Saturday, December 24, 2005

Halfway through my tutoring sessions!

After more than six months of hitting the 64 squares almost every day, I am finally halfway through Tasc Chess Tutor (TCT), my first step in The Divine Tragedy. I am working through this excellent program (see description here) once, very slowly, to build up general knowledge of chess as well as elementary calculation skills. Only after this precircle, and working through a couple of Seirewan's chess books, will I do the actual circles with Chess Tactics For Beginners.

So far, in OTB I think it has helped me most in finding mate: it has trained me to place a high value on my opponent's precious King escape squares, reinforcing time and again that the ultimate goal is to eliminate all such squares while putting the enemy in check. It is also teaching me to relax and look at the entire board, as TCT often hides bishops and the like in sneaky places, aiming him toward squares you really would like to aim for. Kudos to King of the Spill for having the heart to work through TCT for his circles: with over 2000 problems, that is quite a feat!

Finally, as I've mentioned already I've been playing a lot more at Playsite than ICC. This has been a great experience. At ICC, it is hard to really gauge my progress because I am so low on the totem pole that I am kinda just bouncing around at the bottom of the heap: there aren't enough crappy players at the site to get a range of players at similar levels (for those of you who don't suck, imagine if ICC was filled with 2000-rated players, and imagine that those in your rating level were still kicking your ass all the time). At Playsite, things are very different. Probably a third of the players are patzers, so there are more people close to my level. Six months ago, I was stuck in the bottom rung at Playsite (this was the main motivation for taking on these crazy circles), with my rating in the 'green' (the lowest) range. The colors go from green-blue-purple-orange-red. Today, I actually became purple at Playsite, and am able to take on people in the middle of the range there. I figure if (and when) I'm orange at Playsite, I will probably be better poised to pack up and play exclusively at ICC. I still play my slow (20-10) games at ICC, though, as people at Playsite don't usually want to play more than 10-0.

Anyway, thanks to TCT for helping me with my chess, and to these blogs that help me stay motivated to keep at it! Nuts to dollars, TCT is the best money I have spent on chess.


Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Hang on!

12/24/2005 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Does that mean you've been playing lots of 10 0?
Do you play at FICS? I think there are a lot of lower ranked players there too (but hardly anyone wants to play a long game, you should join a 45 45 team)

12/24/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger King of the Spill said...

Same here for finding mate threats... familiarity is the key. I know what you mean also about sneaky TCT positions :-).

12/28/2005 03:11:00 PM  

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