Thursday, March 26, 2015

To find the best move

An interesting example from the book of Alexei Kosikov: Elements of Chess Strategy

Black to move

White has an extra pawn
Exercise 1)
1) Specify the chief strategic factors on which Black should base his plan of action
2) Suggest a specific continuation for Black

I was wrong with this position but i did "understand" the right move immediately. Here the method of: Inspect every possible move, would have been good i suppose.

The move of the book is the same as the move of the Master is the same as the best move of Stockfish 6 at depth 39.

I did not find the best move, i was hypnotised by the bishoppair of white in the center. But sa soon as i saw the best move i did know that this actually is a good move : Bb1.

This move is possible to find, the Rook at a1 is bad placed, the backrank of white is weak.

  1. there are better/best moves i dont understand ( at all )
  2. there are better/best moves i dont find but i would understand ( more or less easily )
  3. and there are the "blunders" : i make a move where i think its the best, but dont see the refutation
So there are 3 methods to get better, to find the best move : better understanding ( more pattern knowledge, more calculation...), better searchmethod ( thinking process ) or more effort to check your own move for errors.

At the moment i try to improve the searchmethod/thinkingprocess : How do i FIND the move ( or plan ) which is best to my knowledge.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Find the Right Plan with Anatoly Karpov

Best move

Chess is so easy. In every position you can chose from a small set of possible moves and if you play always the best possible move you win ( or draw ,if your opponent does the same ). So.. where is the problem? That's is easy to answer. We don't know the best move we have to find it. And if we cant find the best possible move we should find a good move at least.

Best plan


that is not exactly true. Whats about "having a plan"? To look at every single move: "what the best possible move now" would take to much time. So we "should" make a plan and follow that plan for several moves. That simplifies the search for the next move and produces synergy's. So we have to find "the best plan" ( for me.. not an engine ;) and then the best move, according to the plan

Plan, TODO-list, Strategy

So what is a plan? As far as i see it : its a set of goals. At the Chess Master School  it was called a "todo list". The fine thing about the "todo list" is, that the concept of a list is more flexible, then concept of one "single plan". Well such a list is of course more complicated to handle too. So the big question is: how can i create a plan/Strategy/todolist from a given position.

Find the Right Plan with Anatoly Karpov

 is the book which should help us, i thought. But i am really not happy with that book. There are many positive reviews in the net , this one tells you a lot about it. In short is says you should make a evaluation, that's an analysis of the Steinitz type, called "Comparative analysis": 

1. Material relationship between the forces.
2. Presence of direct threats.
3. Position of the kings, their safety.
4. Possession of open lines.
5. Pawn structures, weak and strong squares.
6. The centre and space.
7. Development and the position of pieces. 


yes.. whats to do next?

This is an example from the book:

Brissago, 2004 (14)

Comparative analysis
1. There is material equality on the board.
2. At first glance it appears that all White's threats have been successfully rendered harmless.
3. The white king is ideally placed, the black king should preferably be on e7 or move away to the flank after it has castled.
4. White is exerting pressure along the c- and g-files, but without additional efforts this doesn't promise anything.
5. Neither side's pawn chain has obvious defects. However, White has an opportunity for a pawn attack on the queen side that isn't immediately obvious.
6. The centre is firmly blocked.
7. White's pieces are excellently placed, but the position of Black's pieces requires improvement. 

General conclusion
White has a clear advantage, but additional efforts are needed in order to exploit it. 

So what do you think now? What is the right move? What is the right Plan?

22.a4! This pawn sacrifice throws Black's incomplete defensive line into confusion.
22...Kd8 If he takes the pawn then the rook penetrates to the seventh rank. (...)

22.a4 is the best move ( says Stockfish 6 at deepth 36 )  but how to find it?

I don't see how this book can help me to FIND a plan. The gap between the "Method" and the played moves is astonishing. In my eyes the whole "analysis" is trash. You need to see the "interesting" c-file and the juicy c7 square for the rook at c1. Especially if you think of the weaknesses f7 ( after Ng5! ) and g7 ( Rg1! ). "The" plan is: to get a rook at c7 and/or to attack the second weakness f7 (King wing) . But that is not the result of this "analysis".

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Back to Blunder Prones Blunder training

I do tons of puzzles at Chesstempo, CTS,, Chessimo, Software from, and and and. Lately i did start to repeat the Chessimo ( Strategy ) again and i did feel sorry that there are no new lessons for Chessimo. But after some thinking i remembered a Method of Blunder Prone to make your own puzzles: Analyse your own games and make puzzles from them.
The drawback of this idea is , you get a loooot of puzzles if you put your games into an engine and put these positions in a spaced repetition software ( like Anki ).

So i use now this algorithm:

  1. Play game 
  2. Do a Blundercheck with Fritz ( and stockfish 6 ) Threshold = 0.30 Time=1 sec for my moves ( Link ).
  3. Then i start "Infinite analysis" ( Link ) and go to these blunders. I try to understand what i made wrong and why the best move of the engine is better. 
  4. If the evaluation of best move of the engine is 0.2 better than the evaluation of the second best move of the engine and i think i understand the move then i use the Windows Sniping Tool to copy the position and create a new Anki Card with the position as question at the front side of the card ( just an "insert" ) and the computer analysis at the back side of the card.( Link )

Front side:

