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|Mar-22-17|| ||Dionysius1: I've been playing a lot of tactical puzzles on http://chesstempo.com/chess-tactics... and found something that will probably help my chess a lot if I can make the change. |
Up to about 1650 Glicko (a bit like Elo), I was solving everything on the basis of spotting what looked like a pretty move and investigating it. That would either solve the problem or put me on the right track.
Above that I've gone from solving everything to solving almost nothing. The real solutions turn out to be the messy looking moves and feel unsatisfying.
And my motivation for doing the puzzles has fallen like a stone.
It looks like if I'm going to be successful beyond 1650 (which seems like average club player level) I'm going to have to either:
a. look for ugly moves and hope that I come to see the beauty in them that at the moment I need as my reward for the effort
b. Think of playing better chess as less than an aesthetic exercise and more of a sport where the pleasure of winning is my justification.
That's less attractive I must say. Any suggestions please?
|Mar-24-17|| ||diceman: I always hated problems.
Liked stuff like, “What's the Best Move” by Larry Evans.
More about general chess, vs finding a “shot.”
The “problem” is, you're told something is there,
so you are looking for it.
In a real game you don't know when a “shot” will unfold.
|Mar-24-17|| ||Dionysius1: Isn't the idea that over time by solving lots of puzzles we become sensitized to the kind of positions where they arise. I like the idea of being able to say to myself in a live game: "Now here's the kind of position I've seen in puzzles. I bet there's a winning move somewhere".|
|Mar-24-17|| ||tpstar: <Dionysius1> Tactics are the tools of chess, and the better tactician typically wins. Moreover, tactics and strategy go hand in hand; a good tactic can often overcome a bad strategy, while a good strategy can only rarely overcome a bad tactic.|
I advise advanced juniors to practice 10 puzzles per day, then 100 per day if they are preparing for a tournament. Yes this becomes "homework" but it is also a fundamental part of improvement. Just like athletes lift weights and jump rope even though it has nothing to do with their sport, we practice solving puzzles to stay sharp and learn pattern recognition. <diceman> makes the point that all chess puzzles are contrived by definition; you know "something's there" so your analysis tree starts with checks and forcing moves. A great way to improve is to find decisive games in this database without any kibitzing comments yet, then figure out why they resigned. If you are unsure, you could post, "I think White wins with 40. Rf7+" and see if anyone concurs, or others have simply asked, "What's the finish?" and someone will invariably answer.
Another great way to improve is through posting your games in your chessforum for advice and analysis, looking for improvements. From your last diagram:
click for larger view
21 ... Rd8 wins a piece as White has a weak back rank; 22. Bb3 Qd1+! mates, or 22. c4 bxc4 doesn't help. White would probably get one Pawn for the piece with 22. Bxf7+ Kxf7 23. Be3 and now you don't want 23 ... Qd1+?? 24. Rxd1 Rxd1+ 25. Bg1. A pin against a mate threat is called a Terminal Pin, so the Bd5 is pinned against the potential mate threat on d1.
You could study puzzles by theme (Mate, Fork, Pin, Skewer) as a teaching tool; my students and I prepare puzzle sets based on our own games. If you don't like knowing the motif first (e.g. "Knight Fork" is a giveaway), there are mixed bag sets where you aren't told what to find.
User: WTHarvey has thousands of free mixed bag puzzles on his site. Good luck. =)
|Mar-25-17|| ||diceman: <Dionysius1: Isn't the idea that over time by solving lots of puzzles we become sensitized to the kind of positions where they arise.>|
One thing you also need to take into consideration,
the openings you play.
I was a positional player. Played the English with white.
Most of the Frank Marshall's of my day told me I was
probably “missing” tactics by playing positionally.
However, when run through the computer, my pre-computer
games show that I didn't miss much.
Today ( for fun) I've played 1.e4, King's Gambit, Danish Gambit,
Evans Gambit, Vienna.
After 1d4 :The Blackmar–Diemer Gambit.
With black: Englund Gambit, Latvian Gambit, Elephant Gambit.
Not because I think these things are great, but to see what I missed.
It's funny, because I see all the tactics I missed playing the English.
E5 to e6 pawn advance. Qh5+ tactics. The weakness of g6
after f7/h7 pawn moves. All these are characteristic of open
Typically in the English my bishop goes to g2
by move 3 or 4. If black responds bg7 there will
be no Qh5 tactics because of the g6 pawn.
