Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New all time high (ATH) in tactics

I still solve some tactic-puzzles from time to time and now i reached a ATH at chesstempo. I cant be Happy about it. My rating did rise because Richard did change the rating system. There is no duplicate reward reduction anymore. And i am #20 in "Done"!

2014-04-16 03:31:23
2014-04-16 21:03:00
2014-04-16 20:11:53
2014-04-16 15:01:16
2014-04-09 12:41:27
2014-04-16 18:27:50
2014-04-16 18:46:48
2014-04-16 07:45:52
2014-04-05 14:20:29
2014-04-12 13:31:55
2014-04-16 21:35:57
2014-04-16 17:26:25
2014-04-15 00:01:20
2014-04-16 04:30:57
2014-04-16 09:19:09
2014-04-09 13:52:02
2014-04-16 18:55:04
2014-04-13 07:57:19
2014-04-16 21:39:24
2014-04-16 21:02:42

So my rating-"explosion" is just the result of memorisation :(

During my tactics sessions i did remember some puzzles quite well. I did remember that i saw the position before and what the initial move is but not (exactly) why!! this is the best move and why other moves are wrong.
That is NOT good. Now i think i know why i solve hundred thousands of tactic-puzzles and don't get any better: I memorise wrong. The solution ( right move ) is not connected with the right reason ( tactical weakness.. ) but with some not related / random features of the position.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Puzzles needed

Who the hack stirred the English versions of Yusupov's Chess School?
The second book of the Chess school, which suppose to help < 1500 players, is "Chess Evolution 1: The Fundamentals". So you have to read first all the "Fundamentals" ( to get a rating of 1500 DWZ) :
Build up Your Chess 1, Boost Your Chess 1,  and Chess Evolution 1
then ( to get a rating of 1800 DWZ ):
Build up Your Chess 2, Boost Your Chess 2,  and Chess Evolution 2
and then ( to get  a rating of 2100 DWZ ):
Build up Your Chess 3, Boost Your Chess 3,  and Chess Evolution 3
I use Yusupov's Chess School to find some of my ( relative ) weaknesses: they are most of the time "positional". I am now in the middle of book no 2 "Boost Your Chess 1".  The problem with these books: there is not enough training material to realy improve. 12 puzzles and good explanations dont help "a lot" :( . Well implementing these elements in my games should help though.
So with every  "new" relative weakness of mine: Where can i find more trainig-puzzles?

  • Convekta Strategy 3.0 and the Golenishev "Guides".
  • Polgars Middlegame Brick. So many "Puzzles" are not Engine-proof in there :( But there are 54 Master-played examples to each of the 77 middlegame "types" like "Weak Square", "Opposite coloured bishops"...So i need to ask myself at every puzzle : "how would a master play the idea Weak Square in this position" and NOT! "what is the best move".
  • Silmans HTRYC has many exercises but they are sorted according to Silmans "Imbalances" and not according to Yusupov's Chess School
  • The Positional Chess Handbook of Israel Gelfer ( almost 500 puzzles )
  • The Chesscafe Puzzle Book 2 , Test and Improve your positional Intuition ( most of these puzzles are not sorted for motives but some are )

But maybe i should create my own puzzles? Screen my own games for puzzles of this type? At least, they would be engine-checked ;)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


One of my biggest weaknesses is my lack of Energy: After a few hours of chess i get tired. So what to do?

  1. Sports: Running, Swimming... ehhh,... well
  2. Carbohydrates, Caffeine 
  3. Drinking
  4. Some walking around

What else?

What is the hard work at chess? Calculation! So some Calculation training might help. Calculation is Visualisation ( to "see" the future positions ), Memorisation ( to "know" what is already calculated and what is still to be calculated, to know where i put the pieces... ) and Organisation ( random calculations are hard to memorise and its hard to do them correct, without missing important variations )

You may find visualisation training tools here
Board vision does help ( see the links at this page )
Pattern recognition  = just a higher level of board vision
Complex tactic/endgame puzzles
Blindfold play ( with an old chess computer)

Now i found a small and/but cheap ebook : Visualization and Calculation Trainer: Interactive Chess Exercises by Vladimir Botkinsky and Jenny Newberry ( nothing you cant have for free in the net though ..)

But thinking about these exercises i came to the conclusion: i don't need any tools to do visualisation exercises

Just take a random square and ask yourself:
  1. Color ?
  2. Where does a knight,bishop,rook,queen can go from there? Name all squares!
  3. Possible knight- or bishop  forks
    Say we have chosen a1 as square: c1 and a1 can be forked by a knight at b3,  a1 and e1 by a bishop at c3...
  4. How to get to a random selected different square by ( a minimum number  of ) knight moves 

 I don't want to spend much time with visualisation-exercises, maybe 10 min per day ?

