Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

SF, science, and daily living

Archive for the ‘chess’ Category

A Legend Dies

Posted by hyperpat on January 18, 2008

As reported today, Bobby Fischer has died at the age of 64. Chess players around the world must mourn the demise of one of the greatest talents the game has ever known. Players since his day have eclipsed his FIDE rating, but many suspect that if he was at the peak of his powers today and with access to the great aid of powerful computer analysis, he would still be the man to beat. He did a great deal to popularize the game in America, and fought hard to improve playing conditions and prize funds, of great benefit to all. While I started playing the game long before he became a major influence, his prominence helped push me to learn more and to start playing tournament chess, which I continue to do to this day.

Unfortunately, as a man he left much to be desired. While his seemingly paranoid continuous statements about the Russian’s collusion to deny him the world championship have since been, in the main, verified as being true, his attacks on America and Jews were inexcusable, and badly tarnished his reputation. Like the only other American world champion, Paul Morphy, Fischer apparently had some serious mental issues, which became more and more evident as he aged.

His accomplishments were great. His life away from the chess board was not. But his death is still a great loss to the chess world.

Posted in chess | 3 Comments »

Chess and Luck

Posted by hyperpat on October 19, 2007

I played in the Western States Chess Open in Reno this last weekend. For a change, I played in the Class A section, figuring I was strong enough to do reasonably well there. Apparently not a good assumption, as I ended up with one win and three losses, even though I thought I played well. I had no obvious blunders, I calculated the tactics well, but strategically I was just outplayed – although one of the losses probably should have ended in a draw if I’d handled the end game slightly differently. But it was a good tournament, with something like 19 GMs and IMs in the open section, a large overall attendance, well run, with no big controversies (at least that I was aware of ), a pleasant playing hall, and friendly people. Plus it never hurts that when the chess game is over, the other games are right there, just waiting to grab your money.  I suppose you can be lucky in chess, but skill’s the thing there, and I think you need to save the luck for those other games (not that I was very successful there, either).  But it looks like I need to go back to the books again, and do some real work if I want to do better on my next outing.

Posted in chess | 1 Comment »

Positive, Think Positive

Posted by hyperpat on January 3, 2007

‘Tis a new year, and hopefully a great one. That’s one thing people can always have, plain hope. Now 99% of the time, all the hopes don’t pan out, and you end up with something less than envisaged, but that’s alright, new hopes will come along to replace those that didn’t make the cut. It seems to be something that is hard-wired into the human makeup. If that wellspring ever dries up, the end result is a broken person, a stick figure that looks human but is really a zombie. So, anyway, my hopes/projections for this year:

1. My family will end the year together and happy. There have been some rough times in the past, and there probably will be quite a few shoals this year, but so far we’ve muddled through, and finally it looks like there will be some conclusion to a few of the ongoing problems.

2. Congress will get hip to the fact that this planet is a very fragile place and start doing something about it: provide truly adequate funding to the space program,  develop rational plans to handle all the various eco-catastrophes waiting around the corner, initiate a major upgrade to the nation’s infrastructure to make it more efficient and less taxing on the world’s resources, and actually develop a road map for the future of this country that encompasses a time frame longer than the next election, with strong enough controls enacted that they’ll actually have to follow it. Yeah, I know – this is blue-sky dreaming. But I can hope.

3. While Congress is doing (2), they’ll also wake up to the fact that security is never a 100% guarantee, and repeal the most obnoxious intrusions into personal privacy and the almost limitless police-state powers they have granted to various federal agencies. This country was built by people who took risks, and one of the major reasons they did is that they could see the direct benefit to themselves, without fear of the government tromping all over them.

4. Wars will continue to happen. It’s a given. But perhaps there will be a few places where compromise and real discussion will break out. It would be very nice to see the almost 60 year debacle of the Israeli-Arab conflict get to a point where “suicide bomber” is no longer a revered profession and the reasons for them no longer exist.

5. I could win the $250,000 bowling shootout in May. This one actually has a real chance of happening, though the odds aren’t great.  It would certainly go a long way towards making my financial position tenable. Along these same lines, maybe I can at least get my chess rating back into the Class A category. Higher than this doesn’t seem to be in the cards – I just don’t see enough time to do the really heavy studying Expert and higher would require. But here again, I can hope!

6. I’ll get off my tail and actually finish writing a story, and be able to sell it. Even if I only get $2 for it, this would be an accomplishment I’d be happy with.

7. I’ll be granted a couple more patents this year. This one is pretty likely, as the applications are already in, the concepts are sound, the technology exists, and my company is already building systems that utilize the concepts.  Now I won’t get any great financial reward for this, and the patents are ‘group’ things, developed along with quite a few other people, but I like the feeling that I’ve help add to the world’s knowledge by developing something new.

8. We’ll be contacted by the aliens from Acturas IV about next Christmas time. Fermi paradox be damned, they’re out there somewhere, and what better time for humanity’s hubris to be taken down a couple of notches when it finds out that it’s not unique, that intelligent life exists elsewhere.

9.  They’ll actually implement a fix for Social Security and Medicare and develop a real, workable universal health insurance plan. More blue-sky stuff. While they’re at it, they’ll revise the tax code so Mr. Average Joe can actually figure it out.

10. People will actually act more rationally to world events, instead of reacting with hysteria over every blip reported by our excitable (and deliberately provoking) media.

You never know. It all could happen.

Posted in Bowling, chess, Daily Happenings, General, Politics, Science & Engineering | 3 Comments »

Post Turkey Day Fun

Posted by hyperpat on November 27, 2006

Well, turkey day has come and gone, and I guess I can post something here now.

After the turkey I decided to indulge myself in my other hobby of note, namely chess. Played in a little local 2 day event on Saturday and Sunday, and played in the top section for a change, so I could test myself against people who really do know how to play.

Game 1 was a very good game – I got the better of the opening, then lost my way a little in the middlegame, but managed to hold on till the end game with equality. Then we traded rooks and were down to nothing but King and 4 pawns each. I thought and thought, and ended up making the wrong move, when the correct move was a very clear win. This against a high class A (1924).

Game 2 got even better, with lots of tactical combinations happening on both sides. I managed to come out of all the tactics the exchange up, and though it took awhile (70 moves) managed to win this one. The opponent was a low class A (1828).

Game 3 saw me playing the only lady player in this section. This one I wanted to kick myself on – I had the advantage and then blundered to lose, when I had at least a draw in the bag. Another high class A (1956).

Game 4 saw me paired with a high expert (2158) (who has been rated at master strength at one time, I know from previous run-ins with him).  This pairing was rather odd, mainly caused by the small number of players in this section, and would be my second game in a row with the black pieces – not what I was expecting for this last round, as I had figured I’d be paired against one of two other low class A’s. This was the only game where I was clearly outplayed, as he instituted a strong king-side attack that I did not manage to defend very well. I could plead a nasty headache I had as a result of Game 3, but the fact remains that I am still not capable of playing even-up against opponents of this caliber.

Net: 1 win, 3 losses, and a perfomance rating of 1780, not as good as I hoped, but still reasonable given my current rating of 1726.

Posted in chess, Daily Happenings | 3 Comments »