Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Haunting for succes



















Some of you might have noticed that my rating at CTS has made a nose dive in the 3 weeks I had a break from CTS. Even after 2 weeks working again I haven't regained my old level.
Where has my rating gone?

What you probably haven't noticed, is that in the last 2 weeks that I exercised again my succesrate has increased from 79,0% to 79,4%
Since that is the average over all 31,000 problems, that's quite a difference.
In a way succesrate and rating at CTS are interchangable. So there is nothing to worry about.
I'm sure you don't.
But I did.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting. Up to now, as my rating goes up, my success goes down. I started with a 82% success, and now I'm at 79%.

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  2. I couldn't sleep at all last night thinking about your CTS rating. Now, I am at peace.

    The CTS experience for fluctuates based on the frequency of working problems. I took a five day break for the holidays and came back to it, and felt really cold. After a couple of days I feel more warmed up. The inability to see some very basic tactics is odd to me. You'd think at this point it would be ingrained.

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  3. PMD
    The inability to see some very basic tactics is odd to me. You'd think at this point it would be ingrained.

    I can't stress this point enough.
    These simple tactics just are NOT ingrained. Not by you, not by me.
    So SIMPLE tactics is the work, over and over again. No positional chess, no difficult tactics, no endgames, no openings. FIRST the ABC. The tables of multiplication.
    We are not ready for the rest yet.
    Every patzer who thinks he is, is just fooling himself.

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  4. Are you not worried that rather than becoming very good at chess, you're going to become very good at Chess Tactics Server?

    Is the benefit of being able to spot a simple tactical exchange instantly rather than after five-ten seconds thought really that crucial?

    When I first started playing Chess and attempting to improve, I found the CTS website. After constantly going over and over problems (a thousand) I found I was simply no better than before (read: my rating did not improve) I quickly abandoned CTS. However, a week of intensive thinking on deeper puzzles pushed my CTS rating up 50 points.

    How many current titled players trained in the way you are? I'm not criticizing in any way, just interested in your view.

    Regards.

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  5. Perhaps, if it became ingrained, one would start beating masters?

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  6. Sam,

    Are you not worried that rather than becoming very good at chess, you're going to become very good at Chess Tactics Server?

    That is possible. I'm convinced that everybody who is good at chess will score high at CTS. So I have to learn it anyway. Analysis of my own games reveals mistakes of the same type as you find in CTS-puzzles.

    Is the benefit of being able to spot a simple tactical exchange instantly rather than after five-ten seconds thought really that crucial?

    What CTS shows is how EXTREME BAD we are in simple tactics. How can I ever play chess well without being good in those EXTREME SIMPLE tactics?

    If a long tactical line consists of a certain amount of short lines, how can I ever hope to solve the long lines if a short line allready takes me a minute?

    Sugar Polgar used an average of 2 seconds per move in her simul.
    Still she scored 96+% against us patzers with much more time to think.

    When I first started playing Chess and attempting to improve, I found the CTS website. After constantly going over and over problems (a thousand) I found I was simply no better than before (read: my rating did not improve) I quickly abandoned CTS. However, a week of intensive thinking on deeper puzzles pushed my CTS rating up 50 points.

    How well will you speak a foreign language after you read thru a word-list of 1000 words only once?

    Your work on deeper puzzles probably increases your calculation skills. Hence the gain in rating of 50 points.
    I have a period of 3 years tactical training under the belt with deeper puzzles. So my calculation skills have developed tremendous. That increased my rating with 200 points.
    But now I reached a plateau there.

    How many current titled players trained in the way you are? I'm not criticizing in any way, just interested in your view.

    I'm pretty sure no titled or untitled chessplayer trains this way. I have to follow this way because it looks LOGICAL so far. I'm not hanging on it. If it proves to be the wrong way, it's fine with me and I start another experiment.
    But as long as it looks logical and no flaws are proven, I have to try it.

    To make it clear: I don't say that you don't have to train positional chess, openings, endgames etc.
    It's highly comparable with learning a foreign language. Besides learning a list of 20,000 words you have to learn grammatics, pronounciation, conversation etc..

