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tygertyger's training journal 
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Pawn

Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:12 pm
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 tygertyger's training journal
Purpose:
I am preparing for tournament play and so wish to chart my progress. I will signup for my first official OTB tournament when I achieve a rating of 1900 on chess.com (I feel this is a decent number to shoot for in terms of tactical awareness and positional understanding). I will attempt to update this at least once a week, but alas, am notorious for my spottiness.

What I do currently:

[u]Tactics[/u]
Chess Tactics Server
My goal on this site is to master the basic tactical patterns. I have, in the past, read more basic manuals on the recurring tactical themes, but I need to be able to spot them quickly and accurately.

My goal: My current high is 1422 and I average around 1400. I want to get over 1500 in the near future, however, my current focus is getting my accuracy to over 90% for each session.

DejaSchacci
This is a collection of tactical puzzles taken from actual Master games. They, on the whole, are much more difficult than what I see on CTS. They serve to stretch my calculation and vision abilities.
My Goal: There are 300 easy problems which I have already gone through (achieving about 50% success) and I am currently working my way through them again. I plan on going through these 300 at least three times. However, after I finish this round, I will begin going through more difficult problems.
(as a note: there are 300 easy problems, 900 Medium, 1600 advanced, 500 hard, 100 very hard)


[u]Opening[/u]
For White: English

Against 1.d4: KID
1.e4: Pirc

Learning relevant themes of each opening by playing over master games and looking up opening mistakes after my games.
(also, for fun, playing blitz in order to work on my openings and quick tactical sight.

[u]Middlegame/Positional Chess[/u]

Finish Silman's [u]How to Reassess Your Chess[/u]
Playing over as many master games as possible (two different ways)
1. Playing over them quickly trying to figure out the plans and any tactical shots and looking at any unclear variations. For this I am using the [i]My Great Predecessors Series[/i] because the analysis is clear and I really like the history Kasparov brings to the table.
2. Creating a notebook wherein I play solitaire chess with a specific player (I haven't decided who yet, but it is down to Alekhine, Spassky, Bronstein, Morphy, Marshall. It really depends on which has the best book for my needs. If you all have any suggestions feel free!)

[u]Endgame[/u]
Even though I know that I can improve in every part of my game, I have, in the past, studied the endgame more than any of the others. So for now I will focus on tactics and master games.

[u]Playing[/u]
OTB play is pretty scant where I am now, but I have a couple of friends who are about equal to my strength and I usually get one good, long game in a week.

I mainly play on chess.com. My goal there is to take each of my games seriously and not blitz them out. To that end I am going to try and spend 5-10 minutes per move and cut down on my number of games. I have chosen 1900 as a goal not because I think that would be my actual rating (i know they are inflated), but because it seems that currently when I play my best chess I am still just out of reach of those players.

With my actual games, I will annotate all of my OTB games and post them here as well as all of my chess.com losses.


[u]Conclusion[/u]

If you ever have any suggestions please feel free to give them, my purpose in creating this blog is so that I can improve and you all can keep me accountable.

Best,
tygertyger


Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:49 am
Rook

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:58 am
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
tyger - that looks like a very good training plan to me - you seem to be covering all your bases. I look forward to following along - esp your opening prep as those are some openings I play.

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Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:03 am
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
Hi Tyger,

When doing tactics problems, I think it's important to spend as much time as possible to find the solution. Usually, you "know" when you find it. The temptation is to look at it for a while and if a solution is not obvious then to make your best guess. But this is not good. Chess tactics are about "truth" on the chessboard so the time taken to find that truth will pay dividends. I mention this because your stated 50% success rate in solving the easy problems is really pretty low. I'm only about 1700 but I found that by sticking with problems for as long as it takes (sometimes an hour or more on one problem) really makes a difference. On Chesstempo.com I applied this strategy and my tactics rating shot up to over 2000 in about 6 weeks. Sure, I got some problems wrong but those were usually the problems that had an attractive "try" that turned out to be flawed in some subtle way- and most of those problems were rated 2000 and above. The net result is that my ability to calculate improved quite a bit. I haven't played OTB in some time but when I do, I expect that my rating will jump.

