01 April 2012

Training Log

Some weeks I spend a lot of time on chess without managing to remain focused on specific training goals. I did well this past week on two of my three specific training foci, while expending effort on other studies instead of the third.

1. Solve a minimum of 50 tactics problems per week.

Over fifty again.

Continuing with the puzzles in the Shredder iPad app, I solved 35.
1475 puzzles: 11575/14750 points 78%
last 10 puzzles: 87/100 87%

I did one session with the Chess.com Tactics Trainer. The session was approximately twenty minutes, consisting of 34 problems. Eighteen were wholly correct.

Of the nine problems in the Combinations section of Chess Informant 112, I did six this week. I blogged about one in "Missing Tactics".

2. Spend thirty minutes once per week solving problems in Lev Alburt, Chess Training Pocket Book II and Paata Gaprindashvili, Imagination in Chess.

I reviewed problems that I had missed previously rather than moving forward to new problems. After the review, I extended my work by memorizing and spending time studying the game that provided four positions in Alburt's text: Spassky -- Evans, 1962. See "Instructive Games Worthy of Memorizing."

3. Complete my Pawn Endgame flash card project.

Did not work on my endgame this week.

4. Additional Training Focus

Having won a nice miniature from the Black side of the English, I worked to find improvements for White. The game is annotated in "Problems in the English," which includes nine model games showing more productive ideas for White.

My memory now stores the entire sequence of moves played in Spassky -- Evans, 1962, and in my English miniature. I also understand where the opening errors were made in both games. In addition, I spend some time looking through games in the Yugoslav Attack against the Sicilian Dragon in order to create the chess problems that I used for a contest at the tournament I ran yesterday. These problems also appear in "Slaying the Dragon."


  1. A good Chess memory has to have serious benefits. You remember better openings and good or bad moves. You should improve better especially if you analyse your games.
    Do you feel any (OTB) improvements through this training?

    1. I believe that I am improving. Whether fast enough to meet my ultimate goal (master by 2020--the year I turn 60) remains to be seen. My last OTB event was my best performance ever, my highest place in a weekend Swiss (2nd), my highest rated win (defeated a 2076), and gave me my peak rating. On the other hand, I seem to find time for only a few events per year. One culprit is the number of Saturdays that I spend running youth tournaments (my sixth for the school year was yesterday) or teaching adult students (college history). I could play on Thursday nights, but prefer to stay home and drink good wine with my beloved.

      Investing money and time to travel to tournaments elsewhere will bring me in contact with better competition. In my city at present, there are two experts, and I'm one of half a dozen or so A Class players. That's a stronger pool than existed when I first hit A Class three years ago, but far weaker than exists in Seattle five hours away.