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, September 30, 2005

Ideas ????

In this position, I am white and it's my move. I wanted to take the bishop rXh6. Mouseslip however put me my rook to h5 ugh. My Fritz analysis "is on the fritz" so I am asking for help understanding what happens if I were to take it. I feel compelled to take the bishop to relieve the pressure and feel there may be some tactics available to me after this is done. Thoughts?

Thanks everyone.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Getting outside the comfort zone

I've decided to experiment a little a play some different openings. Normally as white, I play the Italian game or the Ruy Lopez. Many players bust this in the first move by playing the Scandinavian or the Sicilian.

Since starting the Alburts book on the chess openings as black, I've started to play some unrated games as black with the Sicilian Defense. He suggests the accelerated dragon but I'm starting playing a very basic Sicilian and will change it around as I
learn more. So far I don't mind it.

In times I hope to play some black and white openings that involve fianchettos as I am uncertain as to what is best play in these lines. Then in time I will start playing the Torre attack again to sharpen up on some Queen Pawn games.

for anyone interested in the torre attack I created a number of game collections at


Now back to ct-art.....

Monday, September 26, 2005

L30 back again to circles

back to circles again. This is going to be tough.

11 397-408 58%
7 408-415 50% these are taking some time
11 415-426 42% yeah!
11 427-438 57%

Sunday, September 25, 2005

chart for up and to the right

Up and to the Right

I climbed to a rating high of 1515 then quickly started to dive. I appear to have a better streak now and the chart is up and to the right

Thursday, September 22, 2005

taking comfort

I may be struggling scoring 40% on Level 3 and getting my A.. kicked on PlayChess.com . However I still take comfort with Euwe as he and I insult the amateurs in Chess Master vs Chess Amateur. I've played through the first 4 games in the book semi-blindfold. Playing without a board and just looking at the diagram in the book from time to time. Silly amateurs they have no plan, no tactics,no vision just playing without a clue. Take that Patzer!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Reflections upon 7 months of Tactical Training (Part2)

I thought it would be helpful to myself and others to think out loud a little on the specific of tactics. You may find some of these observations trivial but hopefully you will find some value in this post.

I'm organizing this by how the type of problem appear in CT-ART and at times shall refer to specific problems.This way I can refer back to a specific problem on a review. Some things I would change in CT-ART is I would like to have the capability
to bookmark tactical problems or create a subset of problems that I define. Also I would like the ability to automatically create a subset of problems I did not solve totally correctly automatically. Also a notepad feature where I could make comments
attached to the problem who be cool as well. Perhaps CT-ART 4???

Knight Forks

These are the first 20 problems in CT-ART and are somewhat cheapos as one simply has to look for knight forks and not consider other tactics. I also tending to score the highest in the circles in these problems.

Sometimes there are multiple square options to create checks/forks. I found it important to check for alternative squares rather than automatically playing the first one I see . Most Forks problems one needs to make sacrifices to create the forking opportunity. In a game situation, It's important to check and recheck the counting on the trade as to the piece that captures may be recaptured immediately. Also double check that the forcing move is in fact a forcing move. Must be captured by the major piece and not captured by another piece! Incomplete calculation has been a problem of mine.

Most of these you have the opportunity to threaten one major piece:the queen or king. Now you need to explore how to involve the other piece in the fork. There are some opportunities where both the king and queen needs to be moved to a forkable square. In that case, set the queen up first as that move may not be forced then the king. In some cases one has to remove a guard to the square that creates the fork. (problem 111 one needs to capture a bishop that guards the square). Extremely trivial tip (I Check out the colors of the squares for quick calculations.)

When the opponents knight guards a square from which I could attack a major piece with my Knight. By capturing that Knight the opponents pieces that recaptures becomes the object of a Knight Fork. The guard becomes the prey! This was not apparent to me before doing tactical training and is a theme of a number of these tactics. Note to self:look for knights that guard squares that Knights can attack from

Often times when one can setup a fork by a queen check it can be done on multiple squares. All other things being equal it is better to take a piece with the sacrifice instead of moving to an empty square. Many of these problems turn out to be a trade for a queen for a queen + the captured piece.

A King and Queen separated by a space or multiple spaces on a rank or a file is often an object of a knight fork. When King and Queen are next to each other they can be set up by a empty square sacrifice of a rook on either the king or queen. A common theme when a queen has limited mobility moving a rook on the same rank for an empty square sacrifice to set up a pin fork even when it is not pinned.

Sometimes in the position, your opponent has a mating possibilities and trying to move 2 pieces into new squares and then set up a N-fork won't work because not all moves are forced. Tactic 119 is a tactic where playing the natural sacrifice setting up a queen/king fork will result in you loosing the game to checkmate. In game situation it is important to calculate if moves are forced and if not forced calculate your opponents response.

Problems like 123, the fork is less visible because you have to move the opponents King twice once by a sacrifice check followed by a queen check to move it to a forking square. It is restricted from moving to a square safe from the N-fork by an alternate mate threat. Unsure if in a game I would necessarily see this.

Sometime the positions are complicated by the need to move your pieces around to clear space for your knight to occupy the knighting square.

A knight often guards the square in front of the king before it moves and put it in check. This geometrical theme is common in some smothered mates. Sometime the knight
move uncovers other threats:Pins,mating threats, discovered attack on the way to the forking square. There are a number of problems where a Knight move uncovers attacks on the diagonal.

