I am starting month four today.

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 12th 2010, 3:15 am

I can tell you that there are plenty of exercises, or problems if you like, but I am finding that it's taking a lot of time to do them as they are not your typical tactics problems. Last night it took me almost 2 hours to do ONE of the thirty in section one's exercises. There are to more sections, probably having 30 more each.

No doubt some of you will do them in the 'prescribed' 15-20 minutes or even less, but I seem to be taking way too long to find the right solution... but I haven't looked to see if my answers are right yet... they say to only do that at the end of the set.

I will comply!

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by PawnCustodian on October 12th 2010, 2:50 pm

Sounds like month 4 is where the great leap forward occurs!

Think I'll just set the timer for 20 minutes, then write down my solutions. If I don't know what's going on by then I'm probably wasting time....

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 12th 2010, 6:45 pm

Well that is just it... I spend 20 minutes, can't see what might be the correct solution and start writing my thoughts at the time and then I give it another 15 minutes before 'giving up' and then I re-write and eventually I zero in on what is probably the right solution, so I dunno if you would be wasting your time... to me, getting it right (or giving it my BEST try) is more important than the time factor.

I expect to need to give month four an extra month!

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by PawnCustodian on October 12th 2010, 7:30 pm

BorgQueen wrote:... to me, getting it right (or giving it my BEST try) is more important than the time factor.


I won't argue that, whatever works best for you.

My own priority is to focus on OTB play and get through all of the material in the alloted 13 months. My approach is to give the exercises my best shot within the recommended time controls, and learn from the mistakes by carefully reviewing where and why I went wrong - the end result is the same (I hope).

Also, my plan during Month 4 (November for me) includes two weekend tournaments so I won't have the luxury of any extra time anyway. But, I will be able to try out the complete 1.d4 repertoire for the first time!

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 12th 2010, 8:41 pm

PawnCustodian wrote:My own priority is to focus on OTB play and get through all of the material in the alloted 13 months.
I too am focused on OTB play primarily and I had the same goals, but with the board visualisation exercises and the exercises in Month 4, I just know I am not going to get there in one month.

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by Bilbo on October 14th 2010, 8:55 am

I know everybody is different but at this stage I wouldn't be spending an hour trying to work out a solution to each question. It's far more important to spend the bulk of your time trying to understand the correct answer imo and focus on that.

Use the skills you've learnt so far, especially the thought process in Month 1 to try and evaluate the essential features of the position and then use what you have gained in Month 3 as best you can to determine the nature of the problem and come up with a plan.

Don't spend hours and hours travailing over each position though, as you will just burn yourself out and give up. Even worse, you'll be more likely to recall your own faulty thinking if you spend two hours analysing a position in the wrong way, and then say 15 minutes looking at the right answer.

You want you memory of these exercises to be of the correct solutions, not your own wrong ideas so spending the bulk of your time on the answer is the best way to proceed imo.

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 14th 2010, 6:41 pm

Hmmm.... that's a good point Bilbo. Thanks :-) I think you may have just saved me lots of time!

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by Bilbo on October 14th 2010, 6:59 pm

I really think it's a big mistake, when you are are starting out to heavily analyse complex positions for long periods, until you have the necessary postional understanding to evaluate correctly.

That's what the final 4 months of this course are for.

It's far better to learn how to play chess first and THEN use what you have learnt to analyse positions than to spend hours analysing positions before you have learnt how to.

Just have a go at establishing the 'essence' of the positions and see if you are able to understand the dynamics of the position, and what the main strategical factors are. Accurately calculating the whole thing out will come later. I personally think it's a complete waste of time to spend an hour looking at a position that you don't understand.

It's like painting a house and spending all day on it only to realise you had your ladder against the wrong wall. Very Happy

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 14th 2010, 10:19 pm

lol

Ok, I will look at the solutions over the weekend for section one and let you know how I went.

If I got lots of them right because of spending lots of time on them then do you still think it is bad to be spending so much time?

Naturally, if I get lots of them wrong then your advice is SPOT ON!!

But hang on a minute... what do you mean
It's far better to learn how to play chess first and THEN
!! I know how to play chess!! I am a national master -- just like you! :-P

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by Bilbo on October 15th 2010, 3:59 am

If you're already a national master then I'd say disregard my advice. I was assuming you were fairly new to chess study as I am. I think anyone over 2100 must have a pretty strong positional understanding already and it's probably worthwhile to spend to time analysing complicated positions, as you probably already have the knowledge base necessary to decipher them.

For players such as myself however, with only a couple years experience I think it's a waste of time to spend hours analysing positions when you simply don't have the fundamental knowledge base.

