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yanm 21 ( +1 | -1 )
Novice Nook, #4 It's Friday, so the discussion about the next Novice Nook column is now open...

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ionadowman 87 ( +1 | -1 )
Good advice (Heisman #4)... ...but Bill Hartston has a different view on what you should do once you have found a good move: play it! I recall Bronstein and Keres have come unstuck by looking for 'better' moves. Keres was once said to have found 5 ways of winning a particular game, but played a sixth. He lost the game.
But what Heisman has to say about looking for threats, tactics etc, ought to help determine whether the move you are considering is good or not.
Incidentally, knowledge - and hence recognition - of tactical motifs can help in finding one's way through situations that are similar though not the same as the 'standard' motif. Recall the position I gave on January 29 (Novice Nook thread), noting that 'Philidor's Legacy' gave to clue to the win. (It is remarkable how successive Heisman articles tie in with each other. A fine teacher, methinks!)
wschmidt 142 ( +1 | -1 )
I read this article... a couple of years ago and it influenced me greatly. It was about the same time I was reading about Micheal de la Maza's book "Rapid Chess Improvement" de la Maza, you may recall, is the guy who advocates a total immersion in tactics, doing more and more problems over and over again in shorter and shorted time frames until you're doing several hundred problems over the course of a weekend, taking time off from work, leaving the family, etc.

I could certainly never afford the time to do de la Maza's program, but his ideas and this article really got me thinking about my need to go back to the basics and methodically learn rudimentary tactical and endgame concepts cold. I started with the 300 positions in Reinfeld/Chernev's "Winning Chess" and the 300 in Lev Aburt's "Chess Training Pocket Book" and marched through each of those books five times. During that time my GK rating went up nearly 200 points. I'm doing the same thing with "Pandofini's Endgame Course" right now.

I ran into this a few weeks ago and posted it in the Chess Coaching Club info. I'm a Bent Larsen fan anyway and this really resonated with me: "Bent Larsen was once asked: “How do you get better at chess?” He responded: “First you learn one thing really well. Then you learn something else really well. Then you go on to something else. Pretty soon you know a lot.”
deejie 72 ( +1 | -1 )
Tactics vs Strategy A good take on developing tactical skills - I used to wonder if anyone else found study of motifs
as tedious as I did... Strategy development takes far less concentration & is easier to apply.
Is it down to the excellent chess tutor to present such study in practical & pertinent chunks to
encourage continued study? Every so often, when a familiar mating motif raises its head, every
player gets a boost but surely it's down to the individual's strength of character to drive their
own progress in this infuriating game.
Not sure how relevant my remarks are - got something off my chest though ;)
wschmidt 100 ( +1 | -1 )
deejie, I think your comments are very relevant! I find marching through tactical puzzles gets very old very quickly. I usually try to alternate that kind of study with something else. If I'm working out of a book, I'll do a set number of puzzles a day (typically 10) and then go on to something else. Much more than that and I just get bored. I'm convinced it's necessary to do the drill though.
Sometimes, if it's the sort of day where my schedule allows it, I'll just work intermittently on puzzles all day, say two every hour, or two every time I finish a task. Some days I can get through quite a few that way. I just can't sit down and do an hour's worth though. I'd go crazy.
I do find that working with the CT-ART tactics package or the on-line Chess Tactics Server is a bit more interesting though. For some reason, I can handle more puzzles in one sitting using either of those methods than I can with a book.
I'd be interested in hearing other's approaches to working through tactics material.

ionadowman 140 ( +1 | -1 )
Possibly such methods... are being discussed here can become very tiring, physically as well as mentally. Does varying the type of puzzle help at all? For instance, middle game puzzles might involve mating attacks, combinations to gain material, combinations to save the loss of material, promotion combinations, etc and so on. One might also vary the diet with endgame studies. Usually the first move in the study is fairly obvious; it is the continuation that is tricky. Normally I don't go for the chess problem (as opposed to puzzle or study) but I have in an old NZ Chess magazine half a dozen old 'Meridith' problems: Mate in 2 with Q, 2 Knights, and maybe a pawn or two. Not especially difficult, but quite intriguing to see how queen and knights cooperate to achieve a variety of checkmates on an open board. It has been suggested that retrograde analysis, helpmates and other kinds of 'detective' brainteasers are good for one's chess imagination. Here's the sort of thing: Position: WT: Bd5, Be5 BK: Qf2 No Kings!! The task is to place the kings on the board, so that White, to play, checkmates Black's King. Here's another: Set up the white men (only) on their home squares as if about to start the game. Place the lone Black King on the board (none of the other Black men) such that White, to play, forces checkmate in 3 moves. These sorts of puzzles force one to think in terms of the interaction among one's pieces and pawns.
mattdw 153 ( +1 | -1 )
Another good article, though I guess that everyone will find tactical study of varying interest as with anything else in life. I personally find it enjoyable as it suits the way my mind works, it is all very matter of fact even if the complications sometimes make it not seem so. I agree with wshmidt that CTS certainly makes it more convenient, I can often rack up a couple of hundred problems in a day, sometimes in one sitting - I just find it rather addictive! The main difference I find with it is that is gives you a rating which at least can indicate when some improvement has occured, but we all know that ratings are equally a blessing as they are a curse! It's simply a matter of being in the right frame of mind.

It would be much more difficult to do that quantity of work from a book, though that will probably make it more beneficial in a different way as more time is spent on each problem. To counter this I make a point of spending time on the problems I got wrong on CTS, putting them in Fritz if neccessary - though I find that the process of placing the pieces on the board is often enough to realise what the tactic was! At the moment, when I sit down to practice tactics I work through the book (Chernev's Winning Chess) then spend an equal amount of time on CTS. I would like to be able to select the tactic I had been studying specifically to but it doesn't allow that. Would I be able to do that on CT Art?
ionadowman 122 ( +1 | -1 )
It was tactical nuances... all phases of the game that hooked me right from the start. A few years ago I tried my hand at coaching primary school chess, but I could never understand why the kids didn't respond to the 'tricky' (i.e. fun) aspects of chess. They just wanted to play (which is also OK I guess). Consider the pin. Not always decisive, yet pins can form an attractive motif (e.g. in several of Tal's games). Here's a position composed for coaching purposes, just to illustrate the pin in all its glory.
White: Kg1, Rf1, Nd4, Pe4, Pd3; Black: Kc8, Ra3, Bf8, Pa4. Black to play (just by way of a change...). 1...Bc5 (Moving the B to safety and attacking and pinning the WN. How can the knight be saved?) 2.Rc1! (By pinning the B. Observe that 2...Bxd4+ is not possible, even though it checks White's K, on account of the exposed check on Black's K. But now Black's B looks lost. Has he a resource?) 2...Ra1! (Another pin! OK, a half-pin: White's R does have some mobility left, but may not take [3.Rxc5+], again because of the exposed check on White's K!). So 3.Rxa1 and now Black can exploit the original pin: 3...Bxd4+. This brings in another motif - the fork. So 4.Kf1 Bxa1 and (if you care to play it out) Black just manages to force home the a-pawn to queen (5.Ke1 Bd4 6.Kd1 a3 7. Kc2 a2 8.Kb3 a1=Q -+). This is the kind of thing that makes chess chess, a game of endless fascination...
ras11 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess Board In response to alice02's earlier request "Does anyone know of an onscreen miniature chessboard that can be used in conjunction with the GK forum", check out:


Works GREAT!