5|5 > 1000

Today for the first time, I surpassed score 1000 on playing 5|5, which means you start with a 5-minute budget, and every move you get 5 more seconds. For a while I also played 3|2 (2-second increments), but it takes me about 2 seconds to move a piece, which means I lost games in which I knew exactly what to do, but simply couldn’t move the pieces fast enough, which I found frustrating. Longer games I tried but I don’t seem to have the patience for.

I won’t reveal my id, because I feel bad about how much time I am spending losing at chess (and I think you could see all my games with my id, but I am not sure). My self-imposed limit is losing no more than one game a day, which means on average playing 2 games per day. (I had to stop and Google \sum_i i/2^i = 2; there’s a neat calculation-free proof of it which hopefully will make me remember this fact next time.)

However not being a robot, I sometimes get upset at the way I lose. Most of my games are classified as giveaway, which means I was winning according to the computer (and myself), but then because of some stupid mistake I end up losing the game. And so what the heck, I am better than this!, I break the rule and start another match — only to lose again, chess seems not to forgive hot heads.

The main reason why I play seems to be that fast-paced chess has the ability to completely absorb my mind, so it’s a good quick escape. Of course, there are also the little feel-good voices reminding me that it’s better than watching TV and that by playing I sharpen my mind.

While 1000 can of course be a ridiculously low bar by some standard, I found reaching it more difficult than I expected, and I like to think that the 5|5 format attracts stronger players, so that the competition is tougher, even though it may not be true. (But it does seem true that a certain score in a certain format does not correspond to the same score in a different format.) For one thing, I had to familiarize myself with several basic openings. I bought a little cute book Chess openings for kids which is good for people like me whose knowledge of chess openings was “e4 e5.” I don’t do anything fancy, but it was fun to read about common openings. I think I also wouldn’t mind playing random chess, but it seems harder to find opponents.

So why don’t you try and see what is your 5|5 score? And if you want to play sometimes, drop me a line.

Windows never changes

For months, Windows 10 complained that it didn’t have enough space on the hard disk, but the options it gave me to clean up space were ridiculous. Worse, the “storage” function that supposedly tells you what’s taking space wasn’t even close to the truth. This became so bad that I was forced to remove some things I didn’t want to remove, often with a lot of effort, because space was so tight that Windows didn’t even have enough to run the uninstaller! In the end I became so desperate that I installed TreeSize Free. It quickly revealed that crash plan was taking up a huge amount of space. This revealed to be associated to the Code42 program — a program that the system was listing as taking 200MB. Well, uninstalling Code42 freed SIXTY PERCENT of the hard disk space, 140GB.