Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What do you do with your analysis?

Patrick raised an interesting point.
It is better to use your time to solve problemsets than to build them.
As long as existing problemsets meet your demands that's true of course.
But take a look at this diagram from my game at the club against a 1900 player.

FEN 8/p5pp/1pkpr3/5p2/1PPR1P2/8/P2R1KPP/4r3 w - - 4 25

White to move.
I played the black pieces and my last move was Re6?? blundering a pawn away. And hence the game.

Why do I have trouble with such a simple position while I fully analyzed a 10-fold more complex one in my post of june 17th with ease?
The reason is that you won't find much of such problems in problemsets.
Since I restarted playing in 1998 I have barely seen such positions on the board.
Because I avoided it.
But lately I changed my playing style. I want to develop a second weapon next to king attacks.
That weapon is to simplify to an ending and try to win that with endgame technique.

It is easy to analyze the above game.
But what am I going to do about it?
Note to self: don't blunder pawns away in the future.
That's not going to work of course.

Analysis will only be useful if I use it as feedback to correct my play.
That seems logical, but how many people do that?

When I make a problemset with exactly these kind of problems I can become familiar with the patterns and the next time my ears will fall off by the ringing of alarmbells in the above position.
Just as it is now at this very moment impossible to walk with my King into a pin without a red alert flashing.

You will probably have a hard time to find a problemset that covers the above kind of problem.
So why not make one of your own?
That's not as hard as it looks:
  • Take a good gamebase.
  • Select with SCID the games with the material balance as above.
  • Let Fritz annotate the selection.
  • Export the selection as PGN and filter only the games that meet certain conditions by processing Fritz' annotations.
  • The problem starts one move before Fritz added a "!"
The only work is to write a filter for PGN files which is fairly simple.
The next time CTS is down I will do that (O no, thanks to Blue Devil I will work with PCT then:)
Speaking of which, even Margriet dropped her Sudoku addiction for PCT.

As Spacecowboy pointed out the problemset can be maintainted with Bookup.
Bookup has a training tool for exercising.


  1. Tempo can you add the sequence you played?

    And by the way how is your exercises with pawn endings progressing?

  2. Montse,
    [Event "Club competition"]
    [Date "2006.06.22"]
    [Round "7"]
    [White "JH"]
    [Black "Tempo"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [ECO "B01"]
    [Opening "Scandinavian"]
    [Variation "Portuguese, 4.Be2 Bxe2"]
    [WhiteElo "1902"]
    [BlackElo "1751"]
    [Termination "normal"]
    [PlyCount "73"]
    [WhiteType "human"]
    [BlackType "human"]

    1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Bg4 4.Be2 Bxe2 5.Nxe2 Qxd5 6.O-O e6 7.Bf4 Bd6 8.Nbc3 Qh5
    9.Bxd6 cxd6 10.d5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Qxd5 12.Qxd5 exd5 13.Nf4 d4 14.Rad1 Nc6 15.Ne2 Kd7
    16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Rxd4 Rhe8 18.Rfd1 Re6 19.c4 Rae8 20.Kf1 Kc6 21.b4 b6 22.f4 f5 23.R1d2
    R6e1+ 24.Kf2 R8e6 25.R4xd6+ Rxd6 26.Rxd6+ Kxd6 27.Kxe1 a5 28.a3 axb4 29.axb4 h5 30.g3
    g6 31.Ke2 Ke6 32.Kd3 Kd7 33.Kd4 Kd6 34.c5+ bxc5+ 35.bxc5+ Kc6 36.Kc4 Kc7 37.Kd5
    {Zwart geeft op} 1-0

    Endgame had come to a halt during a few months, as was the case with all chess training due to choir activities. Yesterday I started endgame training with PCT. I intend to do 1 endgame unit a day.

  3. Why did you force the pawn endgame with 27. ... Kxd6 when 27. ... Kc7 was an option? If the rooks stayed on-board, a draw would have been likely, proved by computer simulation.

  4. I'd recommend CPT ( instead of BookUp although when using a large set of problems it begins to slow down.

    Why not simply use your own games as a source for these problems? Some time ago I tried to create a set of problems by first letting Fritz annotate my games and then picking all the positions where I missed something tactical into CPT (or BookUp). I think that the process of selecting these positions (and keying in the proper moves) was more effective than the actual training.

    It might also be a good idea to insert positions where your opponent was allowed to pull a tactic since it means that you had missed it and allowed it to happen.

    There are probably 1-3 positions on each game played so creating 200-300 problems should cover the things you've been having trouble seeing in the last 100 games.

    - bahus

  5. Likesforests,
    you are quite right of course. But that's exactly the point I'm trying to make. Unfamiliar positions makes me look dumb. Chesswise that is:)
    Since you will hardly find such positions in problemsets, it makes sense to create your own.

  6. Bahus,
    due to harddisk problems I have only 2GB for my whole operating system.
    CPT needs .NET installed, which I haven't because of lack of space.

    Of course there will come a moment in the future that I will reinstall XP on a bigger drive. But my proirities lie by problemsolving, not by dragging bytes around. In other words, I'm too lazy by now:)

    If I use my own games as base for a problemset, then the amount of problems is too low.
    I get besically 1 exercise per mistake. But for the kind of mistakes I made in the game with 4 rooks and lots of pawns I need ALOT of similar exercises.

