Observations on Month One

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Observations on Month One

Post by PawnCustodian on August 26th 2010, 10:35 am

Well, I'm a couple of days away from wrapping up Month One, just a couple of exercises to complete. I made the decision not to complete the introductory test; I don't need to take a 2300 ELO test to know I'm not at that level, so I'll save the balance of the test for exercises as time permits.

I haven't found the exercises difficult at all. I believe this is because I chose to go over all of the material including the annotated games and 1.d4 opening materials before attempting the exercises. All of the repetition before commencing the exercises seems to have helped develop a sense of what to look for when completing the exercises.

I haven't had time to work with the 1.e4 repertoire other than to organize the material for later work. I probably spent more than half my time this month working with the 1.d4 repertoire. I have now committed to memory all of the lines, and have played several training games against Fritz to get a feel for the type of games I will encounter once I put the repertoire to the test.

The repertoire itself leads to some very difficult positions, even if they are playable for White. Very exacting play is required, and for now, I am placing my trust on the positional training for the next several months.

As a example I analyzed the Dutch Line after 5.....c6, 6.Bd3 Qb6, 7.Na4 line after 7....Qa5+, 8.c3. There is nothing meaningful in the databases, so I ran a RR with Deep Rybka(Human), Deep Shredder, and Deep Sjeng. The outcome showed a definite advange for Black after some very difficult positional play (the PME sheet is very useful when playing over the games Smile ). Likewise, in the games I played with the repertoire I wouldn't feel too bad taking the Black side of the openings. It will be interesting to look back on these lines as my positional understanding grows over the next 12 months.

I only played one tournament during the month, and will be playing another at the start of the next month's study. Hopefully the efforts will begin to show......


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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on August 26th 2010, 7:27 pm

The way I see it, I expect my tournament performance to drop before it gets better and finally goes beyond where I am at now.

Sounds like you are doing well with it, but I would encourage you to do the exam. The idea is to see where you are now and then doing a similar one will show your improvement. Not all of the problems in the exam are that hard.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by PawnCustodian on August 27th 2010, 4:32 pm

BorgQueen wrote:The way I see it, I expect my tournament performance to drop before it gets better and finally goes beyond where I am at now.


Hopefully not much of a drop, one would think that improved thinking efficiency could only be a benefit.

I plan to complete the rest of the exam, but not as a tool to see where I was, rating supplements are a much better indicator.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on August 27th 2010, 8:12 pm

The restructuring of the "way to think" is messing with me though. I used to be a pure tactician -- positional chess was something of a mystery to me. I would simply try to find the best move, move by move, with no plan at all. The only training I did was tactics training... finding mates and combinations that win material. I had no idea that the bishop pair was worth something or that a bishop is better than a knight in an endgame with pawns on both sides. Qualitative value of pieces I had never heard of. These kinds of things were completely unknown to me... still are for the most-part.

This tactical only playing served me well until I started getting towards the top of my club where the players would see through the tactics, making positional understanding a high priority.

Now looking at positional stuff, the tactical playing is definitely taking a hit and I can tell that my play is already not as sharp as it was.

Once I get through this positional training, I will then try to re-integrate tactical calculation and then I hope to take on the big guns at my club.

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Blue Devil Knight wrote:The danger of studying positional chess at the expense of tactics is that you will spend a half hour thinking about where a Knight belongs, and then proceed to put it on a beautiful square where it is en prise. Smile
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by chesstiger on August 28th 2010, 12:44 am

You forget, one has to have a position before you can have a tactical shot. With other words, you also played positional (to build that position) in the past but your thinking proces was different then what you are learning now, more emphasie on finding tactics then positional while with the course its more positional then tactics.
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on August 28th 2010, 9:18 am

Yes. I agree. So my positional game was part of my tactical play, using largely instinct (almost guesswork).

Now I hope to develop my positional game to a more... complete and educated level rather than feeling like my game was full of holes.

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Blue Devil Knight wrote:The danger of studying positional chess at the expense of tactics is that you will spend a half hour thinking about where a Knight belongs, and then proceed to put it on a beautiful square where it is en prise. Smile
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by PawnCustodian on August 28th 2010, 9:33 am

BorgQueen wrote:

Now looking at positional stuff, the tactical playing is definitely taking a hit and I can tell that my play is already not as sharp as it was.

Once I get through this positional training, I will then try to re-integrate tactical calculation and then I hope to take on the big guns at my club.

I'd bet hard money that you haven't lost the tactical eye, just taking more time to look deeper at new (positonal) options. I've cut back on tactical training from daily to about once a week, still, I've seen a little improvement in my solving skills.

I'm spending an inordinate amount of time on the openings to free up some clock time. I had no idea just how pathetic opening preparation was until I started playing again and saw, through this course, what a real opening repertoire is.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on August 28th 2010, 10:01 am

Perhaps you are right... perhaps it is a matter of time, but otb, with a clock ticking, taking more time will cause a worse performance as time pressure mounts.

