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Showing posts from October, 2006

### Time for champagne

After taking a deep breath I finished strategic module 1 today. I have not quite decided what book I'm going to study after Seirawan's Winning chess strategies, but the longlist has already become a shortlist. I could lay my hands on "My best games" by Karpov. Hattip to Fierabras (and Ivan) Shortlist: Karpov - My best games Capablanca - Chess fundamentals Kasparov - My great predecessors I (about Capablanca) Kasparov - My great predecessors 3 (about Petrosian)

### New Knight

Please all give a warm welcome to our newest Knight Fierabras . May his balm heal the weaknesses in his position!

### Impressed by Karpov

I'm working my way thru Seirawan's Winning chess strategy. There I bumped into a game of Anatoly Karpov that impressed me very much. The approach of Karpov is crystal clear from the opening to the endgame. I like this game so much that I decided to study the games of Karpov. So that's a beginning. I know who's games to study. Now I have to find a good annotator who comments the games of Karpov to my likings. According to Murphy's Law the book of Kasparov "My great predecessors vol 5" treats the games of Karpov, but that's the only book from the series that I don't have! I'm going to read another volume of the series so that I can see if I like the way Kasparov annotates. If you look at my treatise of the King's gambit you see that I approach that opening actually very positional. So maybe I'm a positional player after all! With 3.5 years study of tactics under the belt I think I have a good basis for the next step. Besides the study o

### Still going strong

PCT is still going strong. Strategic module 1/3 Unit 36/51 Unique problem studied: 239 Unique problems learned (=repeated 6 times): 157 The approach is quite nice. First you get a problem of a certain middlgame position, and you have to solve the positional point in it. Later you get a penultimate position and have to solve that. Other problems seem to be extracted from the same game, but a few moves back or forward. I don't know if that continues, but if so, you get a complete middlegame from one game. Which is a very intensive and original approach to follow a mastergame move by move. PCT revealed some misunderstandings by me. For instance I always thought it was better to occupy a half open file than a complete open file with a rook. But that's only sometimes the case. These miscomprehendsions stem from the books of Euwe, who always put more emphasis on the exceptions than on the common rules. Out of anxiety to be not complete

### Tactics flow natural from a good position

Update: Level 11 Tonight I had an interesting game. Both sides thought they were winning. That's how I like it the most. The KGA can trick someone by optical illusions. I played very positional, inspired by "Winning chess tactics" of Yasser Seirawan. After I reached a good position I started to sac a pawn and a knight and his position collapsed. What was very funny was that he thought until the last move that he was winning. He attributed his demise to his last move. You can find the game here .

### The role of tactics

J'adoube is hammering on the fact that tactics flow naturally from a good position. Well, that's true without a doubt. But it isn't the only role of tactics. Maybe it isn't even the most important role. PCT learns me to play healthy moves. Given the fact that I score about 50% with new problems, I already know how to play unhealthy moves. That has a lot to do with the evaluation of the position. What do I assess as the most important fact in the position? Since I always go for the king, this influences my assessment. I always want to keep a piece on the board, because without pieces I can't attack. And that is a critical component in the assessment. The GM that assessed the problems of PCT, based that assessment on his own skills. If I assess the same position different, it is because I don't have the same skills. I you screw up any endgame, there's no need to be bothered by your pawn structure too much. So basically PCT tells you which skills you are missin

### Troyis

Level 9 Pretty RSI-inducing game! Update: Level 10 Beyond level 8 the time diminishes to 40 secs. Yes, this is addictive.

### Happy with PCT

I'm pretty happy with PCT. Most positional principles are allready familiar, but it's good to convert them into skill by simple, straightforward positional problems. Given the errors I make this is going to help me. I already see myself saving tons of time during a game by mastering this. Maybe I will even get into an endgame every now and then The reading of Seirawan's book continues. Things fall at their places.

### Low profile

As you may or may not have noticed, my choice of chess problems I solve is pretty low profile lately. As user Slowtempo I do 1300 - rated problems at CTS and at PCT I did 535 problems today, which is an indication of the level of the problems. That hasn't been the case in the past. As you could read in my discussion with J'adoube problems that took my an hour to solve weren't uncommon in the past. It is not that I want to take away the mystic of chess, nor do I think low of the capabilities of grandmasters. But when I lose from a higher rated player, I always try to find out after the game what they were thinking. Why they are better than me. Time and again I noticed that they are much quicker with simple moves. Both tactical and positional, analysing with a better player make you feel terribly slow. That gave me the conviction that I have to focus on learning to do these simple moves fast too. With this I don't want to say that there isn't something more to chess,

