Wednesday, August 24, 2005

CTS rating and OTB rating

Two CTS tacticians made a statement about their OTB rating: buddy2 is mid-1300 on CTS and 1800 OTB (USCF), SveJoe is mid-1600 on CTS and 2000 OTB. It seems that the OTB rating of a player is about 400 points higher than CTS rating. I would estimate that this could be reduced to 200 points for strong blitzers and increased to 500 points for weak blitzers.

As Slowmouse I have 1250 CTS and 1650 OTB, and because Slowmouse has a definite non-blitz strategy the 400 points difference seem reasonable. I wonder how CTS and OTB ratings compare with the other Knights. Statements are welcome!

Update 1 (thanks for comments)
Nabla OTB = CTS+400
Frizz OTB = CTS+600 (!)
Edgy OTB = CTS+500
CelticDeath OTB = CTS (!)
RalfiZoller OTB = CTS+300
Nezha FICS = CTS+300
Generalkaia FICS = CTS+150

Conclusion: The wide difference range (0-600 points) tells us that (a) blitzing abilities vary considerably among the CTS tacticians, and that (b) tactics is just one, not the only key to success, because tactics do not help if a player is unable to create a positional superiority.

Update 2
CelticDeath says he is not a blitzer, but a strong tactician without equal skills in opening, positional and endgame play (see his comment). Frizz gave CTS a try after my invitation, he is a Top 10 Swiss Player (near 2500) - Nabla is only Top 100. To reach this level tactics is a must, but by far not enough. I really wonder how GMs would do on CTS.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Beware of weak opponents ...

... and CTS problems! They may be weak, but sometimes they uncork ugly and strong moves. You never can be sure. One moment of neglect, and you are lost. I encountered this so often in games, and now exactly the same way on CTS.

My goals on CTS vary from time to time. First I struggled for rating, but more and more I felt sick from all these simple blunders I made. Then I changed my identity to Slowmouse and tried to get the highest success rate of all tacticians. I achieved this goal, but only with a very low rating. My next goal was to push up my rating without losing more than one percent success rate. I gained roughly 100 rating points, but then success rate began to drop.

A second goal was to collect nice trophies: I got 3 of 2000+ and 7 of 1900+ so far.

What bothers me most at the moment is the still high nightmare rate: In my first round of 100 failures there are no less than 40 rated below 1500 (average 1576), in my second round still 36 below 1500 (average 1569). So for my third round I set a new goal: as few failures as possible in the 1500- range. My actual trend is towards 30 below 1500 (average 1627), that is equivalent to one blunder every 60 problems. This would mean one gross blunder every second game.

As my own trainer I just say: Too much, Mousetrapper! Go to work on CTS again!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

One Hundred Failures, One Single Cause

Half way recovered from summer flu, I resumed CTS yesterday. Wild ups and downs. But one key experience: I saw a quiet mate-in-one threat after 10 seconds, then calculated a variation and found it exposed my King, then calculated deeper in order to find an escape for the King, then, finally, after two minutes, found that I could do the job with a different move, not exposing my King. Lesson learned: First find all candidate moves, only then calculate, beginning with the best candidate. I then looked back at my CTS history and found that 100+ failures can be attributed to neglecting or ignoring candidate moves of my own or of the opponent.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

CTS vs. The Circles

Summer flu. Headache. Some days ago I first noticed my performance on CTS drop dramatically, and then realized that I had fever. So focused I was ... Now I have time to spend some thoughts on the question: If I had known CTS, would I have started the Seven Circles of MDLM?

I think I would prefer CTS, mainly because it presents a repetition of tactical patterns without repetition of whole positions, so that learning by memory does not work, which means that learning by pattern recognition is better stimulated.

In the Circles you work with some 1000 positions, with CTS it is some 10000 reachable at a medium rating.

One more advantage: CTS shows you defense problems, these are very rare in most collections of puzzles. There is a main focus on material winning tactics, and the amount of queen sacks is more what you may encounter in your own games. In many combination collections, if you see a queen, you are tempted to ask «Where can I sack it?» Bad question in respect of queens.

And finally, with CTS you do not solve problems, you play against them. They move as any opponent would. This means very game-like conditions.

As a conclusion: MDLM program is good, but CTS is better for training instant pattern recognition, and this was my main motivation of starting the Circles.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

CTS 1310 @ 95%

In the last days I have been improving steadily from 1240 to 1310 rating and 94.8 to 95.0% success. I think the training begins to pay...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

New round on CTS

I have analyzed all my 100 recent CTS failures now, and this tells me a lot about my weaknesses. I managed to get better at defense moves, and now counting seems to be my main weakness. In positions with many pieces attacking and defending each other I have great difficulties to find the best move fast or even after long thinking. But it is fine to have collected more than 20 counting problems for training. I consider to collect also the problems that I solved correctly but used too much time.

Today I have started a new round on CTS. I got 97.4% of 154 which is better than in my last round.