### Staying sharp with the simple, circles getting tighter

In Denver, we found this great bookstore, The Tattered Cover. I picked up Heisman's new tactics book (good review at Steve Learns Chess).

It is a good book for reviewing basic tactics, from counting problems up to simple combinations. I have discovered that it is crucial that I actively stay sharp with the simple tactics. Working through the more complex combinations in CTB level 5 is fun and instructive, but in practice most of my games are still decided by the simple accidents. Strangely, working on complicated tactics for over a month now, I have actually gotten rusty with the simple tactics! This is paradoxical, as the combinations almost all include the simpler tactical motifs as essential ingredients. I need to be careful in my actual games of wasting a lot of time looking for combinations, and not taking enough time to look for the simple stuff: captures, pins, forks, etc..

I just finished Circle 5.4. I now know all the problems, and can solve most of them within a minute. The majority involve no thinking: I recognize the problem, know the solution, and my hand moves to make the solution before I am conscious of why it's the right move. That is, I'm at the "Wow this feels like cheating" stage. It's now a matter of working through them a few more times until I can get them all correct like this, within 15 seconds. This will probably involve 4-5 more circles.

One roadblock is that the stage 5 problems contain so many damned errors. I now have a list of 36 errors (out of 294 problems) in Phase 5!! That is over 12% of the problems. Hence, I am faced with the task not only of learning the solutions, but also of learning which correct moves the program will not accept, as I don't let myself finish a stage of Circles until I get 100% correct by CTBs lights, even if her lights are sometimes dim. For instance, check out problem 1202, where CTB misses a mate and only gives credit for going up a Knight! This is annoying, but something I'm used to from the previous stages.

Goal: finish Circles within 3 weeks.

It is a good book for reviewing basic tactics, from counting problems up to simple combinations. I have discovered that it is crucial that I actively stay sharp with the simple tactics. Working through the more complex combinations in CTB level 5 is fun and instructive, but in practice most of my games are still decided by the simple accidents. Strangely, working on complicated tactics for over a month now, I have actually gotten rusty with the simple tactics! This is paradoxical, as the combinations almost all include the simpler tactical motifs as essential ingredients. I need to be careful in my actual games of wasting a lot of time looking for combinations, and not taking enough time to look for the simple stuff: captures, pins, forks, etc..

I just finished Circle 5.4. I now know all the problems, and can solve most of them within a minute. The majority involve no thinking: I recognize the problem, know the solution, and my hand moves to make the solution before I am conscious of why it's the right move. That is, I'm at the "Wow this feels like cheating" stage. It's now a matter of working through them a few more times until I can get them all correct like this, within 15 seconds. This will probably involve 4-5 more circles.

One roadblock is that the stage 5 problems contain so many damned errors. I now have a list of 36 errors (out of 294 problems) in Phase 5!! That is over 12% of the problems. Hence, I am faced with the task not only of learning the solutions, but also of learning which correct moves the program will not accept, as I don't let myself finish a stage of Circles until I get 100% correct by CTBs lights, even if her lights are sometimes dim. For instance, check out problem 1202, where CTB misses a mate and only gives credit for going up a Knight! This is annoying, but something I'm used to from the previous stages.

Goal: finish Circles within 3 weeks.

# Circles | Percent Correct | |

Problem Set 1 | 14 | 98-99-100-100-100-100-100 100-100-100-99-100-99-98 |

Problem Set 2 | 15 | 90-93-96-99-99-99-99-99 99-99-99-99-99-99-100 |

Problem Set 3 | 8 | 85-93-97-99-99-99-99-100 |

Problem Set 4 | 13 | 73-87-93-96-98-99-99 99-99-99-99-99-100 |

Problem Set 5 | 4 | 69-92-96-99 |

NOTE: Circles undertaken with CTB.

## 1 Comments:

A true good time is when one is at the point one knows a set of problems and can mouse click through them with video game like speed. 8) Had some busy end of quarter at work which is sales is a good thing but this meant no chess. I did pick up Heismann book as well as Gambitteer to treat myself. I started to play the Fantasy line against the Caro-Kahn . I had not studied this in the book yet and only know whites 3rd move but find interesting. It is interesting as there is a simalarity with the way I play against the French using the Alpin Diemer gambit.

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