Sometimes the knights are involved in combinations that move the pieces into formation of a knight fork. #128 is a example of this. 2 knight rearrange the board until a knight fork is present.

Hope to add more to this later...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Reflections upon 7 months of Tactical Training (Part1)

Here are some random jottings on my experiences of doing tactical training for the last seven months. Like King of the Spill, I also belong to the MDLM class of 2038.
Although I find this training beneficial, this is taking an awful long time......

Some of my errors are due to my not fully calculating my variation all the way through. I have tried to cut some corners and play somewhat intuitively and quickly.
This does not work very well. It's been a chess lesson on the importance of fully grasping the structure of each position. I seem to have a positional blindness where I discount the role of pawns on the 6th & 7th rank as well as often don't see a rook on H1.

One thing that worked for me as I did the circles was to do remedial circles of wrong problems. In fact, I found it helpful on some circles to F3 then F4 reseting the problem which I had just made a mistake on. This screws up the scoring but I think there is a benefit to quickly doing the problem correctly once you are shown the correct answer. (building some muscle memory). I'm trying to overcome the memory of the first incorrect move so I will not repeat it. In one circle I repeated these correct moves 10 times to try to overcome my initial faulty thinking.

Certain type of problems are easier for me: the knight forks, the boden/bishop mates, mates which involve a series of rook sacs from the 1 file to the 8th file ending in a mating net using the queen. These I spot and do quickly. The problems I initially found more dificult are those that aren't mating nets :Forcing Stalemates, Pawn Promotion, Capturing pieces due to space restrictions,Deflection Sacrifices. These solutions didn't initially popout for me.

One of the drawbacks of my circle training is that I am at times overly aggressive. I attack where the position does not warrant it. I then find myself in situations where my opponents simplifies the position and I lose in the endgame. I am not against sacrificing and playing moves that I can not fully calculate through if I feel that I will learn something and has a chance of succeeding. I believe at one time, Mr Nezh held this same spirit in his games. I think over time these problems will naturally straighten out as I progress.

Also the subject matter of CT-ART 3 is somewhat of a strech for me. I see ads recommending it for players 1600 and above. I'm fluctuating between 1400-1500 on playchess. I am a little below the rating where De La Maza started. So I need to have a patience with having to do more circles to get to a reasonable result.

I plan to continue to do CT-ART level 3 but am unsure how far I will go with the program. I am optimistically predicting that it will take less than 14 circles for me to hit 95% on Level 3 8). I also plan to do a flashcard series of simpler problems. I got a hold of Blokhs older book "art of combinational motifs" from interlibrary loan and copied all the 5X5 square problems. Some of these are the problems that pop up in Ct-art after you made your first mistake. These I hope will give me a stronger grasp of the problem underneath the problem. I wish that Ct-Art should have a level 5 which just consists of these problems. Perhaps CT-ART 4? (please note that Blokhs latest book:Combinational Motifs has no 5X5 problems)

I hope to have a part 2 on this post later:

Sunday, September 11, 2005

1953 Zurich Book

Trying to vary my chess diet a little. Finally took off the shelf my Bronstein book on the 1953 Zurich International Chess Tournament. I sometimes don't understand all the subtle nuances of David Bronstein analysis but find it enjoyable to play through the games and try to understand as best I can.


I am finding the analysis of the first two games has subtle lessons attached. Game 1 regarding Dark Square Games and Game 2 speaks to Nardorfs calculating out stalemates options. Bronstein has a less is more analysis style, discusses ideas and addresses far fewer variations than the "move by move' books.

Take a look at the games link but I suggest those interested should buy the book.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

L20 Circle 14 I press on

Session**** Problem Set***#Problems******#wrong**%session****total%******
s1*********** 111-130 **********20**********0******100%*******100%*****
s2*********** 131-150 **********20**********0******100%*******100%*****
s3*********** 150-169 **********19**********0******100%*******100%*****
&&*********** 170-186 **********17**********2******&&&%********97%*****
&&*********** 187-208 **********23**********2*******95%********97%*****
&&*********** 209-230 **********21**********1*******98%********97%*****
&&*********** 231-248 **********18**********3*******92&%*******97%*****
&&*********** 249-270 **********22**********2*******95*********96%*****
&&*********** 270-290 **********20**********2******??%**********95%*****
&&*********** 290-300***********10**********2******89&%*********95%*****
&&*********** 301-320 **********20**********5******87%*******&**94%*****
&&*********** 321-340 **********21**********1******95%*********94%*****
&&*********** 341-350 **********10**********2******93%*******94%*****
&&*********** 351-360 **********10**********1******98%*******94%*****
&&*********** 361-370 **********10**********0******100%*******95%*****
&&*********** 371-380 **********10**********1******96%*******95%*****
&&*********** 381-396 **********15**********1******&&&%*******95%*****
95% overall =finished and on to level 3

170,186,193,200 mo,216,239,247,248,267,269,297,298,304,307.308,319,320,340,349,350,

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Review Set for Level 20

Doing a review of my problem problems,dividing them in 4 sets. The ones I make a first move error or need multiple reviews are in bold.

Set A


Set B

2nd pass 320.321.323,335,337,340,350

Set C

2nd pass 270,274,305,397,319

Set D

2nd pass only 181.

Total Set