Thursday, March 31, 2005


More TCT

After 1000 + problems I think mastering TCT is going to be a piece of cake. I really am at the perfect level for TCT, as some of the problems are tricking me ("ARG!" and "DOH!") but I can usually understand the answer quickly. I think it's essential to not screw up the simple tactics, especially before heading to more messy and ambiguous positions. Nonetheless, I still am working a little on the Sierawan's Professional Tactics problems. I figure it's best to cross-train by taking brief trips to GM playland.


TCT Circle 1
Result step 1: Average score 97 %
Result step 2: Average score 93 %
Not completed exercises: step 3 , lessons: [ ]
Result step 3: Average score 93 %

In circle 2 of problems 204-218 of 1000

Monday, March 28, 2005


Quick Note

TCT is going right along.
Result step 1: Average score 97 %
Result step 2: Average score 93 %
Not completed exercises: step 3 , lessons:
[ ]
Result step 3: Average score 92 %

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Yeah, Yeah...

I have another brain part to add to the list. It's the one that says, "yeah, yeah, ... I know that". Normally silent, it conveniently asserts itself after I first get a problem wrong, go get a hint, think about it for awhile, and then figure out the correct move. I say don't believe that part or take it seriously! It knows of tactics, and that's about it. It's my inner patzer, and it can't play worth sh*t.

Now to pick on another grandmaster. If you have Sierawan's Winning Chess Tactics, the answer on test 134 is not quite the best line. I was thinking I had it, read the answer and found he started in a different move order which made me think I miscalculated, and later discovered that the computer liked my original move order better. Arg. I'll post my line in the comments.


TCT Circle 1 Progress:
Not completed exercises: step 1 , lessons: [ ]
Result step 1: Average score 97 %
Not completed exercises: step 2 , lessons: [ 11.12. ]
Result step 2: Average score 93 %

In circle 2 of problems 204-218

Tuesday, March 22, 2005



I just discovered an opening trap. It's an easy one :).

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d5?! 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. e4 Nf6 5. Bd3

Black to Move

Answer in comments

TCT Circle 1 Progress:
Not completed exercises: step 1 , lessons: [ ]
Result step 1: Average score 97 %
Not completed exercises: step 2 , lessons: [ 11.12. ]
Result step 2: Average score 94 %

In circle 2 of problems 204-218



TASC Chess Tutor, which I'm going to start calling TCT, is proving itself worthy just as Sancho and Tempo said. I now think it is the quintessential have a life while your learning tactics software. I have found a way to track overall performance - it's in the memo pad of the "userinfo" window when you start the program. I will start posting results from TCT to blog my progress. I still don't know how many circles I am going to do with it yet, but I suspect it warrants at least three.

Counting the instructional questions the discussion sections, this program really has over 2600 problems. I have counted the number of problems in TCT that were not related to the most basic movement of the pieces and writing short and long notation and got this:

Level one = 390
Level two = 470
Level three = 530
Level four = 570
Level five = 580

2540 problems total

The worst part about TCT is getting so many right, one after another. That makes me rush ahead and stop carefully assessing each position.
TCT Circle 1 Progress:
Not completed exercises: step 1 , lessons: [ ]
Result step 1: Average score 97 %
Not completed exercises: step 2 , lessons: [ 10.11.12. ]
Result step 2: Average score 93 %

In circle 2 of problems 204-218

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Consistently Inconsistent

Just like everyone else, I am reporting in a less than 100 percent accuracy performance on problems I obviously know. Unlike CT-Art level 10, Level 2 of TASC is real easy, and it unfortunately encourages a blitz-like mentality. I am usually getting 9/10 perfect in group after group of problems. After I see the answer I usually feel like Homer Simpson ("DOH").

One TASC Chess Tutor bug that I need to track is that if you exit a certain way it forgets your progress. I don't know exactly how to recreate this yet, but I make sure to exit via their "exit button" so Windows remembers my place in the program.


In circle 2 of problems 204-218

Thursday, March 17, 2005


TASC Chess Tutor

I just got the CD running and it looks excellent for beginning tactics. I like how the quizzes after each new section test you on everything that was covered up to that point, like cumulative review built in. For anyone who was looking for a "level 0" to CT-Art, this is it. As far as circles are concerned, I just don't see the whole thing worth doing 7 times. Maybe I will simply repeat anything until it's 100%.

Before it arrived, I reviewed the "professional combinations" in the back of Sierawan's tactics book. I even printed out a diagram of the famous "Steinitz v. Bardeleben" combination and am drawing lines on it for every sub-variation. That's very much breaking new ground for me, and I question if I will ever fully calculate all of it in 30 seconds even with memorization. I am going to do 7 circles of those problems from the Sierawan book first, and then focus more on the new CD.

