Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Review Rust

My brain just is not in gear for chess these days. I have been in comparatively lazy review mode and have been scoring less than 100% with the TCT Step 2 problems. About 4% I honestly didn't remember seeing before. It wasn't all that long ago that I had those down. It's like I had to drop 500 problems to learn another 500 problems.


This has been a bit disappointing, but I just take it as feedback that if I really want to know those problems better, more circles or review is required. I am pretty much tired of spending most of my chess time solving problems, too. After seeing how much review I am going to need to be more consistent, I have decided to drop down to 4-5 days a week for TCT. I am aiming at getting in some opening review once a week, continue with looking at parts of annotated games at least once a week, and every now and then toss in checkmates, Knight drills, Micro drills, review, and of course some form of play. This actually isn't different from when I started the circles, but that shifted into months chiefly solving problems from TCT. It's time to start putting it all together.

Also, I am going to bring TCT problems into Fritz more regularly to see what I missed in the position.


As I get into TCT Step 4, I find that in many of the solutions you end up with material advantage in a sharp position. It's the kind of thing that I am weak in, i.e. getting an advantage and not being able to cling to it. I expect I will need more slow game experience to improve that. Another struggle is the more academic question of what is the best line when there are many winning lines available. Here's an example:

White to Move
Tasc Chess Tutor: Step 4, 3D, #2

White - Black, Tasc Chess Tutor 2006
2kr3p/1p1n2p1/pb3p2/3Qp2p/P3P1q1/2P2N2/B4PPP/1R3RK1 w - - 0 1

Analysis by Fritz 8:

1. +- (9.70): 1.h3 Qg6 2.Nh4 Qe8 3.Nf5 Nc5 4.Qd6 Rxd6 5.Nxd6+ Kd7 6.Nxe8 Kxe8
2. +- (9.20): 1.Qf7 Bc5 2.Bd5 Rf8 3.Bxb7+ Kd8 4.Qc4 Ke7 5.Rfd1 Rd8
3. +- (8.55): 1.Qc4+ Kb8 2.Qb4 Rc8 3.a5
4. +- (7.96): 1.Rxb6 Nxb6 2.Qc5+ Kb8 3.Qxb6 Qd7 4.Bd5 Qc7 5.Rb1 Qxb6 6.Rxb6 Rd7 7.a5
5. +- (7.75): 1.Rfd1 Nc5 2.Qc4 Qxe4 3.Rxd8+ Kxd8 4.Rxb6 Qxc4 5.Bxc4 Nxa4 6.Rxb7 Kc8
6. +- (6.96): 1.a5 Nc5 2.Qc4 Ba7 3.Rfd1 Rd7 4.Qg8+ Kc7 5.Rxd7+ Qxd7 6.Bd5
7. +- (6.81): 1.Qe6 Qxe6 2.Bxe6 Ba5 3.Rfd1 Kc7 4.Bxd7 Rxd7 5.Rxd7+ Kxd7 6.Rxb7+ Kc8 7.Rb3 Kc7
8. +- (6.68): 1.Rbd1

Knowing TCT, I expected sacrificing the exchange to set up a fork to be the answer with Rxb6 which is their answer. I felt certain that a5 was strong, perhaps stronger than Rxb6, but was wrong. I couldn't see how to do better than those moves, although I thought there might be some Queen move that set up threats of Be6. Consulting Fritz it turns out everything is winning. Fritz's 1. Qf7 was a huge surprise, something I probably wouldn't ever consider, though in retrospect it makes Be6 a reality in a very simple way. Fritz's 1. h3 was a little bit of a surprise, too.

One bad habit that I have gotten into is focusing so much on solving the problem that I forget about defense. In the above position I forgot that by moving White's Queen (1.Rxb6 Nxb6 2.Qc5+ Kb8 3.Qxb6 ) the e4 pawn can be captured by Black Queen.


Black to Move

In a blitz game this position came up. I thought there were some possibilities down the h file, but I couldn't figure it out and went with what was popping up in my mind as an obvious combination: ...Qxg2+ Kxg2 Rg6+ Kh1 Bxd7, netting a pawn. This move goes under the heading "kind of funny, kind of painful". The incredibly simple ...Rg6 threatens mate in 1 and discovers the attack on the Queen simultaneously.


TCT Results

Circle 1Circle 2Circle 3Circle 4Circle 5Circle 6Circle 7
Step 197%99%99%100%r
Step 293%96%95%97%96%99%100%
Step 393%97%97%96%96%98%99%
Step 480%86%90%92%89%*
Step 574%77%83%87%

i hate it when that happens. seeing a weaker combination based on the same idea is always frustrating. good luck on keeping the chess studies up.
Thanks for the encouragement.
Your slow approach to TCT has never failed to amaze me. I remember I did the 7 circles of step 3, 4 and 5 in ca. 6 weeks. I always admired your perfectionism. It is a method of getting more out of less. So the average acquirement of skill can be equal to someone who moves faster. But now boredom seems to catch up. Maybe it is time for a change. In method or in subject.
I have read nearly all the posts of all the knights, and each of the knights victorious have gotten very discouraged at a similar point.

You are almost there, man!

By your table, you have FINISHED 27 out of 33 circles that you plan on doing. Dude, that's like 82%: that's bloody amazing. Only 18% more to go!

You are a badass amongst all the badasses with what you are doing. After a year struggling with TCT, I was nowhere near where you are now: I never saw any problems from levels 4 and 5.

As for forgetting stuff, I didn't think it helped me that much when I first finished with TCT (up to Step 3). Now that I have a couple of months perspective on it, I see that I actually learned a butt load of tactics from TCT.

I think what happens is that you start out at some tactical level, get to very high level when all fresh in the middle of a circle. Then when you are finished, you forget a lot and your brain settles into some level greater than where you started, but not quite as good as when super fresh. Like taking a biology class, you initially remember the Krebs cycle in detail: later you just remember it's some metabolic pathway. That's more than you knew before!

Keep pluggin man! Best of luck in this final, arduous, home stretch.
Hang in there brother!
Once again thanks for the encouragement.

>>It is a method of getting more out of less.

That's an interesting point of view. I will have to think about that more. I think that I have largely been using TCT to address the then what question, i.e. what to do when you have a good position, or, conversely, what to do defensively when your opponent has a good position.

Although it is really nice to be able to pull off a combination once in awhile, I really don't want to be missing these simpler 1 and 2 move threats. Because of that, I have stuck with TCT, and I hope by changing the schedule I will not feel it as a grind.

I will now review my Krebs cycle
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