Thursday, February 08, 2007

Tactics, and also, tactics

The lesson tonight was good. Games reviewed, and we played a bunch of games to give coach a sense for what I need to work on. He suggested I need to work primarily on tactics, and that I should supplement it with some tactical study, and finally that I should add a little bit of tactics just to round things out.

Seriously, though, that was my most glaring defect. He said I was playing very well for my rating, but that I was missing tactics. He said that tactics are hard to teach, since the way to get better at tactics is just to do more tactics. When I told him I was doing the circles, he thought it sounded great (he hadn't heard of them before) and said that was exactly what I should be doing.

He also had a somewhat iconoclastic suggestion for getting better with tactics: play lots of blitz games to gain more experience. The thought of ending up like those players with 30000 blitz games at ICC rated 1100 scares me, though. It isn't clear how much they have learned by just playing lots. I'll chew on that one. At the very least, this motivates me to redouble my tactical study, and I may cut back on the chess lessons (once every two or three weeks) until I am tactically more proficient.

As Stean points out in his great book (extended beautiful quote given here), this is the natural progression.

Incidentally, coach is rated 78th in the country. Damn.


Blogger Christian said...

For me, I find Chess Tactics Server very useful. It sharpens the eye and is also excellent by its mix of tactical and non-tactical positions, because one of the main problems in a practical game is that nobody tells you that there is a tactic.

2/09/2007 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger takchess said...

Perhaps the Knights need a name change

2/09/2007 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

How often did I tell you, tactics first!

2/09/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Raths said...

I really like the post about your lessons. Living in the "the middle of no where" the only chance I have at getting any lessons is over the net.

I am also concentrating on tactics, as that seems to be the place where all the websites say to start. I've bought a coulpe of books to this end and it has improved my game a lot!

Keep up the good work!

2/09/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Jusah said...

yeah I have to agree with the coach. Blitz is very good way to sharpen your tactics and also get an intuitive feeling of a particular position. and CTS (for tactics) is THE place.

2/11/2007 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Raths: thanks for the note.

jusah: I am playing a few blitz a day now, but analyzing afterwards with Fritz. I don't like CTS all that much, but many other bloggers swear by it. I prefer using software on my computer so I'm not shackled to an internet connection. I did some analysis of CTS data here. It left me somewhat underwhelmed.

2/11/2007 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Zweiblumen said...

I enjoy the CTS for a change of pace and the fact that the problems aren't grouped by theme, but I strongly dislike the emphasis on solving within 3 seconds. Also, since the problems are pulled from games by an automated system, you sometimes get things that aren't real tactical problems.

2/12/2007 08:14:00 AM  

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