### How I keep grandmasters alive

Patrick inspired me to have a look at the unread books in my library. Although I have read 80% of my chess books, most of them more than once, there are a few books that I bought to sponsor poor grandmasters and forgot to read. Now I have to do some reading to improve my strategy, what do you suggest? BTW, if you suggest something that's not on the list, expect an E-mail bomb! List of unread books. Alexander Alekhine My Best Games of Chess 1908-1923 Alexander kotov Play Like A Grandmaster Think Like A Grandmaster How To Become A Grandmaster Angus Dunnington Can You Be a Positional Chess Genius Averbakh Chess Middlegames - Essential Knowledge Baburin Winning Pawn Structures Bent Larsen Good Move Guide Bobby Fischer My 60 Memorable Games David Bronstein Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 Capablanca A Primer of Chess A Primer of Chess 2 Chess Fundamentals Chernev Logical Chess Chess Strategies And Tactics Fred Reinfeld Chess for amateurs - How to improve your game Hypermodern

### Superfluous announcement

This site has changed to blogger beta. I heard that that means that my feeds are changed too. So if you are NOT notified that I wrote this then you have to change your subscription. Whom am I talking to?

### Making up the inventory of the toolbox

I'm working my way thru the strategical exercises of PCT. This are the subjects of the problems sofar: Piece mobility. Rook - open file Bishop - open diagonal - centralize Knight - outpost - centralize King safety. Castling. Pawns before the king. Open lines against the king. Prepare a tactic. Move pieces to the right positions. Pin. Set up a battery etc. Pawnstructure. Middlegame - occupy the center. Endgame - Double pawn, backward pawn, isolani, pawn islands, passed pawn Every item has more aspects. You can improve the mobility of a piece of your own. + Or you can limit the mobility of a piece of your opponent. -/- Or you dispute it ( the rooks against each other at the same open file) = Will these exercises help me with my main problem? For convenience I copy an example of my problem: Black to move. Inspired by the analysis of Loomis I found 12. ... b5 to be a good move here. For instance 12. ... b5 13. cxb5 axb5 14. Ncxb5 c6 15. Nc3 La6 (threatening the rook at f1) followed by

### A balanced approach

"Chess is 99% tactics" As you can read in the comments of my previous post this saying is busted, even at patzer level. I suspect you already guessed that Since this hypothesis was the basis to my balanced approach to chess (99% tactical exercises), it is clear that I have to find new ways. Stategy is the new Magic Word. Can we find a few criteria for the new approach? If I have this problem MDLM must have had it too. And he solved it. So a new approach has to be consistent with this. Further analised Loomis the position of the previous post and he had some good idea's about it. A new approach must lead to the generation of such idea's within a minute or 3 - 10. Time for some musings.

### My real problems

Please all give a warm welcome to our newest Knights Keystor and Luckybobby . May their rating rise by more than luck alone! I tried the cute programviewer that DG has found. But it messed up my blog. Besides that it didn't interpret my pgn well and it showed no comments. I was plain lucky I could restore my blog! It's a pity because it looked very nice. So I'm back with chesslog.de I don't know whether this game is interesting for you but it makes it very evident where my problems lie. You find the game here . Until move 12 things went pretty equal. But then I didn't know how to proceed. My usual solution in this kind of quiet positions is to start thinking until I'm in time trouble. Without finding a satisfactory move. Now I'm alert at time trouble, so I played a move that opened the position for my bishops, conform the advice of DLM (little plan: improve piece mobility). But that turned out to be no solution either. I can train tactics until the cows com

### Slow down

As J'adoube pointed out, slow is better . That's why I started to focus on accuracy at CTS lately as user Slowtempo . I don't mind how fast (slow) I go. Currently I have an accuracy of 96.6% On the one hand you need a lot of disciplin to slow down. On the other hand it's surprising that there appears to be a minimum speed at which you can go. If I try to move slower, my hands just take over and make the move. When that happens the move is always good. I believe this automatic moving to be a very good sign. From time to time I lose focus. Until I get hammered by an error. If I have a streak of 90 correct solved problems in a row, than making a mistake feels really as if I got hit. It has a pretty emotional effect. As if you fell asleep on the road and suddenly awake at the wrong side. I believe that this emotion helps to remember when I redo the problem. My rating hoovers between 1300 and 1360. That is a clear indicator how well the patterns are nailed down in procedural

### Streetfight

Today had a great and wild game against 1752. The first rated game from the new season. I more or less forced him to sacrifice a bishop. Then I could force the exchange of queens by a pretty complicated tactic. Then he missed a knightfork which gave me back all my pawns. Being a piece up it was a matter of technique. I forced myself to move in time. You can find the game here .

