Sunday, November 06, 2005

 

Circle 3 Complete

Woot.

My "Incremental Chess Improvement" program is progressing well, and it looks like I might complete my 7 circles of TCT within my own lifespan. Although it has only been 3 times through, I seem to have memorized some problems. Knowing the answers without knowing why is not going to work when I face novel positions OTB in the future, so I am making sure I don't rush through the process. Because of this memorization, I really am leaning towards doing mini-circles after TCT. For now I will continue my TCT circles the long way, but I recommend mini-circles for anyone with limited time available to commit to chess every day. (Mini-circles = doing circles on 40-120 problems in a group).

For circle 4 I will cut the time on Steps 2+3 to 2 minutes, Steps 4+5 to 4 minutes.

I had a nice blitz game that ended in a draw this week, playing Black against the Center Game. I had Chessmaster analyzed the game and had 100% agreement with both me and my opponent's moves. I would like that in OTB someday, but I'll take it anywhere I can get it!

I have begun carrying around 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate. Problem 227's solution is a little off, and I almost could see it to the end. Fritz agreed with my last move, so that was nice.
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Thoughts on CTS

Many of the Knights have moved towards doing CTS for training. There does seem to be a correspondence between rating there and chess performance OTB and certainly blitz, and international masters are among the most active tactictions. The whole idea is really cool, too. In spite of all this I seem to be of only moderate enthusiasm about it. Here is my take on CTS as a replacement for TCT or CT-Art in a MDLM style training program.(rant rave rant...)
It's so easy to rush and then get rewarded. When hesitate on CTS I think it's good, and perhaps it's a sign that my circle training is kicking in. Both TCT and (my small exposure to) CT-ART have made me examine what could be wrong about an obvious move, as they love to toss in those ringers.

-=-=-=-=-

TCT Results

Circle 1Circle 2Circle 3
Step 197%99%99%
Step 293%96%95%
Step 393%97%97%
Step 480%86%90%
Step 574%

77%

83%



Comments:
Well, you're not the only one who's being moderately enthusiastic about CTS (if that is correct english). CTS is cool and all, and i'm sure you'll pick up something along the way (in terms of improvement). But to use it as a training tool? The way i look at it, is that it is probably a nice tool to stay sharp, after you've been through somekind of program like TCT (or in my case PCT). As it is adviced to still keep doing tactics casually everyday or so.
 
Yes, you have said it correctly. And I totally agree about using it after some more specific training to stay sharp.
 
About CTS I can speak for myself. It did help me a lot on improving my tactical skills. When I first used it I was around 1300, but got easily to 1400. And that's not just rating points, I can see the board much clearer now..
In respect of having to play (very) fast in order to win points at CTS, I didn't like it at first, but now I changed my mind. As I progress I'm getting more and more confident in playing fast, even in more complicated positions. That's for sure in such positions I'll not be able to calculate everything in such a small time, but I think that's not point the point. The point is that in a real game you'd have to "see" the tactical possibilities very fast, like a pattern just popping at you (cts), and then you proceed to calculate/check if that's really correct.. otherwise there's a risk you won't see them at all!

Just my 2 cents =)
 
I'd also like to put in a couple cents worth:

My view of CTS is, just as you've said, a way to stay sharp after completing the circles. However, I'm noticing something. The more I work at it, the more patterns I've been putting in my head. My FICS rating has started to rise, and I've noticed better play OTB (my rating will hopefully begin to reflect this after my bad tournament in Chicago recently). The higher my CTS rating is getting, the more exposure to more and more complex problems I'm getting. This will further embed more and more patterns into my head.

Ya know, like J'adoube says about Pedrag (his instructor), that he is able to find the smallest weakness and exploit it with ease. I think this is because Pedrag has a large amount of patterns in his head.

The three second limit, I believe, is appropriate because it tests our pattern recognition, which should be nearly instantaneous. Recently, I have even begun playing some blitz on FICS, just to force myself to think quickly and tactically. I have heard the comments to the effect that we should not play much blitz, but I remember reading that some of the best players in history played a lot of blitz (Fischer, among others).

At any rate, in my last OCL tournament game against a higher rated opp, I felt perfectly serene and at ease with my tactics such that I was able to win tactically with lots of time to spare on the clock.
 
Congrats on your completion of Circle 3!

An excellent post. It is interesting how CTS and the Seven circles differ. One immerses you in lots of different puzzles, with no (disciplined) repetition possible. No time to really think through a position. The other (the Circles) lets you really marinate in individual problems (10 minutes in circle 1), and tries to slowly ease you down to this error minimum.

I wouldn't want to say one is objectively better than another, but intellectually I am ruminative, and like to take my time thinking about problems, so the Circles suit my proclivities best...
 
Great post. Along with my two cents you should now have about a dime's worth of knowledge and opinion on the subject!

I was not keen on CTS at first. I looked at it initially and then discarded it for several months. I now try and have regular sessions on the server. For me, the time control is what I like most about it actually. During my circles program, I could stew over problems far longer than I should have, and sessions would go three and four hours long at times. With the time control factor, it forces you to see patterns. What I find myself doing is quickly spotting which types of pieces are on the board, and then that allows me to sort of figure out where the tactical possiblities are. I think it is a good way to obtain pattern recognition. It may not be the best, but I think it disciplines you more into the pattern thought process than CT-Art.
 
thanks all for the thoughts... always good to make cents ;-).
 
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