    So the mistakes in my games will be the INSPIRATION for creating home made problemsets.

  7. Bahus,
    Your post today says you would recommend CPT over Bookup. Perhaps you would like to elaborate?

    I am looking for good reasons to justify a decision to start using CPT. If I start using CPT (beyond the limited free trial), it will cost me money. I can use Bookup 2000 and it won't cost me money because I already purchased Bookup 2000 a long time ago. So, this is why I need to know CPT is better than Bookup or else, I won't be motivated to start using CPT.

    I'm addressing the rest of the whole world when I ask, does anybody else have an opinion on the matter?

  8. dear dirk, i really enjoy your blog and i really enjoy you. thank you. i have so much to say that ive been silent. im not shy or reticent, but more intending to be thoughtful.

    blogger raises many questions. for example, do we (or you, or me, or anyone) write for ourselves? for others? for applause? for learning? to concretize one's own process while benefiting others? all that...

    now more basic but specific stuff: what i like about you is you are half a step--i think--ahead of me in chess and chess study, i surmise. youve also done tons of great work at 45,000 problems. wow. 10,000 buddhas bow to you sir.

    ive read your plans here. all very good. i totally agree with you and appreciate your recognition of the whole elemental part of chess separate from tactics and timed exercises.

    indeed, many an advanced player only moved forward or advanced there skills to a final more lofty level by studying endgames, middle-endgame transitions. have you recently looked at Shereshevsky's Endgame Strategy? my chess coach told me not only do CTS, then start CT-Art, but to get Muellers Secrets of Pawn Endgames and Endgame Strategy.

    Secrets of Pawn was recommended not only as a foundation of ending theory, but as a way to practice the most detailed and objective process of calculation.

    fyi, when i came back to CTS, i literally did not remember how to move the piece, just like my first day. don't laugh. it was an advanced problem, good i thought, i know how to do this... but coundn't do it, so i paged back to register a 'failed' THEN was able to recall you touch the moving piece, then the square moved to. of course, this was after 250 CTA exercises, so brain ruts firmly worn into new places, so had to relearn. there is a skill or craft at CTS seperate from chess itself as a user that practice improves. maybe shows in rapid chess as distinct from standard.

    my rating fell oddly. despite 2030 elo at CTA, i fell from 1474 (really 1491 but their error from outage, as last day wiped out from last week) to 1435. ouch. but my point is, you can calculate all you want but if you cannot 'just wipp it out', you don't have all the tactics learned. that is to say you can have advanced calculating skills and chess knowledge, but speed of access is a totally different skill. i need both.

    so im resolute to start each night after work CTA with exercises as non-time critical warm up, THEN do a stint on CTS, but remember, im doing both so no big numbers visible.

    so we have A. CTA for raw calculation or accuracy or, in your case Renko is it called?, then B. CTS for speed and the clock element, and then C. endgame practice.

    i read chernev's practical chess endings for a year, doing the whole book without a board. very hard to learn to do that mentally and fix chess pieces mentally. now i am finishing Averbakh's Chess Endgames: Essential Knowledge. very good stuff.

    D. classic games: i am going through the 62 games of chernev's The Most Instructive Games of Chess Every Played WITH A PGN VIEWER, without reference to annotations, then VERY SLOWLY annotating them myself. my friend Yasser says this is very good. if you are near Amsterdam, maybe you met him?

    E. of course, i also own key books by Dvoretsky, Aashagard, Stohl, Silman, Seirawan, Tisdahl, etc, but the point is, your focus on elemental things in parallel to tactics, tactics, tactics is, i feel, the right way. Endgame Strategy is so lovely, so perfect and elegant in this way.

    time to get ready for work. i will copy this and post at my blog also if you dont mind?

    david, in seattle

  9. Hi David,
    Thx for cheering.
    The reason for blogging is basically that it is a form of "thinking out loud". The comments of you guys help me to stay sharp.

    I have done a lot work on SOPE (see abbreviations list at my sidebar). About half a year ago I posted alot about SOPE.
    After a pause of a few months I restarted endgames with PCT a few days ago.

  10. These new acronyms I have recently learned on this web site are easy to get mixed up. In my last post earlier today, I was using the acronym, CPT. But at that time, I was mixed up about which program CPT is. So I didn't know what I was talking about in my last post!

    And now that I finally noticed my error and I understand which program CPT is, I now realize it is a free program. Maybe the fact that CPT is free is what makes Bahus feel partial to CPT instead of the Bookup program.

    Hey Bahus...

    ...I don't think Bahus is even reading this blog. I think I'm wasting my time...

    If you're listening, Bahus, I am still curious why you are partial to CPT over Bookup.

    The fact that CPT and Bookup are both position database programs means I don't have a need for CPT. I am already using Bookup and doing well with it. Those two programs are so much alike that nobody needs to use both. The programs I am actually considering starting to use in the future are CT-Art or PCT.

  11. Space,
    I added the new acronyms to my list of abbreviations at my sidebar. You can find Bahus there too in the Hall of Fame. Besides that he is a regular reader.

  12. spacecowboy: I think it is just a question of preference - both programs get the job done. Actually BookUp seemed a bit faster and it is a finished product (although I've only used the evaluation version). To my mind, CPT has a more user friendly interface but still contains some annoying bugs. But like you said, one has no need for both.

    - bahus