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  7. King,

    If this all proves to be right and no hidden flaws become apparent, it is LOGICAL one will start beating masters.
    But you have to realize what amount of work has to be done. And because we are the first, it's all on a speculative basis.

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  8. Well, my real criticism wasn't that CTS is a measure of inherent tactical ability. I think it is, and I completely share you aim - within 30 months I want to have a CTS rating equivilent to that of titled players. I just don't think that doing it:

    a) Represents chess
    b) Will improve your CTS score

    I think doing CTS is equivilent to mis-using CT-Art, where the user has an IDEA of the first move - but rather than a solid calculation (real chess) you play a tactical situation on instinct. (With CTS, the time limit causes this I think)

    I think this is bad. I understand that instinct belongs in chess - but at a strategic level, not a tactical one.

    You also missed my point about the tactics. We aren't extremely bad at tactics, solving CTS tactics is completely trivial. It's the timeframe that is the difficult factor, but I just don't think that's particularly relevant. I understand that you want to make the problems in answerable without a second thought. But i'm not sure using the measuring tool itself is the way to do that.

    If you want to use analogies to talk about chess; that's fine, I think the language one is fairly apt.

    Nobody learns a language by constantly repeating words. Vocabulary isn't understanding. You learn it by spending time with people who speak it fluently and constantly. I think this is completely equivilent to chess - the majority of grandmasters (that i've read about!) spent their early careers surrounded by very strong players. How do we emulate that?

    They had complete chess saturation. I don't believe tales such as those of Capablanca. I don't believe in born 'genius'.

    I imagine if all the Knights moved into a huge "real world(tm)" house, and played chess together and studied as they have done, seperately until now - we'd have masters in the house within 12 months. (Using the language analogy)

    Now.. how to simulate that without physically moving, perhaps some kind of forum. I have no idea. But I really don't think that pure tactics is the completely 'chess saturation' required for supreme advancement. Although don't get me wrong - I think it's absolutely vital!

    I know that in University, I learn 100 times more discussing my ideas/studies and having them criticized/added to by others than I do studying alone.

    Really, this reply isn't arguing with you - just giving you one of my opinions about chess improvement. There's only so far one can go alone..

    Sam.

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  9. wow tempo. i like your last comment. and i agree with you especially on e the fact that cts mainly tests for speed. so if you use cts for blitz, it's perfect but it isn't for standard time. and also on the point of working together, i think we would have to either post games and have people critique them or just have an assigned person to look through another person's games and analyze them. i think that an assigned system could work pretty well, but people would have to sign up to be in it and then be willing to spend a little bit of time each week looking through the person's games and commetning on them. i think this could be a great system, especially since each analyzer would be learning more about openings, the player's style, etc. Let me know if you agree, and maybe we could set it up.

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  10. Excellent thread!

    Learning basic tactics is surely beneficial - be it CT-Art, CTS etc. I fear that it just isn't enough; learning becomes easily too superficial. Some titled players solve tactical problems (or compositions): I've read that Polgar sisters practically devoured puzzles (for example Pal Benko describes his visits to Polgar family and they together tried to solve his latest compositions). However, I think most good players have learnt tactics by playing tons of games.

    One of Tom Rown's chess articles compares studying chess to learning a new language.

    "Solving exercises isn't the best way to learn a language. What I learn from real-world practice (playing and studying serious games) sticks with me much better."

    Perhaps ideal way to study tactics would be to pick an interesting position from played game, put it into a real chessboard and start thinking. Moving the pieces and fully understanding why certain moves work and others don't. I'm guessing this is more or less how good players learnt in the first place, understanding the components and thus mastering certain tactical motifs. I've found that I spot certain tactics rapidly, not surprisingly these are the ones that occur often in my own games (for example pinning a piece with Re1 when black king is still on e8).

    Somehow above method sounds awfully tiresome and tedious way to learn. What makes it even harder is that studying chess is usually a solitary project, analysing and thinking about a problem is much more fun with a friend.

    Regards,

    - bahus

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