Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Adaptation of the program

I did 1355 problems on George Renko's CD Intensive course tactics 6 times.
Then I started to suffer from what I have called "memodrosis".
After a "rest" of two months I continued with the 7th time. I find out now that of about 40% of the problems it is as if I have never seen them before. Well, I sort of recognize them as "I might have seen this one earlier" but I have no clue at the solution whatsoever.

I think those problems were the ones in the first place that gave me a feeling of suffering from memodrosis. Which is the feeling of memorizing the moves by context in stead of absorbing the underlying pattern.
Maybe the 60% that I do can solve (is this still English?) after 2 months is not bad at all, but it's not what I expected.
So I have to conclude that just playing thru the solution on automatic pilot and with little calculation isn't of much help.
Now I take my time to work thru the problems. I put the 40% difficult ones even on the board.
After I solved a problem I take a few minutes to look at the total pattern of the solution.
Of course this slows things tremendously down. Today it took me 1,5 hour to solve 5 problems. But this is not about making efforts, it is about making progress.
Prof. Elo has the last word in this.
The final test will be the repetition of TCT step 3, 4 and 5 over a few months. These problems were simpler and since I hadn't the feeling of suffering from memodrosis I expect that the results will be better.

Beside this I couldn't resist to do some endgame work any longer.
So I took Papa Polgars endgame brick and put the positions on my board and both on the computerscreen. I play the endgames against the computer (Arena with SOS-engine).
No need to tell I take my time now. . .

For some reason I always have to find out things the hard way.
People like MDLM seem to have some subtle instinct that tell them what is the right way to do things.
I only have my logic, which compares to instinct as brute force to pruning.
I mean, the conclusions I draw after moving for months in the wrong direction are not difficult at all. It took me 3 years to conclude that traning tactics is all important.
After that it took me 2,5 years to find out that repetition plays a keyrole in studying tactics. And now this.
I assume this is the price for having logic as your guide. Because logic is destructive in its nature. It can only tell you what is NOT true, but it lacks the creativity to tell what IS true.
But in the long run even brute force will give good results. . .
And what is important, you will know exactly how you have done it, so you can tell it to others.

And now some more good news.
I reread the articles of DLM and found that his 7 circles should take 127 days and not 168 as I had in my mind. Since 400 points in 400 days means 127 points in 127 days, my entrance in the Hall of Fame has come a little closer. . .


  1. This is EXACTLY why I modified the MDLM program and am taking as much time as I need on the 1st - 4th mini-circles to absolutely understand why (or even why not) the solution is correct. And, if the solution is not correct, then I take a skeptical view of the problem, yet still absorb the idea behind why the tactic works at "less than best" defense by the opponent.

  2. Perhaps even blend in the relentless tactic studies with some positional preparation.

  3. That is a good idea, Christopher. I've been trying to ease into strategy, myself. One thing I've found recently is the idea of proper piece disposition - something I've struggle with. Combine that with NM Karagianis recommendation about preferring active over passive moves and my game is becoming slightly more solid.

  4. TC,
    Some day that will happen. Actually I am a more positional player myself. Tactics were my weakest spot. I'm tactical much stronger now, but even my gambits tend to be orderly and squeezing in stead of chaotic and brilliant. But where I really, really suck is at the endgame.If I get to the end of the middlegame without walking over my opponent, my play becomes more or less cramped because of fear for the endgame. A lot of unnecessary draws is the result. Usually I have the initiative from move three. That means that I have to do everything. Even losing the game I arrange myself. The opponent usually only have to make logic and simple moves. . .
    Last friday at my club I had an opponent who throwed the sink at me. It was really very calming to let him do all the work and thinking. Afterwards I only had to mop up with a few tactical shots the wreckage he made himself.
    So if it would be possible to liquidate to an endgame with confidence, I would probably even have solved my occassional tendency to get into time trouble.
    Besides, endgames are really beautiful and I have to give my eyes some rest with a nearly empty board:-).

  5. TS,

    I'm with you man. I am the same way. I like taking the road less traveled. Especially if the reason why it's not traveled is because "That's how it's always been done." Not good enough for me. I don't mind finding out that it's the wrong path as long as I know WHY.

    That said, like you I'm also in it for the long haul. I want the slow, solid ratings increases rather than the erratic, unstable leaps. If I have to I'll do Don's Inferno more than once if it will help my game.