Category Archives: Blogs

Chess – Road to 2.000

Evaluation of Performance

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Peter Drucker

If you have already read previous two documents on my chess history and bringing three spheres together, we can now move on the ‘past performance check’, and ‘shaping future expectations’. Setting targets and making plans are very crucial for success, but if they are subjective and not based on facts, then probably they would not be that functional and long-lasting. Therefore first thing to do is making an objective evaluation of performance in the light of realisations.

As Drucker, one of the most influential and well-known figure on management, stated that very wisely as I quoted above, management starts with status control and past performance measuring. Then we can set more realistic goals and benchmark them constantly to follow how well we are doing to reach them.

With this notion I have set targets for my international and national chess rating, which are called ELO and DWZ respectively, for a ten years period with yearly benchmarks. It would be better to make this term-end checks at the end of each calendar year, but unfortunately chess season starts on autumn and ends before summer. In this view, I had to adopt that schedule. My first game in Germany took place in the Season of 2017/2018, at Regional Division and at that time I only had ELO. After fulfilling the conditions my DWZ is also calculated and now I can follow my progress for both of those. 

Expectations and Planing

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu

One thing was sure for me at this third phase: I needed a clear target, means to achieve it and time. I named that project as “Road to 2.000” and training hard since 2018. I have started with 1.401 ELO in 2018 and improved it to first 1.429 then to 1.486, which is still below the target of 1.500, but satisfactory. With every year 100 points improvement goal, a tough challenge lies ahead. I know that I am optimistic, but in seven years period with a very hard training I believe that, it is possible. 

On the other hand I attend more tournaments in national level so my DWZ performance is more volatile than the ELO. Against stronger opponents I have little to lose but much to gain. I enjoy it and it is the only way to attain higher rating. However other side of the medallion is painful. Losing against the low rated opponents, who looks weaker on the paper but strong on the board, result in valuable point loses. I must learn to keep the advantage and overcome that difficulty. Than it is also achievable to keep in line with targets.

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 02.08.2019

Chess – Strategy – Aikido

Bringing three disciplines together

Study the past if you would define the future.” Confucius

As I briefly mentioned of my chess career until today, at my previous blog, this time I would like to set the focus on the future. I will first dwell on the word strategy, than mention on two disciplines that I devoted more than twenty years separately, and finally the way I approach chess currently. 

Although we develop strategic plans and tactics in our business and personal life, we hardly know what the term “strategy” means and where does it come from. Etymologically it originates from ancient Greek: “The word stratēgos refers to ‘generalship’ and describes the art of planning and directing overall military operations and movements in a war or battle.”[1] Nowadays it is used independent of this military context almost in every area ranging from sports to politics. I don’t see any harm on it as long as it is used in the correct sense, which is fundamentally achieving a set of goals with limited resources and get ahead of your opponents through a challenge. 

Two disciplines that I know throughly, Chess and Aikido, are so tangled with the notion of strategy, it is impossible to learn one without learning the other actually. And even when it is done, it is than learnt not by the core principals, but just superficially or as a free time activity. These disciplines consider the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats of your own as well as your contestants; within the given static conditions and adaptation of your strategy to the change of time and circumstances. And these two disciplines make it in such an eloquent way, the process and results do not only function mechanically perfect, but also look aesthetically smooth with the touch of art. Therefore strategy in this sense was always a strong pillar in my life, either in mental (Chess) or physical form (Aikido), and it will always be. The good thing is that, I managed to bring these three spheres together, unfortunately only after long years of education and training. I have mastered chess, aikido and strategy disciplines throughly, yet I feel like I am just at the beginning. I am not a master, but just a student in the right path.   

Considering these essentials, I would like to link them now to my future chess perspective. Built on inadequate conditions and self learning, as well as after long years of break, I have restarted to play chess in 2017 in Germany, but this time with a completely different attitude. At this point it is to me not a hobby or a professional occupation as before, but rather a strategic discipline that requires professional effort.

As I started to play here in regional chess division I have immediately realised that German League System is very well organised and strongest in the world. All the famous and high-ranked players of the world compete with each other here at the top level. I also compete in the same system, that’s correct; but literally just at the opposite-end. And I do not compete for titles or awards, but proofing that I do have better strategies. I believe that we must always improve ourselves, and I like the way that in chess everything is so precisely calculated. Even before a game starts, all possible three results can be calculated with regard to your and opponents rating. There can be always reasons and explanations for failure, but in chess there is no room for excuses. And though chance factor also exists in chess, you can’t rely on it at your every game, but solely to your strategies. Therefore I had to make an objective evaluation and set targets that match my expectations. But let us keep that topic also to another article and conclude this one with a couple of good advices:

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Strategy is style of thinking, a conscious and deliberate process, an intensive implementation system, the science of insuring future success.” Pete Johnson 

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 28.07.2019

[1] “Strateji” adlı kitaptaki tanımı “Larousse” sözlüğündeki etimolojik açıklama ile birleştirerek kendimce oluşturduğum bir tanımdır. Söz konusu değerli kitap için ilerde yorumlar yazacağım, ancak merak edenler için kitabın künyesi şöyledir: Lawrence Freedman, Alfa Basım Yayım Dağıtım San. ve Tic. Ltd. Şti., Ağustos 2018, İstanbul.

