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, October 30, 2006

A knight on a different quest

I find what fierabras is doing to be very interesting. I suggest that you take a look at some of the games he is looking through and stop by with a comment from time to time. His quest involves improvement through master game study.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Updated notes added after Fritz analysis: As suspected, I had tactical opportunities to take material here and win the game. I will give you the move numbers and take a look at what black should of played!

There is a better move at Blacks nineth move, at move 15 I could of simplified,move 21 I could of won material, and at move 27 I lost it when I should of played a move that equalized. Most of this game I stayed even.

As suspected careful play and more tactical training should deliver more of these games as wins even against stronger players.

Sometimes these 2 Knights games get too darn complex.It felt as though I might of had a win here but we will have to see what fritz says. I hope after some serious tactical training I will know what to do here.

Paste the game below into this link.

[Event "Rated game, 35m + 5s"]
[Site "Main Playing Hall"]
[Date "2006.10.28"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Capanegra"]
[Black "Takchess"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C55"]
[WhiteElo "1825"]
[BlackElo "1511"]
[PlyCount "101"]
[EventDate "2006.10.28"]
[TimeControl "2100+5"]

1. e4 {2} e5 {2} 2. Nf3 {3} Nc6 {2} 3. Bc4 {3} Nf6 {2} 4. O-O {15} Nxe4 {9} 5.
Re1 {22} d5 {3} 6. Bb5 {20} Bc5 {5} 7. d4 {14} exd4 {14} 8. Nxd4 {6} O-O {11}
9. Bxc6 {16} bxc6 {5} 10. Be3 {48} Qf6 {33} 11. c3 {58} Re8 {29} 12. Nd2 {15}
Bf5 {30} 13. Qf3 {49} Nxd2 {12} 14. Bxd2 {19} Bxd4 {33} 15. cxd4 {17} Qg6 {42}
16. Bf4 {75} Be4 {9} 17. Qg3 {12} Qf5 {30} 18. Re3 {27} Re6 {9} 19. Rae1 {8}
Rg6 {5} 20. Qh4 {93} Rxg2+ {23} 21. Kf1 {49} Rg6 {87} 22. f3 {44} Bd3+ {12} 23.
Kf2 {2} f6 {39} 24. Bxc7 {213} Rh6 {21} 25. Qg3 {19} Rg6 {45} 26. Qd6 {27} Be4
{19} 27. Qxc6 {52} Qc8 {75} 28. fxe4 {42} Qg4 {30} 29. Qxd5+ {15} Kf8 {16} 30.
Qxa8+ {41} Kf7 {5} 31. Qd5+ {16} Qe6 {5} 32. Qxe6+ {7} Kxe6 {3} 33. Bg3 {10} h5
{6} 34. d5+ {11} Ke7 {4} 35. e5 {6} f5 {2} 36. d6+ {6} Ke6 {2} 37. Rd1 {39} f4
{4} 38. Bxf4 {2} Rf6 {1} 39. Kg3 {21} h4+ {7} 40. Kg4 {6} a5 {3} 41. exf6+ {6}
Kf7 {8} 42. fxg7 {3} a4 {7} 43. d7 {5} a3 {2} 44. bxa3 {11} h3 {2} 45. Rxh3 {11
} Kf6 {8} 46. d8=Q+ {5} Ke6 {7} 47. Qd6+ {5} Kf7 {10} 48. g8=Q+ {9} Kxg8 {6}
49. Qg6+ {5} Kf8 {7} 50. Rh8+ {5} Ke7 {5} 51. Bg5# {
(Lag: Av=0.33s, max=0.8s) 10} 1-0

lasker game with same early play

Friday, October 27, 2006

classification of chess problems

CT-ART problems are classified two ways: Tactical Methods and Combinational Motifs . There is a dewey decimal type system that divides these into various themes. When one solves the problems by levels, each level is presented by combinational motifs. This pattern is easily discerned once you done a few levels, first comes Knight Forks, then Files (problems you take advantage of that pieces are on the same file, about 2/3 of the way there are Stalemate problems,Pawn promotions etc......... If you own the book Combinational Motifs by Maxim Blokh who compiled the collection of these problems,all the problems are presented by combinational motifs The first 84 problems are Knight forks divided by subclassification Knight forks removal of protection the knight fork decoys. Each subcategory presented in increasing difficulty.

