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Katar's Komments 
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King
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Post Katar's Komments
I figure it may be good to be a bit more organized about what i study or need to study. I will aim to update here every week or two.

First a "player analysis" of myself -- no need to be modest here so i will try to be objective.

USCF Rating: 2060
Openings : +50
Tactical Ability : +0
Positional Play : +50
Endgame Technique : -100
Speed Chess : 5
Consistency : 4
Tenacity : 8
Overall Aggressiveness : 6
Against Strong Players : 6
Against Weak Players : 4

Strengths: I tend to be tactically alert. I almost never get into awkward, uncoordinated positions. I play fairly simple openings but tend to have them fairly worked out. For my rating I have a good sense of dynamic compensation. It also seems I can be a good defender of difficult positions.

Weaknesses: Although I've done some work on it, my endgame technique still lags behind. Also my calculation has blind spots, and I am not a good player of blindfold chess. I am a bit clueless in positions that require maneuvering behind a locked pawn structure. Finally I am not very consistent and can play worse depending on the opponent and/or my schedule that week.

I got the idea for a "player analysis" from http://bradenbournival.com/chess_player ... alysis.php

The point is to be more organized/efficient about my approach to "training". So i will try to simulate game situations that focus on my weak points per the following:
Volokitin - Perfect Your Chess (Calculation)
Set up each position at the board, set a kitchen timer for 10 minutes and think. No shortcuts.
Nunn - Understanding Chess Endgames
Also practice each position against an engine.

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Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:27 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Hey. Nice to see that you now have a journal, too.
The self-analysis is interesting, will copy that =P

Didn't know that Nunn wrote an Endgame book. Guess that's pretty good. <3 Nunn
Practicing endgame positions vs an engine is something I like to do, too. Priceless experience when you worked through the book explanation, understood it and then the engine starts to do something totally weird that throws you off completely. *g*

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Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:45 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Don't forget your strengths. Tal said something along the lines of he'd never been as good if his trainers had forced him to take care of his weaknesses. ;)

Setting up positions with a timer for minimum thinking time is great for practice. Have fun with that. :)

Quote:
Didn't know that Nunn wrote an Endgame book. Guess that's pretty good. <3 Nunn

He has like 50 of those ;)


Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Like the analysis of your strengths/weaknesses.
I have both of the books you mention, the Volokitin one is quite heavy and I recommend doing exactly what you intend to, putting the position up on an actual board and working through it!

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Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:41 pm
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Very interesting...looking forward to reading your journal over the coming months.

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Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:39 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Thanks for the komments.

Volokitin: I have 5/9 or 6/9, depending on whether you count a correct move with incorrect followup in a main variation. But knowing it's a puzzle tips you off to prefer very committal or decisive actions. I usually find that i spend around 7 minutes per puzzle.
Nunn: I already read 1/3rd of this book last summer -- it is quite a breeze in the beginning, but the difficulty ramps up when more pieces are added. For starters I practiced against Stockfish several 4 vs. 3 K+P endgames with pawns on same side. So far so good.

The two types of chess study are (1) building up theoretical knowledge (theoretical endgames, openings knowledge, exposure to new patterns) and (2) sharpening practical skills (repetitions, simulating game situations). The first gives you new tools to work with; the second is about learning how on earth to wield those tools. So yeah, I'm focusing on #2 to shake the rust off since i haven't played a rated OTB game since getting together with my wonderful girlfriend (who is out of the country this week, putting my mind back on chess for the moment!).

I am starting a club tournament tonight in the 1800+ section which will include ten USCF experts, all roughly the same strength give or take. The diversity and stylistic matchups can be very fascinating -- two experts who received chess training growing up in former USSR, two experts who are Latin-American, a few 1900+ Filipino-American players, two 12-year old Experts, a few Persian-American players, and of course the cigar-smoking endgame specialists. Truly a "melting pot" of all styles and cultural backgrounds, just like the U.S.A. was meant to be. :salut:

I will be playing "new" openings. I have put some work into 1.d4 2.c4 and so i should be OK there. However, Nimzo/Bogo Indian are still unfamiliar but I learn as i go. Finally, i am happy to be on the Black side of 1.e4 e5.

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Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:31 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Regarding the time for puzzles, I've made good experiences with setting a minimum time, not a maximum. So with 10 minutes per puzzle you'd sit there at least 10 minues, until you think you're done. That way you have to look deeper, even if you think you're finished.


Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:06 pm
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Good luck in your games today/tonight.

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Thu Aug 04, 2011 3:35 pm
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Opponent was a no-show yesternight.
Hitchhiker wrote:
Regarding the time for puzzles, I've made good experiences with setting a minimum time, not a maximum. So with 10 minutes per puzzle you'd sit there at least 10 minues, until you think you're done. That way you have to look deeper, even if you think you're finished.

A fair point. I didn't do it that way b/c with a time minimum, i would kick back, sip some Coke, and sort of stare at the position lazily without any focus or motivation. At least a time limit creates clock pressure simulating a real OTB situation and is more motivating to get to work. The flipside is that maybe i am being too superficial.

I own Aagaard's book Excelling At Calculation. Maybe i should work on that too. Aagaard is pure gold. Aronian said in his Crestbook interview that blindfold chess is the way to improve calculation, so maybe i should do that. Or maybe i should just forget about chess, go out with some friends and enjoy the weekend.

