Druss Blog

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Progressing through 4th circle

Some progress on my 4th circle, but not rapid ... I'm about two thirds of the way through the level 20s. Enjoying them though.

I don't get as much time to solve chess problems now that I've got a kid. So I'm thinking of getting a Pocket PC and buying Pocket CT Art ... and probably Pocket Fritz while I'm at it. Then I can get in some chess training at lunchtime while I'm at work and when I'm commuting.

Has anyone tried Pocket CT Art? It looks like it has the same functionality as the PC version, but I don't know how easy it is to use. What about Pocket Fritz?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chess For Zebras

The new book from Jonathan Rowson arrived through the post yesterday - Chess For Zebras.

Rowson is one of my favourite chess authors, I really like reading his thoughts about chess. So I dived straight in as soon as the brown cardboard Amazon parcel thudded through my letterbox. This latest book doesn't disappoint.

The first footnote in his opening chapter is interesting:

"...I agree with the advice of FM Ken Smith who said that until you are about 1800 "your first name is tactics, your middle name is tactics and your last name is tactics" ... For players rated below 1800 who desperately want to improve I recommend Michael de la Mazza's thoughtful and honest book, Rapid Chess Improvement"

Monday, December 19, 2005

Started by 4th circle

I have started solving CT Art problems again, after a break of about a month, and decided to start my 4th circle. I was plodding through the 40 level puzzles in my 3rd circle, but have decided to abandon these and start off my 4th circle from level 10 again.

Although the 40+ problems are interesting, and good for improving my concentrated thinking, I think that if I could just master the 10, 20 and 30 level ones then I would improve dramatically. I have been playing my chess computer a lot, and also playing 5 0 blitz on ICC. The majority of games that I loose are because of a tactical slip - and one that isn't that difficult ... about the 10, 20 or 30 CT Art level.

So I have decided to forget about the complicated stuff for the moment, and just repeat the low level CT Art stuff until I can nail them. I will still try and achieve MDLM's goal of repeating these puzzles enough times until I can solve them all pretty much at one sitting (which hopefully will not take more than 7 times!).

I started my 4th circle just over a week ago. I finished the level 10 problems in one sitting reasonably easily, however the level 20s are taking longer. I can solve them, but I have to think a bit. I can generally only do about 10 or 15 at a stretch before having a rest, so they can take a while. I'm about half way through these.

It occurred to me the other day that chess is a surprisingly rich tactical game. Much more so than I used to think! CT Art really highlights all the possible tactical hits out there, and I'm missing so much of the basic stuff in my games. If I could just get on top of these then I would see a definite improvement.

So my new goal is to get my ICC 5 0 blitz rating "all time highest score" above 1500. Which is achievable, but will take some time. It is 1330 at the moment.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tangible progress at last!

I have been beating my chess computer more regularly now. This game was the latest and I won as white against it on level 3:

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The computer doesn't have that high regard for its king safety!

It has taken me 20 years to beat this chess computer. I had progressed in my chess ability as a kid until I tried playing this machine, and failed to get close to winning, as I described on my first blog post

So I'm really pleased. This tactical training has paid off. It has allowed me to play a sharper game against this computer without blundering. Computers aren't so tough when you don't fall foul of their tactical shots.

Fritz doesn't really like 9 h3 though!