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

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ramblings on Pattern Recognition and Calculation

As I end my first circle of the 1200 CT-ART3 problem set, I am reading parts of MDLM Rapid Chess Improvement book. I am reminded that MDLM 7 Circles is a program of BOTH Chess Calculation and Pattern Recognition. The first 3 circles focusing on calculation while the second three on pattern recogition.

I have tailored the MDLM circles to my own temperment where I don't want to spend alot of time calculating. I had believed that I could through sheer pattern recognition plow through all these problems and seeing the answers develop strong tactical skills. In fact, I'd like it if the problems were in a Motion Picture format where I could just see an endless loop of all the tactics (removing my calculating brain from the process)

However I now feel that this is not the best methodology. Haste makes Waste. Chess improvement relies upon the combined strength of Pattern Recognition and Calculation.

On my first circle of the entire set, I am making my moves as if I am playing Blitz. This doesn't lead to good recognition but does help me with building Momentum which is very important to me. In the second set I plan to slow down especially where it comes to making the first move.I would like to soak in the original pattern.

I am interested to see if having done Level 90 problems has any effect on my Level 30 problems.This is a departure from my doing minicircle of a smaller easier set.

Last year when I did the Level 20, 14 times I had trouble building pattern recognition. I think this is because I moved too fast trying to solve the problems. Part of the pattern recognition is not only in the moves themselves but in recognizing the initial position structure . If I repeatedly made a wrong first move move, I may of mentally reinforced a bad pattern. Then next circle I will strive to slow down initially.

A benefit of repetitive tactical training is that it makes one calculation process less verbal and more visual thus more faster. My past level 20 training has made me more aware of the type of tactical solution it will be. Whether it will be a backrow mate, a kings march, a push of the opponents king into a wall of my pawn , a sacrifice causing a stalemate, pawn promotion. Sometimes I see a position and immediately see my opponents queen has Limited mobility and look to trap it.

More of this later as I move through the circles.............
Friday -1032

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hit 1000 Mark in Ct-art Circle 1

It's not pretty but just finished the 1000th tactic with about 200 more to go.
tuesday am 900-920
pm 920-938
wed 0969 on to L60
Thursday -1000
Friday- 1025
Sat am -1063
sat af -1074
Sun am -1100
Sun ev -1110
Only 100 to go
Mon m 1130
Mon e 1142 begins the last level L90 and above
tues m 1152
tues e 1168
wed m 1184 (30 to go)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Traxler against an 1800

Here is a recent traxler game with and without my Fritz analysis. I should of known an 1800 player takes with the bishop f7 but I could not resist.

Copy games into this viewer
[Event "Rated game, 20m + 0s"]
[Site "Main Playing Hall"]
[Date "2006.09.23"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Pressman"]
[Black "Takchess"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C57"]
[WhiteElo "1838"]
[BlackElo "1509"]
[Annotator "Fritz 9 (66s)"]
[PlyCount "63"]
[EventDate "2006.09.23"]

{C57: Two Knights: Wilkes-Barre/Traxler and 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5, unusual Black 5th
moves} 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5. Bxf7+ Ke7 6. Bd5 Nxd5 7.
exd5 Bxf2+ 8. Kxf2 Rf8+ 9. Ke1 Nd4 10. c3 Ke8 11. d3 Qf6 12. Be3 c6 13. cxd4
exd4 14. Nxh7 Qh4+ 15. g3 Qxh7 16. Bxd4 d6 17. Nc3 Bh3 18. Ne4 Kd7 19. dxc6+
bxc6 20. Rc1 Rae8 21. Kd2 Rxe4 22. dxe4 Qxe4 23. Be3 Qd5+ 24. Kc2 Bf5+ 25. Kc3
Qa5+ 26. b4 Qa3+ 27. Qb3 Qa6 28. Qc4 Qa3+ 29. Qb3 Qa6 30. Kb2 Qe2+ 31. Ka1 Qxe3
32. Qxe3 (32. Qxe3 $18) 1-0

