Just finished month 1

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Just finished month 1

Post by Jazzmouse on October 9th 2014, 6:52 pm

I just finished month 1, so I thought I would jot down some of my experiences.
As I mentioned elsewhere,  after about 3 weeks I realised I was being much too superficial so I started again from the beginning.  Consequently it has taken me about 6 weeks to do all of Month 1 (but none of the openings module...I just don't think I am going to be able to do openings at the same time as the main course).  
To be more thorough I did the following:
1. I printed out all of the course material (and got the local print shop to spiral bind it for me, which was actually much cheaper than buying ring binders, and looks much better too)
2. I used a real board and pieces for everything.
3. For the example games, I found that all of them were in ChessBase MegaBase, so I got each one up onto my laptop, closed down the notation and then went through them (on the real board) guessing the next move of winning side but using ChessBase to reveal the actual moves (much better than trying to cover up moves with bits of paper, etc).  After I had done this "solitaire chess" run through, I would then go through the annotations in the course material.  This seems to have taken me about 4 hours per game.  I suspect with more knowledge (hopefully gained as I go through the course) I could be a lot more detailed and take a lot longer per game.  But at the moment I pretty much run out of ideas quite quickly.
3. For the ToDo list problems, and the Consequences problems, I cut out each problem diagram and instructions, and stuck them at the top of a sheet of paper.  I then set up the position on the board, tried to solve it as if I were playing a real game, and then wrote down my solution and variations on the paper.  Then I look at the solution and make notes of things I had not seen.  This way I seem to have filled most of a sheet of paper for each problem.
4.Since starting the course (i.e. over the last 6 weeks) I have played 16 rated games OTB (I don't play on internet).  11 of these were club or league games, and 5 were at a weekend tournament.  My grade after this has gone up about 10 ECF points (about equal to approx. 80 FIDE/USCF points).  I don't know how much of this is due to what I learned in Month 1 (e.g. the thinking system based on Threats, CQS, ToDo list and methods of evaluation) but I think it certainly contributed.  It is clear that I need to be more disciplined in applying the method to every move!
So, now onto month 2!  I had a sneak look at the material and there seems to be a lot more than in Month 1 (which might have been a gentle introduction).  I have another weekend tournament planned in about 5 weeks time, so that is my goal..to finish Month 2 by then.  I'll post another update when I finish Month2.  In the interim, can any of you experienced folk give me any tips on how to approach the Month 2 material...especially all those games relating to different centres?
Jazzmouse

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Re: Just finished month 1

Post by Mystique on October 10th 2014, 3:24 am

You study it really thoroughly, my compliments for that! If you consequently carry out the thinking method, you will absolutely gain rating points in your OTB games. (Personally, I also know the thinking methods, but for me it seems to vanish once I play my OTB games)
When you study month 2, and you approuch it like month1 I think it take you several months to go through the center stuff. In my opinion I don't think it contribute to additional knowledge to go through all the centre games at once. I suggest to focus on 1/2 of games per centre and study the other 1/2 as you go through the rest of the months. (So you are able to repeat the knowledge you gained)
The rest of month2, like the kings exercises are very important and also don't underestimate the board visualization (BV). This BV seems to be very dull stuff, but it is very helpfull in the OTB games because it is just a matter of seeing the moves especially when it comes on
the tactics. In my games I have been caught multiple times, eg. when I placed Queen and Rook on the same diagonal as my opponent gained a quality by attack those with a Bishop. With BV training you will reduce this mistakes and will contribute to your calculation skills (Month3) big time.
I wish you a good luck with month2 and keep us posted on your progress !

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Re: Just finished month 1

Post by PawnCustodian on October 11th 2014, 5:09 pm

While it is tempting to try and analyze all of those games on the 5-centers, the ICS instruction is to quickly play through the games just to become familiar with the typical plans, so 5-10 minutes / game is good. Spend some additional time on the model games.

This is good practice; they propose the same approach for working on your own openings, in the lesson on "Calculation in Chess" if I recall correctly.

I think that it is important to distinguish between learning, training, and testing and understand what you are doing with each of the lessons. As a practical matter, if you try to "solve" every move you will be spending too much time to have any hope of finishing the course. You will find ample opportunity for each objective as you progress through the course.

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Re: Just finished month 1

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