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Snits' Training Journal 
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Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Training Update
I've spent more time doing tactics at chess.com . I really like the interface they have created for tactics training. It is time based like CTS, but you can get partial credit. I have started doing some of the Chess Mentor lessons as well, which are lessons using the 'determine the move' technique.

Monday night I was exhausted and lost to 2 lower rated players, which is a very rare thing. Prior to then I had lost 1 game to a player rated 11 points below me. I lost on time in both games. I was just thinking too slow. One game was a drawn ending, and the other game my position was worse. The good thing about running a chess club is I am playing every week. The bad thing is that I have to play even when I don't feel good.

Last night I went 1-1. Crushing the friend of one of the people I lost to Monday night, and losing a game to an A player.

Arriving in the mail today was Michael Stean's Simple Chess and Edmar Mednis' Strategic Chess: Mastering the Closed Game.

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Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:30 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
I managed to get some study time in tonight. I have continued doing tactics exercises daily on chess.com. I did some opening work tonight, working on the Austrian Attack in response to the Pirc, and working on a response to the Petroff which I ran into for the first time on Tuesday night. I am still trying to decide between the closed Sicilian, 2.c3, or continuing with the Grand Prix Attack. Most likely one of the first two options. I want to go through the Starting Out book for the Closed Sicilian, and the Chess Explained book for the 2.c3 Sicilian. I did some work on my response to the Alekhine's Defense.

I wrapped up the night by finishing going through Stockton's copy of C.J.S. Purdy's Fine Art of Chess Annotation. Next up is Stean's Simple Chess, and then Neil McDonald's and Steve Giddin's game collections. Some time after that I will probably go through Strategic Chess. I actually read it before from the library and enjoyed, but didn't get to spend as much time on it as I would have liked. It is a wonderful book.

I try to have 1 game collection book, 1 tactics related book, and 1 improvement book going at a time.

For tactics I have been working through Dan Heisman's Back to Basics: Tactics and the current improvement book is Silman's The Amateur's Mind. I have also been reading sections of Nunn's Secrets of Practical Chess.

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USCF - 1456


Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:06 am
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
No one showed up for the club tonight. I worked through some of Stean's Simple Chess while waiting for others to arrive. I have continued to do my tactics training on chess.com and have also done a few of the Chess Mentor lessons there. I really Stean's book so far and I am looking forward to going through the rest of it, and probably reading it again in the future.

Since turnout for the club hasn't been that good and seems to be falling off I imagine we will shut it down next month. Monday night does not seem to be a good night for chess. We might look at doing it a different night, or perhaps in a different location. That will encourage me to make the drive north for the Sunday session, which features a lot of players of varying strength.

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USCF - 1456


Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:36 am
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
I went 1-1 last night at our monthly G/60 tournament. I crushed a lower rated player in 24 moves, and then botched a winning position against a player with about the same rating as me. Overall I'm not doing that great this tournament. I have now gone 0.5/3.0 in games where I had a distinct advantage. That equates to about a 100 point rating swing at the moment (dropping to 1439 instead of going up to 1532). I will post the loss later tonight.

I'm still doing my daily routine of tactics solving on chess.com, and I am continuing to work through Simple Chess. I received a gift from my wife this morning of the Olms edition My Best Games by Anatoly Karpov.

After discussing things with my coach/chess club organizer we have decided to shut down the Monday night club due to lack of participation. We might look at running one down here on a different night at some point in the future.

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USCF - 1456


Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:13 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Here is the game from last Tuesday where I had the advantage and I threw it away.



I think instead of 16..Bxf3 which I liked because it ripped open his King's position, Ng5 might have been better. 18.f4 seems bad, as I continue to expose his King and open up lines.

25..Rf6 I think prior to this move I have a good position. I really should play 25..f3 here. I think when I was analyzing it I gave him 2 moves in a row. It is still playable the next move as well. The whole line of Rf6, Bxf2, Nh4 might trap a weak player, but against a decent player it is a waste. Even then I think I am still okay until the brilliant 28..Qe7 dropping the N now that the g pawn is pinned to my K. I tried for a bit longer to see if I could pin his Q to the K, and probably had a way to an even position with 36..e4 attacking the Q. Overall, I'm very disappointed with the way I handled that position. Moves 18 - 24 seemed really good, but then I self destructed.

