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zeitnotakrobat's training materials 
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King
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Post zeitnotakrobat's training materials
This is not about my personal progress, I will try to give links to excellent (in my opinion) training material available for free and of course only legal stuff.
I will do this for several reasons:

1) the question, where to find something in the web pops up regularly
2) I am sick of the dead links out there at many of the large catalogs

I will organize this in two posts, one containing links to text based material and the other related to databases.
From time to time I plan to update these two posts. It would be easier to do it in a wiki, but I am not familiar with that stuff and too lazy to learn...

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Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:44 am
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King
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
So let's start with the text based ressources. Most of them will be .pdf documents I guess.

1) Openings
http://studimonetari.org/edg/ pdf files on almost every gambit line, compiled from a large database using SCID opening suvrey feature

2) Middlegame


3) Endgame
http://dejascacchi.altervista.org/exercises.htm Rook & pawn ending studies.

4) Tactics
http://dejascacchi.altervista.org/exercises.htm Several thousand puzzles organized in files containing 100 each

5) General/Mixed
http://trainers.fide.com/surveys.html Excellent!!

http://www.chesscafe.com Could also be listed in all of the above. Excellent columns on all aspects of chess.

http://www.danielking.biz/downloads/ Daniel King offers 6 episodes of his 'How good is your chess' series

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Last edited by zeitnotakrobat on Sun May 27, 2012 7:09 am, edited 4 times in total.



Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:51 am
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King
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
The database stuff:


1) Openings


2) Middlegame
http://www.kenilworthchessclub.org/articles/opening/isolani/isolani-best-B.htm A lecture on the isolani, downloadable as pgn

http://www.schwachspieler.de/ Some classical books (Die Blockade, Das Schachspiel ...) as pgn files annotations in German

3) Endgame


4) Tactics
https://sites.google.com/site/gschoenbuchner/schachtaktik site is in German

http://www.schwachspieler.de/ Tactics database with >1600 puzzles, site is in German

http://icofy-blog.de/en/icofy-checkmate2/ 15 puzzles weekly as pgn and pdf

5) Annotated Games
http://www.angelfire.com/games3/smartbridge/ Links to many databases with annotated games

http://www.skhohenems.at/skh3/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=15&Itemid=47 Materials from the training sessions of one of Austrias strongest chess club. Partly variations only, also some databases with text comments

6) General/Mixed
http://www.chesscafe.com/cafegames.htm A database with annotated games of their older columns

http://www.endgame.nl/ van Reek's page

http://www.schuenemann-verlag.de/schach-magazin/index.php?include=400 The German 'Schachmagazin 64', you can get all games from past issues without comments. Positions of the puzzle column and find the best move column with solutions are included!

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Last edited by zeitnotakrobat on Thu May 09, 2013 7:11 am, edited 8 times in total.



Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:05 am
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King
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Free Chess Programs

Database Programs
http://scid.sourceforge.net/ Database Program, see Katar's videos


Engines
http://wbec-ridderkerk.nl Engine ratinglists and links to the tested engines. Most of them are free.

http://www.top-5000.nl/ ProDeo (successor of Rebel) and Fritz5.32 (which is now freeware) and a lot of other stuff about computer chess.

Firefox add-ons
https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/chess-addin-for-firefox/?src=search PGN viewer add-on, shows (only standard) PGN games or FEN positions in web-pages

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Last edited by zeitnotakrobat on Tue May 01, 2012 1:33 am, edited 2 times in total.



Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:35 pm
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King
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Large Databases for free:

http://icofy-blog.de/en/icofy-base/ Database of 4.4mio games in PGN, SCID and Chess assistant format, with regular updates.

http://katar.weebly.com/2/category/freebies/1.html Katar has created a 1.4mio games database based on the Rebel Millionbase (selecting only games of strong players, i guess?!) including the TWIC weekly updates. SCID format only.

http://www.top-5000.nl/pgn.htm The original Rebel Millionbase, 1.74mio games in pgn.

