Friday, December 31, 2010
I should be a well known fact that any move is at least as strong as resigning. In this game white appears to have a move that is even better than resigning:
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Your job is to help Capablanca find his 16th move as black:
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
- 50+ Slow Games
- Read three or more chess books
- 50+ Stoyko Exercises
- Study 100+ Annotated Mastergames
- Play few corr games
- Do 50+ Guess-the-Move Exercises
- Write a weekly Training Report
Monday, December 27, 2010
So, I picked a Capablanca game almost at random and started at a random move. The position looked "obvious" and Mr Fritz agreed that I indeed found the best move. Mr Capablanca did not(!) but he on the other hand found the proper continuation.
Ergo: I suggest that you try the exercise for yourself. Al you need is a print-out which can be half hidden at your messy office desk allowing you to practice chess while pretending to be productive (from your boss' perspective)
I will take advantage of the sad fact that I have not studied the Classic games very well. So, I will probably pick the games/positions from the New York 1924 Tournament and hopefully learn something from Mr Alekhine's annotations.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I scored 1.5/3 which was decent or better against a 1400-, 1600- and a 1700-player. My performance score turned out to be 1429 which is lower than expected but probably a good approximation of my playing strength.
Friday, November 12, 2010
- Looking for Trouble: Recognizing and Meeting Threats in Chess by Dan Heisman
- Simple Chess: New Algebraic Edition - by Michael Stean- Essential Chess Endings: The Tournament Player's Guide - Paperback (June 30, 2003) by James Howell
- New York 1924 by Alexander Alekhine
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I realized two things that will make it easier to achieve My goals:
1. Starting Early
2. Keep it Simple
My Chess goals will be to read three chess books carefully and to play 50+ slow games before 2012.
I could use the extra time to decide on the books to read.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Some Chess Trainers have a sweet tooth for memorizing games while other view it as a total waste of time. Some argue that the number of games memorized is a good substitut measure for playing strength.
When reading Frisco Del Rosario's excellent book "A First Book on Morphy", I decided to give memorizing a try. What could be a better party trick than replaying a Morphy game from memory?
It was a somewhat strange experience. Memorizing the moves was somewhat easier than I first expected. However, The move order was more or less forgotten in a day or two.
I gave it another try but this time I spent more energy on the "whys" of each move and that was the magic trick! Yeah, the game still didn't get stored properly in my gold fish memory but I was convinced that I got a somewhat deeper understanding of the game itself. My conclusion is that trying to memorize canonical chess games is indeed a nice way to spice up your DIY chess training. I honestly thing that trying the mixture of "whys" and pretending to memorize the moves did give me a deeper understanding of the game studied.
Del Rosario has another book out and it looks very promising. The introduction in "Capablanca: A Primer of Checkmate" should be required reading for all DIY chess improvers. I will get summarize my full impressions of the book as soon as I have worked myself through the text.
This time I will do it more carefully. The clear annotations in the Morphy book ofter lured me into the lazy "Learning by nodding mode". This time I will replay the games from the book in Old Fashioned "Guess the Move Style" before enjoying the notes.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Here are the final verdict after working my way through Igor Khmelnitsky's fine book.
The overall score (1446) is probably fairly accurate. My Chess Buddies at the office are both rated 1550ish and I feel half a step behind those guys.
I am still surprised by my crappy Tactics Score. Well, I just need to keep "finding those forks" on a daily basis.
|You are Better||133||60.5%||1640|
|You are Worse||51||31.9%||1270|
Thursday, October 7, 2010
presenting a selection of 300 problems to help you on your path to Greatness. Another book along those lines are IM(?) Ziyatdiniov's "GM-RAM: Essential Grandmaster Chess Knowledge".
I like the approach as it can help the Do-it-yourself improver to find some structure is the search for improvement. Still, the improving player might need some guidance. Dan Heisman has suggested which problems from Alburt's book to study for someone aiming for a rating around 1400.
That is solid advice! This is a first step towards transforming the great material in the book into a stellar pedagogical tool mimicking the novel approach in Silman's "Complete Endgame Course".
Any idea what positions to study to take the next step, say, reaching ELO 1600?
PS. Here is Heisman's suggested problems for the 1400ish target:
5, 15, 18, 26, 27, 39, 63, 68, 75, 80, 82, 105, 109, 118, 125, 128, 129, 133, 163, 203, 206, 238, 242, 247, 265, 280.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
After working through a chunk of the fine book "Chess Exam: You vs Fischer" I have to assume that Mr Fisher is too strong for me. So far My best effort is 5-7 loss (12 games) and My predicted final rating is 1394
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I am half way through Igor Khmelnitsky's excellent "Chess Exam: You vs. Fischer". As a professional statistician I could not resist predicting my final scores in the different categories based on the half time score. I did not interpolate to the last decimal as I only wanted a feel for the overall picture.
