Thursday, October 21, 2010

This is my game

It is about time to face the facts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Curse of Memorizing?

Some Chess Trainers have a sweet tooth for memorizing games while other view it as a total waste of time. Some argue that the number of games memorized is a good substitut measure for playing strength.

When reading Frisco Del Rosario's excellent book "A First Book on Morphy", I decided to give memorizing a try. What could be a better party trick than replaying a Morphy game from memory?

It was a somewhat strange experience. Memorizing the moves was somewhat easier than I first expected. However, The move order was more or less forgotten in a day or two.

I gave it another try but this time I spent more energy on the "whys" of each move and that was the magic trick! Yeah, the game still didn't get stored properly in my gold fish memory but I was convinced that I got a somewhat deeper understanding of the game itself. My conclusion is that trying to memorize canonical chess games is indeed a nice way to spice up your DIY chess training. I honestly thing that trying the mixture of "whys" and pretending to memorize the moves did give me a deeper understanding of the game studied.

Del Rosario has another book out and it looks very promising. The introduction in "Capablanca: A Primer of Checkmate" should be required reading for all DIY chess improvers. I will get summarize my full impressions of the book as soon as I have worked myself through the text.

This time I will do it more carefully. The clear annotations in the Morphy book ofter lured me into the lazy "Learning by nodding mode". This time I will replay the games from the book in Old Fashioned "Guess the Move Style" before enjoying the notes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Final Exam

Here are the final verdict after working my way through Igor Khmelnitsky's fine book.

The overall score (1446) is probably fairly accurate. My Chess Buddies at the office are both rated 1550ish and I feel half a step behind those guys.

I am still surprised by my crappy Tactics Score. Well, I just need to keep "finding those forks" on a daily basis.

You are Better13360.5%1640
You are Worse5131.9%1270
No Sacrifice16157.5%1656

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Complete mini course for the first step towards Chess Greatness?

In the folklore of Chess Improvement you often hear about the 300 positions you need to master in order to become a really strong player. GM Alburt has written a nice book
presenting a selection of 300 problems to help you on your path to Greatness. Another book along those lines are IM(?) Ziyatdiniov's "GM-RAM: Essential Grandmaster Chess Knowledge".

I like the approach as it can help the Do-it-yourself improver to find some structure is the search for improvement. Still, the improving player might need some guidance. Dan Heisman has suggested which problems from Alburt's book to study for someone aiming for a rating around 1400.

That is solid advice! This is a first step towards transforming the great material in the book into a stellar pedagogical tool mimicking the novel approach in Silman's "Complete Endgame Course".

Any idea what positions to study to take the next step, say, reaching ELO 1600?

PS. Here is Heisman's suggested problems for the 1400ish target:

5, 15, 18, 26, 27, 39, 63, 68, 75, 80, 82, 105, 109, 118, 125, 128, 129, 133, 163, 203, 206, 238, 242, 247, 265, 280.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

High Score

This is probably one of my better games. It is nice to be able to avoid too many blunder once in a while. I will add comments soonish but now I have to celebrate with a handful of M&M look-a-likes!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Game

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Message

Last half point December 12, 2009
Last Win November 27, 2009

Six losses in a row (all as black)

There must be a message in those stats.