After a major insight it is of course necessary to change plans. As Blue Devil said in his last comment I have a problem that should be easy to correct. A doctor of the dutch AMC (Amsterdam Medical Center), a meritorious chessplayer himself, found endorfines in the neural system and (nor)adrenalin in the paraventricular hypothalamus of chessplayers who died during a game. He said the time trouble-addicted died in fact by an overdose. His assitant added: "you sniff, you smoke, you booze, you play chess, it's all the same." Asked about the same he said: "forms of addiction, and afraid of kick off symptoms. It's all very nice but in the end it kills you." I don't believe I'm addicted to time trouble so kick off symptoms shouldn't be the problem. But I have to admit I'm addicted to heavy thinking. There are some difficulties though. The first is the problem of awareness. If I'm simply NOT AWARE of the flow of time, it is not easy to intervene

### My second Grand Prix Attack

Yesterday I had the chance to play the GPA for the second time. It revealed my main problem crystal clear. After the opening I had a good position. So far I'm pretty happy with the GPA. It hasn't the drawbacks of the Alapin (too slow) or the Smith-Morra (attack at the wrong side of the board). The attack had come to a hold and there were no clear tactics in the position. At that moment I started to use time in an uncontrolled manner. 25 minutes for one move! I have to assume this is a habit of me. I never noticed it before, since when it happens I'm UNAWARE OF THE FLOW OF TIME! But thanks to Blue Devil, who asked questions about it, I was alert this time. I always thought I never reached an endgame because of my aggressive style of play. That is true when I win. But not when I draw or lose. The average length of my games is somewhere around 25 moves. That is extreme short. It's evident I have found the main reason now. I have a lot of draws against lower rated people. F

### Congratulations Kramnik!

We have a new undisputed word champion for 2006. I'm glad it is Kramnik. Since that means that the discussion is over. We even can say that the chess world is united again. Gens una sumus.

### No long plans allowed

I have done alot of thinking lately about my use of time during my last game. I made quite a few positional moves, looking 5 to 9 ply ahead, at least. First I tried to imagine what kind of training would be necessary to speed up the invention of these long term moves. The only thing I could come up with is: invent them at home. Then I tried to see how useful these moves during the game actually were. I got the initiative, I was better after the opening, was it a rated game, I would have drawed because of time trouble. Now I lost due to a miscalculation in time trouble. If I look back, then this is how it always goes if I not just crush my opponent. Today I re-read the article of DLM. Especially the part about thoughtprocess. If I subtract everything I am allready doing automatically this is what remains: Implement a simple plan: Increase piece mobility Trade pawns No long plans allowed. He might be right. Long plans you have to invent in the study room. OTB you just can't permit to

### Chesslog.de

Today I had contact with the webmaster/programmer of chesslog.de again. Chesslog is the site where I host my games at the moment. I think the idea of his site is very good, but there are some bugs around which are very annoying or making it allmost impossible to use the site. The webmaster is willing to solve those problems and is working on it. He is struggling with a new computer though, so he needs some time. This is the status of the bugs: Arena-pgn gave double move numbers - fixed Deeplinking to individual games - fixed (see the link below for example) Pawn not removed after en passant - working on it Cookie fehlt/invalid session - Update: ***FIXED***!!! I assume he doesn't mind if you report other bugs you encounter directly to since he encourages that on his site. Blue Devil asked me what consumed my time during my last game (example direct linking) I have taken a look where I have spent my time on. This were my time consuming moves: 5. Be2 pure positional (scope: min 8 pl

### My first Grand Prix Attack

Update: Please all give a warm welcome to our newest Knight Board Scholar . May his rating rise as fast as Kramnik heads for the men's room! Yesterday I played my first Grand Prix Attack. I think this opening has great potential. My preparation existed of only one evening study of the lines, choosing the lines I like. That was enough allready to play it with confidence. What helped is that I'm allready familiar with the Kings Gambit (early f4) and the Dutch (sneaking Queen to the kingside via e1, vulnarable c2) I clearly was better after the opening with the initiative and more space at the Kingside. My opponent offered a draw which I would have taken if it were a rated game since I was short on time. But I continued and lost to a calculation error. I seem to have found a new system against the Sicilian though. You can find the game here . The program seems to have problems with en passant. I sent the webmaster an E-mail.

### Status report

My rating at CTS is stagnating for two months. I don't think there is reason to panic. At july 2th I reached a new alltime high of 1564. My rating has been above this mark ever since for 99% of the time. Stagnation during a few months happened before. The point is that even when I know the answers immediately, I move slow. Thus getting no points or even losing them. That is frustrating. I have to be extreme familiar with a problem before I can do it really fast. Only when every hesitation and every thought is banned I get the full reward of the problem. So the transfer to procedural memory has to be complete before you can move on. That's very good in itself. At the club I had a draw against 1965 and 2117 and an easy win against 1421. The first indicators signal that I have made a big leap forward in my OTB play. I'm no longer facing time trouble every game and I have more confidence. It seems to me that the efforts at CTS translate much better to OTB than I expected. Tha