Chess Memoir – 1

Three stages of my chess life

It was in summer of 1993, that I played my first ever chess game; or better to say got acquainted with the rules and essentials of chess. At those days it was just for fun and as a hobby. Yet, I did registered for the professional sports licence and took part in school activities and official tournaments. Without a proper formation and training, I was aware that it wouldn’t lead to anywhere. And it didn’t. As the other priorities weight more, hobbies get the first hit, and it was not an exception in my case, either. I had to choose one among my hobbies to give up for the other important issues of the time, than I sacrificed chess.

After a six years of break, in year 2006, I returned to the chess scene again. This time I was more decisive and wanted to bring my chess to a professional level, instead of keeping it as a hobby. I learned the fundamentals from the ground zero and increased my experience via tournaments. Although I met with valuable people and exchanged information with them; with limited resources and time, and without coaching, I achieved my goals only to a some extent. Though very poor, I even managed to get an ELO Rating by joining international tournaments in Ankara and abroad, with strong participants. Then again other responsibilities came to the fore and that was the end of Act II in the Game of Chess. 

This time, the break took me almost five years long and in the autumn of 2017, I sat across an opponent at a chessboard in an official competition. I was just became a member of Donaueschingen Chess Club and having an ELO helped me to join directly to the League games for the second team of the Club. I am very thankful to have such friends and being given such an opportunity. I have enjoyed every game and our routine meetings at the club. This time I want to set the bar high and training zealously improve the quality of my games. That demands hours of studying, participating to competitive tournaments and learning from the mistakes.

In a nutshell, three stages in my chess life can be described as: A hobby, a professional discipline and finally at the third phase, key to the strategic decision making process. But let us discuss that in another article.

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 26.07.2019

Chess Tournament 6

If you do have an appetite for tough challenges, GRENKE Chess Open 2019 is out there! As the organisers decided to connect GRENKE Classic with GRENKE Open in previous years the number of participants increased substantially. Thanks to that, now we have the largest chess open in Europe. I did also participated to last years event and you can read my observations and experiences from the first hand.

GRENKE Chess Open takes place annually in Karlsruhe, Germany and this year it will be the fourth consecutive event. It is open to all players from around the world and it is expected that more than 1.500 players, almost 300 out of them with titles from Candidate Master (CM) to Grand Master (GM), will be present for the challenge. The tournament has three categories with various strength levels and this year total prize pool is increased to 70.000 EUR, that is 10.000 EUR more than last years. In addition to that, players will have the chance to share the same venue, due to GRENKE Chess Classic, with the top class players from the chess world. Players for this year’s Classic are as following:

GRENKE Chess Open will be held between 18 – 22 April, 2019 with 9 Rounds Swiss-System. Pairings will be determined by a computer and time-controls are: 2h for 40 moves + 30 minutes for the rest of the game. For further details and registration information please visit the event’s official website, where you can also follow the games live. 

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 01.03.2019

World Chess Championship

The World Championship 2018 took place this year in London, United Kingdom, between November 09 and 28. Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion, was challenged by Fabiano Caruana. The twelve-game match ended in 6-6 and having not even a single win by either side was a record. Then tie-breaker games came to the fore and Magnus Carlsen made his presence felt.

In a four-game  rapid round, worlds No.1 ranked at this speed, Carlsen made already two wins and was comfortable at the beginning of third round, as a draw would be enough for him to proclaim his victory. However things were opposite for Caruana, as he needed absolutely a win to continue. Under these circumstances we had a chance to watch a party that goes to the edges, but in the end Carlsen won that game, too.

As a result he managed to retain his title. He will carry the World Chess Champion title until the next championship, which will be held in 2020, but with an obvious fall in his tremendous performance and a strong rivalry by Caruana make things more interesting for the future. But now it is time to cherish the moment and enjoy this victory! Afterwards of course learn precious lessons from his strategies and matches. Last but not least, in addition to having the proud of such an honour, Magnus Carlsen also won the 55% of a million-euro prize solely from this event.

You can check the news and parties from the official FIDE broadcasting link below: 

World Chess Championship 2018:


The World Championship 2016 was held in Manhattan, New York between November 11 and 30. The current champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway and his challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia had 6 points from 12 game classical series, each with a win. Then at the tie-breaks Carlsen had two draws in the first two parties than with two consecutive wins managed to defend his title. 


The World Championship 2014 was the first tournament for the two-year cycle decision. After Magnus Carlsen has just toppled Viswanathan Anand in 2013, it was time now to defend the World Chess Champion title against him. The tournament took place in Sochi, Russia from November 07th to28th. At the eleventh game of twelve round series Carlsen declared his victory with three wins and seven draws.   

Source: FIDE Database –


Ergun UNUTMAZ, 29/11/2018