I signed up for about 18 months ago I think when I had only been playing seriously for a few months. I tried to study ICS, plus the openings module, plus a couple workbooks, and also analyse my own games, in addition to playing and found I got completely bogged down.

Then I just streamlined my approach. Stopped studying any books for a while and concentrated just on playing and analysing my own games, with the latest Rybka engine.

My grade jumped to 140 ECF which is around 1850 I believe on the ELO scale, so I've made pretty solid progress in just two years.

Now I'm back to studying ICS from Month 1 again, but the key for me (at this stage) is to focus on the lessons and get the essential knowledge base rather than spending time on complicated analysis.

I think that can come much later. It's simply not necessary below master level, as evidenced by the fact GM's can routinely defeat 30 or more club players in a simultaneous with relative ease.

My goal when I started playing was to become a master from beginner in 5 years, currently 2 years in.

I think it's important (for me at least) to keep the learning process enjoyable and progressive, and not become bogged down in hours of heavy analysis. That's what I play I rated games for!

Basically what I mean by that is that I always spend more time working through the answers to solutions than I do the problems themselves.

I get the feeling most people do it the other way around. They study themselves, for ages, get it wrong, then look at the answer, go 'Ah so that's how you do it', and move on.

But all of their efforts, and thus memory of the exercise were focused on doing things the wrong way. I will instead spend as much time on the problem/solution as someone else, but will spend the bulk of my time going over the solution, playing it out several times, manually moving the pieces on the board etc, so that it becomes intuitive.

I don't want to waste time thinking faulty thoughts when I could instead spend that time learning how to think correctly, if that makes sense.

But once I get to 2100 level, where you are now, I won't be adopting that same approach. That's when calculation and analysis become necessary, but by then I should have the positional knowledge base to handle it.

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by PawnCustodian on October 15th 2010, 8:28 am

There's an interesting summary of a research in Dan Heisman's The Improving Chess Thinker where he reports that Experts (USCF 2000-2199) do more analysis than any of the other rating categories.

Below the expert level players don't have the skills to do the analysis, and above the expert level players rely more and more on memory of analysis (their own and published) in making moves. The point is that at the Expert and above levels the distinction is the ability to assess positions as there is little difference in the ability to do calculations.

There's a good example of positions that require "knowledge" in Nunn's Chess Endings Volume 1 first chapter which includes a position that requires knowledge of fortress positions. Simply put, you don't calculate fortress positions - you "know" them. Put a fortress to a computer engine and it simply flat lines...

I guess for us, trying to study on our own, we need to decide which is our most pressing weakness and set our priorities accordingly. The ICS material seems to offer a good balance between "pushing" knowledge and offering plenty of exercises to develop the calculation skills.


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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by cofresi on October 15th 2010, 12:23 pm

Bilbo wrote:If you're already a national master then I'd say disregard my advice. I was assuming you were fairly new to chess study as I am.

I think he was just joking about our labels in the forum -- you are labelled as "National Master" as part of your avatar...


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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by Bilbo on October 15th 2010, 12:45 pm

cofresi wrote:
Bilbo wrote:If you're already a national master then I'd say disregard my advice. I was assuming you were fairly new to chess study as I am.

I think he was just joking about our labels in the forum -- you are labelled as "National Master" as part of your avatar...


ha oh yeah, I never noticed Very Happy

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 16th 2010, 2:04 am

Yes, I was definitely joking! I am NOT a national master! Just another club player who is hoping to get to play at higher levels. I want to win at least one club championship!!

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 16th 2010, 8:56 am

Bilbo, I got half of them right, but I have to say that your method has it's weaknesses. I would have got a lot less of them correct if I hadn't spent the time. There were also at least two examples (19 and 25) where after significant engine analysis, the solution that I found was actually more accurate than the solution given by the courseware!

One more thing. I could not get any engine to agree with the solution given on number 19, so the solution, if taken to be accurate by faith, would be bad to remember as a good thing to do.

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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: I am starting month four today.

Post by Bilbo on October 17th 2010, 7:52 am

If you are understanding and evaluating correctly already at this stage then it is definitely worthwhile taking the time. It's worrying that you say the ICS analysis is faulty. I've not done the exercises myself yet so can't comment but I would message them if they have made mistakes, as it's not good for the course imo.

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by Tweety on October 17th 2010, 12:43 pm

BorgQueen wrote:One more thing. I could not get any engine to agree with the solution given on number 19, so the solution, if taken to be accurate by faith, would be bad to remember as a good thing to do.

You mean 19 problem from the first set on month 4. If it is so then the given solution is correct, just look at the position below where black is to play, ( Dean - Redman USA 1984) from Van Perlo Endgame Tactics book, the method to win is the same.



