Wednesday, December 09, 2015


After not having played a single game for two years, Jaap Amesz asked me about my conclusions now. In twelve years I tried every system I could think of, and I fell in every educative trap under the sun. After thinking about the question for a few days, I reached this conclusion:

I didn't learn from my mistakes, chesswise.

I tried to solve this by solving more problems, but what I should have done in stead is trying to not make the same errors over and over again. Solving more problems is, paradoxically, the lazy way. Not in the sense of effort, but in the sense of not using your brain in a conscious way. In stead I should take more time to analyze my errors, and to think about how I can prevent to make them again in the future.


  1. I did THE SAME mistake - I barely learnt from my mistakes. Of course I corrected SOME of them, but failed to agree to eradicate these preventing me from reaching the higher (than class B) chess level.

    Probably most people who stucks at the 'ceiling' - avoid agreeing to repeating THE SAME mistakes over and over again. Sometimes it is difficult to admit playing bad moves due to laziness, stubborness or any other character flaws. At least it is my opinion.

    BTW. Solving puzzles instead of admiting to our mistakes and the decision to avoid these - is not a good solution, because it is VERY short-sight.

  2. I made a set of tactics I failed. My "blunder set".
    However, my impression was that it did not help me much.

    The way that really worked for me to improve was: getting the solving time down (of puzzles I have learnt).
    It was not only about learning lot of puzzles, but remembering the solution fast.

    It is a lot of work, and I couldnt get myself together to do substantial more work done. I am on the "I feel good enough plateau", being very content with my current rating (=190 ecf --> using the old elo conversion formular that would be 2186 fide elo).

  3. @Munich, after an initial growth spurt, you are making very little progress for a few years in a row now. So essentially you have the same problem: you don't learn from your mistakes. How could that be changed?

  4. I am not training anymore. I am talking about how to train, but dont want to do the work.
    When I trained a lot - I made progress. Just shortly after Aox announced I am plateauing - my new ATH grew about 50 points shortly after.

    How it could be changed? Do training. Not just 2 weeks or 2 months. I need more of the same, and much more of it. I have no illusions: to gain 100 fide elo in strenght, I would need to work for that for a year. Dont forget that it looks like I am at 2200 fide elo. (My rating lags my performance, but even my rating is meanwhile close to 2200 fide elo).

    Interestingly, my tactics achievement isnt explaining all of my strenght gain. I started around 1800 CT Blitz and gained maybe an average 120-130 CT Blitz rating improvement (if we adjust for duplicates). Richard said that in the top level, the tactic ratings are a bit compressed. Also my Blitz mode is on "easy" surpresses a bit my CT Blitz rating.
    But this can not explain my 400 Fide Elo gain. Tactics does not seem to be everything? I invested quite some time into a statistically promissing opening, and concentrated mainly on rook endgames. I am aware that I lag terribly behind in Blitz games, but OTB (with more time at disposal) I am meanwhile at the brink of Masterlevel.

    For tactics-improvement, I am meanwhile convinced that there is only this way:
    a) learn statistically promissing tactics (which means the statistically relevant range).
    b) try to improve your recall speed of what you learned. This will help to activate what you learned, as otherwise you are just a "Fachidiot", a nerd: somebody who knows a lot but does not make use of his knowledge during his games.It is like learning a language - you need to try to speak it actively. Passive knowledge isnt enough. To activate chess patterns - you really should be able to recall it fast. That is why I try to improve in speed. Ask Aox - it is not easy to improve in speed, not even in such a simple task like "easy check mates in 1". But if you manage this tricky bit (which I seem to have achieved) - that is the very moment where you start to play better chess.

    As said, no illusions: to gain 100 elo points might take you 1 full year. Dedication. I am talking of lots of hours. If you train for 1 month statistically relevant puzzles - You might not notice much. If you use Aox excellent "easy check mate in 1" tool and train the same 6x300-M1s-sets --> you might not see a big increase. So no illusions - 100 elo in one year for a matured adult with a weak memory is quite a lot.
    I dont find the strength to continue to train that hard - so I plateau.

  5. yes munich your improvement is suprising. I wonder if it might be the small gain in speed?
    During the calculation process you need to store and restore positions fast and save. maybe you where able to improve here?
    It would be so interesting to see how you would perform in the mixed mode. In the mixed mode calculation and visualisation is more important. If your performance would be "only" according the blitz level you have.. then your OTB performance is based on your opening knowledge or something else but not on your tactics.
    random positions cant be memorised by masters, so maybe the advantage to be "at home" with some openings is worthid a few hundred elopoints?

  6. The mixed mode is flawed, because of the other players not taking it seriously. Some maybe dont know that they can use 5 minutes before getting a deduction of reward. So it would be best to make use of all 5 minutes at disposal. Nevertheless, most player who do mixed mode move rather faster than 5 minutes. If I take 5 minutes and compare myself with the majority who do not make use of the full 5 minutes given - what value has the mixed rating then?
    I guess it would be little better than the standard rating.

    In short: To be better in mixed rating you simply should not move before 5 minutes have passed. Only few player do this, though. If you do it, you have a tremendous advantage.

    I am a Blitz player at A-class level, definitely not an expert here. My bullet is interestingly much better, as well as my longer ratings are much better (with rapid rating of ~20 minutes or more already significiantly better)
    I dont know why this is so. Blitz seem to be driven by small tactics. And I didnt improve that much in tactics. Bullet is more driven by Boardvision, and I am pretty good in those Fritz-boardvision tasks (attack, defense, check training).
    Might be a matter of will-power? I seem to keep calculating when others stop. I guess I use my opponent time more often than the average player does. Of course I can not know which of his several candidate moves he is going to play. So I often pick one, gamble that he will pick this one candidat move and think deeply. In case he indeed plays that move - then I have already spent a lot of time here and can respond soon. In case he does not play the move I gambled he would do - then all my thinking on his time is lost.

    I seem to have a rather high "K"-factor. Blitz-puzzle mode with average solving times of 1 minute still seem a bit too fast for me.

    And finaly - yes, maybe opening knowledge is by far underestimated. You read everywhere that people spent too much time about openings. Maybe they do - they spend too much time on the wrong openings. A good opening handling helps me to safe a lot of time. The strong FM player I recently drew - he had 10 minutes left while I had a lot more time left. I saved most of my time advantage in the opening, and kept my time gains during the game. So opening knowledge enabled me to move the first 10 moves in 2-5 minutes, while my opponents often waste a lot of time and are then often 20-30 minutes behind as soon as we arrive by move 10. I see very often that people needed already 3 minutes for the first 2 moves. Moves they have played very often in their blitz games - suddenly they start to doubt them, see a lot of things they were not aware of? I simply trust my opening knowledge. As long as I am "in book" I see no reason why not to move fast. But a lot of players are pretty slow and write down slow, too.