Good luck on your training regimen!

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Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:04 am
King
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
I'd go with Marshall, but you won't see any Pirc, KID, or English openings in his games.

Also, why not just play OTB tournaments now? There is no such thing as being "ready". The best way is just to dive in. It's a learning experience.

@kamus: it depends on what ur trying to improve. taking forever on puzzles will improve calculation, yes, but this is not so efficient in terms of improving pattern recognition (which depends on mass of repetitions). Personally i'd rather use that hour to do about 100 easier puzzles instead of one hard one. Even for tough puzzles, as in Volokitin's "Perfect Your Chess" i set a timer for 10 mins each. You'll rarely be able to think for more than 15 mins or so in a real game anyhow-- so it seems odd to spend more than that on a practice puzzle.

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Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:08 am
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
I see what you're saying Katar. I think both are important- pattern recognition and calculation. For pattern recognition I use the CTS site where the problems are timed (and a bit easier in general) but I use the Chess Tempo problems for calculation primarily. The thing is, that forcing myself to see every (well, most) variations and work them through to the end has resulted in an increase in speed of my calculation. Also, though an hour is a long time, there are critical positions in some games that may require that much calculation- GM literature is replete with examples of players using lots of time on one position. Although that can lead to time trouble if not managed well, seeing that much often gives one the ability to very quickly calculate subsequent positions since you've already done the work.

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Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:32 am
Pawn

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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
To Studentofchess: thanks for the comment! Hopefully you can give me some insight on the openings, because I know that I have a lot to learn!

To Kamus and Katar: I think both of you have it right in different ways. I may have not said it (I meant to), but I am currently doing CTS in an effort to improve pattern recognition and the other tactics set for calculation! The first time I went through I didn't do so well, but now I am trying to visualize each problem in terms of a real game situation, I frequently spend quite a while on each move and only look at the answer if after about 30minutes and not sure I have found it. My accuracy has shot up to more than 80% on them using this method. In my next post I will update you all on my previous progress so far. Additionally, the "easy" problems on Deja Schacchi are way more difficult than the hardest I have ever seen on CTS. So it seems like there is a nice balance between playing with the clock ticking and and playing solely for "Chess Truth".

To katar alone: I really like Marshall, he is a very interesting player, but I don't know much about his collection would it be instructive enough? Is it in Algebraic Notation? As for his not being in my opening, I can see how that might be an issue except that I am using other means to study the opening. I am really using the notebook to emulate the players style and improve my calculation, so I am planning on going through the opening fairly quickly. Why do you suggest Marshall over all the others?
As for playing in tournaments now, I currently live is a chess wasteland. I am moving here in a few months to a more chess friendly environment, so I have decided to use this period as a "tournament preparation" period. If my the time I move I have reached my goal, I may decide to go ahead and enter a tournament anyway.

Thanks for the comments!

tyger

oops! I meant to provide you all with the link to Deja Schacchi! Here it is: http://dejascacchi.altervista.org/exercises.htm


Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:43 am
King
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
tygertyger wrote:
To katar alone: I really like Marshall, he is a very interesting player, but I don't know much about his collection would it be instructive enough? Is it in Algebraic Notation? As for his not being in my opening, I can see how that might be an issue except that I am using other means to study the opening. I am really using the notebook to emulate the players style and improve my calculation, so I am planning on going through the opening fairly quickly. Why do you suggest Marshall over all the others?


Marshall's book is descriptive only. I've read 90 of the 140 games. Instructive enough? Marshall was world top 10 for many years and put his heart and soul into this book. His style is very active and straightforward and thus good to emulate. For entertainment value it is hard to top. Frank becomes almost like a friend with his good humor and his friendly personality shines thru. No wonder Frank got his friends to purchase and fund the Marshall chess club building in high-priced Manhattan.

