Druss Blog

An account of my attempts to try and improve my chess.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Better progress, apart from this morning

My new slower approach is working well with my percentages creeping up for the 40s. Initially I scored 92% on level 10, 80% on level 20 and 62% on level 30. My level 40 score was more like 52%, but the more careful approach has brought it up to 57%. I'm also enjoying it more and I get a kick when I just nail a problem straight away.

So it is working well. Apart from this morning. I had a bad session where I just couldn't see anything, I think I was too tired. I could feel myself being lazy and not really thinking deeply enough and guessing a bit. One advantage I have found in my approach to this circle is that I have more of a feel for how deeply I should be thinking. In my first circle I went through by theme and completed all the puzzles before moving on to the next theme. I did this so that I would get a better feel for the various themes in CT Art, even though it goes against MDLM. Going through by difficulty level lets me get a much better feel for how deep I need to go. If I see a knight fork in level 10 that's it. If I see one in a level 40 problem then there is usually some complication that goes along with it - e.g. deflecting a piece. As a result I know more when I'm lazy and not bothering to think deeply enough.

Also, my confidence is growing and I am definitely seeing more deeply than I did. This is nice. I feel like I've now got a chess board in my head. One where I can move pieces around and explore different lines for four or five moves. For the first time this feels different from what I previously experienced, which was much more focused on the board in front of me. I would imagine moving pieces on the board on the screen and trying to visualise the resulting position. Now my focus is more on an internal board in my head. When it works, which is still not all the time, this process is far quicker and feels much more natural ... I just see the results and know that they are right.

So, all going well. But I have been thinking about whether I should try to complete all the difficulty levels, or should I stop after (say) the 40s? Should I start another circle with the 10s, 20s, 30s and 40s? Some knights have debated this, and also whether CT Art is too hard for the more novice player. I'm rated about 1300 on ICC (on a good day!), and I do struggle with CT Art. It takes me a long time, and some of the problems are definitely beyond me. Which led me to think about the pros and cons of trying to complete all the problems in all the circles:

Cons:
- it is hard, and I might get frustrated and give up
- am I really learning something from a level 90 problem?
- it is very time consuming, and I am definitely behind the original MDLM timescales by an order of magnitude. Am I just wasting time on the more difficult ones? Time that could be spent really getting to grips with the simple themes.

Pros:
- even though it is hard and takes a long time, I feel that to obtain my goal of getting my rating up to 1600 I need to be able to complete these problems. If I've got to learn them sometime, why not now? As long as I keep going and am continuing steady progress I feel I should continue
- the approach so far, 60% of the way through my 2nd circle, is working. I am definitely improving my tactical vision.

On balance I think I will continue for the time being.

5 Comments:

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I think most Knights have stopped at the levels when they started to get below 60% or so on their first earnest run-through, as they felt it wasn't helping them. Then, sometimes at later circles they will come back to them.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger Siliconpawn said...

I was going to do a post about this very subject on my blog. Basically I feel that CT-Art is too difficult for me much past the 30's so I purchased Chess Tactics for Beginners (CTB). I also just started using Personal Chess Trainer as well. CTB's hardest level is about the same as CTA's 30's. Of course the simpliest CTB's are too easy (until you miss them in a game). But you can do them very quickly. I will save the CTA 40+ until I improve to a solid 1600 and then start working them in.

 
At 4:59 PM, Blogger phorku said...

In Michael's book he even says to use simpler problems if CT-ART is too hard. I am on level 30 in CT-ART and am reworking the level 10 problems 2xs while working through them. I plan on doing level 20 a second time when I go through the level 40 problems.

I figure this way I get more exposure to the simpler tactics that are more likely to occur and reworking the simpler problems should help me with the tougher ones.

I am getting about 61% on level 30. After level 40 I will decide wether to attempt any higher levels.

The tactical training has really improved my play so far.

 
At 4:31 AM, Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

When I went through the program, I ended up cutting the circles short, to level 60. In retrospect, I think even that was too much. I was doing miserably in the end, with barely forty percent completion in the upper levels. As the time constraints get steeper, if you don't have a good foundation, you are just going to flail. I think I made a big mistake by biting off more than I could chew. You and I are similarly rated on ICC. So if I were you, I'd probably hold it at level 40. If you can get a handle on those problems then I think you will have built a nice tactical base. And that is still a lot of tactics problems. Anyway, my two cents.

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Pale Morning Dun is a noble knight errant, well-versed in the ways of chivalry, adventure, and the maiden.

Like Siliconpawn, I am going to use CTB for my circles. However, I am a 1000 rated player, so even level 10 of CTA is above me, or at least it was 6 months ago. Yep, just checked. Still too hard.

Like you, Druss, in my first circle I plan on working through CTB with the themes labeled, and then go through them blind to the theme.

 

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