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

Friday, March 25, 2005

Day 32: My Name is Jim and I am a Chessbookaholic

Bought a bunch of chess books from www.strandbookstore.com . Quite happy with price and quick delivery.

Some Purdy Analysis books, Tisdall How to improve your chess, Purdy action chess
(quick to learn opening systems to get you to reasonable middlegame), also GM RAM
which is a book of 300 positions to study as well as games.

The first game to study is this Anderssen game. check out the tactics here!


Reading and solving the tactics in Robertie Winning chess Tactics and just got Seriwans tactic book out fot the Library.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Day 30 Answers to Questions

I've been asked to recently comment on a couple of things in my blog.

King of the Spill asked what I thought of the Bain Chess Tactics for Students.

I liked it very much and felt it was appropriate for my level :starting out with my tactical training. There are 14 tactical motif chapters such as back rank weaknesses,double attack, removal of the guard. I particularly found the chapters on Perpetual Check and Stalemate helpful since I have not trained on these before.

It is in the format of a grammar school workbook. Each page has two tactical problems. Here is a typical example of a problem. It shows a board position and has a to do goal: Win the White Knight in two moves and a hint: use a bishop skewer, attacking the White King and the Knight behind it.

Although some of these problems seem trivial, I believe I am improving my pattern recognition greatly. Some of the problems build of each other. They at times have a tactical position for black to move and a few problems later give the exact same position with white to move. There will also appear the same position except there is a defending knight that needs to be removed or a pawn that is blocking the way.

I think the benefits I am getting might be simalar to what you are seeing with TASC tutor. Seeing the tactical position quickly and clearly and hopefully being able to identify it even if it buried deep within a position. I also find myself needing to be careful that I am not moving too quickly and not fully evalutating the safety of my pieces after the move.

As to PSalcido asking for a discription of the Knight Flight Drill. This is a chess board vision drill that MDLM recommends in his book. One starts with the Knight on A1 and calculates all the shortest path to the B1 square. Then you calculate the Knights shortest path from A1 to C1.You proceed to do this from every square to every square. He estimates that it would take about 5 hours to do the drill in it's entirety. (which I have not come close to doing)

Note: MDLM lists this as an optional exercise in the Rapid Chess Improvement Program.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Day 26 + Day 27: Finished Bain Book

Finished circle 6 of Bain book on Saturday and Circle 7 of Bain book today (Sunday).
(434 problems) I will concentrate on the Knight Flight drills for this week and decide on the next problem set during the upcoming weeks. Possible choices Alburts tactics for the tournament player, ct-art, easy problems from Leins book, Alburts 300 position book, Pandolfini endgame problem set. hmmm.....

Friday, March 18, 2005

Day 25: Part 2 No Longer living in Ignorance

Well not as much ignorance anyway. I just found out that some one has written helpful information regarding Fritz. Currently my Fritz understanding is limited to
Playing on playchess.com, saving my games and using the suggestion function to understand the moves Fritz thinks are best. All worthwhile but I feel I am missing
alot of the functionality.

I find the chessbase website& the help files hard to understand.

I have just learned of the following chess cafe column.


(it only took me about 6 months to learn about this)

Day 25: My 2 Quirky ideas

I'm spending a weekend at my daughters swim meet. Hope to do a sixth complete circle of my Bain book and maybe even a seventh circle

Here are my two quirky ideas

1) At some point, It would be beneficial in a tactical problem book to switch the side to play. Ie. instead of White to move solve the problem for black to move. It would help me visualize the patterns of getting myself out of trouble.

2)Perhaps we could create a new group of Knights who read the book and play through all the move variations of Silman's "How to Reassess your Chess" 7 times.We could half the time spent on each reading of the book until we finish the book in a single day. ....Anyone interested???????? 8>)

Jim Takchess

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Suggestions for Chessboard Graphics for Weblog?

I would like to post an occasional chessboard graphics on my blog. The criteria I am striving towards is 1)easy to use 2) instructions in English 3) Free. I saw this link which might direct me to some software but thought I would ask first before heading in the wrong direction.


Does anyone have any suggestions ? Thanks Jim Takchess

Finished the fifth circle in my easy chess book.

Day 22 : Beginning Knight Flight

I find these Knight drills strangely relaxing. Decided to start the Knight Flight drills which MDLM lists as optional. He recommends doing them twice a day. Uncertain as to how many I will do at this point but would like to in one day do a full trip from every square to every square. MDLM estimates that would take about 5 hours.

I played through Mr Nezh The Game That Changed Me during my work lunch break. A great game! No subtlety here .The barbarians are camped out at the gates of Rome and there going to be in city in the morning.

I especially like how Nezh marchs a wall of pawns in front of his castled king and continues to batter the wall down until mate is achieved.

I can see why Mr Nezh feels so passionate about his play. Until reading Mr Nezh webblog I didn't know of Nezhmetdinov. Thanks Mr Nezh!