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Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:47 pm
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Material in GERMAN:

http://www.chess-tigers.de/uni_lektionen.php?rubrik=2&menuun=1 Chesstigers Frankfurt. Lektionen von der Chesstigers Universität (.pdf).

http://www.schachfreunde-brackel.de/wordpress/brackeler-schachlehrgang Brackeler Schachhefte. Aufeinander aufbauend und ähnlich der Stapenmethode, glaube ich.

http://www.sknorderstedt.de/index.htm Die Partien/Positionen des Clubtrainings inkl. Kommentare von 2003-heute

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Last edited by zeitnotakrobat on Sun May 13, 2012 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Mar 25, 2012 3:43 am
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
At the homepages of most super-tournaments you can also find annotated games played in the tournament.
The London chess classics is a good example where selected annotated games of each round are downloadable. Of course that can't compete with their fantastic livestream...

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Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:36 pm
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Thanks for sharing all this valuable info! Also, Chess Beauties will returning soon- I haven't forgotten about the position you submitted- thanks!

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Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:38 pm
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Guess the move training with ChessHero

I recommend the freeware "ChessHero" http://innokuo.altervista.org/chesshero.html to do guess the move or tactics training. It allows for doing your exercises timed or untimed either against an engine (toga II is built-in, but any other can be used) or against the moves played in the game. It has an archive function which I think is extremely useful for reviewing your training progress, because you can review how long it took you to find a move and what was the evaluation of your move (I think this is one very good argument to use offline training instead of e.g. chesstempo, where your only feedback is an imaginary rating). You can sort the archive table for all columns, e.g. used time, evaluation, occurence ... to find your weaknesses. I did a little video to show the features of the program http://www.chessvideos.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10411.

Chesshero works with profiles containig one or more .PGN files. It cannot save games, only a copy function is available, and working with databases is not possible. So you have to create your training files in another software like Scid, Chessbase or whatever you prefer or download the files.

My suggestion is to use:
Fred Reinfeld's 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations http://www.chessville.com/downloads/downloads_tactical_exercises.htm for the start of your tactics training. You can find many more of these databases freely available in the web.

For endgame training you can get some databases:
http://www.chessopolis.com/chessfiles/pgn_collections.htm

A page where you can find the bare games/positions from chessbooks without any text, is:
http://www.gambitchess.com/index2.htm
To use such files can be helpful in case you own the book and after working through it, repeating and practicing will help to control whether you really understood it.

For such purposes I recommend profiles with only one file.

Be aware that these databases have been created by humans and might contain mistakes. In the video I used a database from there and it contains several positions, where a piece or pawn is missing and even theoretically impossible positions are included (a good reason to use a program with built-in engine... :D ).

You can of course do opening training or endgame training with ChessHero, however, in that case you should change the engine, as I realized that some very long combinations cannot be found by the engine due to horizon effect, but increasing the thinking time might also solve that problem.

One thing I noticed, is that the random generator of Chesshero is not very good as some positions in my tactics training occured several times and others didn't. Maybe that issue is due to my database containing only 600 positions.

For trainers ChessHero is also very interesting, because a set of positions/games can be provided to complement a lesson (which is always too short...).

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Sat May 12, 2012 6:16 am
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Found two interesting Programs yesterday and even though I didn't have time to test them, you can find an overview below.
Reptor and Tarrasch at this site:
http://www.triplehappy.com/downloads.html

Tarrasch is a lightweight GUI for UCI engines with basic .pgn database capabilities like loading and saving. One very nice feature is the simple commenting function. You can simply type your comment into the game window and change it into a variation if it contains moves or vice versa. You can also click on a variation given by the engine and with "capture one" it directly appears as variation in the game.

Reptor is a training program (also very lightweight!) mainly intended for opening repertoires. It has no built-in engine and works with .pgn files, which must be converted to .rep files with the included converter. It has no editing functionality, this has to be done with a real database program and at first glance you have to do most of the work yourself unlike in the "ChessPositionTrainer", but Reptor is also based on trees, however the tree cannot be exported. You can do guess the move training, but in contrast to "ChessHero" all moves must be included (no bare FEN files).
An interesting feature is the movie mode where the program automatically plays through the game with adjustable speed (haven't seen this in free chess software before!).
UPDATE: Reptor has the important disadvantage that you cannot resize it's window or configure the look or something else.

The programs might be quite interesting for someone having old hardware, like an old notebook.

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Last edited by zeitnotakrobat on Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon May 21, 2012 1:30 pm
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King
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
How to chose an Opening in 10 steps

I finally decided to create a 'real and competetive' openig repertoire for myself as I was not happy to get only a marginal advatage with white after the opening. After some thinking I came to the following 10 steps, knowing that this will be quite time consuming.