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Chess Trainingsplan

  1. Use Arthur Jusupov's books to find some of my weaknesses = things to learn ( 6 puzzles / day ).
  2. Endgame training with Chessimo Endgames. At problems use Convekta software for additional training ( f.e. BBBK vs bbbk ) and Endgame books
  3. Convekta Strategy 3.0 ( especially my weaknesses found in 1. )
  4. Convekta Encyclopedia of Middlegame = Opening Training (  mainly my own Openings )
  5. Play some Blitz games and do a Blunder test ( > 0.3 cp) with every game (  add Blunders of  a selected opening ( like B32 ) to my Anki stack )
  6. Play some slow games ( mental, psychological,... training )
  7. Use turn based games to implement and improve my thinking process
  8. Watch Chess videos ( Thinking process, my openings.. )

I try to match every point to the other points as mutch as possible.

Thinking process
Its hard to implement a better thinking process during a tournament-game , there is no energy and time left for that if you want to win.

My last tournament game was virtually without any move into the side of my opponent ( and the exception was not a very good  move ). The game was completely closed. I used to be weak in closed games but this time i drawed the game against a stronger player in his pet opening 1.d4 d5 2.Bc4  :). I think my anki-blunder training pays off.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

From Chess-Knowledge to Chess Skill by Thinking Process ?

I continue to scan the books of Yusupov for holes in my chess-knowledge  and found the next one: "Exploiting weaknesses" ( in Boost Your Chess 1  ) . That is not surprising, i was already weak in : "Weak points" ( in Build up Your Chess 1 ) . But i had some "weak point" & "weak square" - training in between :( .

( Why is the continuation of  "Boost Your Chess 1" the book "Build up Your Chess 1" and not "Boost your Chess 2" ??? )

The tests in Yusupov's books are chess - positions and you have to find the right moves / variations. That's more of the type of a skill-test than a  knowledge-test. The questions is not: "where are weak points" but "how to handle the weaknesses".

I think there are 4 levels in "knowing"
  1. To know the definition of things in chess ( weak point, pin,...)
  2. To see them in a game ( awareness, board-vision, ...)
  3. To know how to use them ( handle [ = attack, defend] direct, indirect while already existing )
  4. To create or prevent them ( use them while only potentially existing )
A "complete knowledge" is a skill ( which can be achieved without the explicit knowledge )  .

I did know the definition of weak points very well, but i have problems to see them, big problems to use them and extreme problems to create them ( for my level of play ).

Reminds me of the play of weaker player: they often do "bad" things and if you tell them then they already know the rules/facts but still.. they continue playing that "nonsense". Even if you tell them several times...

Well, my training of "weak points" did not help me ( enough? ), what now?
Of course i will repeat the exercises, find other ones in different books ( and Chess Mentor..) but what to do after???

I need several hundreds ( thousands ) of exercises! Where did Yusupov get his exercises from? Seemingly he did read a lot of games and annotated them; this is about weak points, that about open lines... At some exercises of Smirnov the student has to annotate games and categorise the moves of the players.

I will get a great amount of "weak point" exercises if i treat every chess positions as "weak point"-exercise. I need to think about "weak points" at "every" move, i have to add "weak points" to my thinking process"


Andrew Soltis wrote in his book Studying Chess made easy:

"Chess  studying  is  plagued  by  myths.  Misguided  masters  and other teachers repeat them over and over.  They repeat the myths because the myths were told to them when they were learning the game.
The greatest myth of all is that the easiest way to play better chess is to learn the 'proper way to think.' Masters claim they discovered the right way. They describe it in books with titles like How to Think in  Chess and Think Like a Grandmaster.
But the truth is quite different: It's better to learn how to spot the good and bad moves without thinking.

Very true! , but how do we get to the point where we simply spot the good without thinking? By intense repetition!! We need to repeat looking for the good that often, that this special "thinking" becomes automated / subconscious ( = spotting ). And we repeat very often: if we add the idea to our thinking process!

So "Thinking process" is a method to learn.

What is the method of Soltis?

"Take  note  of  each  middle game  move  that  is  awarded  an exclamation point. Try to figure  out why it's a good move. If you think you  understand why,  try explaining  it  in words,  as  if you were teaching a fellow student.
A  more  structured  approach  is  what  used  to  be  called  the "notebook method." At one time, students collected positions in a notebook  or  on  a  set  of  index  cards.  Today's  students  will  use computer  files  or  a  set  of  printed-out  diagrams.  Whatever  the technology, the idea is to build a  repository of patterns that you can return to over and over until you can recognize them automatically.

