Wills Chess Blog
Adventures in chess in Cambridgeshire

A long think....

By Will
Like most of the bloggers I have followed over the last few years most have been searching for the method(s) to improve their chess that do so in the most effecient manner. Before I put a plan together to work out how to improve I decided to read as much on the subject as possible and then try to create a synthesis of the advice. It may of taken a couple of months of reading but I finally feel able to share where I am with it right now.

Firstly, a number of authors (Ziatidinov, Soltis and Wetzell) talk about memorising (or words to that effect) key patterns. Though only Wetzell offered a system to do so (flashcards) the other two seemed to be alluding to the famous card indexes popularised by the Russian school of chess. I'm not really a great fan of generating huge amounts of cards (according to Soltis Laslo Polgar had 200K) the modern equivalent would be to use Anki and its spaced repetition. Blunderprone seems to have gone down this route to and Chess Position Trainer is built around the same idea.

Secondly, analysing your own games is key. Not the way I had in the past but taking this much further and creating flashcards with key ideas I missed. Also, Grivas advocates analysing them in a quantitative manner to see if where your weakenesses are. I'm going to head down this road since I am always looking for further insight into my weaknesses.

Finally that it is going to be a long process which will require more than obsession to get anywhere. Ziatdinov talked about 15 years, so master by 48 in my case...

What I am intending to do is to take alot of what Wetzell said and add it to the process of analysing my own games. To have a Standard Operating Procedure of what I want to do and to follow it for all of the analysis because the truth is I am sure that in the first three games I have played over the board the key errors have all been about things I already know rather than things I don't. Adding more to the information I know isn't going to get me back to where I was; it is down to the absence of a thought process.

Once I have finished the analyses I will post them here to create a record of the journey.

And now for the pain

By Will
I played my first proper game for three years two weeks ago and my god I got slaughtered. All of the blitz games have gotten my tactics to roughly where they were but I have no clue about the openings I play.

Flicking through some of the last games I played is depressing since I am pretty sure that my standard was a few quantum leaps from where it is now. But anyway, I am not the type of person to give up so its time to get down to the graft to improve.

So far I have rememorised 24 GM ram games which is starting to pay some dividends in Blitz and in my long training games on FICS. I have aquired Chess Position trainer and am trying to get the first ten moves of my openings burned in so I can reach a middlegame position that I can study / prepare for. I've wolfed down a few books so far, usual suspects like logical chess, Power chess for kids and one of McDonalds talky books (which I can't remember the name of for some reason). I'm trying to plow through Chernev Most instructive games at 2 games an evening and I have a pile of similar books to follow this.

Tactics is going OK but I think the patterns are a long way from being burned in since I am on cycle 3 of 7. Looking at Weteschniks Chess tactics from Scratch might highlight that I am doing them alittle incorrectly in that I am not verbalising the basis for the tactic. Maybe I'll go through them and add them to Anki to maintain them in my RAM.

Still along way to go before I get to a systematic and planned study regimen but it is coming together to an extent and I have a clear idea of what I want to fit in. I'm mainly opting for the memorisation approach advocated by Ziatdinov in GM ram and the Silman website articles. The basis for this pursuit was an article onWired about SuperMemo and spaced repetition. I have a feeling that this approach will work for me well since I have a good memory.

More to follow when I work out a schedule,