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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Last Blog Entry?

After years of study and two years of blogging about my chess activities, I am forced to recognize that my chess skills are not improving.  If anything they are declining.

Thus I will be taking a break from all chess activity.  Maybe this will result in a renewed interest and motivation.  At this time, I simply don’t know.

I will be 70 this fall.  Maybe you cannot teach old dogs new tricks.

Thanks to all my loyal readers and in particular those readers who took the time and effort to comment on my entries.



  1. Hi Ralph,

    Hope you don't abandon chess or blogging, but certainly taking a break is a good idea. Come back refreshed !

    I've taken to changing my repertoire as a way of re-vitalising my interest...after years of playing 1.e4, I've switched to 1.d4.

    Currrently following advice from GM Davies, I'm using his DVDs on the London system and "Building a d4 repertoire" as a way in to playing a full d4 opening in time.

    So far 1 win, 1 draw, and unlike popular opinion, I don't find the London System boring. New positions to stimulate me for the next few months !

    Not sure what I will have to do on the Black side of a repertoire, as I've been playing Philidor and the Old Indian for a long time... maybe the Pirc ?

    Looking forward to seeing you back in the fray soon, but enjoy your 70th this Autumn : hope I'll be plying and blogging when I reach that wonderful age !

    Cheers !!

  2. I'm slightly older than you. 70+. Are you analyzing the games that you play? Are you playing on ICC which you can configure to automatically download your games to Chessbase for analysis? It's $69 per year but well worth it. I do this and I THINK that I am improving because I am up 150 rating points in 4 months since I started analysis of my own games. Why oh why didn't I do this earlier in my life? Best wishes. Bill from Illinois.

  3. Hi Ralph == I love your blog and was sorry to see it go on a hiatus. Playing chess isn't always about improving, but just enjoying the mental stimulation and the games themselves. I am not much behind you in age and have given up any hope of "improving" (from class C--B online) but just enjoy playing, trying out new openings etc. I've met many online players who are content to play at their own class -- after all "ratings" are just a handicap system so you can find opponents at your own or slightly higher level to have interesting contests with. I also enjoy playing over master games as a form of aesthetic enjoyment. I just played someone at class D level who plays an insanely risky style of play, and though I prevailed with careful defense, it was a challenge to hold off wave after wave of attack. This player has been at class D for many years and apparently it doesn't bother her and she plays many online games. Anyway, hope you can find your way back to this
    fascinating endeavor.

  4. Dan, I have taken your suggestion and initiated an online chess game. We shall see how much I've lost in 2 years of chess idleness. Thanks for the push/shove. Ralph

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    2. Ralph -- That's good to hear. Good luck in your game. Sometimes one "improves" just by getting away from it and not straining after improvement as an end in itself. I liked your organic approach to openings -- Philidor/Old Indian. I played Colle/Stonewall as white for many years in correspondence (as in postcards) and did very well, but never hit on your solution to black openings.