вторник, 2 июня 2015 г.

Germinal (March 21 - April 19) overdue summary

I had to deviate from my initial plans to write three posts a month as the workload in April and May increased drastically. But now, when one of the reasons to switch to English here approaches, when I have a bit more time and when I am a bit less tired, it is perfect time to get clear of debts.

Two 30-day "months" have already passed, so, first of all, I am going to summarize these periods.

To begin with, here is my TOP 5 of events/achievements/impressions/etc. for Germinal:

5. I haven't written anything in my French language blog on lang-8 since last summer. And that is really bad as I don't have any other sources of writing practice in French. The good news is (and special thanks here to the Muse's "Megalomania" song as only remembering its lyrics and the line which starts exactly the same way I recalled that "news" is singular) that the first step was made. On the other hand, the first step was not followed by the second one due to the above-mentioned issues with the workload. The current goal is to start writing in French on a weekly basis.

4. This semester programming in the university was amazing and not only because of the glance at the functional paradigm about which I have already written, not only because of the work on the project about which I will write soon, but also because of the half of a single lesson in the middle of the semester. That time our prof returned from the design hackathon where participants' teams tried to create the new models for different components of TRIK robotic set (for physical components as well as for software and even for packaging). He showed us lots of wonderful slides created by the participants. I really enjoy familiarizing with design concepts. Firstly, they show the unlimited potential of human creativity. Moreover, they are very useful as being slightly transformed they may be successfully applied to another fields. I can't draw well and I'm not going to learn to draw either on paper or using the computer tools, even though I dream of a skill of drawing sketches which will be able to express my impressions or memories. But ideas live not on the paper but in our imagination. And you may draw almost anything in your imagination. That is why you can't say that ideas are not the things you may take advantage of. And that is why it is so essential to review other's sketches, to extract the ideas underlying them (of course, in your own interpretation which may have nothing to do with the original one) and to combine the ideas by means of creating your own sketches in your mind.

3. I have took part in several chess competitions during this period. The most memorable was the last one, the qualification for the Spassky Cup, which is the annual personal tournament for Saint Petersburg State University profs, staff and students. Qualification group in which I have to play is the strongest one (4 out of 5 strongest SPbSU faculties participate in it) but, thanks to SPbSU programming championship which was held exactly on the qualification day, I was unable to qualify according to the rules. So I was allowed to play in the simplest group. After my unconvincing win in the first round, the most part of the following games reminded destruction more likely than struggle. Thus, before the last round I was with the full score (having won 7 games out of 7). But I was not the only person who was in the lead. And I was not the only person who participated not in the proper qualification group. Luckily, there was no need to get the first place in order to proceed to the final stage. And my resulting second place was natural due to the fact that in the last round I played against the Woman Grandmaster from psychological faculty (by the way, the only grandmaster for the whole university). The title wasn't the only thing I knew about her. Last August Chess Olympiad was held in Tromsø, and she played there for Croatia women's team on the first board. Being defeated by far more experienced opponent is not bad at all. Learning nothing from your loss is not good at all. Unfortunately, that is the case. So, why is it here, why is it on the third position? Just because of the impression encountered for the first time. Because of the impression of being beaten in calm and cold-blooded way starting from the elegant tactic strike (which I refer to the ones which are almost impossible to notice in blitz chess for my current level and which surprised me a lot. In fact, I even estimated the position as slightly better for me merely a couple of moves before the strike) in the middle of the game and finishing with the endgame where my opponent might simply win due to her extra pawn but decided to make me run out of time taking the advantage in that component formed in the middlegame and making very fast moves.

2. VK Cup 2015 became the first programming competition for me in which teams of two were allowed to participate but not ordinary teams of three. Before the competition announce I was came close to abandon competitive programming. So that was quile a logical step to invite to participate with me my former teammate who had abandoned algorithmic competitions more than a year before that moment ;) We haven't expected much of our results. And we made, at least, not less than reaching the summit of our dreams advancing to the third round, the last online contest and the last but one stage in the whole competition. Putting the card before the horse, I should say that it was our last success. Next month we didn't proceed to the final stage. But the main thing was that after a while I felt the joy of team competitions once again. My partner's jokes (which irritated me before so much but which, I suppose, were the important part of our competitive spirit), absense of any responsibility for the result, last minutes accepted verdicts for quite easy problems - everything of that made the experience really cool! No matter, is it good or bad, that feeling of joy gave me back ambitions and desire for training. And three summer months are ahead which makes me think that everything depends on me. I won't have plenty of time but I believe that regularity overcomes duration, and to check that is the question of discipline. I believe that the set of vital exercises overcomes fanaticism, and I have a great opportunity to check if my notion of vital exercises have anything to do with reality. Ninety one day is ahead.