I have basically dropped tactical trainers for now, while I focus on positional stuff, but I do believe I am still reasonably sharp when I am "on".

I'm also dodging the openings module with this course; my focus is 100% on positional stuff for now. I'll do openings training when I feel I have the spare time to give it. I don't really seem to struggle with openings otb, but once out of the opening I find myself struggling for what to do when there's no tactics... which is largely why I am here. Coming up with a "to do list" is where I fail miserably.

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Blue Devil Knight wrote:The danger of studying positional chess at the expense of tactics is that you will spend a half hour thinking about where a Knight belongs, and then proceed to put it on a beautiful square where it is en prise. Smile
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by Blue Devil Knight on August 28th 2010, 2:45 pm

Many people get worse before getting better: things are unsettled for a bit then equalize.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by PawnCustodian on August 28th 2010, 4:57 pm

Blue Devil Knight wrote:Many people get worse before getting better: things are unsettled for a bit then equalize.

I like the way you put it... "Unsettled".

Basically I'll be playing with an incomplete and untested repertoire for four more months. It would have been nice if ICS could have covered more of the main lines first. I'm going into a regional next weekend, and the new stuff isn't ready and I won't have time to review the old. Hope I can get by on consequences and to do lists.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on August 28th 2010, 7:42 pm

Yes, "unsettled" indeed!

It sounds like it will happen again for me when I get onto the openings side of things! Makes me reconsider whether to tackle the openings module at the same time again! I still don't think I will have time though :-P

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Blue Devil Knight wrote:The danger of studying positional chess at the expense of tactics is that you will spend a half hour thinking about where a Knight belongs, and then proceed to put it on a beautiful square where it is en prise. Smile
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by Chess? on August 28th 2010, 7:58 pm

i am tackling the opening module the same time. I find it helps tie in the theme of the month.
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by PawnCustodian on August 29th 2010, 11:47 am

Chess? wrote:i am tackling the opening module the same time. I find it helps tie in the theme of the month.

That's what I find, at least for the 1.d4 stuff. I just hope they continue to do the detailed annotations for d4 in the following months.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by Chess? on August 29th 2010, 1:53 pm

the detailed annotations continue in the months to come. but the errors continue as well.
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by PawnCustodian on August 29th 2010, 5:31 pm

Chess? wrote:the detailed annotations continue in the months to come. but the errors continue as well.

The good news outweighs the bad.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by Blue Devil Knight on August 30th 2010, 9:10 pm

There aren't that many errors, but when you do find them you should write them up in the errata sections of this site to help others!

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on August 31st 2010, 6:27 am

Good idea, but I often forget to... sometimes it also seems "too hard" because there is no indication that anything will be done to correct the errors and tbh, it really doesn't help those doing the course since students are not looking at the errata, but the course-ware.

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Blue Devil Knight wrote:The danger of studying positional chess at the expense of tactics is that you will spend a half hour thinking about where a Knight belongs, and then proceed to put it on a beautiful square where it is en prise. Smile
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by Blue Devil Knight on August 31st 2010, 12:05 pm

Well, there are over a hundred people here now, it will help a good fraction of them Smile

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on September 1st 2010, 7:59 pm

I hope it does :-)

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Blue Devil Knight wrote:The danger of studying positional chess at the expense of tactics is that you will spend a half hour thinking about where a Knight belongs, and then proceed to put it on a beautiful square where it is en prise. Smile
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by PawnCustodian on September 8th 2010, 6:41 pm

Just wrapped up month 1 with a tournament and I was gratified to see some of the positive impacts from the month one study. It's always nice to gain some rating points...

In the past I would look at my opponents move only for threats, now I'm immediately looking for weakness', this seemed to save me time and organize my thought processes more effectively. No time trouble!

In terms of "To Do Lists", this seems to be nothing more than I was already doing, however, making the effort to use my opponents clock to work this type of thinking saved some clock time as well.

Still a long way to go, I had difficulty coming up with effective To Do Lists; I'm now looking to the month 2 stuff, especially since one of my opponents showed how I lost the center!

I played 1.d4 in all of my games even though unprepared. I suppose that could be considered self destructive, but at the same time I feel it is necessary to make the commitment as soon as possible. I suffered one loss as white in a match I probably would have lost anyway.

Bottom line - this is good stuff.

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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by BorgQueen on September 8th 2010, 7:37 pm

I am still struggling big time with todo lists and time trouble.

Like you, I am also starting to play 1.d4 now even though I'm unprepared... and I'm liking it for now.

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Blue Devil Knight wrote:The danger of studying positional chess at the expense of tactics is that you will spend a half hour thinking about where a Knight belongs, and then proceed to put it on a beautiful square where it is en prise. Smile
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Re: Observations on Month One

Post by Chess? on August 14th 2011, 1:35 pm

luv it.

Vladimir Kramnik, says ”Intuition depends on knowledge; the more you accumulate, the
better your intuition becomes. You may like some position, and dislike others, some
position you have faith in, whereas others you do not trust at all - this is what constitutes
intuitive judgment.”
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