I still look at the Polgar 5334 occasionally, and if I have enough time attempt to at least get in six mate in two problems and as many mate in three afterwards as I can. I have made a decision to not do any more composed problems at this time, so I jumped to 3515 for the mate in two bookmark.


In circle 2 of problems 204-218

Monday, March 14, 2005


DLM Openings

Eventually I want to deeply prepare at least one opening that lends itself to De La Maza's approach. Here is my current list, which includes both solid and wild types:

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3

French Exchange
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. c4

King's Gambit
1. e4 e5 2. f4

Sicilian Defense, Alapin Variation
1. e4 c5 2. c3

Sicilian Defense, Grand Prix Attack
1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6/d6 3. f4

Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation
1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 cxd5 exd5

Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5

Elephant (as Black)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d5

King's Gambit Declined, Falkbeer Counter Gambit (as Black)
1. e4 e5 2. f4 d5

Hennig-Schara Gambit (as Black)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4

Queen's Gambit Accepted (as Black)
1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4

Scandinavian aka Center Counter Game (as Black)
1. e4 d5

Soller Gambit (as Black)
1. d4 e5 2. dxe5 Nc6 3. Nf3 f6

Some of these come from comments by Temposchlucker, Chris Kilgore, and Margriet. The rest I gathered myself.


Completed circle 7 of problems 160-204.

Sunday, March 13, 2005



Here's a little problem that came up in my last chess vision game:

White to Move


circle 6 of problems 160-208. This set of problems has shown me how vast the endgame is. A few of these problems end in winning or drawn positions that I seriously doubt I would play perfectly from that point on. At least the concepts are going to be familiar :-). Ultimately I will need more endgame study if I stay in the same types of openings, probably after TASC chess tutor.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Kasparov Resigns

...from professional chess that is. He is still going to play for fun and continue writing. link

After recommendations from other noble Knights, I have decided next to work with "TASC Chess CD 2-Chess Tutorials
". I doubt the entire CD is worth doing 7 circles on, so I will need to determine just where my level is with it. I certainly don't want to repeat the experience of frustration others have had with other software (cough, cough). Other titles that I was considering was ChessBase's School of Elementary Tactics, Renko's Intensive Tactics Course and Killer Moves.
Completed circle 5 of problems 160-204.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


DLM Opening

I think I have an example of an opening that fits the bill: C01 French Exchange.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. c4

Immediately pawns are traded and it seems to improve the mobility of the pieces, just like in DLM's article. I tried this only once last year as White but just wasn't prepared for the ensuing tactical showdown.

I have seen a few examples at and in Chessmaster lectures. Both Maurice Ashley and Joshua Waitzkin have played this with success.

I am considering preparing an opening that follows his advice, just to give it a shot. Unfortunately, playing 1. e4 in no way guarantees ... e6, so I am wondering whether or not this French Exchange is worth studying. The King's Gambit is a possibility, although there always is black's Sicilian response of 1...c5. The thing is I do not have a history of accurate gambit play. My regular White opening is Queen's gambit, which arguably does not gambit much of anything. I might be better off preparing a Black defense that follows DLM''s advice for e4 or d4.

Completed circle 4 of problems 160-208.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


DLM Opening Question

Several Knights here have posted their thoughts on openings recently. I certainly agree that gambit openings will teach you more about tactics and calculation. But it got me thinking about De La Maza's philosophy on openings. I seem to remember him advising playing simple openings, where you get to castle early, and then let tactics to evolve in the middlegame. Is this right?
Completed circle 3 of problems 160-208.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Quick Note

A dramatic night for Knights Errant. One completes his quest, another dismounts to regroup. Good adventuring to you both!
Completed circle 2 of problems 160-208.

Friday, March 04, 2005



To make the "Fundamental Checkmates" post easier to understand I have added some example positions.

Still working through circle 2 of problems 160-208.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Endgame Stuff Part 6

Before moving on I am doing a endgame mini-circle. Unfortunately I don't really have any "set" organized yet, so I am doing problems from Looking for Trouble. Tough book!
Completed circle 1 of problems 160-208.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005



Need to mention that I am beginning to see results with my mini-circles. My Pogo rating it 1719. I won playing the Sicilian as Black by getting to an endgame with Bishops of opposite colors and an extra pawn. It was a lucky win, as I blew my King position at one point, but my opponent returned the favor, blowing his chance to set up a drawing blockade. DOH.

circle 7 of problems 121-160 with 1 minute to spare =-D.

Included in this group was 2/3s of the tests in the back of Seirawan's Winning Chess Tactics. I agree with Pawn Sensei in that I think it's best to master that book first before moving on.

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