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Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:27 pm
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
katar wrote:
Opponent was a no-show yesternight.
Hitchhiker wrote:
Regarding the time for puzzles, I've made good experiences with setting a minimum time, not a maximum. So with 10 minutes per puzzle you'd sit there at least 10 minues, until you think you're done. That way you have to look deeper, even if you think you're finished.

A fair point. I didn't do it that way b/c with a time minimum, i would kick back, sip some Coke, and sort of stare at the position lazily without any focus or motivation. At least a time limit creates clock pressure simulating a real OTB situation and is more motivating to get to work. The flipside is that maybe i am being too superficial.


It never even occurred to me I might kick back, never looked at it that way. :D I guess that is the downside.


Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:39 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
My game from last night against a Class-A player. Opponent played a bit timid in the opening and got in bad time trouble. White needed to play c4 or b4 early, with aggressive intentions before castling. I suspected he would try for a calm/slow "Catalan" type of game and so went with my sharpest response, the Chigorin-like setup with 0-0-0.

With eleven experts playing, this is the strongest tournament our local club has had in some time.

My worst mistake was 9...h6? Trying to play against the dark-bishop. But horribly weakening the light squares like g6. Simply 9...Nf6 is best.

28.Nhg2??, but ...g7-g5 is coming and it's hard to find a move for White.

Concentration was an issue with constant noise, commotion, and distractions. I will make a point to bring earplugs from now on just in case.


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Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:05 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
You're doing a lot better than I did with "Perfect Your Chess" You could bring earplugs or you could try to train under distractions. Nice Morphyesque finish :)

ps. Ye may enjoy http://whychess.org/en/node/1410

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Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:47 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Played a smooth game tonight against an Expert (2000 USCF). I think the Volokitin exercises showed their value. Every time i went into a deep think for approximately 10 minutes i calculated very well and visualized accurately the variations.

Diagrams, then full game, then game notes, then diagram notes. To use the diagrams as training exercises, consider the diagrams before scrolling down.

1.Black just played Na6 and clearly intends c5. White to play and stop c5.
Image

2.White's center appears to be collapsing. What to do?
Image



More notes:
  • 5...Nf6 threatens Nxe4 with a "fork trick".
  • 12.Rfd1 is IMO the correct rook to discourage Bxb3 which opens the a-file.
  • 23.h4 intends h5 to expose Black's king. 23...Bxh4?? 24.Qh3 wins.
  • 26.Qe8+! was a faster win: 28...Kg7 29.g3 Qg5 30.Rd1 and Rd7 will win the bishop.

Diagram notes:
1. 8.Qe2 prepares e4-e5 and clears d1 for a rook. Be3 is no good to Ng4. Computer wants to push e5 right away but i don't believe in this.
2. 10.Bg5! is crushing in all lines. The important ones to calculate are:
  • 10...cxd4?? 11.Nd5! Pressure on e7 simply ends the game.
  • 10...h6 simplest is 11.exd6 Nxd6 12.Bxe7 OR 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bxg5 hxg5 13.Nxg5 Bf5 14.e6!
  • 10...Be6! 11.exd6 Qxd6 (11...Nxd6 12.Bxe6 and 13.Qxe6) 12.d5 with clear advantage

So yeah, i had a won position after 10 moves. Not that bad.

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Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:39 am
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
The following is my reading list, and other stuff i want to work on. There is no schedule or regimen for this - i just do this stuff whenever i feel like it. I will put the materials on my chess table to avoid getting distracted too much by other stuff.

Openings:
As White, I'm pretty far along in my long-term goal of opening with either 1.e4 or 1.d4. As Black, I have still more work to do on learning the Nimzo / Bogo setups for Black, as well as the Ruy Lopez. As always i go with opening books that have a lot of middlegame or endgame content.

first:
Schandorff: Playing the QG, ch. 1, pp. 11-38
Cox: Berlin Wall, ch. 2 Typical Berlin Endings, pp. 17-73
Kosten: Mastering the Nimzo (140 pages)

second:
Semkov: Kill KID (136 pages)
Cox: Berlin Wall, ch. 3 Positional Themes, pp. 75-134
Sokolov: Winning Chess Middlegames, ch. 1, pp. 11-84

Middlegame:
Volokitin exercises with 10-minute timer.
Blindfold exercises with 15-minute timer, using http://code.google.com/p/chesstraining/
Lev Aronian wrote:
Solving studies and puzzles blindfold and analysing games blindfold – that’s the best way of improving your calculation. http://www.crestbook.com/en/node/1547

Endgame:
Prioritized reading list:
1. Nunn - Understanding Chess Endgames
2. Smyslov - Endgame Virtuoso
3. de Villa - 100 Endgames You Must Know

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Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:23 pm
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Post Re: Katar's Komments
Tonight's club tournament game. I have to say that i'm pretty happy with it. I calculated fairly well and quickly throughout. For example i evaluated the RPP vs BN endgame before going 13.Bxa6. Strategically i wanted to trade a pair of rooks, then centralize my king and keep pawns on dark squares to restrict Black's bishop. My opponent played a bad opening and could have offered stiffer resistance, but that is his problem not mine.

Time control is again sudden death, G/90 minutes with no increment. I will have to analyze or annotate this in more detail later. Finally wore earplugs which worked like magic. I can't believe i'd never thought to wear ear plugs before.

Moves from memory but i presume they are all correct.


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Fri Aug 26, 2011 1:27 am
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