So what exactly is the difference between Combinational Motifs and Tactical Methods?
Blokh writes in the preface of his book "This book is dedicated to a detailed classification by Combinational Motifs -tactical weaknesses in ones position,particular features of piece placement and co-opperation that offer an opportunity to find and to perform a combination. I think there is a benefit to studying an entire classification at one time. ie: doing all the Explotation of a Pin Problems of the various levels to reinforce that theme. Hopefully there is a benefit being to quickly identify that a tactic exists and where the weakness lies in a position.

Blokh published an earlier book entitled The Art of Combination which had many if not all the exact same problems. This was classified by Tactical Method. There was a chapter on Distraction as well as Decoy problems. Distraction and Decoy sound pretty much the same but the finer distinction appears to be in Decoy the opponents piece or King is lured away and captures material then this piece is involved in your tactic
be it checkmate or capture. Distraction the piece is moved so you can attack something else.

I am hoping that learning about the classifications and understanding them will help me improve tactically. Uncertain as to the value but I enjoy doing it. Interesting if others feel if there is value or if it is a waste of time and why. Does anyone know if these classification system was invented by Blokh or if it came from the Soviet School of Chess?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Do you know the answer to this?

I've been thinking about the advantages of having the first move. At a 1500 level player at playchess at what rating level do you think I would have equal chances against my opponents. In other words each of us having a 50% shot at winning. 1520,1550,1600....? (lets disregard draws of which I have very few,just games that are decided by victory) Inquiring minds want to know! what do you think?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Little concern for safety or material, just trying to get the king.

In my hunt for game play which shows little concern for safety or material, just trying to get the king.8) I have experimented with a delayed traxler game and came up with this strange end position with all of White's Queen side left in the box.Copy and paste game into this pgn viewer

[Event "Rated game, 25m + 5s"]
[Site "Café"]
[Date "2006.10.21"]
[Black "Takchess"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C55"]
[WhiteElo "1452"]
[BlackElo "1544"]

1. e4 {2} e5 {19} 2. Nf3 {3} Nc6 {14} 3. Bc4 {5} Nf6 {5} 4. d3 {2} Be7 {10} 5.
Ng5 {5} Bc5 {9} 6. Nxf7 {15} Qe7 {11} 7. Nxh8 {11} d5 {6} 8. Bb3 {41} Bxf2+ {12
} 9. Kxf2 {20} Ng4+ {3} 10. Ke2 {27} Nxh2 {23} 11. Bxd5 {34} Bg4+ {11} 12. Ke3
{16} Qg5+ {9} 13. Kf2 {24} Qh4+ {7} 14. g3 {8} Qf6+ {29} 15. Kg2 {20} Bxd1 {19}
16. Rxh2 {22} Qf3+ {7} 17. Kh3 {9} Qg4+ {13} 18. Kg2 {13} Bf3+ {6} 19. Kf2 {10}
O-O-O {13} 20. Nf7 {29} Rf8 {8} 21. Rh4 {63} Qg6 {39} 22. Kxf3 {33} Nd4+ {8}
23. Ke3 {6} Qxg3+ {5} 24. Kd2 {10} Qxh4 {21} 25. Kc3 {10} Nb5+ {29} 26. Kc4 {15
} Nd6+ {12} 27. Kc5 {14} Qf2+ {7} 28. d4 {23} Qxd4# {
(Lag: Av=0.66s, max=3.2s) 6} 0-1

sunday did 5x5 simple tactics flash cards

Friday, October 20, 2006

not often do I get a King hunt in a queen pawns opening

I am sure I missed a mate or simplication in this thing. Fun to play. paste game in pgn viewer link on sidebar.

[Event "Rated game, 25m + 5s"]
[Site "Main Playing Hall"]
[Date "2006.10.20"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Gavmassingham"]
[Black "Takchess"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D32"]
[WhiteElo "1603"]
[BlackElo "1514"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "2006.10.20"]
[TimeControl "1500+5"]