Back side:

r1b1nr2/pp3qbk/2p3p1/3p1pPp/5B1N/1PPR1P1P/P1Q2PB1/2K1R3 b - - 0 1

1. =  (-0.21): 1...Nc7 2.Rde3 Ne6 3.Bd6 Rd8 4.Be5 f4 5.R3e2 Re8 6.Bxg7 Qxg7 7.Re5 Bd7 8.Bf1 Nf8 9.Rxe8 Rxe8 10.Rxe8 Bxe8 11.Ng2 Qe5 12.Qd2 Ne6 13.h4 c5 14.Qe1 Qxe1+ 15.Nxe1 d4 16.Bc4 Bd7 17.Nd3 dxc3 18.Ne5
2. +/=  (0.43): 1...Rg8 2.Be5 Nc7 3.f4 a5 4.Nf3 Re8 5.Rde3 Bxe5 6.Nxe5 Qg7 7.Qd2 a4 8.b4 Be6 9.Kb1 a3 10.Nf3 Bf7 11.Rxe8 Rxe8 12.Rxe8 Nxe8 13.Ne5 Be6 14.Qc1 Nd6 15.h4 Nb5 16.Bf3 d4 17.cxd4 Nxd4

I did look for 1...Nc7 but i did not see 2...Ne6! to block the e file and make pressure to g5 , f4 and d4 ..
So i have now a nice example of : Open file, centralisation, improving of the worst piece, prophylaxis..

There are 2 things to do: Learn new knowledge and apply old knowledge

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stockfish 6 is here

Stockfish 6 is now available for download here:

Stockfish 5 was the strongest free engine and together with Komodo 8 the strogest of all chess engines. I did test Stockfish 6 vs Komodo 8 in bulletgames and at my computer Stockfish 6 was clearly stronger. But Komodo8 is not that good in quick games anyway. We will have to wait to get the new ratings.

Edit: first ratings at Ipon:    Stockfish did gain 38! points and is now clearly the no 1 top enegine



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Salty repetitions

About 20 000 attempts in exactly 2400 different real OTB "Mate in 1" - puzzles and little more than 10%  speed gain in unknown puzzles of that type, that is not really exciting.  If i have to repeat that with every type of tactical theme then i will need to get 3000 years old.
To gain speed, i need to repeat the stack of new puzzles every day because i solve to many "old" puzzles too. I repeat this new stack every day until my speed did increase 25% . But this method is seemingly not (much?) better than Tomasz method. Now what? Less repetitions? Of which puzzles?
More puzzles per day? Or even less?

If i want to reach 40 Mates / Min then i will have to continue for a while. Time to find a better method.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Analysing statistics at ChessTempo

Its hard to tell if you did improve in Tactics or not, or compare your performance at one type of tactics to a different one. The time you need to solve puzzles is an important factor. Chesstempo offers for premium users a statistical tool which can be used. At the users statistic page they can find a button : "Show Filters".  Here you can create subsets of the puzzles you solved and see some statistics about these subsets.

Duplicates Status : Select Non - Duplicates
( Duplicates are puzzles you have seen more or less often, they show how good your memory is and not how good you can solve new problems)

Problem Set : Should be Blitz or Mixed but Standard may do too

I did filter for 2 different criteria here and got a set "Current Filter" and "Previous Filter":

As you can see: both sets are without any "Duplicates". Seemingly i did perform differently at both sets because the performance rating is different ( Change = 189.3 ). The performance rating calculates a rating based on the different "Average Problem Rating" ( Change = 231 ) and on the different "Accuracy" ( Change = -5.1 ).  But my thinking time was different too. In comparison to all solver my average time was 1.76 times slower at the "Current Filter" but only 1.13 times slower at the "Previous Filter". ( You need to calculate in sec! 2:31 = 151 sec, 1:26 = 86 sec and 151 / 86 = 1.7558... )

Both relative times are bigger than 1, so my Performance rating is in both cases "to high" . But my relative time was much higher at the "Current Filter", does this explain the "big" difference in the performance rating between both sets of 189.3 ! ?

Sadly the answer is dependend on a fuzzy number we usually don't know: "k". k tells us how much our accuracy increases when we calculate longer than "all solvers".
k seems to be "usually" between 100 and 200, dependend on tactician and their form.

But we can try to calculate k from the given data and see if it is "uncommon"

So lets assume the difference in performance rating would be the result of  the difference beteween the both relative thinking times

189.3 * log(2) / ( log(1.76)-log(1.13) ) =  56,98  / 0,1924 = 296,1 = k ?

This seems to be to high

The difference between both subsets are estimatingly not only caused by the difference in thinkingtime

Of couse the calculation is simple if the relatice thinkiing time between both subset is more or less the same. Then we only need to look at the Change in the Performance Rating

Edit Jan,12

I was looking at my "progress" in tactics from 2010 to 2014 with the method from above:

The improvement in Performance rating is easily explained with : k ~180 , so the former work in the saltmines and solving round about 100 000 tactic puzzles had only small effect ( if any )

Friday, January 2, 2015

Chess and Chat

Chess Cube does have chat rooms, but they have so many of them so that most of them have so few people, that nothing happens. The administrators of these rooms are very "strict" : that does not make the people to talk more.
I found an alternative : the debate+ room at did change their architecture of chat rooms. Now the chat rooms are organised by privat "groups" at
To be able to chat at debate+ you have to
  1. get member at
    its free of charge, is a site with 12 000 000 members, about 15 000++ are playing every moment in "live" online games (bullet,blitz, rapid...). Others prefer "turn based games" where you have several days for your move
  2. get member of the group debate+   
    free of charge, can be quit at any time
  3. Play some games at live chess
    was it 10? games
  4. and wait 3 days until you are allowed to chat
    This rule of suppose to prevent "Trolls"