Thursday, September 17, 2020


 Chess prowess succumbs to good advice. This blog is a monument that tributes to that adage. I have been floundering knee deep in the good advice all along. Luckily is Logic destructive by its very nature. You can use it to chip off the nonsense from the useful. After 20 years of chiseling, I finally have found a few leftovers that are useful. My mind is freed from the tons of debris that continuously filled the few mental slots that form my Short Term Memory.

Finally I know where to start thinking. I'm very excited about that! I'm no longer overwhelmed by the myriads of possibilities which useless good advice forced me to reckon with.

Take for instance this little piece of silliness: "if you find a good move look for a better one". You don't want to know how many games I lost due to time trouble as a result of this idea. Chess is a fuzzy game for the human mind. We must abandon the idea of the best move. We are not able to find it, and when we have found something that looks like it, we have no ways to prove it. We should be looking for the first move that is good enough.

Actually, we shouldn't be looking for a move in the first place. We should look for a plan. Without a plan, we have no way to judge the aptness of a move. With a plan, we have pruned the tree of analysis already. Only the moves that support the plan, have to be taken into account. 

So what's the plan? I don't know yet. I just started to apply logical reasoning to the game.

Nimzowitsch wrote My System. Very few people seem to recognize the systematics in the book as a system, though. Nimzowitsch wanted to make a work of art, and he did! But pedagogically, that is a very poor choice. Yet I belief there really is a system in the book! We just have to decrypt it.

I'm looking for a few standard plans that can be applied to any chess game. Just to cut down on the pursuit of the best plan every time. I don't need the best plan, I'm happy with a good enough plan. I think Nimzowitsch has found just that. The investigation starts here and now!

Friday, September 11, 2020


 I'm halfway my session of 150 days in a row tactical training according my newly developed method which took me 20 years to devise. From the 75 days in a row that I have under my belt now, I spent 52 days with solving and memorizing 500 tactical puzzles. I spent the last 23 days with educating my system I (the unconscious brain).

What is happening?

  • I forget the move sequences of the solutions of the 500 tactical problems
  • I start to see the solutions instead.
  • When I think about a problem I am surprised that the clock ticks much slower (about a factor 5)
  • I have way more overview in my head
  • I feel that system I is working miracles the past 23 days

Of course these are just feelings, which are subjective by definition. But have a bit patience, after another 75 days, mr. Elo will be the judge. I'm optimistic.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Applying logic

 I always have been surprised that I wasn't able to apply my usual logical reasoning to chess. While in normal life my logical reasoning is able to handle pretty complex situations, in chess my brains seem to stall almost immediately. The mystery why that is has been solved, now.

I used to play chess like a moron. My mind felt always easily overwhelmed by the complexity of a position. I never had a clue what I was doing or trying to accomplish whatsoever.

Since a year or two, the development of my tactical training method has been finished. The test of the method with myself as Guinee pig has remained inactive for a long time due to the health issues of Margriet. What I have done the past two years, though, is reading about the middlegame. As a result, I begin to know what I should try to accomplish in the middlegame. If you don't know what you are looking for, then you don't know when you have found it. That was the reason that I always have been in time trouble during a game.

My opening repertoire with both black and white is undergoing a complete overhaul. I understand the openings that I play now. I know what I try to accomplish. That has never been the case before. Whether I have the skills to reach those goals that I try to accomplish is another matter. But I'm definitely better off with knowing what the goals are.

I never have been able to analyze my own games. Which is not so strange when you have no clue what the goals are. I play for another club now. My play is totally changing. Now I know what I'm after, I finally can apply logic to my games. I'm no longer totally surprised by the effects of my own moves. I don't feel clueless anymore, nor overwhelmed. Last week, I have been able to analyze my own game, for the first time. So I'm definitively making progress!!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Depreciation of the simple

 The biggest hurdle with building tactical prowess, is the unawareness of the simple. We know all tactical themes well, or motifs, or whatever we call it. For the non native English speaking folks: a motif and a motive are different things. By knowing the motif, we are unaware of the fact that our knowledge is rather superficial. We recognize a pin when we see one, but the implications of a pin are only theoretically known. If we are lucky, we can drum up the possible ways to exploit it. But since that is a system II activity, we are already 30 seconds further on the clock.

Seeing the ramifications of a pin, is a whole different animal. I have learned 500 tactical positions by heart, but only now I try to dive a bit deeper into these positions, the details of the positions emerge. It is better to know 500 positions thoroughly, than 1000 positions superficially. With hindsight, 500 is way to much. Chop it up in chunks of 75. We talked about that before. And I did do that. What I didn't know by then, though, was that the work isn't finished by rote memorization of the positions and their solutions. The training just begins after the rote memorization.

At average, in every position are two or three patterns hidden. Which only emerge after thorough inspection. The task is to make those patterns visible in a geometrical way.

After 62 days of training, the education of system I is underway for a day of 10. At least so does it feel. I cannot stress enough that the actual training of system I starts only AFTER the rote memorization.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Training update


  • I trained 51 days in a row
  • I use a set of 500 themed problems from Chess Tempo
  • I score above 95%
  • According to Chess Tempo it took me 19 hours
  • I estimate that painting squares and arrows took me twice the time
That's where I am after 60 training hours. In stead of continuing with the next problem set of 500 themed problems, I'm going to deepen my knowledge of the 500 problems I have already done. Quality above quantity.

After all, the experiment is about transfer. Transferring skill gained from the 500 problems to any tactical problem. There is some transfer, but not as much as we need. I suppose that that is because so far, the training has mainly been an intellectual exercise. And knowledge doesn't transfer very well.

I intend to take the familiarization of the new patterns I learned from the 500 set to the next level. Learn them by heart. Scoring 100% a tempo. Seeking the similarities between positions. Diving more deeply into the characteristics.

If the study of 500 positions doesn't lead to a measurable transfer, then 1000 positions won't do either. I intend to train for 150 days. That is about 180 actual hours. If that doesn't provide a measurable result, the method doesn't work. Yet I'm optimistic, until so far.

  • Duplo = a tempo
  • Function =  a tempo

Saturday, August 15, 2020

PoPLoAFun examples

 Just a few random examples from the series with discovered attack.

  • Green square = target <i>point of pressure</i>)
  • Yellow square = attacking square <i>point of pressure</i>
  • Red square = piece with a <i>function</i>
  • Yellow arrow = <i>line of attack</i>

Diagram 1 white to move

Diagram 2 white to move

Diagram 3 white to move

Diagram 4 white to move

Diagram 5 white to move

Diagram 6 black to move

Saturday, August 01, 2020

The mad HADter

I was dabbling around for a new opening against 1. e4. I have tried a lot in the past:
  • Alekhine defense
  • Scandinavian Marshall gambit
  • Sicilian Najdorf
  • Sicilian Pelican
  • French defense
  • Caro Kan
  • Black Lion
  • Queens Indian
  • Polish defense
  • Benoni
  • Benko gambit
  • Pirc
  • Modern defense
  • Petroff defense
  • Albin counter gambit
All had their function at one moment in time. But now I'm changing my style from tactical to positional, I need a decent opening that don't get me mated before move 25. And I seem to have found just that in the Hyper Accelerated Dragon (HAD)!
I'm going to give it a serious try.
Maybe I'm going to add the Sniper to my repertoire, which is inspired by the HAD, and suitable for a lot of other first moves.