An improvers story

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Re: An improvers story

Post by SirNemo on September 2nd 2013, 2:27 am

Anytime! That's why we're here; to encourage each other :] I've yet to have a solid tournament since my May 26th G/30 tournament, but I have gained 316 rating points since then. I need to learn how to score more than 2.0 in these tournaments Mad

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Re: An improvers story

Post by Leavenfish on September 2nd 2013, 10:34 pm

SirNemo wrote:1.5/5 isn't too bad considering you haven't played tournament chess in awhile! I suspect you will learn from your losses (ala the Smirnov method in STGM) and get back on the horse and win some tournaments!

I've been waiting all day for this update :]
Lets cut to the chase - why do you think you only scored 1.5 out of 5 now that you have had some time to think about it?
Was it all 'on you'? Does the Smirnov course not really train you what you really need to do better? How about ICC (I don't recall...did you finish the full GM Course? I've only got thru month 3).

I look back at my last 5 tournaments. 2 Wins (4-0 and 4.5/5) and a bad one (2/3 - withdrew and did not play the last game...thinking was really fuzzy) and then this past weekend at out state championship, I should have gone 4-1 but blundered against a weaker player, losing a pawn...clawing my way back and was unable to win a pawn up game because of mating threats.

Basically...I've found that all the knowledge in the world is useless...if you can't play well. I guess I play 'okay', been Expert for 20 odd years but I do not progress because I do not play as well as I need to game in and game out. I think it's largely a calculation issue. I don't know...perhaps I need to pay a GM a couple hundred bucks to go thru my last few tournament games and recommend a course of action.

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Re: An improvers story

Post by PawnCustodian on September 3rd 2013, 9:54 am

Leavenfish wrote: I think it's largely a calculation issue. I don't know...perhaps I need to pay a GM a couple hundred bucks to go thru my last few tournament games and recommend a course of action.
Studies show that at your level, as an expert, advancment is mostly in the ability to assess variations. At month three you haven't yet gotten to the course material most useful to your situation. Press on...

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Re: An improvers story

Post by Victorian Gent on September 17th 2013, 12:55 pm

Hi Leavenfish
Good questions. No I havn't done any of the ICC GM course yet since I put it on hold until I did the Smirnov stuff. I have analysed all my games played at the tourney and came to the following conclusions:
- When I follow Smirnov's thinking system I make good moves. For some reason though, I seem to be incapable of using it every move. It is during these lapses that I make mistakes. I think it is laziness on my part...I need to be more disciplined to stick to Smirnov's method.
- I have drilled deeper into which part of Smirnov's method I tend to mess up. This is clear. When I play using general strategic principles (i.e. when there is little or no tactical contact between the pieces) I get great positions. But I don't recognise when I need to calculate variations, and even if I do, I am crap at calculation. So focusing on this (the second part) of his thinking system seems to be the thing for me now. Essentially just practice, practice, practice of calculation. So that's what I'm doing by (a) reviewing his GM secrets course and (b) working through his calculation course

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Re: An improvers story

Post by Victorian Gent on November 23rd 2013, 12:12 pm

Hi everyone. No I havn't given up! I've spent the last 2 months focusing all my study time on revisiting Smirnov GM Secrets course again, this time with more attention to detail. Situation now is that when I analyse my own games I find that when I stick to Smirnov's method I get good positions, and all my mistakes seem to be when I "forget" to apply his system. That said, I was getting discouraged and began to worry that perhaps Smirnov's approach was not correct. But then, during the video coverage of the Anand-Carlsen game, GMs Polgar and Ramesh were at one point discussing how you should decide on a move in chess, and they described the Smirnov system almost exactly as he does. So this has given me the confidence to stick with it. Next tournament is Hastings over the New Year where I will play 9 games, so good test to see how it is going. I'll post news after that.
VG

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Re: An improvers story

Post by BorgQueen on November 24th 2013, 5:24 pm

Thanks VG.

__________________________________________
Content will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.

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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: An improvers story

Post by SirNemo on March 3rd 2014, 11:00 pm

Victorian Gent - It's been two full months since your event and no update Smile How did you manage?

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Re: An improvers story

Post by Victorian Gent on March 14th 2014, 10:25 am

Hi SirNemo
I thought everyone had given up on this site. I did play Hastings but was sick for the full week I was there. First a cold, and then gout in my knee, v painful and which meant that I could not sit at the board for more than 10 min at a time Sad  Still I achieved a score of 50% which I was pleased with.
Just played Blackpool weekend tournament where I entered a higher section than my rating. Average strength of my opponents was ECF 35 points higher than me (equates to FIDE/USCF 280 points higher). I scored 1.5 out of 5, which for the tournament gave me a grade of +15 ECF points (equal to +120 USCF/FIDE) which again was pleasing.

I am still sticking to Smirnov's training materials, and still really trying to get his thinking method ingrained into my play. The problem as ever is that its fine when I am practicing at home, but it all goes out of the window when I get to the OTB game. Also I am still making horrendous blunders at time (leaving N on prise, etc).


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Re: An improvers story

Post by PawnCustodian on March 17th 2014, 3:47 pm

Victorian Gent wrote:
I am still sticking to Smirnov's training materials, and still really trying to get his thinking method ingrained into my play.  The problem as ever is that its fine when I am practicing at home, but it all goes out of the window when I get to the OTB game.  Also I am still making horrendous blunders at time (leaving N on prise, etc).  

Having finished all of the ICS stuff and looking for something new I picked up Smirnov's "Calculate Till Mate" program.

ICS covers the same general ideas, but Smirnov's approach is very structured with regard to the approach to calculation. Having done the first several practical exercise sets I find that the ICS first year material covers the "General Understanding" required to do the exercises (it's probably very similar the Smirnov's Grandmaster course), but the Smirnov structure is very beneficial to the calculation process.

The exercises can be quite difficult; no calculate to a 2 pawn advantage like ChessTempo. I ran the engines on a couple of the problems and in some cases the book solution is in close competition with other candidates (just like real chess). If he doesn't cover calculation in the Grandmaster course I'd say it may be worthwhile, especially in addressing the type of problems you mentioned.

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Re: An improvers story

Post by Victorian Gent on March 17th 2014, 7:54 pm

He covers the general principles of calculation in GM Secrets course (find candidate moves first, calculate all the forcing lines until there is no forcing move, etc) but not in the same depth as "Calculate till mate". I think I will take your advice and work through the CTM course soon.
VG

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