(assuming your e2 pawn has moved)
So “tactics” change. In the English they become more about the
|Mar-25-17|| ||diceman: <tpstar:
A pin against a mate threat is called a Terminal Pin>
Sounds like terminology a Doctor would use.
|Mar-27-17|| ||Dionysius1: Thanks - it's great to read your comments! I go for 10 correct solutions in a row, or how many can I solve before the kettle boils. Lessons I'm learning: forks etc don’t have to be of pieces – they can be a fork of a piece and a positional advantage. Some wins are opportunistic – all my pieces can be aimed at the opposing king side, but he’s got a loose piece on the queen side. The solution is nearly always simpler than I think it is. |
Someone asked me recently “how can people play blindfold simultaneous?" I think for grand masters chess might be like a language and a game be like a conversation. We can all keep more than one conversation going at a time can’t we?
|Mar-27-17|| ||tpstar: <Dionysius1> Pins and forks can involve squares and not just pieces. In your game, 21 ... Rd8 pins the Bd5 against the d1 square due to the weak back rank.|
1) Spassky vs Averkin, 1973 after 25 ... Rb6:
click for larger view
Spassky spots a potential fork between a mate threat on g7 and the c7 square with Qe5, but the immediate 26. Qe5 allows 26 ... Bf8 or 26 ... g6 by Black which hold. So instead 26. Bc7! (Pin) Rxc7 27. Qe5 (Fork) g6 28. Qxc7 won the exchange.
2) A Schwarz vs Albin, 1899 after 13. exd4:
click for larger view
13 ... Ne3 forks the Qd1 and the Bf1 but also the c2 square, then 14. Qc1 Nc2+ forks the Ke1 and the Ra1. Two Knight forks in a row is an Extended Knight Fork.
Study tactics! =)
|Mar-31-17|| ||Dionysius1: Something that studying tactics doesn't seem to help with is being ready for my opponents' tactics. |
Puzzles always imply "what can you do to win?" not "what tactics does your opponent have?" And it is significant that in puzzles you're always sitting behind the pieces which have the winning tactics.
I might, if I chose to make the time for it, take a game which is won on a puzzle style tactic, take it back a few moves before the tactic and ask myself "if I was the opponent, when could I have spotted this, and stopped it (and how)?"
Otherwise the results of my games are just likely to be based on who spots their tactical opportunity first!
|Apr-01-17|| ||diceman: Not only that.
What about positions that have no trick/shot?
You need to be able to calculate just to play a complex move that is equal.
|Apr-02-17|| ||Dionysius1: Yes, maybe it is another version of just being able to calculate. I just need to be able to focus on my opponent's intentions more. My temptation with developing a puzzles mentality is to assume the other side is just there to cooperate.|
|Apr-03-17|| ||diceman: I was watching this game live
and thought of your forum.
Jennifer R Yu vs A Sharevich, 2017
Black missed the shot 17...Rxb2+
It's funny, in a game, it would probably be the only move I'd look at.
(unless I couldn't make it work)
As a puzzle, it would probably be the last move Id look at, because they usually dont make it obvious.
|Jan-20-18|| ||Dionysius1: I love the way top players can visualise future positions as clearly as they can see the position on the board. |
I'm working on it as part of my overall programme to increase my personal efficiency. But golly it's hard - I hope it gets easier. Yesterday I saw Carlsen and Svidler analysing after their Tata 2018 game, and Svidler obviously found it easier to look away from the board to imagine an upcoming position.
We all do it a bit, but to be able to really anchor it so that the position in 6 moves is as clear in my head as the current position would be great. Then I could really begin to evaluate the resulting positions. Not so difficult for solving puzzles but for playing otb chess it'd be great. My chess team number one Chris Ross is blind so he can do it all the time.
|Jan-22-18|| ||Dionysius1: I'm trying to work out the best way to talk about computer analysis when discussing a game on any of these threads. |
I've been disproportionately annoyed when I quote a computer engine line that illustrates some point I want to make and someone gets snitty about "oh, I rely on my own analysis".
If we're analysing a game surely it's ok to give a line I wouldn't have thought of on my own?
Maybe the reaction because of people who denigrate GMs with "what a clod - he didn't see this line".
But I'm stubborn - I don't want to forever put in a caveat that goes "I know I would never have thought of it myself, but stockfish says...".
I shouldn't have to - I'm just not interested in making you think I'm better than I am by claiming search engine analysis as my own, and anyone who even bothers to look up my profile will know I'm not good enough to be confused with a search engine anyway.
So what the heck people? What are/should be the rules of engagement when we're discussing games and bring engine analysis into it?
|Jan-23-18|| ||diceman: The only benchmark should be if the
analysis is correct.
So I would say:
Stockfish says: (insert analysis here)
Lets them know you are not pretending it's yours.
If they say:
<oh, I rely on my own analysis>
I would ask how it differs?
|Jan-23-18|| ||Dionysius1: I agree with you and I'll do that too.
Even so some people are going to dislike the intrusion of computer analysis.
