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Colindru's Training Journal 
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Colindru's Training Journal
Hey everyone, I'm 24, been playing chess for about 10 years. I haven't played seriously in quite a while, but now that school's out I think I might take some time to work on my game.

Current FICS rating: 1836 Standard, 1379 Blitz

If I can get to 2000 Standard and 1500 Blitz, I'd be very happy. :)

My current opening repertoire:
White: 1.c4
I've played the English a lot but I don't know much theory. Typically I just put my knights on c3 and f3, a bishop on g2, and the other bishop on g5 or b2. :shock:
Black: 1...d6 against pretty much everything, or just improvise against 1.c4 and 1.Nf3
I feel very comfortable with the Philidor Defense against e4. I'm trying to develop some kind of Old Indian or Czech Benoni plan against 1.d4, but most of my opponents just play 2.e4 so I haven't been successful with that.

Stuff I want to work on:
-Openings, especially with white
-Typical middlegames arising from my openings
-Tactics, always tactics
-Endgames
-Focus and calculation

I'll probably set some more specific goals in the future. Right now, I'll stick to playing every day, doing tactics, working on my correspondence games, and maybe learning some opening stuff.


Last edited by colindru on Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:53 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Today's training (December 22):
1. 15 mins on chess.emrald.net
2. One standard game on FICS (30 5 unrated):

-I just finished a correspondence game with the same basic structure (Philidor endgame, doubled black pawn on f6), so I went through the opening confidently.
-I like 11...b5 and ...a5 because I'm not sure where I want to put my knight and bishop yet.
-Not sure if the little combo starting with 19...Bb3 was the right idea, but it worked since he didn't play 22.Rcg1.
-Also not sure if I played the endgame correctly. Will be interesting to see what the computer says.
EDIT: The engine on ficsgames.com says Black was better the whole way after 16.c3 :)
3. Did about 45 mins of "guess the move" using Davies vs Duncan 1999, an English Botvinnik System game. I guessed 15/30 moves and realized I need to work on my focus and my ability to find plans in balanced, manuevering positions.


Last edited by colindru on Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:02 pm
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King

Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:57 pm
Posts: 433
Rating Class: Novice (<1200)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Welcome aboard and happy holidays :) Almost had mate on move 23! Nice ending :)

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Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:33 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Thanks, happy holidays to you too. :)

I totally missed that near-mate! And here I thought he blundered by not playing 22.Rcg1, haha


Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:44 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Today's Training (December 23):
1. 40 mins of tactics on CTS (current rating: 1463)
2. 2 standard games and an 8 3 blitz. I got to practice the Botvinnik System twice... it's a little weird but maybe I'll get used to it.


In the blitz game, I closed up the kingside and pushed on the queenside. Fell for a knight fork on b3, but it worked out since his rook was sitting on g8. I was happy to see 29...Nxd3, opening up the f1-a6 diagonal for my bad bishop. I was even happier when Black dropped his knight into f4, depriving his Queenside of a crucial defender. A knight sac on b5 set the stage for a king hunt and a runaway a-pawn.

Tactics missed:
25.Rc6 (apparently White is better even after the Black knight fork because of this)
26.Nxa7
30.a5 b5 31.Na4 Nc5 32.Nb6, winning back the exchange
32.Bxb6 (then a5!)


Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:52 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Today's Training (December 24):
1. 20 mins of CTS (1471)
I did a better job of focusing this time, calculating on my "opponent's time" (before the first move is given). I'll try to make this a habit from now on.
2. Five 8 3 blitz games -- went 4-1 (1396)
I wanted to save my loss but I forgot. I had the advantage in a Botvinnik English, then I played an automatic move without thinking, which turned out to be a blunder. Since I had a pretty big static advantage and was keeping him bottled up, I definitely should have picked a safer move.

The last game I played was the most entertaining:

10...Nh5 - I missed that my knight would be attacked twice after Nxe5. I like the ...h6, ...Nh5 idea against Bg5, but usually the White bishop is on c4 in the Philidor.
24...Nd5 - A blunder that he didn't capitalize on
29...Nf6 - Should have just played ...g3 like I did on the next move


Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:28 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Today's Training (December 27):
1. 25 mins of CTS (1483)
2. Some FICS games, I think I went 3-1. Forgot to save my loss again, argh!


Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:34 pm
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King

Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 2:38 am
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Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
colindru wrote:
Forgot to save my loss again, argh!

No problem, all FICS games can be found here! http://ficsgames.com/

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Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:57 pm
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Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
:lol: Yea, that excuse doesn't work well 8)

Sarciness wrote:
colindru wrote:
Forgot to save my loss again, argh!

