Monday, November 26, 2007

Horse latitudes

Being done with the Circles is weird....Drifting aimlessly...The honeymoon is over. I am somewhat planless, aimless. Plans for after the Circles that I had envisioned at the time don't appeal to me. Partly I just don't feel like working hard at chess right now like I did. Perhaps I need to follow my own advice and relax, not worry about it for a while. I don't want to burn out on chess. Luckily I'm not sick of chess, just sick of chess improvement. Or at least intense crazy chess improvement like the Circles.

I'm not as on fire in my games, likely because I am playing better players now that my rating is higher. Hopefully a chance to make new patterns of mistakes. Or it is because my tactical vision has dulled. My first 20 games after the Circles, I think I lost only one. I was just smokin'. Now my results are a bit more even.

I am working on visualization using Snyder's Unbeatable chess lessons for juniors. It is a very pleasant and helpful move-by-move annotated game collection with diagrams every four ply, give or take two. I cover up the next diagram, follow the moves from the previous, and visualize how the board should look. I then compare my vision to the actual board.

(Incidentally, there are few books with enough diagrams so I can follow along without a board like this. Any suggestions (the only other one I have that is good for following along without a board is Pandolfini's Russian Chess)? More than 8 ply and it starts to become useless, so any books with 6-8 ply per diagram is ideal.)

I have been doing PCT tactics and strategy modules to help me stay sharp and learn some strategy. It's like I got so comfortable doing computer puzzles doing the Circles, it feels like I'm selling my soul when I don't do it. So I go along doing them like a zombie.

I'd really like to get a coach again, but can't afford more than 20 bucks a lesson. Anyone know of any good ICC coaches that are in that range?

Where am I? Who am I? Is that a candy bar? Cool. I think I'll eat it. I think the advice to follow my own advice (link above) is very good. I'll eat that too. Maybe it's OK that I'm improving buffet style for now, just doing whatever the fuck I want, sometimes nothing. Usually a game or some such. That may be enough for now.


Blogger drunknknite said...

I don't know any good coaches but I'm looking for a few good students...

11/26/2007 07:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a break, you deserve it! Then after you've had a time out, maybe it would be good to set up some new goals, like wooping Tempo in the KG. ;)

I just started reading "The Art of Attack in Chess" by Vukovic. If you haven't looked it up already, you should at least give it a chance. I think you would like it.

11/26/2007 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Chessaholic said...

Just enjoy playing for now BDK! I'm sure lots of actual play will bring you new inspiration as to what you want to study next.

As far as book recommendations, take a look at the following:

1. John Nunn - Understanding Chess Move by Move (and possibly Grandmaster Chess Move by Move)

2. Irving Chernev - Logical Chess Move by Move

3. Neil McDonald - Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking - From the First Move to the Last (he has a couple of other good books)

Hope this helps.

11/26/2007 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Kevin: Seems you'd be a good coach given all the helpful comments you left esp on the Dutch.

SP: I plan to read Art of Checkmate, which is kind of a precursor to that book (which I own and is a bit advanced for me until I read the prequel). That was my plan during the Circles: read Art of Checkmate. I'm just sick of tactical type of training so I'm holding off until I feel like it again.

Chessaholic: I've got all those. Their ratio of ply to diagram is a bit too high if I remember correctly. Even Chernev will often go 12 ply before showing another diagram. That's just too many for this type of exercise. I'll have another look though. The McDonald books are truly amazing.

I'll take a look at them again after I finish Snyder, which seems tailor made for reading without a board...

There is a new book I'll be getting soon and reviewing on visualization training...

11/26/2007 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Play more... think less.

After I ran the circles my rating spiked to 1703 but then sank 80 points following no tactic training and just drifting.

I dove into openings and realized eventually I needed to balance it all out with tactical training, opening understanding, positional analysis of my opening middle games and endgame study of these games.

I am slowly climbing back out of the hole. I'm playing better and more consistently. Now I am trying to understand how to get to the next level by including thought process in with the balance.

11/26/2007 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

That's funny, I've never played the dutch... I'll start coaching as long as you guys don't mind being "experimental" students. I can give you some non-tactical things to munch on for sure...

11/26/2007 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger katar said...

best lessons of a chess coach is a book of games with lots of diagrams-- can be read sans board.

josh waitzkin's attaking chess is also good book to read without board.

if you read art of chkmate, read it for the ultra-violence and artistry. fun is underrated.

11/26/2007 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

BP: So you think it's time to buckle down and play. That was my plan all along, and I've followed it well so far. It feels almost wrong to just play and not punish myself with improvement craziness!

Kevin: Let us know your rates :)

Katar: I have that. It is good, though I remember thinking it had not quite enough diagrams. Perhaps I need to look it over again. Thanks for the tip. Many have recommended that book as a classic.

11/26/2007 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

I just had a nice win against a higher-rated player so I'm feeling a little happier about chess. I think part of this is the ego bruising I took when I realized I still pretty much suck at chess. :)

11/26/2007 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Polly said...