Alekhine's style is quite "heavy" and deep, perhaps a bit full of himself although deservedly so. I've read his volume 2. AA plays odd-looking moves backed up by heavy calculation. It is essential reading, but Marshall is "lighter" and thus better to start with.

Bronstein is essential too and patient, a master teacher. His verbal explanations are unsurpassed. You can't go wrong with anything by Bronstein and Alekhine who are the all-time great annotators. I've read about half of the leviathan Zurich 1953 but none of the Sorcerer's Apprentice (yet). Zurich 1953 is pitched slightly below Alekhine and above Marshall. I have to warn u Zurich1953 is mostly closed positions, Nimzo-Indians etc... Marshall is all wide open games so i'd start there.

Spassky does not even have a quality game collection that i know of-- at least not one authored by Boris himself. Avoid the one by van Reek which is one of the worst chess books of all time. Google it for reviews.

Morphy is ok. I've read half the little book by Beim, but it's not that inspiring to be honest. You (or i) could blow thru Rosario's book in an afternoon which is why i've not touched it. Marshall had a similar so-called "American" style (heavily tactical and Europeans would say "superficial") so i think if u read Marshall u can skip Morphy.

FWIW i was also 1700+ after one year of playing. I've read probably 20-30 complete chess middle game books cover to cover-- trust me it is an effective way to improve if u can make it fun and not a chore. (Same thing with CV.tv videos.)

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Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:45 am
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
It's hard to believe that that there isn't a decent collection of Spassky's games out there other than the horrible book by Von Reek that Katar mentioned. Was ever an author so aptly named? Spassky's games are a treasure!

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Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:37 pm
Rook

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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
Hey guys, which site is the CTS tactics site?

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Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:44 pm
Pawn

Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:12 pm
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
chess.emrald.net


Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:49 pm
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
Another Pirc player. I love that opening :D


Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:41 am
Pawn

Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:12 pm
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 Update:8/02/10
So I haven't been very good about updating my training blog, but rest assured I have been training!

Actually, I was recently down in AZ hanging out with sfarmer29 and I have officially started my USCF career! I will talk a little bit about the psychology of tournament chess and how different it is compared to stuff on the net of casual games. Suffice to say though I didn't perform as well as a would have liked I am totally hooked!

What I am gonna bring you today is a few of the tactics I have seen in recent training games! So without further ado:

Position one:
Black to move and he plays 1...e2?? How does white win?

[img]http://www.chessvideos.tv/bimg/mji75o4h2lw.png[/img]


Pos. 2
Black plays 1...Rxd7??
[img]http://www.chessvideos.tv/bimg/19on3srregrb.png[/img]

Pos. 3
Black plays 1...Ng4?
[img]http://www.chessvideos.tv/bimg/3f4b504u0qkgs.png[/img]

Pos. 4
1...Qxf3??
[img]http://www.chessvideos.tv/bimg/32y6z7ts498g4.png[/img]

Pos. 5
This final position is a from my first tournament and unlike the others I fell into this one! It will definitely make my hall of shame!
Luckily for me my opponent didn't see it and I went on to win the game. After 1. Re3?? black plays 1...h5?? What could he have done to basically end the game on the spot?

[img]http://www.chessvideos.tv/bimg/160bzu4t74ht8.png[/img]

Well I am going to try and update at least once a week on here (hopefully more). Coming up in the near future: I will be posting my own annotations to my tournament games. (I currently have the first full tournament done, but I need to type them up).

Watch out for Queen traps,
tyger


Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:06 pm
King

Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:20 am
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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

where are the annotations and updates!?


Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:30 pm
King

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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
Merry Christmas everybody :)

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Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:07 am
Pawn

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 Re: tygertyger's training journal
Thanks for the concern I have had limited internet access for the last several months so I have been doing it the old fashioned way with pen and ink and whatnot. I will definitely try and make an effort to post more though!

Happy Holidays!!!


Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:27 am
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