08 April 2012

Training Log: Day by Day

It was Spring Break this past week, which accorded me more time to work on a few things. I increased the time spent on my daily training. I solved over three hundred tactics problems, worked on pawn endings, practiced against Rybka 4, and cultivated my memory of whole games. I neglected my training with Lev Alburt, Chess Training Pocket Book II.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Worked 34 puzzles in the Shredder iPad app over several sessions.

Using the solving feature in Chess Informant Expert, I attempted all nine combinations in Chess Informant 112. Six had been tried before, one of which managed to give me trouble yet again. I located the game in ChessBase Big Database 2011 and reviewed the whole. It was an instructive attack against the Caro-Kann Defense. The CI combination comes on the heels of two successive errors by Black (see "Conditions for Tactical Combinations"). One of the three new positions gave me difficulties. Then I moved on the the combinations in CI 111, where I struggled with the first three problems.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Monday morning began with a humbling session of tactics on Chess Tempo. My excuses are lined up: still suffering from a cold; too late to bed and up too early this morning; small, gray board and relatively unfamiliar environment. I had tried Chess Tactics Server several years ago, and opted to use other resources. The CTS board is too small for me, and the emphasis seemed to be on instant recognition of motifs. I prefer to seek accuracy first, then speed. The board at Chess Tempo looks to be twice as large as CTS, and training options vary. I used it for the first time last week. Even so, the board is less than half the size of the Tactics Trainer at Chess.com. Excuses, of course, are garbage. Once I began to concentrate, my results improved. At one point, I had nine correct and twelve incorrect. When I quit, I had thirty-five correct, and twenty incorrect. Even so, I continued to miss some easy problems.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Several hours were spent playing against Rybka 4 from the position after 19.Bxh6 (a computer suggested improvement in Della Morte -- Mayorga, Villa Martelli 2011, featured in "Conditions for Tactical Combinations"). Repeated failures were addressed by backing the game up and playing Rybka's expected move. It is possible that such training develops my attacking and defensive skills. The sacrifice creates an attack, but Black is able to organize defensive resources. Rybka returned the sacrificed material to halt all mating threats, but White ended up a pawn ahead.

After breakfast, I worked half a dozen or so tactics exercises in the Shredder app, bringing the total up to 1522. Then, I sat down at the table for a solid hour and one-half of pawn endgame study. When mastery is the object, review has a place. I read through the first two sections of Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual (13-17) and correctly solved the first two exercises. There were a few bumps as I sought to play through the positions in advance of reading the text. In the first exercise, I missed a key resource for White, leaving my solution incomplete. I worked out the rest for myself before reading the rest of the solution.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

There was not to be much time for chess today, but that changed. Then, I got pulled into playing blitz on the Internet Chess Club. I did work a few tactics problems using Chess Tempo, Chess Informant 111, and the Shredder iPad app. The CI combinations led me to spend some time with Carlsen -- Wang Hao, Wijk aan Zee 2011.

Chess Tempo frustrates me. My results suggest that I am missing half of the board.
Problems Done: 195 (Correct: 123 Failed: 72)
Percentage correct: 63.08%

Thursday, 5 April 2012

During my morning coffee, and between Slotomania spins on Facebook, I solved a handful of problems on the Shredder iPad app (total now at 1557). Then, with grim determination I set out to improve my Chess Tempo performance. I am solving in standard mode. CT's blitz mode is more akin to solving with Shredder, where every second counts in the score. In CT standard mode, accuracy is the key element.

Problems Done: 218 (Correct: 143 Failed: 75)
Percentage correct: 65.60%

Clear improvement! Twenty correct, and three wrong. The errors continue to reveal a tendency to miss obvious tactics. For instance, moving the wrong knight in this problem.

White to move

In order to move memorized games into long-term memory, review is needed. Frequently, I have been able to play through an entire game for a week or a month, or even longer. But, if a few weeks go by and I do not show the game to someone, the memory dissipates.

I created a list of games that I have memorized. The first page of the document lists just the players and ratings. After a page break, the entire game scores are reproduced. Page one appears thus:

Memory Games

(1) De Kemur,Sire de Legal - Saint Brie
(2) Zimmer - Hans Bruening
(3) Taylor,I.O. Howard - N,N
(4) Blake,Joseph Henry - Hook,William
(5) Spassky,Boris V - Evans,Larry Melvyn
(6) Mayet,Carl - Anderssen,Adolf
(7) Stripes,James (1879) - Moroney,Timothy (2076)
(8) Grabovetz,Vladimir (1850) - Stripes,James (1999)
(9) Carlsen,Magnus (2814) - Wang Hao (2731)
(10) Auberonk (1827) - Stripes,James (1784)

Mayet - Anderssen is one of my forgotten games. I knew it when I posted "Understanding Mayet's Thinking" two years ago, but have not reviewed it recently. This morning I played through it several times until I was able to do so without looking at the game score. I intend to continue working on Carlsen - Wang Hao today. Auberonk - Stripes ends in the position in my banner, and it took me ten minutes or so to locate the game in my game archive on Chess.com (I didn't want N.N. as the name of White).

Once these ten are secure in my mind, I plan to work on a Kasparov game that I knew for a week in February: Kasparov - Pribyl, Skara 1980. The game is discussed in Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov, Part I: 1973-1985 and in Kasparov, My Story, Part 5 and Part 6.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Started the day with three quick Shredder puzzles while taking care of business. I missed the first because I missed the queen's diagonal route out of self-danger to defend the rook, and thereby the back rank. One drawback to the Shredder iPad app: I cannot go back two problems to show you the one that I missed. It should come up again after I do 999 more. The other two were solved correctly in an instant.

Turning to the last three combinations in Chess Informant 111, I solved this problem easily.

Black to move (diagram upside down--Black on bottom)

Jeans in the wash, towels in the dryer. A few minutes working on the move sequence in Carlsen - Wang Hao, and then a short Chess Tempo session.

Problems Done: 231 (Correct: 154 Failed: 77)
Percentage correct: 66.67%

The logic underneath Wang Hao's play defies me, making the moves harder to remember, but I'm also struggling with some of the nuances of Carlsen's play. As it happens, the lecturer who was to speak at chess club last night had car problems and did not show. But, I had taken my memory list, so a friend was able to test my knowledge of the ten games. I knew all the moves in nine of them. We spent some time working out the Carlsen's finish if Wang Hao had not resigned. Checks that drive the king to the queenside leave Black's monarch secure and with a larger army. One key idea seems to be reversing the order of White's pieces on the h-file (rook to h7 and queen to h5 via g6).

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Due to a road trip to a Sandpoint, Idaho, where I run a small annual community tournament, my training today was limited to a few problems on the iPad, and one in Alburt, Chess Training Pocket Book II.

Shredder Totals

1569 puzzles: 12284/15690 points 78%
last 10 puzzles: 91/100 91%


  1. You can choose the size of the board at CT by using a bigger font.

    1. Thanks! The board size, colors, and pieces are now much more to my liking.