The  Polgar  sisters  founded  their  intuition  on  their  family's enormous chess library. It numbered 500 books by the time Susan was  nine.  Papa  Polgar  also  cut  out  diagrams  with  interesting diagrams  and  games  from  newspaper  and  magazines.  These diagrams and positions culled from books went into his card-file library,  which eventually  encompassed  200,000  entries. "

That reminds me of Papa Polgars Middlegame brick : An other 55 examples of "weak square". ;)

Thinking Process of  Cecil  Purdy :
3.c.  Weaknesses and strengths. Weak  pawns, weak
squares, confined pieces, lack of space;


Cecil  Purdy  (winner  of  the  World  Championship of Correspondence  Chess  in  1953) was  an Australian  player  and teacher w-ho created one of the most detailed systems for finding a plan  ever devised. Written mainly for amateurs, his work  was forgotten (or ignored) by players in this part of the world until his writings  were  collected  in  The Search For Chess Perfection: The Life,  Gamrs, and Writings of C.J.S. Purdy"

( Jeremy Silman: The Reassess your Chess Workbook )

I think i will "implement" my thinking system in turnbased games at  So i will have time enough to think about "my system".

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Puzzle-Training is not enough to improve in chess. About the puzzles vs.OTB gap

I like to solve puzzles. A puzzle don't take hours and its easy to see whats right and whats wrong. But my OTB performance is lower than my puzzle performance. Some reasons why puzzle/book-training is not enough

  1. Even good tacticians blunder
    Even if we study tons of tactical puzzles.. there is no one telling us at a real game: psst, look for a tactical stroke now. We need to look for tactics at every move. So we need to create/follow/use a thinking process, which make us really look for tactics: Its necessary to analyse our opponents move: is it a blunder? Or is it dangerous, might we blunder? And if we chose a move we still might have to do an additional blunder check
  2. Puzzles are "clear" but OTB is usually fuzzy.
    A positional puzzle is usually showing a more or less "clean" pattern. Either the puzzle is about mate or open lines or weak squares... but what should we do if several different things are to consider. What is better? To keep the pawn structure clean or to get a knight on a nice forepost or to controll the h-file? This type of "fuzzy" situation is most common OTB.
    Houdini "told me", that i am to scared about my pawn structure, i play to seldom pawn moves. To find the right weights to the positional factors we need the right feedback. There are no puzzles where you have to decide BETWEEN different possibility's.
  3. Mental strength
    You need to give all you have, if the opponent is weaker or if he is stronger than we are. Something you cant learn by solving puzzles either

We need to find our weaknesses OTB ( by playing a lot OTB ) and find a thinking process to "compensate" these weaknesses we find.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Chess School, screening for weaknesses in chessknowledge

In his course : Self Taught Grandmaster Igor Smirnov suggests to make shure that you have all of the chess knowledge you suppose to have. He does give a list of the topics and tells us where to get that knowledge. ( I think this course is really a little too expensive )

Here some other lists:

I am using Yusopovs  9 award winning training books to complete my knowledge. Yusopov was one of the strongest chessplayers. He did work with the famous chess trainer Mark Dvoretsky. Every of his training books has 24 chapters, each chapter has a lesson with many examples ( 1-2 hours of learning ) and 12 test positions/puzzles to check the knowledge. At the End of each book is a final test with 24 puzzles.

I solve the puzzles of the books ( ~ 6 puzzles / day )  and when my score is bad then i know what i should learn !
For example: my score at "weak point"  was low, so i use now the 81 weak-square - puzzles of  Convektas Strategy 3.0 and later maybe the 55 weak-square-puzzles of Lazlo Polgars "Chess Middlegames" to exercise.
Many "solutions" at "Chess Middlegames"  don't give the best possible move , but they show, how a GM did treat that position and we can learn the method he/she was using to make use of the weak squares. My performance at weak squares of Convektas Strategy 3.0 is "high" ( almost 2200 ). So there is no need to worry about me having a weak point in weak points ;). In about 2 years i should have the chess knowledge of an 2100.

Yusupov's Chess School ( 9 Books ) is ~ $25.00 each. The "Russian Original" are the  very popular training books of Victor Golenishchev. ( Some ? of ) These Schoollessons are now available as Peshk@ course for $25 .00 . The "statistic" of the peshk@ software can help to find personal weaknesses! They say "The course is designed for 1 year" , i ( Elo ~1900 ) need about ~~1 hour to finish 1 lesson ( of 57 )

Finished #1 of  Yusupov's Chess School. Final test score: 39 of 47 Points ( 24 requested for DWZ 1500 Player )