Druss Blog

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I've won my first tournament!

I've not posted for a while - been getting bogged down in CT Art level 50 problems, which I have now finished. I've started going through from level 10 again. Rattled those off in about an hour, and now working my way through level 20s. I can do these fairly rapidly, but not at the quick fire pace of the 10s. It will probably take me the best part of a week to get through them.

But more importantly, I have entered - and won - my first chess tournament! I feel a bit of a fraud though really, because it wasn't exactly a challenging tournament. I discovered it while wandering around one lunchtime at work - there was a notice in a cafe window saying "amateur rapid chess tournament". I phoned up and it was being run by this guy trying to start up a local chess league between cafes and bars in the area. Almost all the people who turned up hadn't played in years, and certainly weren't involved in intensive MDLM training! So I felt like I'd been cheating by using CT Art.

Thinking about it the day after, I concluded:
1) I'd forgotten just what it is like to be a novice. You miss all sorts of stuff and there are tactical shots all over the place. I now realise how far I have come since I first learned how to play, rather than looking at how much I still have to learn.
2) Most of the time I could tactically overwhelm people. I would just throw out a few opening moves and then win a tactical combination or two.
3) The most benefit I have got from endlessly repeating CT Art problems is from levels 10 and 20, and a bit of 30. If you get this stuff right, and rarely miss an opportunity when it arises, you can significantly increase your playing strength.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Slow progress through the 50s

I've been working my way through the level 50s. It is slow progress, but I'm enjoying it. I've completed about 40 of them, and I'm scoring about 60%.

They are definitely more difficult problems. I'm really struggling to try and see all the possibilities, but I'm improving a bit.

This made me think a bit about what I'm really learning from this tactical training. My feeling at the moment is that it could be two things:

1) My ability just to see more tactics in the position. By this I mean instantly realising that there is a concealed check, a pin etc. And that this is reinforced by iterating through the problems a number of times - especially the lower level ones

2) Increasing my calculation depth. Being able to see the result of a longer sequence of moves, and also being able to visualise the resulting position more clearly and spot tactics in that position. For example, being able to see a knight fork after four or five forced moves. I feel this is reinforced by trying to do the harder levels. Although when they get too hard it can feel counter productive.