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

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Validity of Ct-art

I have been doing Ct-Art problems for a while and just finished my L20 at a reasonable score 95% and feel I can move on to doing circles of L30. Another knight and I discussed the tactics found in Ct-art and he felt they were at times artificial. I know that at one time J'adoube felt that some of Ct-art were compositions/studies and some of their answers were subjective. I do believe that J'adoube at one time started to do Ct-art and stopped using them for the circles at one point. As I recall he did change his mind and did 7 circle of them.

I wonder if part of the artifical feeling that people get is that some of the position are varied from existing positions so that they can have tactics from both the black and white side. Maxim Blokh wrote a problem book 600 combinations where the positions are playable for material advantage checkmate from both sides. Maxim Blokh the creator is am accomplished coach and correspondance player.

I am happy with the problem set provided by ct-art. Most are mating problems and address all major mating themes. I feel it is important to drill on all the mating themes as the threat of mate often sets up free material. Alot of what I learn is similar to playing pool. You make a shot but also try to have a good "leave" to set up the next shot. Alot of what I am learning is moving my pieces in a mating net or tactical net so that you properly set up the next move.

If I had the ability to direct the develop roadmap for Ct-art 4. I would like to have the ability to mask the ones that I got correctly and automatically do a subset of those I got wrong. I would also like to be able to do a circle of the 5 X5 problems. I would also like to have a bookmark feature where I can create a playlist of problems .

I also wish that someone would create a Ct-art style program from the problem set in sharpen your tactics. Most of those games are from master games with alot of interesting play.

I ask that any readers who own Ct-art leave a comment as to 1) What they think of the problem set 2) what would they do to improve it.


  • At 3:05 PM, Blogger Abend said…

    I'm on L20 myself. I'm happy with the problem set. Like you, I feel that I'm being drilled in basic themes; they also require me to analyze carefully. I'm fine with composed problems; if they're designed to show a theme clearly, I suspect that they may be better for pattern training.

    Even at L20, a few of the problems are complex enough that I'm wondering if memorizing them is useful. If the language analogy holds, to become a competent writer, you must memorize the alphabet, and a vocabulary...phrases, maybe. Sentences? Paragraphs? Essays? Probably not.

    When you say for CT-Art 4 you'd like the ability to do a subset of the incorrect problems -- do you mean a better interface, or the ability to do this in Practice mode, instead of Test mode? Pocket CT-Art has a decent filter system built in, but there's not much difference between Practice and Test on Pocket CT-Art because you can't play out problems against the engine, anyway.

  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger likesforests said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 4:14 PM, Blogger likesforests said…

    "I also wish that someone would create a Ct-art style program from the problem set in sharpen your tactics."

    Did you realize you can enter and drill any tactical problem set you like with Bookup Express? Of course, entering the positions takes time unless you already have them converted to PGN format.

  • At 4:18 PM, Blogger J'adoube said…

    I only used CT-ART up through level 50 - around 1000 problems - all of which I memorized.

    It would be nice if CT-ART used the PCT approach for repetition.

    Other than that, I would recommend it to anyone.

  • At 4:31 AM, Blogger takchess said…

    Some additional comments for Ct-art4 > I would also like the ability to attach comments to specific problems.The program would become somewhat of a notebook on tactics. I would also like a mode that would show answers without having to attempt to solve it.

    Abend, I am unfamilar with Test mode. Everything I do is in practice mode. Does test mode refeed you with ones that you originally did not do correctly?

    Likeforest,i have the free version of bookup (don't tend to use it) and fritz (which I would enter the positions into). The issue is I do not have the time/energy to type 1200 problems into Fritz. I don't believe I can export the CT-art in pgn format.(if I am wrong someone please correct me!!)
    J'adoube, thanks for the comment.

  • At 9:52 AM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said…

    I love CT-Art, but for U1400, I'd recommend CTB for reasons abend mentions.

  • At 11:26 AM, Blogger Loomis said…

    I like using the power of the computer technology to streamline the tactics training. It allows for complex and long variations that would be difficult to see from a single diagram in a book and time consuming to set up on a real board. I also like the fact that it tracks your percentage giving you feedback on how you're doing.

    The CT-Art problem set is sufficiently difficult for me (USCF 1700) that I am challenged and learning quite a bit. I didn't really comparison shop with other computer tactics training, but I bought CT-Art on the basis of it being used by other people and their recommendations.

    The problems are sometimes contrived. If the opponent has a checkmate threat I know I don't have time to make a threat, I have to play check or stop the opponents threat. This cuts down on a lot of candidate moves, making finding the solution much easier. But as people have said, if it shows you a motif that's not already at your finger tips, then maybe you'll find it in a game where you wouldn't have before.

  • At 12:36 PM, Blogger Abend said…

    Takchess, definitely check out Test mode. It does some of what you want; you may or may not think it's better than using Practice mode.

    Pros of test mode:
    - you can filter by new / all / erroneous, elo level, and current theme / all themes
    - problems selected at random
    - problems presented in random order

    - the Play button is disabled, so you can't play through problems. (I get around this by writing down the problem number of problems that I have questions about, and I revisit those problems in Practice mode.)

    When I'm going through a set of problems for the first time, I usually use Practice mode; for later circles, I use Test mode with the New problem filter.

    When I'm done with a circle, I review my errors by backing up the users.dat file, and then using the Erroneous filter. I put the users.dat back before I start a re-review of the errors, or before I start a new circle. I create a new user for each circle, so the New filter works.

    One nice thing about doing it this way is that I'm left with a record of how I did in each circle.

  • At 8:25 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said…

    Test mode is key. I do the erroneous over and over until I get them all right before moving on to the next minicircle at that level.

  • At 2:31 AM, Blogger takchess said…

    Thanks for the steering me to test mode. I was unaware it had that functionality.Thanks everyone

  • At 11:33 AM, Blogger Chess.com said…

    hey takchess!

    i'd love to talk to you about a few chess blogging ideas i have. send me an email if you are interested!


    (you can delete this post - i just couldn't find another way to contact you...)


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