Over the last week since I wrote part 1 of this diary, I have spent most of my chess time in lichess.org. I have been getting familiar with the features, doing a few puzzles, watching some games, browsing some studies and generally just enjoying it all.
Being too timid to play against a human yet, I played against their AI bots and scored:
- 1 win vs the level 1 bot,
- 1 win vs the level 2 bot,
- 2 losses vs the level 3 bot.
My game playing is poor, without a doubt, but my enthusiasm remains high and I put this down to feeling good about lichess generally. A particularly nice moment was when I discovered that lichess has Vim bindings 🙂.
It was a lot of fun to go look at the analysis of my games and to use the lichess ‘Learn from your mistakes’ feature.
Good enthusiasm …
As with all things I work on or study, keeping myself enthusiastic is an important part of my approach.
One of my main problems with chess has been simply that there is too much stuff going on when you play. So those checkmate drills I started out with really made a difference, allowing me to learn a little bit about the logic of how a few pieces can coordinate to achieve an outcome. It was very satisfying and not too complex.
… thanks to the lichess analysis tool
The lichess analysis tool is a real treat for me. Being able to have a look at how (badly) I played, have the computer identify my (many) mistakes. Already I have got a better idea of the ‘shape’ of a win, in the sense that there is a lovely plot of the running evaluation like this one in a game I lost against the level-3 bot:
These plots are a little bit like having a really good player give me a commentary on the game. Together with the always-ready AI which can show me the good moves that I might have missed, it makes the learning process feel more sociable, as if there is someone to answer my questions.
Games now feel additive
The ability to run an analysis on my games has liberated me and at pixel time I have now played 8 games against humans: 2 blitz and 6 rapid (10+5 mostly).
Knowing that I can re-run a game has made it much easier to try out a few things and interestingly this has worked in both directions: I am happy to play a bit safer in the earlier stages and I am happier to take some risks and go on the offensive in the later stages.
Longer games from now on
I recognise that I need longer for in-game analysis so I will probably move to play in the 15+5 category from now on.