Saturday, July 01, 2017


As you might remember, I'm on a mission at  Chess Tempo Blitz to get from 1700 to 2000 average. The past days I have set my current baseline at Chess Tempo: 1750. That's about the same average as a year ago, when I got an All Time High of 1806. Since Chess Tempo has no way to measure the average rating automatic, it is easier to take the All Time High, which differs about 50 rating points from the average. The next landmark then will be when the All Time High surpasses 1850.

I have assimilated a lot of new knowledge the past year, and since I haven't made any progress ratingwise, it is proven that you don't become better at tactics by gaining knowledge, once you have reached a certain plateau. Which is what we expected.

The coming time, I will work along two tracks: gaining new knowledge and put the acquired knowledge into practice. The latter I haven't tried the past year, for clarity.


  1. I just bought CT-Art 6.0 and I am loving it. It's the opposite of Chesstempo and my Combination Challenge! book. It tests you on how quickly you recognize tactics patterns, and drills them into you at the same time. With CT or my tactics book (although I have many) you have to forget everything, every pattern you ever learned, I feel, just to solve the problem.

    OTB, a lot of the little blunders are speed of board and tactical pattern-recognition. With simple problems set up like this by theme, you can drill for this; with ChessTempo, the problems are usually so complex that, if there is a pattern, it takes so long to find the pattern that it has already bypassed your quick pattern-recognition.

    The reason I got this CT-Art is because I have to move slow OTB, and then I will see deeply and avoid traps, but if I move quickly then I step into too many tactics that much lower-rated player may, consistently I might add, see faster than me. I understand that my strength/difference may come from my ability to out-analyze lower-rated players, but I can't make those "quick mistakes", which are the kinds of tactics that lower-rated players use to beat higher-rated players.

    I've never tried blitz on ChessTempo, but to do that for a rating sounds to me like banging one's head against a wall, because CT tactics are not pattern-recognition tactics, they are think it out and solve it type tactics. If I tried to blitz out CT tactics I would become demoralized quickly and all my move habits discipline would be quickly discarded. Not saying you go for speed and not solving.

    With CT, I have to do a material count, ask what last move and threats are, all of these systematic things that bypass instant pattern-recognition. I am going through all of the problems on CT-Art, including the easiest ones, don't care if it's thousands of problems. I want to make sure I recognize a mate in one, for instance, quickly, in 6 seconds or less instead of 9 seconds or more, etc. I've seen an Expert do this before, it's not as if everyone loves to solve nothing but the hard, slow problems.

    Another problem with hard problems is that you may end up only solving a few, versus a lot of easy tactics patterns in the same amount of time. So, in the end, you are improving your _calculation skills_ on CT, and may be leaving tactics _pattern recognition_ skills rustier than they should be.

    Ultimately, solving complex problems, and tactical/board-vision skills are both important, and both need to be addressed. If someone only solves hard problems on CT for instance, I think their ability to play blitz at a respectable level could actually suffer from that; e.g, looking for hard problems, but missing the easy stuff. Chess is like that, you can't train in one direction only, have to train in parallel directions. Endgames are an example of another direction, some are high-rated at blitz, for example, due to their endgame skills and training. Going over games solitaire-style (I'm going over 107 Great Chess Battles by Alekhine right now) is another type of training.

    1. i think ctArt 6 contains a number of the programs including a very basic chess tactic program . the tradition 1200 ctart set which was ctart 2 and an additional 1000 mainly composed problem set that was added to later programs which became ctart4. Some of the higher level ctart problems I think you will find difficult , i look forward to hearing more as you work through them.

    2. Good, point! I am sure they will get harder and am looking forward to it. :-) For now, I'll try to do the easy ones at night, when I am tired and before I go to sleep.

      It's funny that Shirov says he's a good calculator and thus loves endgames because I feel that is what all of those 2700 players have to be good at is calculating. All these tactics are window-dressing, eye-candy to show off their calculation skills. hehe.

  2. If you haven't looked at the Help file for the 3 modes of tactics training on Chess Tempo, I suggest you do so. I didn't, and I had the wrong idea about which mode(s) to use for the training I wanted to do, until corrected by Aox. Here's the link:


    If you want no timing, use Standard mode. If you want some timing, use Mixed mode. If you want significant timing, use Blitz mode.

    I suggest randomized selection of problems from at least two or more different themes/devices, rather than massed practice that is focused on one particular theme/device. It will not "feel" as if you are making as much progress, but cognitive research says that you will better retain what you have learned if you do NOT use massed practice on one particular theme/device at a time.

  3. for my fellow tactic loving friends.