1. During summer between the last school and the first university year I tried to write app with GUI in Java for the first time (note, that I have no experience of coding in Java before that, even programming simple console apps). Well, Far Manager was not the best IDE for that purpose :) As you may suspect, I didn't succeed that time. And I had hated Java since then. In both cases when I couldn't avoid the usage of that language (i.e., while preparing Codeforces round and while translating some Codefights code snippets into Java) the code was pretty simple. When I invented the idea of the semester project for myself I hoped that Android app may be developed in some Python framework or another not-Java-tool quite easily. The fact that development with Java is easier, doesn't contain hidden dangers on every step (in contrast to the other options), etc. was frustrating... But it was late to abandon the project after several unsuccesful attempts with the other languages. Moreover, that was my own idea and my own dream to have the app I was going to create, so I wouldn't abandon it even if the possibility existed. But it would be hard to begin (and maybe I would have made another tries to start development in the other language) without our curator. He underestimates his contribution to our work but his persuasive words about Java helped me to make the first steps, which were the most important ones as I was afraid to commence erecting the huge building with the unfamiliar instrument in hand. And his estimation of our possibilities (I say "our" as I didn't work alone on the project), which was much closer to reality than ours, made us reformulating our May goal in the proper moment. The impossible goal (as it became evident after some weeks of work) was changed to the reachable one, And was reached, but that's another story for one of the following posts.

Only the "strike" part left. I've tried to return to the habit of watching one TED talk per day. The attempt wasn't as great as you may expect: I've watched six videos during Germinal and the best "strike" contains only four of them. Hope, I will perform longer "strikes" during the following months. Anyway, this part of the summary exists only in order to make habits of some of these strikes.

As usual, I will be glad to read your comments concerning my English, my writing style and the content. And note, it's not the cliché to conclude. Believe, you really help. Believe and comment ;) 

4 комментария:

  1. Thank you for the post!

    >that is really bad
    >you really help
    'Really' makes mistrust. When you want to convince your readers, replace it with one more clear argument or just remove.

    >the first step was made
    >the first step was not followed
    By whom? Use 'I' and make it clear.

    >The current goal is ...
    I'd like 'I now aim'.

    >Because of the impression of being beaten in calm and cold-blooded way
    Oh, I see: the more your skill grows, the more psychology is involved. Let's discuss dealing with such cases?

    >as you may expect
    Don't overtake your readers' thoughts, please. Keep talking about your own.

    This time, I'm glad to finish my comment so early :)

  2. Thank you for the fact you continue commenting each of my posts and giving great recommendations and sorry for the late response.

    Concerning psychology, it will be interesting to learn what do you think about that case (and how do you involve any psychological knowledge into practice). At least, I'll be glad to learn something out of the experience of a good player (even though Go and chess have a lot of differences from almost all points of view as far as I understand).

    1. About the case: I think that you've learned your partner too good before the game, and that strengthened your negative impression. When I meet a new partner, I prefer to learn how strong he is from the game, not from rumors nor from ratings (previous results). If I know that my partner is strong, I try to think more about the position, not to focus on his actions.

      How to involve psychological knowledge into practice? I think that psychology isn't a tool to control my emotions (If I can control them and they can't, that's not honest) and not a tool to control others' actions (for same reason). What I can do (and I do) with my psychological knowledge is to be calm, no matter what happens on the board, and respond appropriately.

      How to change mindset so that we can stay calm? Gradually change our thoughts to positive thoughts. I wrote them here: http://algebr3.blogspot.ru/2015/06/blog-post.html

    2. Once again, sorry for the fact that my reply takes so long.

      I see your point. However, here it was not the case because I learned some information about my partner several months before our game, at the time when I coudn't imagine that in the end of April we would play (and even twice). It's difficult not to know (or to forget) the things which you know about the member of your team (in December I played for the university team) when there is even the article on wiki about her in four languages :) And I also think that you misunderstand me a bit. Of course, during the game I'm thinking only about the position, all the rest (all the words here) is the result of post-analysis of what happened. And I can't be afraid of any opponent because I care much more about the process of the game than about the result (I enjoy the beauty of ideas, both mine and my opponent's, arising during the game and that's the main thing which I get from chess. That's why I'm more upset by blunders from both sides and by the victories in the equal positions due to time bounds) so there is almost no risk in losing.

      Well, it's not easy at all to stay calm when you have less than a minute on the clocks for the rest of the game (which may still last for quite a lot of moves) and especially when your opponent has twice more time. That's actually often spoils my results in blitz chess: I achieve the position, which I estimate as much better for me, but that takes me too long, so I become nervous because I'm running out of time. And in such situation, it's difficult to realize positional or even slight material advantage.

      Anyway, thank you for the link. I'll try to bring your recommendations into my playing practice and to benefit from them.