Just do it! :-) I think everyone has given a lot of good suggestions. I would just add that with your playing mix it up a bit. If you're just playing online, maybe it's time for a live tournament. Dealing with an opponent face to face is different then playing online. Try different time controls. Try playing on a different server. Maybe a chnage of scenery would help.

11/26/2007 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger drunknknite said...

What's your ICC (SP and BDK)? Or whoever else is interested in some knowledge.

11/26/2007 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

I hit a wall like this last January. I pumped myself up for a tournament. Studied, and studied, and studied, and then went to the tourney. Did ok, but then just felt flat afterwards, just plain out of fizz. Was playing 45 45 and a 90 30 tournament online as well. I just became completely disinterested. As you can tell, this passed.

My advice is to put down Snyder, and just go over some game collections from McDonald or whoever. Forget about visualization, tactics, and most importantly forget about your rating for a bit. Just play over the games for their beauty.

If you find something else other than chess more enjoyable or preferable right now, then go do that.

11/27/2007 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

...That is to say. Don't make it feel like a chore. If you don't have the interest right now, then there is no sense beating yourself up about it. ;)

11/27/2007 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Kevin: email me (bluedevil [dot]
knight [at] yahoo [dot] com) or let me know your email and I'll tell you.

While it's easy enough to find out based on games I post, I try not to advertise my handle at ICC. I used to advertise my username and stuff at ICC on my blog, but then I ended up all stressed out about it as people would message me all the time (e.g., when my rating would fluctuate), which sort of stressed me out and ended up taking a lot of time and energy at ICC. So now I try to stay relatively anonymous at ICC, my sacred chess playing space.

Polly: Interesting idea. I'm on an economic crunch so OTB tournaments are out of the question right now, but perhaps I could try some new places other than ICC.

PMD: The Snyder is actually a lot of fun. It doesn't feel like work. And the book is surprisingly good. I love working through games with a book, not getting annoyed because they are only showing diagrams every 20 ply.

I think I will just do what I want to do, not push myself too hard to improve: I pushed myself for over 2 years with the Circles, every day thinking about them and stuff. This is like graduating college and needing to go out into the real world and play!

11/27/2007 12:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL. I'm just happy somebody else is feeling the same way. Take a break. Now, until the end of the year, is probably an as good a time as any. You'll feel reinvigorated and motivated as ever by the new year.

Note to self: Follow your own advice!

11/27/2007 01:13:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Chesstyro: LOL. Sometimes it is good to just relax.

Katar: Just looked over some of the books mentioned: Best lessons looks quite doable. A great suggestion! Chernev (whose book I actually don't like all that much) is mostly good (though sometimes he'll throw in a 17 or so ply sequence w/ no diagram).

After finishing Snyder and Best Lessons, I think I'll be ready for McDonald. It is mostly doable, with a few longish sequences.

That is, if I still feel like doing this. I don't have to do it to work on visualization, but can use them for fun.

11/27/2007 01:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless you've already read it,"Chess for Zebras".
Its just a great read.....

11/27/2007 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger katar said...

great to hear. Chernev is better avoided altogether, IMO. above all, just have fun. enjoyment of the game is the only reason to play in the first place. i just played such a game that reminds me why i even play at alL!

11/27/2007 03:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, Chernev's 'Russians Play Chess' is loaded with diagrams. I love this book, but it is long out of print.

11/27/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Katar: Great game in the Chigorin! Nice way to sustain the attack and not respond to his wimpy pseudo-threats. :)

anon: I will check out chess for zebras next time I see it at the bookstore. I have seen many quite positive reviews, though not a whole lot of specifics about why it is so good. It sounds like a pop psychology book for chess playing adults. Which may be exactly what I need. :)

11/27/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Blogeurix said...

When you hear hoof beats, think of zebra SUFI SAYING

Be more open to experience and less constrained by convention. It means allowing yourself to think differently...(Chess for Zebra)

11/27/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got Chess for Zebras myself, and I love it. There's a bit of psychology in it, but it's practical, with practical examples of how it can be applied to chess.

Great reading, especially if you're not into "heavy" chess literature.

11/27/2007 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger wang said...

How much are you playing? In Chess Exam and Training Guide, Igor says to follow the 80/20 rule. So for a beginer let's say 1000 you should play 80% of the time and study 20% of the time. At expert levels and above this switches the other way around. I try and split my time evenly 50/50.

Stop "punishing" yourself and start playing.

11/28/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Wang: interesting advice. It sounds sound. I'm back into the groove again where it's OK to just play and not freak out about stuff.

I think I was in a post-Thanksgiving rut, and needed to get back refocused on work.

11/28/2007 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try the books:

Chess opening for White, explained
Chess opening for Black, explained
by by Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili and Eugene Perelshteyn. Available at Amazon. They do have lots of diagrams every 4-6 plys.

11/29/2007 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Skylord: Thanks for the tips. I have them. Those books are OK for opening but usually stop around move 14 (I guess at the end they have some examples of complete games). I want full annotated games. But you are right they have a very good diagram to ply ratio.

11/29/2007 11:08:00 AM  

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