{C57: Two Knights: Wilkes-Barre/Traxler and 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5, unusual Black 5th
moves} 1. e4 {4} e5 {4} 2. Nf3 {1} Nc6 {4} 3. Bc4 {2} Nf6 {4} 4. Ng5 {6} Bc5 {4
} 5. Bxf7+ {7} Ke7 {3} 6. Bd5 {2} Nxd5 $146 {37} (6... Qe8 7. d3 (7. O-O d6 8.
c3 Bg4 9. Nf3 Qh5 10. d4 Bxf3 11. gxf3 Bb6 12. Kh1 g5 13. Rg1 h6 14. Bxc6 bxc6
15. Be3 Rag8 16. Nd2 Qh4 17. Nc4 exd4 18. cxd4 g4 19. e5 Nd5 20. Qe2 Nxe3 21.
exd6+ cxd6 {Van de Wynkele,E-Cluyts,M/Bilzen 2004/CBM 100 ext/1-0 (36)}) (7. d4
Nxd4 8. c3 Nc6 9. b4 Bb6 10. b5 Nd8 11. f4 d6 12. fxe5 Ng4 13. exd6+ cxd6 14.
Bf4 Ne5 15. Nf3 Qg6 16. Qe2 Qf6 17. Bg3 Bg4 18. Rf1 Rc8 19. Bxe5 dxe5 20. h3
Bd7 21. c4 Ne6 {Beznosikov,V-Koba,I (2250)/Yaroslavl 1995/CBM 049 ext/1-0 (35)}
) 7... d6 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. Be3 Qg6 10. Nf3 Bxe3 11. fxe3 Qxg2 12. Rg1 Qh3 13.
Rxg7+ Kd8 14. Rg3 Qh6 15. Qe2 Ng4 16. h3 Nf6 17. Nbd2 Ba6 18. O-O-O Ke7 19. h4
Rag8 20. Rg5 Qf8 21. Nh2 {
Anand,V (2635)-Beliavsky,A (2640)/Linares 1991/CBM 022/0-1 (44)}) (6... d6 7.
c3 Rf8 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. d4 Bb6 10. Be3 Qe8 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Bxb6 axb6 13. Nd2
Bg4 14. Ngf3 Nd7 15. h3 Qh5 16. Qc2 Nc5 17. Nxe5 Be2 18. Ndf3 Bxf3 19. Nxf3
Rxf3 20. gxf3 Qxf3 21. Rh2 {
Vang,F (2107)-Andersen,I (2160)/Copenhagen 2002/CBM 089 ext/1-0 (42)}) (6...
Qe8 $18) 7. exd5 {7} Bxf2+ $2 {24} (7... Nb4 8. d4 $1 {Decoy: d4} exd4 $18) 8.
Kxf2 {3} Rf8+ {21} (8... Ke8 {cannot change what is in store for ?} 9. d3 Qf6+
10. Nf3 $18) 9. Ke1 {37} (9. Kg1 $5 {makes it even easier for White} Ke8 10.
Ne4 Ne7 11. Qh5+ Ng6 $18) 9... Nd4 {15} 10. c3 {16} Ke8 {49} 11. d3 {83} (11.
cxd4 $6 {is much weaker} Qxg5 12. Qe2 Qh4+ 13. g3 Qxd4 $18) 11... Qf6 {34} 12.
Be3 {22} c6 {45} (12... Nf5 {does not win a prize} 13. Qh5+ g6 14. Qe2 $18) 13.
cxd4 {19} exd4 {4} 14. Nxh7 {15} (14. Qh5+ $142 $5 {
makes it even easier for White} g6 15. Nxh7 gxh5 16. Nxf6+ Rxf6 17. Bxd4 Rf4
$18) 14... Qh4+ {13} 15. g3 {5} Qxh7 {8} 16. Bxd4 {7} d6 {36} 17. Nc3 {41} Bh3
{29} 18. Ne4 {53} Kd7 {50} 19. dxc6+ {27} bxc6 {5} 20. Rc1 {59} Rae8 {5} 21.
Kd2 {7} (21. Qc2 $142 {and White can already relax} Rc8 $18) 21... Rxe4 {36}
22. dxe4 {10} Qxe4 {4} 23. Be3 {96} (23. Rc4 $142 {might be the shorter path}
Bf5 24. Kc3 $18) 23... Qd5+ $4 {ignoring the path to victory 39} (23... Rf5
$142 24. Re1 Rd5+ 25. Kc3 Rxd1 26. Rcxd1 Qe5+ 27. Bd4 Qa5+ 28. Kd3 Bf5+ 29. Ke3
Bg4 $19) 24. Kc2 {45} (24. Kc3 {seems even better} Qe5+ 25. Qd4 Qxd4+ 26. Bxd4
c5 $18) 24... Bf5+ {43} (24... Qc4+ {is the last straw} 25. Kb1 Qe4+ 26. Ka1
Qxe3 $18) 25. Kc3 {24} Qa5+ {47} 26. b4 {10} Qa3+ {4} 27. Qb3 {11} Qa6 {27} 28.
Qc4 {10} Qa3+ {11} 29. Qb3 {Twofold repetition 8} (29. Kd2 {
keeps an even firmer grip} Qa4 $18) 29... Qa6 {6} 30. Kb2 {22} Qe2+ {11} (30...
Be6 {is no salvation} 31. Qa3 Qxa3+ 32. Kxa3 $18) 31. Ka1 {3} Qxe3 {11} (31...
Be6 {there is nothing better in the position} 32. Qa3 Ra8 $18) 32. Qxe3 {
Takchess resigns (Lag: Av=0.31s, max=1.7s) 2} (32. Qxe3 a5 33. Rhe1 c5 34.
Qe7+ Kc8 35. Qxd6 Bd7 36. Rxc5+ Bc6 37. Qxc6+ Kb8 38. Rb5+ Ka7 39. Re7#) 1-0

