22 December 2012

The Lechenicher SchachServer

Since I was first bitten by the chess960 bug -- Shall We Play Fischerandom Chess? -- I've been playing chess960 primarily on Scheming Mind. It's a great site with first class management and I have only good things to say about it. The site offers several formats of which my favorites are the league and dropout competitions, both involving two simultaneous games per round with rounds starting at intervals of several months. For me, it's the right balance of chess960 to go with my other responsibilities.

For the 2013 Chess960 Dropout tournament, the site announced a change of format.

Please note that for this tournament, we are trying a new "Countdown" time control. Under countdown time, each player is allocated a fixed time at the beginning of the game (in this case sixty days) - this time is for the entire game, no increments will be added and holiday will not be applied to these games.

Even though the countdown time control is intriguing, I decided that it might be too demanding on my time budget, especially since my games against good players often go into the endgame. How would I pace myself over 60 days, not knowing how many moves the games would last? There was also the issue of no vacation. I tend to minimize online access while on vacation and I'm certain my wife would not be happy if I spent too much vacation time at a chess board. Signing up for the tournament meant up to six rounds with two games per round, plus a high risk that I would eventually crash & burn for lack of time.

While wondering whether to join or not, I remembered that the Lechenicher SchachServer (LSS) also offers the countdown time control, its only format for playing chess960. I had hesitated to play there partly because of the question of unknown game length and partly because I had enough games on Scheming Mind (SM) to keep me busy. The LSS countdown control is 90 moves for the game with 14 days of vacation, more relaxed than the SM equivalent. The five-player double round robin means eight games starting at the same time, but I can time my participation to coincide with those times of the year when I have less to do.

The upshot of this is that I started to play my first chess960 tournament on LSS and hope to report on the site's chess960 culture from time to time. I also started a new tag category to collect the posts; see 'Labels' in the right navigation bar. One other post deserves to be linked because of a long comment that mentions LSS:-

After gaining countdown experience on LSS, I can always return to SM to try the faster control.

1 comment:

GeneM said...

Mark wrote:
How would I pace myself over 60 days, not knowing how many moves the games would last?
______ ______

GeneM wrote --- in 2009/November (small snippet of what I wrote, from Bruce Pandolfini's column titled "The Art of It", http : // www .chesscafe .com/ text/bruce125.pdf):
The "Impossible Foresight" Problem: The big problem with time management and control in chess is that the number of move-pairs to complete the game can vary dramatically. For each player there is much uncertainty about how long the game will last (until the endgame is reached). Under the predominant time control designs, this uncertainty makes it impossible to budget time correctly without some luck.

In sympathy with what Mark wrote now in 2012/December, I explained why serious OTBoard chess games should switch away from today's common "fat & frantic" time-control design, to a "thin & calm" time-control.