Friday, January 26, 2024

Push to 3000 on puzzle rating

The puzzle ratings on don't correspond in any way to USCF ratings.  I complained about this to, but they responded that their puzzle ratings are where they want to them to be.  (BTW, the upper limit on puzzle ratings is ridiculously high at around 32768.  Some people have actually reached this limit.  For computer nerds like me, this matches the upper limit on a 16-bit signed number.  This tells me that they are using 16 bits to store ratings in their database.)

I wanted to see if I could push my puzzle rating up to 3000.  I've been there before, but it is a hard rating to maintain.  

My puzzle rating averaged around 2935.  At this level, I am almost as likely to fail to solve a puzzle as I am to succeed.

I had a theory that if I did enough puzzles I could reach 3000 through a "random walk".   The idea was that if I bounced up and down enough I would eventually hit 3000 through random variation.  This wouldn't mean that I deserve to be at 3000, but got lucky.

It appears to me that will present puzzles with a sizeable range of difficulty.  This is where luck plays a factor.  However, every time my rating would creep up, I would face problems that seemed too difficult.  This definitely took me out of my comfort zone.

It took me about 2.5 hours to reach 3000.  However, to get there I had to analyze at a deeper level than I am used to.  Whereas the simple chess problems on my website are designed to build pattern recognition, it seems to me that the puzzles on are more of a measure of how well a person can analyze.  However, pattern recognition is still a factor.


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Fwd: Pitfall of Extrapolation


On Mon, Jan 15, 2024 at 12:14 AM Albert wrote:
Hi John,

Sometimes you run into something that's interesting but you realize that most of your friends either don't care or don't get it. Well, this YouTube video was one of those interesting things. You're the only person I could think of who would find it interesting. I have to start looking for some more smart friends or at least curious friends. lol

On Tue, Jan 16, 2024 at 7:53 AM John Coffey <> wrote:
I saw this one.

I am pretty mathematical.  I found it interesting, but not enough to figure out the reason.

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: John Coffey <>
Date: Tue, Jan 16, 2024 at 8:11 AM
Subject: Re: Pitfall of Extrapolation
To: Albert 

I was dumb enough to watch the full video here:

This involves math slightly above my level and lacks relevance to my life.  

Sometimes math goes so far down the rabbit hole that it feels like naval gazing.

I often thought that I should have been a math major.  It would have been more interesting to me than my biology major and fits in well with computer programming.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Why did Kids Stop Walking to School?

For most of my school years, I walked to school.  During High School, I had to take a bus, but if the weather was pleasant, on rare occasions I would walk the mile and a half home just because I liked to walk in good weather.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Early Internet

Around the year 2000, I was serving on the board of directors for the Utah Chess Association. We were considering abolishing our state chess newsletter and making a website instead. I pointed out that most people didn't have Internet access yet, but we expected that to change. (In fact, someone had set up a chess hotline with an answering machine, where you could call the phone number to get the latest state chess news.)

It was roughly 20 years ago that I switched from using dial-up Internet to the long-anticipated cable Internet. Getting 3 Mbps was a significant improvement over the roughly 100Kbps I had.

In the early days using slow dial-up modems, like 1200 bps, you would sometimes try to load a web page and get up and do something while the page was loading. I did this all the time.  It was so bad that there were optional programs that would download pages ahead of time so that you didn't have to wait for them to load.

Twenty years ago, just a few websites had video, but because of the limited bandwidth, those videos would occupy only a tiny part of the screen and be very low resolution. Apple's video format, Quicktime, was invented to help deal with low bandwidth.

YouTube was created in 2005. The first videos were at best "Standard Definition", which means that they were low resolution. I don't remember for sure, but the first videos might have had a resolution half that of Standard Definition, or roughly 240 lines. It would take years for Internet speeds to improve so that YouTube could offer higher-resolution videos.