Thursday, December 8, 2016

More One Minute Madness

  After obtaining my all-time Internet Chess Club peak rating of 1620 in one-minute chess on my 56th birthday in October I turned my chess-related pursuits to earning the right to pay 30 Euros (or $33.73 USD) for my FIDE Arena International Master title which I did in November on my aborted vacation. With that accomplished in the first week in November I switched my attentions to the relatively peaceful realm of three minute chess where each side gets to think three times as long for the tradeoff of possibly being able to get only one game played in a 10 minute span instead of the possibility of playing 5 games of one minute chess. I primarily played on the FIDE website until the around 7 in the evening of Monday November 14th when I decided to play a game of three minute chess on the Internet Chess Club.

  I find three minute chess to be vastly different than the one minute variety with the biggest difference that is the games are decided mostly by the position on the board as opposed to the clock situation. Generally the more time each side has for a chess game the less mistakes are made – this means that each mistake has more influence on the final result when the mistake’s beneficiary has more time to consider their moves and keep from reciprocating. My first ICC three minute game in more than a year was going quite well. I took my time and played three minute chess instead of one minute chess until I got panicky in my opponents time trouble and choked the game away!

pgn4web chessboards courtesy of

  As you might imagine I was pretty ticked off at myself for throwing away an easily won game by reverting to a one minute chess mindset. I wanted to remove the stench of the defeat as soon as possible so I clicked the little ‘3’ button to start a new three minute game but when my game against ‘RX-MEN’ started I saw I only had one minute and I had hit the little ‘1’ button for a one minute game instead of the ‘3’ for the three minute game I wanted to play:

  And there went my one minute all time high rating on ICC without even a whimper. Whenever this happened to me in the past I would keep playing and lose so many games that my rating would fall so far that I couldn’t possibly make it up in one session and I would finally give up and wait months (or years) to reach a new all-time rating. So what did I do this time? I kept on playing but every time I lost a couple of games I’d win a game or two to prevent the downward spiral. At around 9:15 I got my rating back up to 1620 right where it was before I ever heard of ‘RX-MEN’. I could have stopped but like any addict I decided this time would be different and kept playing.

  Unfortunately, I hit a losing streak and resumed bouncing around tantalizingly close to either giving up or steadfastly believing I was moments away from a huge turnaround. Eventually I found myself playing Almirante with my tating at 1567 or 53 points below my high of 1620:

  Hall of Fame baseball owner Bill Veeck wrote in ‘The Hustler’s Handbook’ that in his experience hitting slumps start by some hard hit balls turning into outs when they were hit directly at a fielder and end when a dribbling ground ball or lame pop fly finds a way to avoid fielder’s gloves for an undeserved hit. This game was my dribbling ground ball and I was overjoyed to find myself matched up against Almirante again when I pressed the ‘1’ button:

  A decent enough game that I spoiled but ultimately was another weak ground ball that found its way past the infield for a base hit. It was getting around 9:30 and I was starting to feel a bit tired and then I got matched up with brandtje who is a real International Master and probably didn’t have to pay the World Chess Federation for his title:

  Another game where I outplayed my opponent, spit the bit, and recovered to win in a time scramble. It wasn’t the way I’d choose to win but in the end I would choose to win. Of course I'd have little to no chance of beating an International Master in three, five, of ninety five minute chess games but the quicker the time limit the more random the results. Look at the recent World Chess Championship between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin where there were two wins and 10 draws in the 12 games where the players started out with 2 hours each and two wins and two draws in the tiebreak games where the players got 25 minutes apiece. Anyway after almost two hours of playing my rating was back at 1612 within one game of my all-time high. I was pretty sleepy but hit the little button with a ‘1’ on it and once more tilted at my own personal windmill. Standing between me and my all-time high was ivanzug:

  This win pushed my rating past 1620 to 1624 which is a new personal best and will remain so until I once again click the little button with a ‘1’ on it. I was overjoyed at only having to spend only a few hours instead of a month or a year to get a new high rating and happily clambered off to bed. The last game I played was the best of the bunch but still not very good even for a one-minute game. Luckily I didn’t have to be a world beater – I just had to be a little better than my opponents.

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