1. d4 {3} d5 {3} 2. c4 {3} e6 {3} 3. Nc3 {17} c5 {16} 4. dxc5 {6} Bxc5 {4} 5.
cxd5 {7} exd5 {9} 6. Nxd5 {15} Nf6 {26} 7. Bg5 {13} Bxf2+ {11} 8. Kd2 {9} Ne4+
{15} 9. Kc2 {7} Qxg5 {11} 10. Nc7+ {5} Ke7 {21} 11. Nxa8 {60} Bf5 {11} 12. Kb3
{82} Be6+ {49} 13. Kc2 {17} Bf5 {24} 14. Kb3 {14} Nc5+ {10} 15. Kb4 {68} Nba6+
{14} 16. Kb5 {26} Bd7+ {12} 17. Kc4 {4} Qf4+ {55} 18. e4 {35} Qxe4+ {11} 19.
Kc3 {10} Na4+ {93} 20. Kd2 {30} Be3+ {53} 21. Ke1 {20} Nxb2 {19} 22. Qb3 {72}
Bxg1+ {59} 23. Be2 {11} Qd4 {48} 24. Qa3+ {22} Nc5 {13} 25. Rb1 {39} Rd8 {69}
26. Rxb2 {19} Qf2+ {14} 27. Kd2 {38} Bb5+ {46} 28. Kc3 {34} Qe3+ {8} 29. Kb4 {
14} Rd4+ {22} 30. Kxb5 {58} Qxa3 {23} 31. Rxg1 {53} Qxb2+ {15} 32. Kxc5 {3}
Qc3+ {Gavmassingham resigns (Lag: Av=0.34s, max=0.8s) 7} 0-1

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The GM's Innermost thoughts

The GM in the Cartoon is probably the ideal quickly seeing a positions possiblities from his experiences (pattern recognition). I am very interested in some of the specifics of what exactly builds pattern recognition and the interrelationship between calculation,tactical pattern recognition and tactical pattern learning.The following is a brain dump about these artifical classifications.

Pattern Recognition I believe is a number of different elements such as

1)Recognizing a position in it's entirety
2)Recognizing a elements within a position (ie:queen and king on the same file,rank,diagonal thus making it subseptible to a Pin)
3)Recognition of Relationships within a position (opponents knight on f6 guards h7 square which if were to occupy it with my supported queen would be checkmate)
4)Recognition of the nature of the position(stalemate, pawn promotion,limited mobility of a piece,etc)
4)Recognition of things one would like to do and what prevents it.
5)In most cases association with prior Tactical Knowledge
6)recognition of specific strategic goals inherent in the position
7)Association of positions,elements with past play and study
8)Pattern Recognition involves a quick seeing

I define Calculation as the process used to solve a tactical problem not instantly solved by pattern recognition.

1)asking oneself questions about the initial position
2)visualizing sequences of moves
3)rearranging move order
4)asking questions about structure and relationship of pieces.
5)testing ideas and possible counterplay by opponent
6)in exchanges, there is a weighing element(counting,I sacked a rook and a bishop for a queen was it worth it? )
6)working with the position till pattern recognition takes over
7)Calculation involves a searching for a pattern and manipulating this pattern as opposed to an instantaneous seeing.
8)With repetition of problem solving, repeated calculation may bond the Pattern with the Pattern Knowledge

Building Tactical Knowledge or Pattern Learning-This is the base of which every thing else is supported>it is the chunks as Blue Devil Knight calls it

1)knowing how a piece move (it seems trivial but we often "calculate" how a knight moves as opposed to instantly seeing the squares it can move to)
2)knowing a mating position(there are complex mating postion where I still have to calculate if all escape squares are covered)
3)knowledge of the geometry of the chessboard diagonals, which squares are dark or light,knowledge of where g4 is on the board etc
4)Understanding of pattern characteristics( a pins piece has lost it's ability to recapture on a square it defends, the concept of removal of the guard)
5)Building the tactic series pattern (legal mate,smothered mate, and the 1001 other pattterns )
6)Much of chess is the ability to simplfy the position on the board to a known pattern be it checkmate, winning endgame, pawn promotion, stalemate. Tactical Knowledge is knowing this patterns.
7)Pattern Recognition may be viewed as accessing this knowledge with minimal use of calculation and perhaps bypassing this completely

So my belief is that Ct-art Training in the early stages for a under 1400 player first turns to Calculation and a little pattern recognition. Due to the errors there is an opportunity to build tactical knowledge.

With the middle circles there is a little less calculation with some increasing pattern recognition and more effective tactical knowledge building due to the prior exposure.

With the latter circles there is minimal calculation(or much faster/effective calculation), more pattern buiding and very fast pattern recognition.