Don't trust engines in endgames unless Nalimov tablebases are being used.

Thank you HangingKing! I followed your advice.


Last edited by Tweety on October 17th 2010, 3:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by HangingKing on October 17th 2010, 1:45 pm

Rem: you can set single FEN positions at this URL
http://www.chessvideos.tv/chess-diagram-generator.php


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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on October 17th 2010, 8:02 pm

Bilbo wrote:If you are understanding and evaluating correctly already at this stage then it is definitely worthwhile taking the time. It's worrying that you say the ICS analysis is faulty. I've not done the exercises myself yet so can't comment but I would message them if they have made mistakes, as it's not good for the course imo.
I only currently believe that one out of 30 (so far) may actually be flawed. That's the 19th problem in the first group. The other one, 25, isn't wrong per se, but the engines all agreed that my answer was slightly better. Since I couldn't see there was a major difference -- both the answer given and my solution both gave advantage, I just marked myself correct and moved on.

Tweety wrote:...If it is so then the given solution is correct, just look at the position below where black is to play, ( Dean - Redman USA 1984) from Van Perlo Endgame Tactics book, the method to win is the same.



Don't trust engines in endgames unless Nalimov tablebases are being used...
3 points.

1. It is all very well and good saying they're right, but without analysis and proof, I won't just blindly accept that any more than I would accept the answer provided as being correct.
2. That is a different position. I haven't analysed it yet so don't crucify me if the position is a mirror image or something, but perhaps the solution works there and not in problem 19.
3. Namilov tablebases were activated when I did the analysis, however there is no 11 man tablebase yet and won't be any time soon.

How can I just accept the answer is right when the engines say that black plays inaccurately in order to give white the win? I trust engines more than I trust myself, so I have really no choice. If the engines all say that blacks moves were bad and I can't see why the engine is wrong, then I have no choice but to trust the engines.

I know there are engine-baffler positions that when you play through the best line the engine is evaluating, the values all of a sudden change when it finally sees the "key". But even when I played through in this position, the engine still didn't find a win for white UNLESS I played the "mistakes" the solution is giving.

Engine Analysis:

g4 is the recommended move (0.86)
after 1.b3... cxb3 (0.60) Kd6 is the recommended move.
2. Bb2... Ke6 (0.40)
3. g4 (0.44). Now, the recommended move is Kf7, Ke7 or g5. All of these are 0.44. b4 played here gives 1.08, so playing b4 seems to be a mistake -- bad play by black. So let's try Kf7 and play through:

3...Kf7
4. Kd6... b4.
5. axb4...g5.
6. f5 (fxg5, Kg6) ... Bb5.

I can't now see a way for white to win this.

I still believe that Rybka is right here, the solution is flawed and only works if black misplays it.




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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by PawnCustodian on November 23rd 2010, 12:40 pm

BorgQueen wrote:I could not get any engine to agree with the solution given on number 19, so the solution, if taken to be accurate by faith, would be bad to remember as a good thing to do.

This one is beyond engines even with tablebases, yet not that difficult for humans.

To check, I set up some rules with Freezer, and confirmed the author's approach and solution to be accurate.

Keep the faith!

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by HangingKing on November 23rd 2010, 4:53 pm

I gave a try to the problem, without seeing the solution proposed by ICS.
I just set up the position and sit in front of Rybka for a 15 min endgame.

PGN is here : http://cjoint.com/?1lxwT9riSEp

The longest line is the one played, the variants are my analysis of what i think could be a better defense.

Obviously against an engine this is not very difficult to play, over the initial 15 min tank, i mated Rybka with 9 min 35 s still available at my clock while Rybka was only 2 min 04 left.
But hand analysis shows there is better defense, that at least lead to +1.5 advantage for white with passed pawns, winable but not so easy.




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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on November 23rd 2010, 9:27 pm

This is excellent, thank you very much HunterKiller... oh erm... HangingKing! I appreciate the effort. I'll study this at length when I get home. I've had a quick look for now and it looks like you have made this nicely clear to me now :-)

Thanks again! Super effort that!

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by chesskang on April 7th 2011, 1:18 pm

Hello M4!
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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by karpyan on April 28th 2011, 2:44 pm

Back on it after a 3 month break. Not easy! Guess I'll have to start the board visualization again.... Must stop playing blitz as well.

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Re: I am starting month four today.

Post by BorgQueen on April 28th 2011, 7:20 pm

Yeah, too much blitz would retrain your thinking patterns to the wrong way. I am on month 10 and I am finding that I have forgotten too much of the early stuff now, so I am going to have to continually repeat the courseware until it sticks.

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