Friday, October 12, 2007

Did it work?

First, the news
Jack le Moine is sick and hasn't been able to get the carnival up. Please send him good thoughts. The Carnival is being hosted instead this Sunday by our very own Samurai Knight. Thanks for taking up the slack Samurai Knight.

I started a site devoted solely to hosting the Knights Errant FAQ. This way, Knights won't have to update their FAQ link on their sidebars every time the Secretary Knight position changes hands, which it will on Monday. You can even email the Knights Errant! Their email address is secretary -dot- knight -at- yahoo -dot- com.

And that's it for the news. Back to you, Blue Devil.

Back to our regularly scheduled program
Did it work? That's the big question. I used to get very frustrated when a Knight would finish the Circles and not tell us right away whether it helped, like...that day! Now I understand why they couldn't answer such a question right away. I clearly learned a bunch of problems well. But how will that help in games?

I just finished, but how can I tell if it helped before I actually work to apply this knowledge in real games? It takes time for the knowledge to really sink in. de la Maza himself didn't improve rating-wise after finishing the Circles: he had to work on a thought process first that would help the knowledge actually show itself as chess skill. That's my present goal: focus on staying sharp with my new tactical baseline (do 25-50 problems a day from CTB), and play with an eye to using my thought process on every move. The timing worked out well, finishing Chessplanner and the Circles this week.

That said, it has clearly helped already. My original goal was to reach a rating of 1200 at ICC (I was 950 when I started: yes I really sucked but I was really a beginner, not a "beginner" who played with friends all the time). I passed that goal pretty quickly, so my new goal became to reach 1500 (I am presently around 1400). We'll see what the next two months of consolidation brings. Frankly, I'm perfectly happy as a 1400 player. I now appreciate the subtleties of the game and tactics a lot more than I did before, and that was another one of my goals.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, first of all congratulations on finishing the circles!

Your post on the need to consolidate the raw tactical skill with a good thought process hit a point in me. I am doing tactics problems since a while (no circles (yet?)) and was always wondering why the f*** am I still falling for all these cheap tricks or even leave pieces en prise? Well, I somehow have to learn to really apply the tactics skills which is always easier in a problem than a game when I don't know if there is a tactical shot to be found.

10/12/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Scirius: thanks for the congrats. It is nice to be done!

I still struggle with the same things: my games don't exhibit what I have learned very well. When I think carefully on a move things are much better. But it is so easy as the endgame is starting, I am getting a little tired, I have thought long and hard, to just 'relax' (i.e., get sloppy) and make a move based on intuition, neglect to blundercheck, etc.. And it bites me in the butt!

10/12/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BDK: Congrats from a long-time anonymous reader.

Regarding your thought process, has "Practical Chess Exercises" been helpful to you (great review btw)? It seems like the format of the book--no hints + mixed strategy/tactics--would lend to honing the thought process.

Also, I like Chessplanner--very cogent. My only comment is directed toward where you mention the principle of not trading pieces when you're behind. You might consider mentioning that Heisman said this is a very strong principle that supercedes many others. Learning this point from Heisman has helped me gain some satisfying comeback victories.

10/12/2007 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger B. Stevenson said...

Especially in the endgame (something I also struggle with , BDK) because suddenly the game gets super-concrete , and calculation becomes everything. By the way, a big congratulations on the circles.

And I think you're on the right track with working on the thought process now.

10/12/2007 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

A new Graduate! OMG

WOW... Yes it works as you go from the 1000-1600 shift. I went from 1350 USCF to 1600. But beyond that.. its a different game at the stronger levels.
As I try to improve these "other" areas I discover my tactical sharpness wanes. I have to keep it up just to sustain at the 1600 level.

Well that's my input.

10/12/2007 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tynicas: thanks. The endgame really is a time to think, and by that time I am often sick of thinking :)

BP: Thanks a lot. By 1600 I would bet you are just an attacking machine. I just started to gain an appreciation for the art of attack, over and above the art of exploiting tactical opportunities.

10/12/2007 11:01:00 PM  
Blogger Liquid Egg Product said...

As disappointing as it sounds, many games at the 1600 level are still decided by cheap tactical oversights. Not that there aren't any of the nice attacking or positional grind-down games, but simple 2 move combos get overlooked all the time.

10/13/2007 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

LEP: that's good to know! :) So my goal isn't unrealistic. (Though BP is 1600 USCF which is a whole different animal than 1600 ICC).

10/13/2007 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

your standards will change, and at some point not too far in the future, 1600s will fear you. Remember your comment when you expressed concern about facing a 1190 player in the U1200 section? (!!)

my blog archive is still in the same place, btw. i may republish the nonpersonal items anonymously.

10/14/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jack Le Moine said...


I've been working on CT-ART and am half way through - first round.

Would you like to host the next edition of the Chess Blog Carnival?

10/14/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anonymous (somehow your comment passed under my rader): Thanks for the congrats. Cheng's book would be great for practicing a thought process. For the time being I want to focus on playing (the best way to practice a thought process in my opinion is to apply it in games).

I'll have to look over where I discuss trading when ahead, and perhaps expand or highlite that more.

Katar: That would be cool if 1600s feared me :) Glad it is still there: I had only bookmarked the image (but luckily, given your fickle nature, I had saved the entire site when you first pointed it out to me :)).

Jack: thanks a lot, and I hope you are feeling better. I'd do the hosting of the carnival, but have a conference in early November which I have to prepare for. Perhaps December.

10/15/2007 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...


10/15/2007 09:52:00 AM  

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