what I've learned. I proceeded to dance my rook and bishop around my opponent's king.

Slowly checking him with discovered checks... and then again... and then again.

Slowly I managed to chip away at his pieces. His bishop... his queen... his rook.

Until finally, I danced him into a mate. Now I see I could have done it two turns earlier.

Here is the game. Jump to turn 27 where I turn the tide.

I'm not sharing this to boast... I'm still a patzer rated in the 800s and have nothing to brag about.  But...

I am seeing improvement in my game!  And that's what this journey is all about.

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Updated: Oct 7, 2020

So I just finished my fourth coaching session and I also just completed reviewing another week of puzzle statistics.  So here is the breakdown of everything!

First, the coaching sessions have been fantastic.  It is amazing to me how much I do not see when I looking at some puzzles that my coach shows me.  Truly humbling!  I am continuing to work my chess vision so I can spot better opportunities in the game.

As for the stats, I'm still living around the 50% mark or so for puzzles rated 800-1000.  My coached warned me that my percentage will likely fluctuate wildly and that is the truth!  Here is the data:

So as you see, I am pretty consistently staying in the 50 percent range.

Now, how about my games?  My games are actually going okay.  I'm playing in two different tournaments right now and something rather interesting happened. 

Take a look at these two boards.  In both of these examples, I am playing black.  Both of these are games that I won by resignation... both within 5 minutes of each other... both with the exact same Ne2+, forking white's queen.  Here they are:



How wild that in two different games I played the same move, both within 5 minutes of each other.  Crazy!

Have any of you ever experienced any crazy chess coincidences like this?

That said, I'm still a no-good Patzer.    But I can feel that my coaching sessions and my studying are moving me in the right direction!  Here's my improvement chart over the past 30 days from data:

If you've read my prior posts, my goal is to get to 1200 by September 2021.  I still have a ways to go, but I am generally heading in the right direction!

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Imagine for a moment that the year is 1831 and you live on an island off the coast of Scotland.

Today, you've decided to take a nice stroll along the coastline.  You've walked this stretch of beach many times.  You know the scenery like the back of your hand. 

Like many times before, you walk alongside a row of large earthen mounds.  But today, one of the mounds looks different. It looks... open.

Yes, it would appear one of the mounds has a gaping hole in the side and it beckons you to come it closer.

As you approach, you notice that the mound is hollow and you peer inside. And 78 sets of eyes are staring back at you...

The eyes belong to the Lewis Chessmen, named after the island where they were found. The Chessmen compose 78 chess pieces which are dated to around the 12th century.

Most of the pieces are carved from walrus ivory. And the attention to detail on them is astounding. Some red dye was found on a few of them, suggesting that perhaps the pieces were red and white as opposed to the more traditional black and white.

The King and Queen. Public domain image.

What's interesting, historically, about medieval chess sets is that they show us how Europeans of the day converted the original Persian sets over to a feudal-based system that we are more familiar with today. The original chariots, for example, ultimately became warders (or rooks) that we Patzers carelessly blunder away with alarming regularity.

The Knight. Public domain image.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief glimpse into chess history. If you live in the UK and managed to see them during one of the exhibitions, post in the comments below!

The Queen (back view). Public domain image.

If you'd like to see more photos, check out The British Museum.