Thursday, September 29, 2005

20 points in 20 days

To answer Tempo's question in his last comment: Yes, CTS training seems to work. Not only I feel better, not only I spot more patterns in shorter time, but also my rating is increasing steadily, with a speed of one point a day. Coincidence or not, this is exactly the speed that MDLM promises with his training method. In the last 20 days (6000 problems done) my rating increased by 20 points, and in most sessions the band of variation was as narrow as 20 points or even less. The only question is: Can I maintain this for another 300 days, or will I suffer from downslips and backlashes? Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Even a blind chicken like me ...

... finds a grain now and then. Just look at these trophies of mine:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A miniature of mine

Yesterday, Swiss Team Championship, I had White, my opponent was a guy I remembered years ago in the open air chess scene on the «Lindenhof», 10 minutes from main station, on a hill. If ever you are in Zurich, and the weather is fine, ask the way to the «Lindenhof» and enjoy kibitzing.

Jean his name. And here is the game.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6.

I was happy, because my last attack against the Two Knights Defense was more than a year ago. My database of this variation is very small, but with a 100% success rate.

4. Ng5.

One of my team pals told me after the game that our IM calls this move incorrect, so next time I see him I must ask him for a prove. Anyway ...

4. - d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. Nxf7 Kxf7 7. Qf3+.

The famous Fegatello (Fried Liver) gambit. Now Black MUST protect his Knight with Ke6, but Jean moved ...

7. - Ke8? I am clearly better:
8. Bxd5 with double threat on f7 and c6. Jean guards the mate, but not the piece:
8. - Qe7?? throws away the game.

After thousands of problems on CTS I saw in 3 seconds that I had won and how. I mean, I could have blitzed to win in less than a minute. But this was a slow game, controls 120 min. in 40 moves, 60 min. for the rest. I used a minute or two not to think about my move, but stunning and hardly believing my eyes. But it was real, not a dream, and so I took the piece:

9. Bxc6+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ (eliminate every possible counterplay, the pawns can wait, I can take them later)
10. - Qxd7 11. 0-0 c6 12. Qh5+ g6??

Jean does not want to lose, he wants to lose fast.

13. Qxe5+ 1-0

Our team won 5.5-0.5. We are number 2 in our group and can play for promotion from the 4th to the 3rd league. We have to play against a team with players mostly higher rated than we. The game will take place october 22.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Staccato Thinking

Bisides chess, I love music. (Hello Nezha, how is you guitar play?) Staccato, litterally translated, means «not sticky». In my last days on CTS I got an idea why I lose so much time and rating, and why I fail in so many problems. It is sticky thinking. I think I must explain this further.

Example: I see a King in trouble. Of course I look for a mate. It may be a near-mate, and I try this and that and again and again. Seconds pass. So I feel urged to move. I move. Bad Luck! You've failed to solve problem ... Your new rating is ... It turns out that the King can escape mate. The real issue is a simple Queen Fork. This is what I call sticky thinking. My thoughts are stuck to a mate fantasy where there is no mate. This fantasy prevents me from seeing the fork.

I also get an idea how all these titled tacticians on top can get a rating of 1800+ or even 1900+ on CTS. They just see in a fraction of a second that there is no mate, so they are free to look for more patterns, and, whoops, they click the fork in less than 3 seconds and get their points.

But staccato thinking is not sufficient to reach the CTS peak. You also must be able to collect all important patterns in the 6 seconds before the problem makes its move. Then you can use the 3 seconds to decide which pattern is important.

When I am tired, sometimes, I even have difficulties to figure out which King is mine. Once I tried to check my own King, haha. Or I stare at the board with tunnel vision and do not see that my King is in check. When I look at all this, it is completely clear why I am below 1500 and they are above 1900. To explain this is one story, easily told. To change it and join the top is quite another story.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Try again unrated!

Users of CTS as a training tool must overcome a big shortcoming: If they, say, fail to solve every 5th problem, then time and again false patterns are engraved in the brain synapses. Just have a look at the history of a problem, then you find that the same tacticians failed again and again over the same problems. (I also did, more than once, even 3 times!).

So, today, I give myself a new rule. Whenever I lose points on a problem, I do it once more unrated. If I fail to solve a problem, I do it again twice. If I fail to solve a problem lower than my rating, I do it again three times.

Hope it will help. Time will tell.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Mousetrapper is back

After five weeks training as Slowmouse I decided to reactivate my idle identity as Mousetrapper on CTS. I expected to be better after the intensive training with nearly 10000 tries, and yes, I am not disappointed. My new start is 50 points higher than the level when I left. 50 points in 35 days is even a better pace than the MDLM 400 points in 400 days. Already the 1500 come into my reach.

But I am not so sure if I really improved or if there are a lot more weak tacticians on CTS. This would lead to easy problems that are higher rated than before, so that my rating would rise without my tactics being better than before. The number of tacticians has roughly tripled since I joined CTS, and rank 155 (the man in the middle) is now 1432 - so I as Mousetrapper am in the upper half now. When I began the medium value was around 1500 and I was in the lower half.

I proudly present the new CTS king Frizz (IM) - he registered on my invitation, so if I am not and never shall be the the King, at least I am the Kingmaker.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

CTS boom

The number of tacticians and problems is going up with an ever increasing speed. Seems that I get more higher rated problems than before, so my success rate is around 90% these days.

The percentage of failures below 1500 from round to round is 2.2% - 2.0% - 1.9% - 2.4% (oops) and 1.7% in the actual round (1 round = 100 failures). With the exception of round 4 there seems to be a down trend. At least I hope so.