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

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:


  • At 9:22 AM, Blogger Druss said…

    I've found myself playing too aggresively after CT ART practice as well. Not the best for your OTB play!

    I'm committed to trying to finish all my circles on CT ART. It is going to take twice as long as MDLM, but I'm determined to keep plugging away.

  • At 1:23 PM, Blogger Jim said…

    Keep at it. It's a long dreary trudge but it's worth it.

  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger King of the Spill said…

    Interesting points, like how one "cut corner" can blow a won position.

    Oh and not 2037!?

    Ah, I know the feeling that the finishing time is getting further and further in the future...

  • At 3:47 PM, Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said…

    Keep on trucking. You're dedicated enough that it will all come together.


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