Still doing plenty of tactics on chess.com and doing some of the lessons in their web based Chess Mentor tool.
I have continued working through Simple Chess, and I have also started to work my way through a collection of Morphy's games using Valeri Beim's Paul Morphy - A Modern Perspective. I have been doing the slower analyze and pick a move method, and writing it down for this work. I was surprised that I found a couple of moves that Beim recommended over Morphy's. It has been pretty fun so far. I would like to work my way forward through the great players like this. For general game collections I plan on doing the quicker predict-a-move method to get exposed to more games/positions quickly.

My plan for today is to spend some more time on Morphy, and then work on endgames.

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USCF - 1456


Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:39 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Well, I managed to win the U1750 prize in our monthly tournament tonight. My first game I got a forfeit, and my 2nd game I won against a Class B/C player (recently broke 1600, but has fallen back down). I'm really disgusted with some of my games this tournament. If I had won the 3 games that I had better positions in but failed to convert, I would have broken 1600 tonight and into Class B. Unfortunately I only took 1 draw out of those 3 games.

Here is the game I played tonight.



Blackmar Diemer Gambit.

I was looking to try out the Chigorin Defense, but I knew he would almost certainly play the BDG. I had looked at a couple lines briefly so I wasn't in too bad of shape even though he would be in book for quite a while.

6..Bf5 Theory is Bh5.

8..c6 Theory is e6.

18.Bxd7+ I don't know if that was a good trade, since my N is not very well placed and that bishop is pretty strong.

22..Rh4 I liked this move blockading the h pawn.

Instead of 26..e4 I should have played Rd8+ .

30.Kd5 draw offered. I comtemplated accepting, but I thought my kingside pawns were pretty good and my time was in much better shape than his so I declined and played Rfh8.

He resigned after 34..Rxg5 because of the threat of f4+ with a discovered check and attacking the Rook. All he really needed to do though was play Ra3 and attack my weak queenside pawns.

I have continued my tactics work on chess.com . It can be frustrating at times if my wife is working with our new dog or something, which makes it hard to concentrate but is good practice. When that happens I should just take a break, but I keep on solving exercises and my rating can make big swings. Yesterday I hit a new high of 1952, and I am usually in the 1700-1900 range, but when something like that happens I can drop a load of points fast, and then have to work to get it back up.

I have also continued to some lessons in Chess Mentor on the chess.com site. I really like the lessons so far.

I took some time last night and quickly read through Edmar Mednis' How to play Good Opening Moves which is an intro to opening principles. It is a quick read, and not too bad, but the translation from Descriptive to Algebraic did not go well. As a result there a many errors in the book. (If anyone from McKay's Chess Library is tuning in, send me free drafts of the books and I will be happy to check them for errors like this :) )

This afternoon I did some opening prep, but didn't get much accomplished as I got sidetracked with the dog.

I received another book today as a gift from my mother-in-law. Charles Hertan's Forcing Chess Moves. It looks like it will be really good.

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USCF - 1456


Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:51 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Training Update for 7/1/2008
During my lunch break at work I did some tactics on chess.com and did horribly dropping over 200 points down to about 1700. Overall though it has been going okay on there. I set a new high for me on Monday of 1965. I have also noticed that I am starting to truly chunk some of the tactical/mating patterns, meaning that I see it as a whole rather than as the individual moves, which is pretty cool.

Last night I started with spending some time organizing my study schedule.

Then I spent some time working through Starting Out: the Closed Sicilian. I have been working through the 6.f4 section.

I finished up the night by continuing to work through Simple Chess. I imagine I will go through this book a couple times as I have really enjoyed it.

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USCF - 1456


Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:05 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Actually played chess for the first time in almost a month today. Very rusty. My brain seemed like it was stuck in first gear. Definitely not a good thing when we are playing G/30. I haven't studied in over 2 weeks probably as well. Need to get back on the ball.

My first game was against our club's resident national master.



I burned a lot of time in the opening. In the end it seemed pretty even, but he had a lot of time left. I should have grabbed the a7 pawn when I had the chance.



In this game we both ended up in time trouble. I think he might have even flagged before me, but I had a brain fart and looked away from his clock to look at the board. Not all the moves are here, but I believe I had a winning endgame when he called my flag.

Oh well. Now I know how quickly I can get out of shape if I don't study and play.

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USCF - 1456


Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:09 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Well another 8-9 weeks have passed and I have been caught up in work and not able to focus on my chess at all. :( It seems that with economic downturns, people always get laid off, then fewer people have to handle the same work load that the team had before.

Our dog also makes it difficult to focus when I do try to study. She is always wanting attention.

I decided to make a conscious effort starting this week to at least get back into my study routine and make sure I work on my game regardless of work load. I need the break from work anyways, but also need to focus on my game if I am going to keep my current level let alone advance further.