The overall score (1329) is a bit depressing and some of the scores in the different categories somewhat surprising. The Big surprise was my crappy tactics score. My Chesstempo rating has been floating upwards and I am currently rated around 1830. My Chessmagnetschool (CMS) rating has reached a plateau at 1540 and I expected the Overall score and my CMS score to agree.
On the other hand, my ICC rating has been rather stable around 1225 based on a fairly low number of recent games. I suppose the overall score is a better approximation of my true playing strength.
My middlegame skills are just non-existing. That is no surprise. However, I expected my Strategy skill to be just as bad.
|You are Better||58||52.7%||1769|
|You are Worse||20||22.2%||980|
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
One huge advantage with public goals is that they might help you to find you some company on your way to Greatness. There are a number of wonderful chess blogger who have helped me a great deal and in all sorts of ways.
My Long Term Goal is to reach approximately 1750ELO before turning into an even grumpier 50yo. Is it doable? Well, it will be a struggle but I think that I am just a slight underdog to reach my goal. I try to find comfort in IM Andrew Martin's statement that fifteen minutes of quality training per day is enough for a gain of one ELO-point per week.
Approximately fifteen to thirty minutes of tactics training is part of my daily routine. The huge challenge is to make room for more slow games in the calender.
The Short Term Goal will be to play and analyze ten slow games before the Holiday Season. That does not sound like much but ad two lovely kids into the equation and you realize you will have to rescale 24/7 into 48/7 or worse.
I am very optimistic about the Smart Chess iPhone application soon to be released. I just sound sweet to have quality chess study material available in your cell phone.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Opening Phobia strikes again! The symptoms are the same but the remedy will be different:
A repertoire under investigations for Public Health concerns for being overly sleep inducing and by chess authorities for being an insult to the spirit of Chess.
In the mean spirit of genuinely grumpy old geezers, my three legged Milk Stool Repertoire will from now on be based upon: The London System, Stonewall Dutch and French Fort Knox.
Why spreading the word? Well, the surprise value for all three openings is a fine approximation of zero. Furthermore, I do not mind playing well prepared opponents as it will help me to learn and understand the openings to some degree.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I have been fairly successful feeding me a semi daily dose of training using Chess Magnet School (CMS). The last few weeks, I have been bouncing between 1531 and 1533. I suppose this has to be called a plateau?
What I like about CMS is the mixture of tasks to solve. I strongly recommend you all to take advantage of their “no-strings-attached-free-trial-month-offer”. Just make sure to take the Advanced Placement Test so you will be offered suitable tasks.
The CMS training have helped me to appreciate my total lack of knowledge in terms of Chess Strategy. My hit rate on the “Choose the best pawn/rook/bishop move” tasks is close to 33% which is less than impressive since these tasks are multiple choice questions offering three alternatives.
So, I need to get a better understanding of Chess Strategy. Lots of annotated games will be on the agenda and probably a virtual visit to the Chess Book Store.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Igor Khmelnitsky's "Chess Exam - You vs. Fischer" is an excellent book and perfect for chess training on the road.
I enjoy keeping track of My score as the score keeping keeps me humble inbetween occasional and elusive successes.
I will blame all My blunder on the relaxing shadow and the intoxicating smell from the Jasmine flowers near my favourite bench.
Monday, July 5, 2010
[Guest post by Tyler Fraser]
It all started in 2003 when I was in San Francisco. I played chess constantly with my friends at home and began to go down to Market St. and Fifth St. to play. At the time I was not very good and would get killed in no time at all. But I started to get better as the years went on.
During this time I was taking lots of photos of the city, bridges and people; in 2008 I thought that I’d like to photograph these "Kings of California" in San Francisco and Santa Monica. So I went down there with my camera and would play a bunch of games, take some pictures and play more games. Normally we’d sit down and play, I’d wait for them to be thinking about their move and start snapping photos. I’d usually have the camera accessible so I could pull it out at the right time and shoot a couple photos. I think this was pretty important. I was down there for hours, playing games; so I was on the level, not just walking through and snapping shots.
Whenever I was playing a game I would ask if I could take their picture. Because I had a relationship with some of the players, they were not too worried about me taking photos. It’s so easy to get people angry by taking their picture, especially while they’re in the middle of chess. Since then the tables have moved from Fifth Street towards Seventh St, which is a more dangerous area. One of the main reasons is because the man that would bring the tables, chairs and chess sets died of cancer. The area became a little more dangerous and the city just pushed the tables further up Market.
