Takchess Chess Improvement

A Novice chessplayer works to get better at chess using an improvement program based upon the methods of Michael de la Maza and the teachings of Dan Heisman

Monday, February 28, 2005

Day 8A:: Happy Medium

I've decided to start designating the day in my posts. Why the A in Day 8A? Well I have decided if I don't do the complete drills I will designate the next day with a letter. Hopefully I will not have to use any letter past C.

Friday Night I went to Chess Club and played 3 hours worth of games. Heisman talks about the attitude one needs to improve in chess. Bothered enough by playing poorly that one makes an effort to improve but not so bothered by it that one is frustrated and quits. I am at that point. A Happy Medium.

I have been interested in Legal's Mate but until recently hadn't memorized the entire sequence. I was one move away from it. Black had king and queens pawn in a Philidor style position with his bishop pinning my Knight to my Queen. I did come up with a mnemonic to memorize it .....Spanish Phil pinning the queen got him in Legal problems). I know it not quite the Spanish game because it pins a
Knight to the queen but it works to help me memorize it. Unfortunately Black played
4...P-QB4 ruining the posibility of me getting the final Knight move and checkmate. I'll have to run it through Fritz.

Also played a nice Torre Attack against a higher rated player with a knight sacrifice which caused a Nice King Hunt his moving all the way to H5. I then lost a piece in a tactical oversight and then eventually lost the game. Sigh.

I am hoping that if I played the same position in a year I will be able to successfully close it out given my new study of tactics. Optimistically, I think this will be true.

I have decided at least initially I will study very simple tactics for a number of months before moving on to more difficult ones. I am doing the 7 circles from a set of 400 problems from the Bain book. I'll then move to the one star problems in my Lien book and the simple Polgar mates.

Thanks for the nice comments as well as the Euwe pronounciation. I have played through all the games in Chess Master vs Chess Amateur and then reread it taking notes. A very helpful book for me. You have to like a guy whose a chess champion and
an amateur champion boxer.


Friday, February 25, 2005

Do I really have to solve the tactical exercise ?

Here is a methodology question.

It was once suggested to me that it was helpful to take a look at a tactical problem and just look at the answer. Not to spend loads of times trying to solve it. Especially since you are building recognition skills and you will repetitively see the pattern of moves that works in that position. I am wondering what other Knights think of this.

Given one hour of study per night for 3 month. Do you think it would be better to solve 15 problems a night or to run through the solutions to 60 problems a night. You would recieve a much higher exposure to a greater number of problems but would this effect your problem solving "muscle". Thoughts?

Also for my Dutch friends how do I pronounce Max Euwe last name correctly?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

CT-Art 3 has arrived

Just got my valentines gift from my wife. Nothing says I love you like good chess tactic software. 8) I did help her pick it out. Played around with it a little and
need to take a good look at the help file.

Friday at Chess Club , I will see if I see the board better after doing these vision drills. Although I think it will prove too early to notice any improvement.

Hope to pretty up my blog this weekend and figure how to link to the other Knights.
Thanks Temposchlucker for the idea for the Mnemonic. I think I will make a sentence with the key words of each principle. That normally works for me. More on this latter once I figure it out.


Monday, February 21, 2005

Dan Heisman

I am a big Dan Heisman Novice Nook Fan and find things in his articles consistant with the Rapid Chess Improvement ideas. I went to chess cafe and downloaded the archive of his articles
which give a good 40 7-11 page articles.


I am interested in his Seeds of Tactical Destruction. Those elements in a chess position that lead to the possibility of tactics and if they don't exist most likely a combination doesn't exist. At some point I would like to create a mental checklist of them ( a mnemonic might be handy here)

they are

*loose pieces
*pieces that can be attacked by enemy pieces of lesser value
*one or more pieces that can be attacked via a discovered attack
*pinned or skewerable pieces along the same rank ,file diagonal
*pieces or squares vunderable to a knight attack
* overworked pieces (pieces guarding more than one piece of square)
*inadequately guarded pieces
* falling way behind in development
*pawns nearing promotion
*King uncasted or lost pawn protection with Queens on the board
*Open enemy lines for Rooks, Queens and Bishops to your King
*Pieces that have little mobility and might easily be attacked
* a large domination of one side's forces on the board.

