Monday, July 11, 2005

Enthousiasm comes in waves.

In the past I would always loose to the computer at 6 ply, due to a stupid oversight of a simple tactic. To prevent that, I started with target scanning. I looked at every piece of mine and asked myself an amount of questions about it. It resembles the target filtering of Mousetrapper.
The result was that my score against the computer became much better.
There were a few important drawbacks: it was complex, it costed an enormous amount of time and energy. So I decided to split things up and train them apart.

A part of this target-evalution existed of a scan around all possible attackers.
To train this I invented rake-scanning. I need now 20% of the time for this rake-scanning due to training. In my previous post I evaluated this.
The point is that scanning of the attackers, is only a tiny part of the target evaluation. I should say about 10 - 20 %. So the main drawbacks still exist.

Because of the drawbacks my approach is somewhat different from Mousetrappers.
A post of Tackchess about the book of Rolf Wentzel inspired me to make a picture of all times I fall victim to an oversight playing against the computer at 6 ply thinking depth.
I intend to use these pictures in two ways:
I want to use them as flashcards to improve my weakest patterns.
I want to analyze the pictures, to distill the most important questions about targets, specially suited for my weaknesses.

Basically my ideas about target scanning don't differ from Mousetrappers'.
For the developing of theory it is good to have a broad approach.
But for practical play a workable subset has to be made from this broad view.
I hope that analizing the flashcards will help me with that.

Ratingprogress due to training with the Chess Tactics Server.
A few Knights allready posted on this subject.
Here is a table of everyone who did more than 10,000 problems on CTS.

# problems


Date old rating


oct 2003
jul 2003
sep 2003
dec 2003
aug 20031684
mar 2005

Ulrich KB



jan 2005

It's fascinating that no one has improved. (So be sure you have fun when playing at CTS!)
I wonder what most contributes to this phenomenon:
The short time per problem or the fact that the problems are scarcely repeated.
Or is there something else?


  1. CTS: I fell back behind you for a short moment, now I seem to be a nose-length ahead. It is fun, but because it is blitz, you have no time to learn much, so you do not improve. Just that simple.

    Target-scanning: I just collect all the targets (also the meaningless) for training purpose, just to do something against oversight.

  2. I think not improving with CTS is due to the short time.. forces you to almost move without thinking.

    I decided to drop CTS for while exactly because of it, so I don't get into bad habits.

  3. I was up close to 1370 on CTS and then my score plummeted because of a few different reasons, but it still serves a purpose in forcing me to do quick scans for target evaluations. Unfortunately, recently all my evaluations have been wrong. . .

  4. I moved up to 1505 before falling back down to 1491. If you look at my ratings graph, though, you can see that I have been improving. My downturns aren't as steep and my upturns are getting into a higher range.

  5. The downfall to CTS is that you have to be flawless for "x" amount of problems to see any rating improvement.
    Along with the fact that there is no difference in the amount of time to solve a 1300 strength problem or a 1800 strength problem.

    Trying to force a move simply based on time is a really good way to pick some bad habits.

    But the upside is you can simply ignore your rating and concentrate on solving the problem regardless of the time spent. There are some really good themes to be found.

    Templo and MT are on the right path establishing a pre-move checklist.

    I know that I have better results if I look at what my opponent can possibly play instead of just trying to force my plan.