sat night -821 on to level 50
sun mornign 821-840 Sun am
more sun morn 840- 860

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Does the 7 circles work? You be the Judge !

The Last two games I played.

paste games into this viewer [Event "Rated game, 20m + 5s"]
[Site "Main Playing Hall"]
[Date "2006.09.21"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Bailarín"]
[Black "Takchess"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C55"]
[WhiteElo "1771"]
[BlackElo "1436"]
[PlyCount "36"]
[EventDate "2006.09.21"]
[TimeControl "1200+5"]

1. e4 {4} e5 {2} 2. Nf3 {8} Nc6 {4} 3. Bc4 {3} Nf6 {4} 4. Nc3 {9} Nxe4 {12} 5.
Nxe4 {4} d5 {4} 6. Bb5 {10} dxe4 {5} 7. Nxe5 {3} Bd7 {15} 8. Nxd7 {5} Qxd7 {4}
9. O-O {1} a6 {18} 10. Ba4 {12} O-O-O {15} 11. Bxc6 {53} Qxc6 {9} 12. Re1 {5}
Bc5 {9} 13. Qg4+ {12} Kb8 {18} 14. Qxg7 {14} Rhg8 {7} 15. Qxh7 {3} e3 {4} 16.
g3 {42} exf2+ {4} 17. Kf1 {6} Qh1+ {5} 18. Ke2 {3} fxe1=Q# {
(Lag: Av=0.41s, max=0.8s) 7} 0-1

[Event "Rated game, 20m + 5s"]
[Site "Main Playing Hall"]
[Date "2006.09.21"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Takchess"]
[Black "Bailarín"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C34"]
[WhiteElo "1467"]
[BlackElo "1739"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2006.09.21"]
[TimeControl "1200+5"]

1. e4 {5} e5 {1} 2. f4 {3} exf4 {3} 3. Nf3 {3} Nc6 {18} 4. Nc3 {17} d6 {16} 5.
d4 {6} Bg4 {4} 6. Bxf4 {6} Qf6 {14} 7. Nd5 {8} Qd8 {9} 8. Bc4 {18} Nf6 {5} 9.
O-O {22} Qd7 {43} 10. Nxf6+ {13} gxf6 {2} 11. Bb5 {38} a6 {22} 12. Bxc6 {19}
Qxc6 {2} 13. d5 {16} Qc4 {33} 14. Re1 {13} Bxf3 {31} 15. Qxf3 {10} Qxc2 {2} 16.
Rac1 {6} Qxb2 {5} 17. Rxc7 {4} Be7 {9} 18. Bh6 {42} Qb6+ {5} 19. Be3 {38} Qxc7
{2} 20. e5 {6} fxe5 {14} 21. Rf1 {9} f6 {23} 22. Qh5+ {6} Kd7 {26} 23. Qf7 {20}
Raf8 {11} 24. Qe6+ {18} Kd8 {1} 25. Rb1 {8} f5 {21} 26. Bb6 {5} Rf6 {14} 27.
Bxc7+ {11} Kxc7 {1} 28. Qxe7+ {Bailarín rinde (Lag: Av=0.35s, max=0.6s) 4} 1-0

another part of a circle tonight up to 747
early sat morning -772
second sat morning shift =800
sat did 1st deck of 5X5 flashcards