I have some sympathy because I like to think of chess as an art form, and that makes it intrinsically human. But there's no reason that I can see for not accepting a computer as a training tool, to help us be better artists.
|Feb-23-18|| ||Dionysius1: On the back of an annoying loss yesterday evening I have good news! They say that the tragedy of chess is that the pain of losing is greater than the joy of winning. Well, as I get older I find that that no longer holds. I was able to shrug off the loss tonight (silly of me falling for a mate in 2 when I had my queenside attack all ready for when I'd sat out his unsound attack on my castled king). Only his arrogance after the game irritated me a little, but what can you do? Chess is eternal, arrogance is temporary. :-)|
|Feb-26-18|| ||Fusilli: <...the pain of losing is greater than the joy of winning. Well, as I get older I find that that no longer holds.>|
Ha! I said that! And I agree with your sentiment! Well, losing is still painful, but not the end of the world, like it was when I was 20. And winning is more joyful now, not just a relief.
|Feb-27-18|| ||Dionysius1: Hi <Fusilli>. Good to know. And since you're 12 years my junior, it's nice the effect can start so young!|
|Mar-23-18|| ||Dionysius1: Darn - I get the feeling from watching the Candidates matches and listening to Jan and Peter's commentary, that the chess they're talking about hasn't anything to do with the chess I play.|
It's not that their chess is so much better than mine, it's more that
1.They play on principles I've never learnt, so I can't assess the positions they're in or know what lines to look for
2. Their depth of calculation is so much more than I go, that I can't follow their lines far enough to even see the point they're trying to make
3. It's more as if they (or maybe just the computers) are treating chess as a mathematical puzzle, not a human game with warmth and hopes and fears like it was when I played at school and university. And I hate mathematical puzzles
Coupled with the rough gamesmanship I've encountered over the last year when playing over the board chess, I wonder how much longer sheer habit will keep me playing or pretending to follow chess.
I've had opponents gloating when they won even when they know it was lucky, or won on time in a losing position. And why do my opponents adopt the mannerisms of Kramnik or Carlsen at a press conference when we analyse games afterwards? We're all bottom feeders - 1500-1700 ELO. I say our only chance is to just enjoy it all and treat success and failure lightly. Some chance!
|Mar-24-18|| ||diceman: <Dionysius1:
Darn - I get the feeling from watching the Candidates matches and listening to Jan and Peter's commentary, that the chess they're talking about hasn't anything to do with the chess I play.>
Is that their fault?
<3. It's more as if they (or maybe just the computers) are treating chess as a mathematical puzzle, not a human game with warmth and hopes and fears like it was when I played at school and university. >
It's up to you to personalize your chess.
To make it your own.
To make it what you believe and what you stand for.
<or maybe just the computers>
<treating chess as a mathematical puzzle, not a human game>
I just started a tournament on Gameknot.
I'm also playing other games.
In spite of all the computer talk,
I see all the same mistakes that were
happening in the 1970's when I started
You have to develop "your" narratives
of chess. Who and what you are.
What openings/lines you play, and
what you stand for.
Setting up some position and saying
the computer likes this line is really
Id be willing to bet your games as a
1300, 1500, 1700, look exactly like
my games in the 70's as a 1300, 1500, 1700.
(when it comes to mistakes and misplayed positions)
|Mar-24-18|| ||Dionysius1: Hi <diceman>. And thanks - always nice to read you.
<Their fault?> No - I don't think fault comes into this.|
<mathematical puzzle>. My point, which I may have phrased badly if it ;ooked ;ike I was implying somebody as at fault, was only that at the top levels chess analysis is so thorough that it is approaching the intellectual level of a mathematical puzzle, whereas I like chess as a relaxing pastime, approaching it with a sense of humour and no ambition other than to have a good time a few evenings a month, maybe get some fun out of following the professionals and spot a combination once in a while that appeals to my aesthetic sense.
Interesting point about developing my own narratives of chess. That's pretty much what I try to do. I was just musing on whether my watching top level chess worked for me or against me in that effort - probably against. And whether playing chess in the local leagues was a good way to do that - probably not.
|Mar-27-18|| ||offramp: I had a thought about modern players.
At first I thought, "These players must dread sitting down day after day knowing they are in for a tedious Berlin or Catalan."
But then I thought NO, OFFRAMP...NO!!
In between serious games these players play scores or even hundreds of ultra-rapid games that are as interesting as a snowstorm in Death Valley, so chess does not get boring for them.
|Mar-27-18|| ||diceman: <offramp: I had a thought about modern players.|
At first I thought, "These players must dread sitting down day after day knowing they are in for a tedious Berlin or Catalan.">
Yes but, they can make a living off that, so maybe not.
|Apr-09-18|| ||Dionysius1: I've got one more league game to play, so unless something worth posting about happens next Thursday, I'm putting this in mothballs for the Summer.|
I'm not sure I will want to play next season (right now I don't but that's a familiar feeling and not necessarily fixed).
But with the World Championships coming up in November I'll be sure to look in again at chessgames.com
Have a good summer, and here's to November!
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