Some of the photos are also of Santa Monica Chess Park. The photograph in this post is of the Great Carlini, one of the best players down there. I shot Santa Monica because I was raised in southern California, before moving to San Francisco. This Santa Monica chess scene is A LOT different from San Francisco. It’s an established place, where no smoking or drinking is allowed. It is actually in a really nice part of the beach, right along the pier and on the sand.
I hope you like my work.
Monday, June 7, 2010
The Starting Out series by Everyman Chess is an obvious starting point for any flirt with a new opening. The series also contains titles on other topics than specific openings. One such example is Starting Out: Open Games by Glen Flear.
I have been brooding on this review for some time basically to figure out what I think about the book. The good thing with the book is the way GM Flear in a inspiring way presents the fine material. The downside is that it is unclear who will really benefit from reading the book.
"FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings" by Paul Van Der Sterren is in my opinion and excellent choice for a first introduction to opening theory. The book contains a few pieces of advice on almost all reasonable openings and the presentation is very readable. GM Flear's book "Starting Out: Open Games" is just as well written but more focused as it only deals with non-Ruy Lopez (non-spanish) double king pawn openings. A more narrow focus allows for a slightly deeper coverage of the openings discussed which of course can be a good think.
If I were to buy a single chess book (scary thought!) and the final choice was between "FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings" and "Starting Out: Open Games", then I would pick "FCO" for the wider coverage. However, for someone who whole heartily thinks that e5 is the proper way to defend to 1. e4, choosing GM Flear's book might be better. GM Flear is himself a devoted "e4 e5 player" and I think anyone planning to follow in his path will benefit from reading the book.
Ergo: The book is well written in all its parts but the parts doesn't somehow add up to an excellent book. As black, the book will help you improving your non-spanish double king's pawn defense. As white, I think it is a better strategy just to play through a lot of mastergames and then to find a slightly more specialized book on the openings you like to play.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
My biggest hang-ups with chess books would be bad titles and misleading target audiences. Two flaws that often goes hand in hand. "Fischer for Beginners" does not fall into any of these traps or does it? Well, if you want to help a beginning player you have to adjust. The book presents a few very nice Fischer games plus Fischer's shortest recorded loss but the annotations should have been more geared towards the intended audience. I think the annotations should have approached advanced chess terms a bit more carefully in order to help the intended reader.
For example: I assume that a Chess Beginner has a rather limited knowledge about concepts such as "weak pawns". I think the annotations are missing the point (i.e. in this case helping beginners) when they state that there are weak pawns in a position without identifying the weak pawns or without explaining what makes them weak.
Furthermore, the author should perhaps have said more about the final position in some of the games presented. What made the player resign? For example in the game Byrne - Fischer (1963) the author suggests a continuation which according to other sources Fischer was hoping for but a continuation that is probably not the best.
The biographical part is nicely written but adds little to what can be read about Fischer online. The annotations could have been more tailored for the intended target audience. Overall the book is a bit half cooked.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
So, what is a plan? How deep is a plan? We have all heard mantras along the lines that “A bad plan is better than no plan at all”. How can a bad plan be a good thing? I think that Eisenhower can help us to put plans and planning into a context:
“In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable”
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
It is slightly misleading and somewhat unfair to the author, Andrew Soltis, who have done a fine effort trying to explain how to make studying chess more efficient.
Most chess books sold are too advanced or too specialized for the buyer. That is my honest belief and opinion. These days I need to have a quick look in my chess books data base to be able to figure out how many unread books on, say, Chess Openings I own. How about “Studying Chess Made Easy”? Who would benefit the most from reading the book?
Everybody interested in becoming a better chess player is familiar the ancient and well grounded pieces of advice: solve tactics problems, analyze your own games and study master games
Is there much more to be said? Is there enough to write a book about it? GM Soltis does indeed add a few extra layers of icing to the cake. The hands-on discussions (for example detailed advice on how to study master games) of aspects of chess training, the amusing anecdotes and the well chosen examples does make the book an enlightening reading experience even though a lot of the material is well known to anyone interested in chess improvement. The advanced beginner might find the examples to be a bit advanced but will gain time saving insights in how to make chess training efficient from the clear presentation of the training ideas.
The book can be read and enjoyed by a wide audience.
Monday, April 5, 2010
DIY Chess Training is fun and sometimes rewarding. However, it would be even better to have a chance to talk some chess with fellow patzers. How does that sound? I suggest using FICS and Skype. The format could be something along these lines: The Group members take turns presenting something interesting, say a few critical positions from a self-annotated slow game or an instructive endgame from a book. Let me know if you would be interested. My Skype nick is farbrortheguru
Monday, March 29, 2010
Some might argue that I am bending my ”No more buying opening books longer than a haiku rule” but this title has been on my wanted list for quite some time. The fine chaps on Quality Chess are keen to point out that this is not an advanced book on gambits. Check out the extract and judge for yourself.