No problem, all FICS games can be found here! http://ficsgames.com/

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Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:13 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Ah hah, thanks! Now my loss is unfortunately recovered. :)


-I didn't feel "at home" with this opening, although I'm sure White was doing fine for much of the game. 3.cxd5 looks simpler... I'll have to have a look some time.
-20.Qa2: At this point, I was happy to have the 2 bishops and a vague plan to target Black's queenside pawns, but it didn't work out this way.
-21.Bb7: A lazy move, as I didn't even bother to calculate 21...e5. Maybe 21.Bd2, planning e3, although then I'll have to watch the d3 pawn. It feels like my dark-squared bishop is in the way.
-26.Bd5: Missing 26.Bc6, which apparently keeps things equal.
-30.Rxb5: Missing 30.Bxf7+ Qxf7 31.Qxf7+ Kxf7 32.Rf5+ Bf6 33.Rxf4, equalizing.

Although this was a 10 5 game, I really should have been more focused and alert, and I should have calculated better. Playing and doing tactics every day will help, but I should practice sitting down with positions and calculating them deeply if I want to really improve. This all depends on how much work I'm willing to put in to my chess -- I'm not sure how much that is yet. :)


Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:04 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
One more topsy-turvy 10 5 game:

7...Ke8: Could have played 7...Be6 as well. I need to look at the Philidor endgame where White plays Bc4. The addition of ...c6 in this game should benefit me.
8...Be7: I should be able to just take on e4 instead of this.
13...Nf4: Feels like this is where things started to go bad. 13...Rd8 was simpler and probably better.
19...Rd8: 19...b4 equalized. After 19...Rd8, White has the tactic 20.Ndxb5 because my rook is unprotected, and 20...Rxd1+ 21.Rd1 threatens 22.Rd8+.
22...c5: I missed that he had 26.Rd8+ in response to 25...Rxc5, but things might not be so bad for Black. I'm looking at 25...Rxc5 26.Rd8+ Ke7 27.Rxh8 (27. Nd5+ Kxd8) Rxc3 28.Ra8 Ra3, and Black wins the a-pawn thanks to the threat of Ra1+ and Rxh1.
29...Bc8: 29...Ke7 was winning. My clock was low at this point and for some reason I didn't see 30.Nb8 in response to ...Bc8.

Not a pretty win, but not terrible. I definitely prefer longer games.


Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:05 pm
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Today's Training (December 28):
1. 40 mins of tactics on CT.
I checked out chesstempo.com for the first time, and I really like it. The standard tactics problems gave me a chess headache*, and playing through the endgames was very useful. At this point, I think solving standard tactics will bring the most benefit to my game because it forces me to focus, calculate, and evaluate -- 3 things I need to practice over and over. So I'll definitely be making the switch over from CTS. Right now, I'm 1817 Standard, 1614 Endgame Practice, and I'll probably hold off on Blitz and Endgame Theory for now.

2. I started reading Soltis's "The Inner Game of Chess" last night and this morning. To get the most out of the book, I'll be pausing at the start of each example to analyze the position and try to find the best move.

*For me, a chess headache is a dull, drained feeling in my head -- a sign that I've been working hard and pushing myself


Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:25 am
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Today's Training (December 29):
1. CT 30 mins
Standard: I solved 8 problems and missed 2, going up to 1871. :)


Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:18 am
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Knight

Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:14 am
Posts: 34
Rating: 1938
Rating Class: Class A (1800-2000)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
I strongly suggest you read this article --->
A Hardcore Guide To Study and Train Your Chess Openings 1st part (link)

Especially read this 2 or more times and think about it:
Quote:
But more importantly, at this time when the “chess cubs” can commit the “sin” to skip stages, and start playing “Grand Masters Openings” and neglect other aspects of chess.

I’ve had, and I still have, students that find hard to understand, for example, the dynamics of the pieces, why some gambits and sacrifices of material are correct, and despite already playing in some advanced levels (1800-2000), the attacks and counterattack positions, open and dynamic, are alien to their understanding. The reason? They started their chess life playing openings like 1.c4 (English opening), 1.Nf3 (Reti Opening) and 1.d4 (Queen Pawn’s game), and they disregarded the importance of playing 1.e4, open positions, gambits, etc… They believed they could play like Karpov just like that, and now any player with an aggressive style take them out of balance, or they lose the north in positions where the action asks for a dynamic game, not the slow, positional strategy.


I just think you are having "wrong plan" especially in the openings area!!! :!:
I hope it helps. :roll:


Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:54 am
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Pawn

Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:52 am
Posts: 24
Rating: 1861 FICS
Rating Class: Class B (1600-1800)
Post Re: Colindru's Training Journal
Thank you gigenieks. :) I confess that I haven't really been thinking about openings -- I've only been getting back into chess for a month, and right now I'm focusing on tactics and analyzing positions.

As a teenager, I improved mostly by reading lots of books. I loved to study openings and played just about everything, and I did indeed play 1.e4 most of the time, playing plenty of open positions and gambits. So why am I playing 1.c4 now? I'm not sure, but I like that it leads to more positional games which seem to suit my style. Also, compared to 1.e4 and 1.d4, I feel like it's easier to just "play a game of chess" with the English, without knowing much theory.

I will focus on my openings at some point, but I don't see the point right now since they don't feel like a weakness. For now, I think I can make better use of my time with tactics and analysis practice. (Of course, I could be wrong about all this!)


Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:46 am
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