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What's Happening at Takchess World

I continue to run through Ct-Art on the L40 Problems and not looking to spend one moment extra with variations sidelines. I want to see all the problems once then I will decide whether to do the circles as god (MDLM) intended it the complete CT-art 7 times or break it down by doing each level 7 times. The scary part is I did Level 20 14 times before I got it to a level of solving it that I was happy with. After that my play was significantly stronger causing me to want to play more chess and do less tactics eventually making me significantly weaker in time. It seems to be a pendulum with me moving me to the center. I went through a rating drop so here we are again...............
Monday -700 plus flashcards on treadmill
Tuesday 700-721

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hit 500

Just reached the 500th tactic in ct-art. I am trying to rush through this thing once so that I just see it all. I am skipping as much variations and extraneous replay as I can. I am like the bus driver who won't slow down to pick up passengers because it will get him off his schedule.
Giddee up!

Friday 491-528
Saturday 528-574 coffee with ct-art early am session
Sunday 575-600
Monday 600-618 on to Level 40 (almost halfway done the first pass at the problem set
Tuesday 618-678 L40

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thoughts on Tactical Training

Monday Morning 300-321 L20 c1
Monday evening 322-365 L20
Tuesday m 365-396 L20 On to L3
Tues 397-419 L30
tues 419-441
wed 441-470
thur m 470-490
( I seem to not full take advantage of the removal of defending power of pawns/pieces in an absolute pin that are formed through sacrifices of my pieces.a blind spot.)

As I solve some of the tactical problems in Ct-art, I have been reflecting on the strength of the attacking positions and the weakness of the defending position that make tactic possible. Pieces being on good squares, multiple attacking rays on a position, Pieces poised to enter the attack on following moves,Pawns blocking escape routes for the King,Holes in the position,open lanes that let an attacker through, weak squares, pieces vunerable to Pins and Deflection, defenders out of place,Pieces with restricted movement.

Perhaps there is a principle regarding tactics similar to the Principle of two Weaknesses is to endgames . That I will leave to you to figure out perhaps I will read about it on one of your blogs.

I find that the tactical training is once again improving my board vision to find these conditions and identify how they may lead to a tactic. Sometimes there is a structured verbal questioning that I do which takes time: if I move this defender what happens. But the best is when I see in a moment without verbalizing just visualizing the movement of the pieces to success as if watching a movie. This is the ideal state. But perhaps they are the same state only the latter happens so quickly that the experience just seems different.

Upon my picking up the ct-art again, I have notice my tactical play has improved even after a short stint. Here is a game where my opponent white played every cheap tactic in the book.

paste game into this viewer
1. e4 {7} e5 {3} 2. Qh5 {5} Nc6 {14} 3. Bb5 {14} Nf6 {20} 4. Qf5 {36} Nd4 {17}
5. Qxe5+ {6} Ne6 {14} 6. f3 {14} Bd6 {4} 7. Qc3 {29} O-O {23} 8. e5 {5} Nd5 {22
} 9. Qd3 {51} Ndf4 {49} 10. Qe4 {13} Re8 {19} 11. Bd3 {55} Ng6 {49} 12. c3 {117
} Nc5 {8} 13. Qc4 {76} Bxe5 {38} 14. Ne2 {52} Bd6 {44} 15. Bxg6 {16} hxg6 {14}
16. O-O {20} b6 {67} 17. a4 {61} Ba6 {Lepo_vip offers a draw 4} 18. Qd5 {130}
Bxe2 {20} 19. Rf2 {33} Ba6 {17} 20. b4 {25} Re1+ {40} 21. Rf1 {17} Rxf1# {

Saturday, September 09, 2006

CT-Art Plan

Sun morning 269-299
sat evening 250-269 L20 c1
sat afternoon 230 -249 L20 c1

My plan at this time is to go through all the problems in CT-art before doing any of the problems over again regardless of accuracy. I think it would be beneficial just to see them all just once even if alot of it is over my head. At one point I did the level 20 problems in circles quite a few times than stalled before proceeding on to Level 30.