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USCF - 1456


Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:50 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Training Update 10/06/2008
Did some tactics training today on chess.com . For the most part I like their interface, but it can be annoying sometimes because it doesn't work properly, either due to network issues or javascript issues. So you can end up with a string of skipped or failed exercises and drop a couple hundred points in the blink of an eye. Overall I like the interface though when it does work so I keep using it since the rating isn't really the important part anyways (even though it is fun to try and break 2000).

I also spent some time working through a few Morphy games from Valeri Beim's Paul Morphy: A Modern Perspective. I will probably get in a couple more before the night is over. I have just finished the part one of the book, and now Morphy is heading to Europe. The 3 games I did so far today were all from a blindfold simul (yikes!) Morphy played in New Orleans after the First American Chess Congress.

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USCF - 1456


Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:34 am
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Whew, I guess it has been a long time. I haven't been nearly as active with chess as I'd like to be the past 14 months. Work has been keeping me busy, and when that hasn't my pregnant wife has been keeping me busy. I have still managed to get a fair amount of tactics training in on chess.com, but I haven't not been playing over the board or studying much since the Spring.

I have managed to clean the slate of projects at work for the time being, so I am starting to get some regular training going again. Hopefully I will manage to keep it going at some level even when work starts to inevitably get busy again. At least I should try to do some training each week when that is occurring even if it isn't much. That and daily tactics training will hopefully keep my brain focused on chess. More than anything I need to get back in the habit of weekly over the board chess. When I was playing weekly against much stronger opponents is when I had my greatest burst of improvement.

I have been working through Neil McDonald's Art of Planning in Chess: Move by Move, which seems to be a nice collection of games.

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USCF - 1456


Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:26 pm
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
Posts: 71
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Wow, it has been a long time since I have updated here. About 6 weeks after the last post my daughter arrived 8 weeks prematurely to our surprise. The last year has been pretty hectic, and while I have had good periods where I have spent time studying, I have been sorely lacking in the practical application of that knowledge in games. That is something I hope to change in the coming year. I still manage to solve problems on chesstempo on a daily basis, but I try to limit myself to 10-20 problems in a day. Currently I am working through Tarrasch's 300 Games. I am around game 55 at this point.

One other thing I am working to change is to focus more on training and less on studying. I have recently read a good portion of Rowson's Chess for Zebras, and Soltis' surprisingly decent while poorly named Studying Chess Made Easy. They both make a good case about what you need to really focus on is improving your skill not your knowledge. Cramming your head full of information isn't going to help if you are unable to apply it to the task at hand. The Soltis book gives a lot of good ideas for how to train different aspects of your game.

Since getting in over the board games has been difficult the past couple of years with family and work, I am thinking of joining the T4545 league on ICC to get in some chess with long time controls. I also need to start playing blitz.

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Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:14 am
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 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Welcome back :D

Rowson's "Chess for Zebras" is an awesome book, I think. I like how he approaches chess and learning in general via a psychological and philosophical point of view.
I am sort of in the same situatin. Last year chess wasnt really a topic for me and I am now trying to get back into it. At least I have regular league games but I also must get back into tournament play. So, good luck for both of us :P

Erm...btw,....arriving 8 weeks earlier sounds like a real surprise !

P.S.: some advertising : Chessvideos.tv tourney with 15+15 to get back into blitz ? ;)

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Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:44 am
Knight
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:34 am
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
Rating: 1441
Rating Class: Class C (1400-1600)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
gentlewhisper wrote:
Welcome back :D

Rowson's "Chess for Zebras" is an awesome book, I think. I like how he approaches chess and learning in general via a psychological and philosophical point of view.
I am sort of in the same situatin. Last year chess wasnt really a topic for me and I am now trying to get back into it. At least I have regular league games but I also must get back into tournament play. So, good luck for both of us :P

Erm...btw,....arriving 8 weeks earlier sounds like a real surprise !

P.S.: some advertising : Chessvideos.tv tourney with 15+15 to get back into blitz ? ;)


Once I finish Chess for Zebras I plan on tackling Seven Deadly Chess Sins. I have really enjoyed what he has to say.

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Fri Nov 19, 2010 11:59 am
King

Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:57 pm
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Rating Class: Novice (<1200)
 Re: Snits' Training Journal
Is Mr.Ivanchuk your idol? Keep up the good work :)

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Healthy holidays to us all :)


Sat Nov 20, 2010 4:01 am
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