The Seven Circles in a way is a attempt to streamline or Automate(?) the process of selecting a move over the board like the GM in the cartoon. However if he had really
pattern recognized it would be more like....................take take take checkmate where's the food!
tues 494
wed 512

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Chess Lives on

There are a lot of things about chess that interest me and some aspects of it stand out as being very special. One is how a chess game lives on chess fans think about the analysis of Greco and discuss the games of Morphy and Anderssen from the 1850's. A book was just written where discussion of the immortal game plays a big part.

The idea as to how a chess game lives on has very few parallels that I can think of in sports or other areas where people discuss the strategy and play and still learn from them. The few things I can think of remotely close to this is art or study of battles such as Gettysburg.

I am a big fan of chess books and have often trade piles of books on other subjects to obtain them. Today I traded a number of boxes of books for 7 chess books at a used book store. The Gambit by Yudovich a Russian chess master. Chess fundamentals by Capablanca, A book on the two knight defense, principles of the new chess by pandolfini, Chess Middlegame essentials by Averbach (!) and Pachman Attack and Defense in Modern Chess Tactics (!).

I was especially pleased to get a book from 1951 Chess Secrets I learned from the the Masters by Edward Lasker. Edward was a cousin of Emmmanuel Lasker the world champion and a good player in his own right . He also was a big factor in the introduction of the game of GO to the west. There are some games of Capablanca and dozen of others as well as alot of stories. On the front cover plate is the old owners name Oliver J Deckert June 1952.This book looks well used so I picture him playing through the games. So as I read this book and play through the games: This book, the games and these masters live on. (note the painting is of Emmanuel Lasker)

Also in the spirit of Tempos recent Grand Prix Attack posting, here is one I played a few minutes ago.

[White "Takchess"]
[Black "bnyahs"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B23"]
[WhiteElo "1451"]
[BlackElo "1797"]

1. e4 {5} c5 {1} 2. Nc3 {4} e6 {4} 3. f4 {17} Nc6 {6} 4. Nf3 {5} d6 {6} 5. Bc4
{6} Nf6 {19} 6. O-O {21} d5 {4} 7. exd5 {20} exd5 {10} 8. Bb3 {10} Be7 {13} 9.
d3 {27} O-O {6} 10. Ng5 {32} d4 {43} 11. Nce4 {14} h6 {18} 12. Rf3 {50} Bg4 {8}
13. Qf1 {30} hxg5 {12} 14. Nxg5 {10} Bxf3 {18} 15. Qxf3 {7} Ne8 {24} 16. Qh5 {
11} Bxg5 {3} 17. fxg5 {5} Ne5 {28} 18. g6 {38} Qf6 {80} 19. Qh7# {
(Lag: Av=1.69s, max=11.8s) 5} 1-0

paste game into this viewer
monday l30 c2 449
tues 474

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Coffee House play

I love this coffee house style of play 8) paste game in this link here . I am playing black.

[Event "Rated game, 25m + 10s"]
[Site "Main Playing Hall"]
[Date "2006.10.11"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Freeky_Franky"]
[Black "Takchess"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C57"]
[WhiteElo "1640"]
[BlackElo "1433"]
[Annotator "Fritz 9 (66s)"]
[PlyCount "30"]
[EventDate "2006.10.11"]

{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. Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6. Kf1 Qe7 7.
Nxh8 d5 8. Bxd5 Bg4 9. Kxf2 Bxd1 10. Rxd1 Ng4+ 11. Kg1 Qc5+ 12. d4 Nxd4 13. Rf1
Ne2+ 14. Kh1 Nf2+ 15. Rxf2 Qxf2 0-1
Circle update
circle 2 -396 completion on l20 79%L20
As I become a little frustrated with the complexity of some of these problems. I must remember that many of these problems were solved over the board by grandmasters many times taking minutes to do them
Saturday am - 413


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pattern Recognition vs Pattern Association

The last post and Tempos comments got me thinking about the finer definitions of Chess Terminology: Pattern Recognition and Calculation as well as the components
of Tactical Play. It occured to be that the Pattern Recognition is a part of Chess Tactical Training but perhaps not the major benefit of chess training. There are some positions in the Four Knights and the Giuco Piano that I clearly recognize the pattern having reached them many times before but am uncertain as to what the best response is. So in this instance I have pattern recognition, I could set them up on the board without looking at it ,but have no solution to associate it with.

