Monday, November 09, 2009

ACIS: bold as love

Or ACIS of evil. Or ACIS in the hole.

Any way you pun it, Adult Chess Improvement Seekers (ACIS) are a staple of the blogoshere, and aren't going away. Also, it is quite clear that the Knights Errant aren't big enough to contain the blogosphere's burgeoning mass of people scrambling to improve. The Circles are cool and all, but the Knights Errant have pretty much died.

There are googles more paths to improvement than dreamt of in the Circles. Some people read books, some get a coach, some play correspondence chess. What they have in common is a struggle to improve at this impossibly difficult game (if it were easy my hunch is we wouldn't bother with it). Nobody knows what the heck they are doing, nobody knows if it will work, and we all should just chill out and support one another. That's where Blunderprone's great idea for ACIS comes in: the next step in the evolution of chess improvement blogs (my hunch is they won't mind children being in the loop as well).

Keep an eye on Blunderprone and others' blogs for new developments. I think we are witnessing a speciation event in the blogosphere. I'll try to keep you updated, please link in the comments to any updates, new discussion.

The instrumental part at the end (starting ~2:50 into the song) is freaking amazing nobody can replicate Hendrix (though I think 'Tuesday's Gone With the Wind' by Skynyrd tries)...a gorgeous anthem to climbing the chess ladder.


Blogger BlunderProne said...

ACIS of Caissa

11/09/2009 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

I posted this on Chunky Rook's in response to his post and felt teh need to widen the net so to speak:

Yes, based on the individual, the training should suit that person. We all learn differently and based on personality types ( I’m ENTP in case you hadn’t figured).

Can there be commonalities, Common trends to follow or recipes for improvements? I’m sure that can be the case. Currently the top trendy ones can be listed as :

-MDLM’s Rapid Improvement in Chess (Knights errant)
-Silman’s HTRYC
- Lev Alburt’s Chess Course
- Heisman’s lessons from Novice Nook
- Kotov’s How to think like a GM
- Wetzell’s Become a master at any age ( my current trend)
- Rowson’s Zebra and/or 7 deadly sins
- Soltis’ Excel series
- GM-Ram
- Coaches
-Independent study

There are more I am sure. I have ALL of the above in my library which I’ve read and applied with varying results and enthusiasm. I think most of us at least qualify for “independent study”. Finding the right path is always a struggle without a coach. The path of self discovery requires one to be exceptionally critical and objective on ones ability. Most will read this and nod that they can do that. In practice, it’s a lot more difficult and requires a certain level of discipline.

My current ACIS of Caissa quest, is to actually follow a model of Rolf Wetzell suggesting to create patterns from your own experience to retrain you out of the bad habits. It’s easier said than done. First there is entering the games, especially the ones from the losses. Coming to terms with my blundering requires looking in a mirror without flinching and wincing. After I enter the game, then its further self abuse of creating the training positions to study. I sit down with the intention of doing such a thing but find every excuse to avoid it. I answer email, read one last blog, perhaps check facebook… you get the idea… avoidance.

Facing my own blunders requires coming to terms with looking within my own psyche to overcome my natural tendency to use avoidance. Or worse, abandonment. Why do you think I have this HUGE library. I tried various methods, had a short term perspective and moved on to the next, never giving any one of these the time it deserves to grow.

I am sticking to a modified Wetzell method with an MDLM component. I will give this at least a year. Blogging about it for some reason helps with the discipline. It’s an online commitment. “Can’t let the readers down” ( even if it is just my dad … who’s in his 70’s and follows my blog).

11/09/2009 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Of course there's also the International Chess School, which is a strategy course mainly (but also some tactics and openings).

11/09/2009 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RYYJ said And ...don't forget please. The Purdy Method I think it is fabulous and a very useful antiblunders tool

11/10/2009 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Loomis said...

I've come to the conclusion that you can't become a better chess player in a vacuum. I think there is just no way to huddle up with your books, tactics, study, or whatever and come out a significantly improved player without playing lots of games. Games you take as seriously as USCF rated games.

11/10/2009 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Loomis: that's probably what really helped MDLM most of all. Too often people want to improve at chess by doing everything but play chess. Reading, doing puzzles, etc., but games are often low on the list. It is hard, maybe even impossible, to recreate tournament conditions at home with one's books or with Fritz.

11/10/2009 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Robert Pearson said...