I am now in the level 20's. Although not perfect, I am feeling some residual benefits from my earlier minicircles. For the heck of it, I took a look at the last problem in the ct-art set a level 90. Alot of variations and moves.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Sat Morning l2 148-230 feeling better tactical vision
Friday night L2 131-147
friday Morning L2 110-130
Friday Morning L1 80-110 on to L2 C1

Thursday Night L1 22-80
Looking to expand my horizons . run a few blocks nightly, do some watercolors, read books on subjects other than chess, think about and play chess less, do more chess tactics (without involved study, do vs extensive thinking about tactics)

Thursday L1 MC1 1-22

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Opening Lemmings

There are a couple of fellows at work that play chess at lunch and we often agree to play certain positions. At one point we would play Fried Liver Attacks, Traxler Counterattacks, Muzio Gambit. Upon completion we would discuss the strategy employed and good/bad moves. Lately we have been playing only King Gambits Accepted. Of late I have been playing White and facing the Fischer defense. I have been playing against it and my opponent normally diverges a little bit to play a sort of Fischer-Cunnigham Combo. This has been effective for him and I was surprised in my 1 million games in my Fritz database there is not one match at this early position blacks fifth move. This says one of two things 1 Masters are lemmings when it come to openings or 2 The response is so bad that a Master would never enter into it. However I find the way to lose the game as white. What would you play as whites 6th

When run in Fritz, White appears to be + a pawn after move 12. it is reached by the following.
http://www.lutanho.net/pgn/pgnviewer.html 1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 g5 5. h4 Be7

Friday, September 01, 2006

Rummaging through my sock drawer

I have done a quick read of Tempos, Mousetrappers and other comments on pattern recognition, different types of memory and the color of sox. Alot of territory to be covered here.

When Tempo talks about the amounts of different diferent patterns
10 basic motifs X 8 preparational moves = 80 different patterns. It seems to be there are alot of variations on the same theme. For example a Trap that involves a Queen Move to A8 mating a King in a crowded position feels much different to me that a pawn giving mate on the side of the board though they can be technically be considered as the same theme. My recognition of one does not equal the recognition of the other. So there are tons of patterns to be absorbed.

I found the comment as to how does a grandmaster builds repetition without using computer programs like ct-art interesting. I imagine some of this may come through game play or game study arriving at a position and visualizing a move to eliminate it (I can't take that pawn with the bishop cause it will be pinned to my king and lost. ) This visualization is most likely instanteous as part of a quick board scan and maybe done on a subconcious level.

There are some elements of a game that almost always jump out at me ie My opponents queen placed in front of his king ,Blacks knights on the seventh rank near king with a king in a crowded position leading to a smothered mate, opponents bishop pinning my Knight to my queen (legal mate?) , 2 pieces on the same rank seperated by a single square leading to a pawn fork.

Certainly there is an element of pattern recognition where an internal alarm goes off and says I can win some material here or I am in trouble here just by a glace at the board.

Here is an example of the Knights on the 7th rank

from a quick game I played earlier today on the net. poorly played by me up to this point included missing the mate a move before it happened. I have been playing poorly lately with corresponding rating decline which is normally a sign of too little tactical study or game study and too much rapid casual chess game playing. ahem...........

viewer for game 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3
Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3 c5 6. Bb5 Nc6 7. Nge2 cxd4 8. Nxd4 Ncxe5 9. Bf4 Ng6 10.
Qd2 Nxf4 11. O-O-O Ng6 12. Nxd5 exd5 13. Nf5 Ne7 14. Rhe1 a6 15. Nd6# 1-0

Also I just got a copy of Soltis how to choose a chess move from the library and this is very interesting. They have a demonstration of Kasparov thinking in a game that is very insightful.