Saturday, November 19, 2005

My memoires.

It seems to become tradition among the Knights to write their memoires after they are doing tactics for about a year.
Here is a summary of my experiences.

Earth shaking revelation #1: The importance of tactics.
Training tactics started for me 3 years ago.
The first 2 years I didn't repeat a single problem, because I believed that the sheer amount of problems guaranteed repetition of equal motifs.
This proved not to be the case.
I rebuilded my openingsrepetoire to gambits.
I did some experiments with visualisation which didn't work.
Rating improvement from 1532 to 1701.

Earth shaking revelation #2: The importance of repetition.
The third year I started to repeat problems in bundles of thousand.
The results were promising at first. From 1701 to 1751 in a few months.
A bad tournament at whitsuntide however let my rating drop to 1680.
Analysis of the games made me start endgame study. Especially pawn endings to begin with.
Further analysis showed that most points were lost due to simple tactics.
I started experiments with extended microdrills, scanning methods, rake-jogging.

Earth shaking revelation #3: Long lines consist of short ones.
If short lines allready cost you a minute to find, how on earth will it ever be possible to find long lines? So you have to learn to find the short lines a tempo. The so called tables of multiplication.
Especially the experiment were I played a tempo against the computer where the computer was allowed to think only 1 ply deep was very shocking. I managed to score only 50%!!
CTS proved to be a good tool to learn simple tactics a tempo.
My rating is improved from 1680 to 1712 again.

If I compare my improvement over the last 3 years with anybody else on the club (or other clubs, for that matter), no adult players have improved significant in the same period. Only two youth players have.
I don't think CTS is ideal, because the heap of problems is to big and hence the rate of repetition is to low. So I don't expect much of it before I have done 100,000 problems.
And that is what I plan to do.
In the mean time I think about a method to generate a problembase myself and to break the problemset up into more managable parts, systemized by motif.

Allthough my rating didn't grow much I'm actually very pleased with my findings thus far.
I feel I'm on the right track.

During my break the last few weeks I noticed that I have difficulty with knights at the other side of the board. Due to perspective aberations I sometimes see the wrong squares to be under attack by a hostile knight. I'm looking for a method to improve my vision.

Further I decided to cut down a little with commenting on other blogs. It simply costs to much time. We have a lot appearances with our choir, so studying music will be a major issue the next months.


  1. Tempo,

    A good way, to work with the knights is to put two knights on a board and draw or color the squares that it defends or attacks. you will soon discover geometrical figures (symmetry)which they cover/attack. A knight moves in a straight line over the board ( a little bit sharper than a diagonal), forms triangles or diamonds.Try it out. It helped me a lot.

  2. I know what you mean about repetition. Repetition might seem simplistic, but I too think it is of fundamental importance.

  3. Montse, seeing a knightmove wrong after so much years of playing chess is a bit like somebody tells you you sing false after 19 years being in a choir. Its a bit embarrashing. It has to do with the perspective view. It only happens with squares on the other side of the board. I never noticed it before. It corrects itself after a minute or so, so damaging results can only happen when I play to quick. Something that seldom happens.

  4. "It corrects itself after a minute or so, so damaging results can only happen when I play to quick. Something that seldom happens. "

    I think this statement holds the key to the cure. Drilling on knight moves should help. It may be basic. It may be fundamental. However, it may be the right thing to do. De La Maza has some good ideas for this with his microdrills. I think they helped me with my knights. If they're not automatic, then perhaps you should strive to make them so!