A book on gambits for black is also in the pipeline. Yummi!
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
February has been a rather wasted chess month. The whole family has been enjoying a majority of the colds/flues known to science. Still, My Chesstempo rating is only six points short of an all time high and the most recent slow games have had their bright moments even though I lost them all.
The fpawn-site gave me some much needed inspiration to how to defend against d4. I just might give the dutch a try.
Goals for March:
- 15+ minutes of Chesstempo per day
- 3+ slow games
- A chunk of "A First Book of Morphy"
Friday, February 26, 2010
A win is a win so I am willing to conclude that any prize is a prize? My swimming session with the sharks ended in a minor prize for yours truly. It might be stretching to far to take the achievement as a sign of the benefits of my chess studies. My results from the ICC Monthly Standard good be improved: Loss - bye - Loss - wo
I will probably join the March Tournament as well in a humble attempt to score >0 points in a more glamorous fashion!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Silman’s ”Complete Endgame Course” is a great leap forward in Chess Teaching. The fantastic idea to present the material on a need-to-know basis is just great. When will there be opening books using the same trick? It is somewhat amusing to glance through basic books on specific openings and see how the author presents lines 15-20 moves deep! Basic books!
Casually surfing the Internet for inspiration on how to face “d4”, I found the stamp sized introduction to a few openings. This basic website presented a few versions of the Dutch as follows: “This is the position Black is hoping for and here are the first eight moves black would like to play”
That is pure poetry! What else would you like to be presented to have a taste of the opening?
So, the next opening book I buy will probably be written as a single Haiku.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Memorizing chess games is suggested by some chess coaches (see for example "Cool Training Tip, Number Eighteen") as a method for improving the chess muscle. The Guru has decided to give the method a try.
Which games would you suggest?
Morphy vs The Duke will be my warm-up game. Short and Sweet! Some 17 moves of mostly fireworks.
Fellow Chess blogger, James Stripes, recently posted some interesting quotes on memorizing chess games.
GM Rashid Ziyatdinov states the following, according to James, in his book GM-RAM:
"If you know just one of the important classical games, you will be able to become a 1400 level player, know 10 games and you will be 2200 level, know 100 and you will be 2500."
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I am interested in starting a team for the Leagues at Schemingmind and it would be very nice to recruit a few A.C.I.S. members on the team. It is unclear when the next season is about to start but I suggest that you join the excellent site right away for a few warm-up games/Team Matches.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Another attack of Opening Phobia is haunting me! I wish I could find a Low Maintenance Repertoire to my liking. I suppose wishful thinking is the true sign of a Grand Patzer?
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The data is sparse but a first observation is that my moves are stronger than my evaluations of the positions. Another observation is that I do a few chocking blunders.
Ergo: I need to improve my evaluation skills and I need to get a proper thought process.
Some of the frequencies for the combination of answers presented by IM Khmelnitsky is quite surprising. My humble logic (and please remeber that I have no chess evaluation skills) would label some of the combinations as impossible to conclude but still they pop up with some frequenciy. I will try to explain what I am aiming at with an exagerated example: Suppose white has a clear mate in one. To suggest the winning move and evaluate the position as even does not make sense. Right?
The frequencies presented by the authur is based on real players of different skills solving the problems. The odd looking frequencies might tell us that a lot of players do the analysis then select a move more or less ignoring the analysis? Interesting.
I really like to books by IM Khmelnitsky and I think that I will learn a lot from solving the problems.
Monday, January 4, 2010
The third leg in me personal makeover will be linked to personal health: Less of me and more exercise!
The health goals will be reached with the help of the “6 Changes approach” which is based on the simple idea that a new habit is best established by a series of small steps. A few weeks from now, I hope to start each day with a 20-30 minute “Power Walk”.
The Year of the Books will of course influence my chess training. The first item on the agenda will be to study an appropriate chunk of Silman’s: “Complete Endgame Course” aiming at an Endgame IQ slightly higher than my goal ICC rating (1400+ by the end of the year).
Generic Chess Training Regime:
Monday: Chesstempo for 15+ minutes (CT), One problem from Chess Exam: You vs. Bobby Fischer (CE)
Tuesday: CT, CE, ICC Monthly Standard Tournament
Wednesday: CT, CE, Annotating tournament game
Thursday: CT, CE
Friday: CT, CE, Reading Silman
Saturday: CT, CE, Reading Silman, Chess Books Reading Group
Sunday: CT, CE
After brushing up my endgame IQ, I plan to start working on something like Stean’s “Simple Chess” and some collection of annotated games.
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