The Main benefit I am getting from doing the Ct-art Training is not necessarilly Pattern Recognition but learning the best response. It is building a tool chess of Tactical techniques ie: the sequence of moves that when put together make up a smothered mate, legals mate and the 1209 series of moves in the problem set. This is the how of bettering positions, winning material and checkmating. The main part is Pattern Association: Associating a pattern on the board or a part of the pattern on a board with very specific sequence of moves I have in my long term memory or at least able to figure out parts of it and solve the rest during play.

I think there may sometimes be a negative correlation at times when I try to solve a tactical problem and for some reason come up repeatedly with the same wrong first move. I may be repeatively being trained for an incorrect association. It may of been better for me to see the position and be shown the correct answer. Eventually with work these things tend to straighten themselves out. I purposely do not run the show refutation part of a program when I make a wrong move because this may enforce a wrong assocation. I have no way to verify this and am uncertain if this helps but it does allow me more time to focus on the correct answer.

I believe that Pattern Recognition is improved through trying to solve a problem . When one studies a position a understanding develops regarding it's structure and
coordination between the pieces. Now Pattern Recognition is important. It tells us that there is a potential tactic in the position and with Pattern Association and a tool chess of tactical techniques allows for strong tactical play. The ideal is a popping of the solution when a position is shown which occurs instantaneously and this comes about through doing multiple repetitions of chess problems. Back to Ct-Art..............

POST Comment
after some reflection, I figure I may of been a little too strict semantically. What I think the term pattern recognition can refer to the ability to see Tactical opportunities or Tactical patterns within the Postion. Not Position Recognition or the ability to recall the position in its entirety. Knowledge of Tactical Patterns and the ability to associate them is still an important thing to know .
Circle 2 cont
Wed - 356

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pattern Recognition vs Calculation

I find myself once again reflecting upon the pseudoscience that is Chess Improvement theory. The ability to see tactics where one gains material and to checkmate your opponent and to retain one's material and avoid being checkmated is necessary to play a good game.

The ability to solve a chess problem greatly depends on two things: Pattern Recognition and Calculating Ability. Although you think it is clear cut I find myself wonder about what exactly the difference between Pattern Recognition and Calculation. So I came up with this chart that speaks to what I see as the nature of Pattern Recognition and Calculation. Please note this is rough ideas on the subject and will change as my ideas evolve.

Pattern Recognition

Can be Extremely Quick
Pattern Recognition is certain
Tendency to be Visual/Nonverbal
Extemely Important in Blitz Games
Doesn't alway consider counterplay (and can be dangerous to totally rely on)
Improved through practice of repetitive positions (flashcards)
Pattern recognition does not rely on calculation
The more one has seen a position the more likely pattern recognition is used


Tends to be slower
Calculation may involve trial and error,what will happen if I play this?
Intellectual Questioning/conscious
Tendency to be Verbal with some visualization
Takes into account Strategy and other factors
Extremely Important in Long Games
Often times looking to prime the pump of pattern recognition
More in practice in complicated positions
Important in considering counterplay
Improved through practice of many different positions
Calculation relies more on pattern recognition than PR relies on calculation
The less one has seen a position the more calculation is used

This chart speaks to what I think tendency of these two elements and is somewhat simplistic and arbitrary. In a game in looking at the same position one uses elements of calculation and pattern recognition. Much of what I have defined as calculation is looking for elements of recognized paterns in a new position and shifting and reshaping the position in ones mind. So perhaps we should think of pattern recognition as layer within Calculation. Pattern Recognition directs one to
consider what to calculate and how deeply.

Both are important in Tactics so I look to strengthen them both

Circle 2 continued
Sat Aft l20- 216
Sun m -249
Sun -269
mon -290
tues 308

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Circle 1 1208 problems completed

The experience was not as bad as I thought it might be . On to circle 2. This time I will spend a minute or two calculating the first move. Circle 1 was done from September 8th through October 5th.

I am interested to see if my statistics for L20 improve.
Progress on the beginning of Circle 2
Thursday 1-74 circle 2
Friday -110 end of level 10 98% overall on level 10
increased accuracy due to slowing down and checking and rechecking
Friday Level 20 -130
Sat Am -200

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

1200 Ct art tactic 9 to go

I have seen all but the last 9 tactics on ctart3. level 90 tactics are not so much harder than earlier tactics they just involve much more variations as in the diagram.