Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
Midway in the journey of my lifeIt has been one year, almost to the day, since I started this crazy quest (see my naively optimistic first day here). Since I just finished Wolff's book, it is time to jump into the Circles. My goal is to master the alphabet of tactics, the simplest tactical motifs, to the point where I can do them without thinking.
I came upon a checkered wood,
for my critical period was lost.
Ah, how hard it is to tell
the nature of that wood, savage, dense and harsh --
the very thought of it renews my fear!
It is so bitter death is hardly more so.
But to set forth the good I found
I will recount the other things I saw.
As outlined in The Divine Tragedy, I am using Convekta's Chess Tactics for Beginners (hereafter CTB). It has 1300 problems split into 5 Stages of increasing difficulty. At each stage, you can either work through the problems sorted by theme or randomly.
Circle 1: Stages 1 to 3 of CTB (719 problems). Work through them organized by theme so that I know what I am supposed to be doing (e.g., rook to mate in one). Max time: 10 min/problem. Focus on thinking and getting it right, not speed.
Circle 2 (5 weeks): Same problems as in Circle 1, but randomized in each stage so I don't know the theme on each problem. Max time: 10 minutes/problem. Again, focus on accuracy, not speed.
Circle 3 (5 weeks): Stages 4 and 5 (593 problems) from CTB using same criteria as in Circle 1.
Circle 4 (5 weeks): Same problems as Circle 3, using same criteria as Circle 2.
Circle 5 (4 weeks): All 1312 problems from CTB. Max time 5 minutes/problem.
Circle 6 (2.5 weeks): All problems from CTB. Max time 3 minutes/problem.
Circle 7 (2 days): All problems. Max 1.5 minutes/problem.
Circle 8 (1 day): All problems. Max 45 seconds/problem.
Virgil, we must turn left into this most darkest of places. The Casa de la Maza.