### MDLM invented the mini-circle

Michael de la Maza, it turns out, anticipated how difficult the Circles would be for people with a life, and recommended mini-circles in his second article:

It's funny rereading his articles, as he says to do the Circles on 'simple' problems. But how many people think CT-Art problems are simple? Perhaps when he started he was not all that horrible at tactics. I used the software Chess Tactics for Beginners, which was great. Start with mate in one, and work up to three to five move combinations.

Although this study plan was designed for class players, you may find that it requires too much time to complete. If so, you should shorten the calendar time devoted to [the Circles], but maintain the overall structure. For example, suppose that you want to complete [the Circles] in two weeks instead of four months. Do this by choosing 200 problems and implementing an 8-4-2-1 plan: Do an average of 25 problems per day for 8 days, 50 problems per day for 4 days, 100 problems on average for 2 days, and all 200 problems on the final day. In the 8 day circle, give yourself 5 minutes to find the first move and 5 minutes to find the remaining moves. Divide this by four when you move to the 4 day circle and give yourself 30 seconds per problem in the 2 day and 1 day circles.Good to know. That's basically what I did with five sets of about 250 problems.

It's funny rereading his articles, as he says to do the Circles on 'simple' problems. But how many people think CT-Art problems are simple? Perhaps when he started he was not all that horrible at tactics. I used the software Chess Tactics for Beginners, which was great. Start with mate in one, and work up to three to five move combinations.

## 8 Comments:

Still not a fan of those circles because instead of learning the keys of a position one learns the solution of a problem and that will not help you further.

The only thing that helps with your tactics in those circles is that you are busy with tactics and therefor you will seek for tactical solutions.

CT: I've written about that topic in some depth here, as it is a criticism that comes up every few months. The brain is pretty good at generalizing individual learned patterns to different but similar cases. E.g., recognizing a face in different lighting conditions or in different orientations.

BDK, how many problems on that software. I have the book version, but for 1299 probalems there are 2 volumes. I was just curious.

Wang: there are 1300 problems I think (or maybe 1299--it includes both volumes).

There are 1099 problems in CT-Art 3.0 but when you take into account the counter problems with some of the sets, the actual number of patterns exceeds 1200.

Level 10 problems are easy for Class C and above players. Level 20-40 are compounded problems building from the previous levels. Anything above that have dimminishing returns. I did level's 10-90 and found the most use with 10-40 in OTB play.

That was why I chose to do Level 10 seven times before moving to level 20 and so forth. I round through the upper levels but knowing a level 50 verus a level 60 or 70 problem didn't seem to make as much a difference. It was hard to distinguish one from the other.

oh... and BTW:

It's damn hard to stay on task bloggin about my magical history tour of tournaments when there are all these good discussions going on in the chess blog-o-sphere.

Me thinks you are deliberately slowing me down so you can get caught up on the games I post ;)

However, you underestimate me. I take this as a CHALLENGE!

BP: Buah ha ha!!! Why couldn't you just wait one more week???

I have always wanted to "do the circles" but never had time for that. Maybe these smaller circles then?

Well, at the moment I prefer to admire some Bobby Fischer games to doing tactics only.

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