So cool that you posted that video--I quoted it in the comments to the previous post, but I hadn't listened to the song for a year or more--just awesome, it brings tears to my eyes. I love the idea of adopting it for the "anthem to climbing the chess ladder."

BDK and Loomis are right on that playing lots serious chess is an important part of improvement--we often overlook that in all of the discussion of study methods and materials.

I will be doing my own ACIS post soon and hoping to make it as fun as the others so far!

11/10/2009 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger CMoB said...

Guitar=goosebumps. I recently saw "This Is It", and the guitarists MJ uses are awesome as well.

On the subject of playing lots os games, didn't Capablanca say something similar? That you have to play like an X number of games...

11/11/2009 12:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Chunky Rook said...

"I've come to the conclusion that you can't become a better chess player in a vacuum. I think there is just no way to huddle up with your books, tactics, study, or whatever and come out a significantly improved player without playing lots of games. Games you take as seriously as USCF rated games."

^ This. (as they say on the internet) Although I'm an improvement-in-the-abstract afficionado, I sometimes forget that I've always believed that serious games are the non-plus-ultra in improvement. As I mentioned in my post over at Chunky Rook, you are never as seriously invested and intimately acquainted with the reality of chess as you are in your own serious long OTB games. You can try and replay a grandmaster collection game and take it seriously, but even that bears no comparison to the investment over the board against a real opponent in a serious setting.

And on that note: If anyone is up for playing "serious" rated FICS training games based around certain topics or openings, let me know.

11/11/2009 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Chunky Rook said...

Since comment moderation seems to be off, I'm going to indulge in an anecdotal follow-up: My first chess book was accompanied by a story about Colonel White and Mister Black, two gentlemen indulging in a chessgame over a glass of brandy in the colonel's drawing room in front of a warm, crackling fire. Each chapter was introduced by an anecdote and a couple of moves from their game. I loved that. So maybe if a fellow improver wants to set up their fancy mahogani board next to the computer and play a FICS game over a glass of wine or cup of coffee, once again let me know ;)

11/11/2009 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Polly said...

I think this a great development and look forward to reading the various bloggers take on this. As Blunder rightfully pointed out the training has to fit the personality of the individual. We're all people who love the game of chess, yet each of us vary in terms of temperament, knowledge, expertise, and experience.

His list of different methods is quite good, and a terrific resource. I'm sure we all have used at least one of things he listed. It's a matter of find what works for the individual. Sharing our experiences of the journey of chess improvement is helpful both to our fellow bloggers and ourselves. Sometimes verbalizing our challenges helps us to see things a little differently. Also somebody may be able to give some feedback that will prove helpful.

I look forward to seeing what people come up with.

11/11/2009 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Liquid Egg Product said...

(my hunch is they won't mind children being in the loop as well)

Conveniently, the A can also stand for "adolescent". Or "anklebiter" if they start out really young.

11/11/2009 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous sms said...

wow great post. thank you

11/12/2009 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger wang said...

I've come up with my own path, you can visit my blog, I've got the broad strokes down. More to come after December 6th.

11/12/2009 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Pearson said...

My esoteric take on the ACIS:
I Would Like, If I May, To Take You On a Strange Journey

11/13/2009 07:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OA here. I see this ACIS taking shape and would like to ask a question in regards to it. I've seen CT ART being mentioned in a plan or so. What level player is suited for this software? I believe at one time I read something about some problems with installation. I'm running XP Home and wonder if anyone had or heard of installation problems?
Myself not being a Knight Errant, or having a blog, I will continue doing tactics and going over my own games. If I get this CT ART program, I will use this as well in my own ACIS improvement plan. I will also allocate more time to going over my games rather than playing more games. When I go over my games I do find moves that I could have made but didn't. Also, at least in my case, memory will be a problem. Seeing something I missed in a game, finding it and then hope I can remember it, so the next time that position or one similar comes around in a game, I can make the correct move.

OK thanks

11/15/2009 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Anon: CT-Art starts with two to three move sequences and ends with fairly long sequences of moves. The problems can be pretty complicated.

The easiest level of CT-ARt is about the level of Level 3 (out of 5) of Chess Tactics for Beginners (CTB) from the same company.

I really liked CTB: it starts with mate in one but by the end there are some very pretty 3-5 move combinations.

11/15/2009 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger BlunderProne said...

Hey BDK, If Anon is interested in making their own CT-ART like traininf. I did a post on how do create training positions using chess base.

11/16/2009 10:01:00 AM  

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