1) When thinking of learning a new opening for white I think a good starting point is to play through let's say 25 master games where white won to get a first impression. Then play through 25 games where white lost to see the drawbacks. In both cases examine how the games where lost/won.

2) Then look at the statistics in a large database (of good quality!), how often has it been played throughout the years and what where the results in the particular lines you consider to play (is it out of fashion? if yes, look at the latest games to see why!, have some moves/lines been refuted?).

3) Chose your main line and sidelines based on that and create something like an opening report in SCID or an opening tree and look at the different options for white in that opening report to narrow your choice.

4) Look up the opening in an opening encyclopedia and compare with your choices.

5) Examine the possible pawn structures that result from your chosen lines.

6) Analyze more master games with focus on piece placement in the opening and typical tactical motifs. in opening and middlegame. For this point also games between players of different strength are helpful (a rating difference of 300 points seems enough)

7) Create a database with games of main line and sidelines and only now let an engine automatically analyze the games. Be aware that an engine might deliver a lot of crap variations and bad evaluations if the thinking time is not long enough. To me it seems like engine variations with more than 12 ply are seldom trustworthy.

8) Play through the games doing an interactive analysis with a second engine and sort out material that is not useful.

9) Memorize the particular variations and play games for practising.

10) Deeply analyze your practice games and adapt your repertoire choices.

Of course you can simply buy an opening book and study it, but you will have to do some points of the above anyway. Also some opening books chose lines as main lines which you don't want to play, they contain errors and some may include only little original analysis. In principle you will always need at least two books for learning an opening: one containing text and more general explanations and one that contains a good analysis of the lines. I have found both in one book only very seldomly.

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Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:29 am
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King
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Recently I have been reading a lot on chess improvement and training plans.

A page that I can highly recommend is "Captain Evans Chess Journal"
http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/chess/
The author has spend a lot of effort to create this and there are many valuable recommendations. The sections on pawn structures and on formulating a plan are real nuggets.
It has a not been updated since 2004(?) and the so some links to external pages are broken (especially in his Phase4 section).


There has been already some discussion on some of the stuff people recommend in the web http://www.chessvideos.tv/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10001.
The links of that discussion:
http://chess-training.blogspot.com/
http://hilmichess.blogspot.com/

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Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:12 am
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
If your really going to do all this work, is there any chance I can have your autograph before you become famous and start charging?

More seriously, you need to apportion your time.


Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:36 am
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King
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
Well, Pobble you might be right.
But my "how to learn an opening" post should be understood as general guideline to expertise in a specific opening. For me some of the points above will not be very time consuming. I have enough knowledge on pawn structures after working several times through the excellent books "Pawn structure chess" by Soltis and "Winning pawn structures" by Baburin and also several hundred tournament games.
For me the most difficult point will be the memorization of the lines.

My knowledge of openings is similar to yours, especially with white I am a "Jack of all" as you wrote some time ago. But as my rating is stuck between 2220 and 2280 for some years now, I will either have to accept that or do something to get over 2300 finally.

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Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:32 pm
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Post Re: zeitnotakrobat's training materials
My problem is not so much memory as keeping up interest - I'm too easily side tracked. You need Roy Castle singing in your ear " dedication, Ohh - dedication, that's what you need ". Sorry, I'm showing my age :lol:

Here are some tips for memory, you may are may not know.

1. Start at the end and work back. If you aiming for a certain position then learn the lines ' from ' that position, working your way backwards down the tree.
2. Most line deviations in books are positional. Such line sequences rarely change the nature of the position. Such unforcing lines are the hardest to keep in long term memory. - see 3!
3. Concentrate on learning junctures which are of a ' forcing ' nature - captures etc. They are also easy to remember. A forcing sequence is a game changer and is the main point to be commited to memory. I'ts surprising when you look at a page full of analysis which looks impossible to remember, only to discover most of it is just filler when using the above criteria.
4. Understanding aided ( which you already posses ) plus knowledge of critical junctures is the aim.
5. Be realistic. There are two types of opening preperation. A.When you can prepare extra specific for a known opponent. B.An unknown opponent or one with whom there is no preperation time like in open tournaments.
6. Nobody else is as good or as well prepared in their own openings as they would like you to think. Even GMs just ' wing ' many sidelines, as only much weaker opponents would play such non critical lines against them. eg, See Robson - Onischuk from the recent US championship.

Sorry if I'm telling you how to suck eggs.
Good luck with your adventure.


Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:34 pm
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