For those interested in the article it is the 5th Heisman Novice Nook.

Also Hi to everyone who checked in yesterday. Glad to be aboard.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

About Takchess

In case your curious ....

Your host Takchess is a 40ish man who has become reinterested in chess after a long absence 30 years. The catalyst: reading the book Bobby Fischer Goes to War. I became interested in playing the game and learning about the game in a much deeper way than when I played high school study hall chess. Man cannot live by the Four Knights alone!

So in the span of a year, I have gone from not playing at all to playing in a chess club every Friday Night, with my 400 saved games from playchess.com in my Fritz database and reading about chess on a daily basis.

I've come to realize that it's fun to read about deep strategy and grandmasters plans but it is of little help if you lose pieces to simple tactics ! I will save those Bronstein books for a much later time. A number of things have convinced me of this 1) the losing of games due to simple tactical oversights 2) Reading De La Maza's Rapid Chess Improvement and Dan Heisman in his Novice Nook Column.

That's why I am here. I've decided to work on a MRCI (Modified Rapid Chess Improvement)
based on the ideas from the book. I am at square 1 doing Concentric Circles as well as learning initially from a very basic tactic books of 400 problems:Chess Tactics for Students by Bain.
I have completed this once and am doing the problems again. Heisman speaks of the value of
doing very simple tactical problems initially and doing them again and again and again to have a solid base for future tactical learning.

I hope to use this weblog to keep track of my progress and to make some notes on chess tactics hopefully of interest to you.



Days 1-14 Concentric Squares and Chess Tactics for Students Bain

Day 1 Feb 19, Concentric Squares Rook, Knight and Bishop + 30 simple problem +
(beginning of second lap)
Day 2 Feb 20 Concentric Squares Rook,Knight and Bishop + 60 simple problem +
Day 3 Feb 21 Concentric Squares R k b done + 87 simple problems
Day 4 Feb 22 concentric squares K+B done + 65 simple problem
Day 4a feb 23 Concentric squares skipped + 20 simple problems
Day 5 Feb24 Concentric Squares R.N.B done + 50 simple problems
Day 6 Feb 25 Concentric Squares R,n,b done + 130 simple problems finished bain book for 2nd time.
Day 7 Feb26 Saturday Concentric Squares completed + did problems 1-78 of Bain. 78 total
DAy 8: some problems
Day 8a:fEB 28Concentric Squares Completed +problems
dAY 9: March 1 Concentric Squares complete
day 10:March 2 Concentric Squares complete
day 11:March 3 Concentric Squares complete + 40 problems
Day 12:March 4 Concentric Squares partial + problems 175-224 --49 problems
Day 13:March 5 CSquares + problems 224-335- 110 problems
Day 14:March 6:Csquares + problems 335-434 bain 99 problems plus 1-46lien 46 prob
Day 15:march 7 Knights sight X2,Beginning of lap 4 1-167 Bain, 46-63 Lein
Day 16:march 8 knight sight 168-268 Bain, Lein
Day 17 march 9 Knight sight 268-298 Bain, lein
Day 18 March 10 knight sight 298-326 Bain, lein
Day 19 March 11 knight sight 326-434 end of round 4,began round 5 1-31 also polgar 1-31
day 20 March 12 Knight sight 31-250 bain
day 21 March 13 knight sight
Day 22 March 14 Knight flight

Friday, February 18, 2005

Getting Started

Lasker said he could take an average person spend 100 hours teaching him chess and make him a master. (paraphrased). During my first serious year of chess, I've tripled that time on chess improvement this year. Although I have had fun and have learned alot, I didn't improve as much as I would like. This blog is a chronicle of my improvement trek.

I hope in this blog to help

1) bring my chess improvement program additional structure
2) accelerate my chess learning
3) chronicle things I have learned in chess
4) serve as a measuring stick (inspect what I expect)