Here is another nice tactical game of Nezh a smothered mate.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Day 19: Thoughts on Pattern Recognition

Main Entry: ses·qui·pe·da·lian
Pronunciation: "ses-kw&-p&-'dAl-y&n
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin sesquipedalis, literally, a foot and a half long, from sesqui- + ped-, pes foot -- more at FOOT
1 : given to the overuse of long words; "sesquipedalian orators"; "this sesquipedalian way of saying one has no money"
2. (of words) long and ponderous; having many syllables; "sesquipedalian technical terms"]

A friend and I once discussed words that we liked. He liked the word Sesquipedalian. I felt I had never seen this word before and most likely never see it again . Within a week, I ran across it in something I was reading.

Most likely I had seen this word a number of times but my mind was not receptive to
noticing it. Given the hundred of thousand (millions?) of sensory inputs the mind receives in a day. We are expert at filtering in /filtering out things that are important/unimportant to us. Because I had learned a little about the word and discussed it. I was far more receptive to noticing it. If I hadn't that experience;I would unconsciously skipped over it and continued my reading.

Here is a similar experience from my chess games. I had played through the games in Euwe's Chess Master vs Chess Amateur and learned about the Fork trick. I had played through that game a number of times. I was aware when in my games; I had a position with bishop and pawn on c4/e4 or c5/e5. I would ask myself can I use the fork trick and is it beneficial to me to play it in this position? In my games, I might of played the fork trick 5 or 6 times. (for info on the fork trick, see link below)


During this month I realised that I haven't seen the opportunity for a fork trick in a few months. The positions were there but I had become desensitized to it. In fact the other day as I was thinking of this, someone played the fork trick against me and I didn't see it coming.

From this, I have taken away these lessons.

1) I need to repeatedly be reminded of things that I know
2) I need to be rereminded over a longer period of time
3) I need to drill an image (in this case an image of a bishop and pawn separated by a single space in the opening) so that it stands out.
4) It would be helpful to collect images/situations so that I am prepared in the future
5) It helpful to have consciously know about an element in a game and drill it to the point I am unconsciously aware

Now I need to go do some Knight Sight drills....

Friday, March 11, 2005

Day 18: Move by Move books

With all this tactical exercises, I haven't been playing over any master games lately. After posting this, I plan to play through the Game that changed me on Mr Nezh website.

Of the far too many chess books that I own, the ones that I have actually completed are the Move by Move books that I own. Chess Master vs Chess Amateur by Euwe, Logical Chess Move by Move by Chernev, Russian Chess by Pandolfini. I like that they comment on every move and have been of great help to me in understanding more of the game. As a Novice player. I had a hard time understanding why a Knight would be developed to D2 and why d4 would be played as whites first move.

I recently bought Chess: The art of logical thinking by Neil Mcdonald. I have played through a handful of games and like it very much. It fills in the gaps that the older books do not address : Sicilian Defense , Center Game , Flank Openings, D4 Nf6 openings. All Games were played within the last 20 years. This is the book Chernev would of written if were alive today.

Tactical studies going well. Doing the Knight Sight now as well as the simple tactics from Bain Chess Tactics for Students. (on my 4th round) I believe there is more value for me doing very basic tactical training at this point. I equate it to building a base for a marathon runner. (One needs to run 6 miles consistantly and increase the distance slowly until one is able to run 26 miles)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Day 17: Congratulations to Don

Congratulations to Don for completing the MDLM Rapid Chess Improvement Program. What a great accomplishment ! It is the chess equivalent to training and completing a Marathon. A half a year spent chasing a worthy goal.

I also want to thank you for starting the Knights. I bought the MDLM book 4 or 5 months ago, read the beginning chapters a few time and had decided to start it. While googling chess tactics and pgn, I came across the Knights Site and with in a matter of moments decided this is a group I wanted to join. If fact when I sent my email to join up, I had originally thought you were De La Maza. You gracefully told me you were not.

I wonder if in a years time we will see 30 Knights listed in the group with a number of us listed as retired Knights. I hope so. Thanks to you and Sancho for keeping keeping on!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Day 14 :Concentric Square Haiku

thump thump thump
thump thump thump thump thump
thump thump thump thump

Day 13 : Friday Night Chess Club

Lost a number of games at the chess club last night. I don't mine losing so much since they were both strong players who have been at it much longer than I. Played
the black side of a Ruy against Bob who I haven't beaten yet. Got through the early opening without tactical mistakes and was pushing a strong attack against his castled king. He ended up trading queens to release the presure.

Later during one move, I did my calculations on my position.Went through a bunch of variations and saw that one move that on the surface looked good ended up losing a piece for me. At the end of my calculation, I forgot this and ended up moving and losing the piece.

I need to do a final sanity check before making all moves.

Going throught the Bain book seems to be helping me quickly identify tactical ideas as well as make better trades. I also am making fewer counting mistakes after reading this: A Counting Primer