"To study tactics, I recommend my timed tactical software program, or similar software programs. A good book of combinations is beneficial too, but less efficient and not as fun. Basically, set up a cycle of ten positions, go through them until you get a perfect score, then set a cycle from 10-20, get a 100% score, then go through problems 1-20, repeating this cycle until you can go through 1000 problems "by hand" (not mind) without any mistakes. If you try this method with my tactics program and complete it, you will have the tactical ability of a Grandmaster. I have had more than a hundred students and nobody had enough will power to finish this tactical training method. Is it my students or is it me? Well, take only thirty minutes a day and slowly memorize 1000 problems; take a year or two if you have to. It comes down to will power, and that I cannot provide."
It was nice for me to see that even a Grandmaster would recommend such a training program. However, I'm not sure if I completely agree with him when he says that memorizing 1000 tactical problems "by hand" will make you tactically as strong as a Grandmaster. He also preaches that another highly effective way of improving one's tactical ability is to play blitz games. He doesn't mean G/5 blitz games(he doesn't consider these blitz), but G/1min. More commonly known as Lightning games. I had a lot of interest in this so I went out and played several lightning games and I feel it has slightly improved my intuition as far as tactical play is concerned.
Now on to a separate topic: my progress + upcoming tournaments. I have finished Problems with Level Difficulty 50 last night with an overall success rate of 51%. I thought this was very peculiar considering the level before it was only finished at 49%. Perhaps I thought a little bit harder on these problems than the previous difficulty level problems. I'm very interested to see what happens with the next level up. I also catch myself blundering a lot more these days. It happens mostly in my online games. Perhaps it's cause subconsciously I don't really care if I win or lose, or maybe because I'm just not thinking. On Chess.com, I keep getting really close to the 1600 level, but drop back down to around 1550 and have to slowly climb back up just to fall again. On FICS, I'll beat an 1800, then lose to a 1600, then beat a 1900, then lose to a 1400. I'm really confused by these results. Sometimes it's really unmotivating and makes me want to give up.
Tournaments! w00t! So I finally got my first copy of Chess Life magazine and on the back of it was a nice huge advertisement for the National Open in Las Vegas, June 5-8th. I sat there talking to my mother about it and she said it would be good for me to go participate in a national event like this. I thought about it for a couple of days and I concluded with the fact that I was going to take the week off of work and go up and play me some hardcore chess! The tourney doesn't start till Wednesday but I love me some Texas Hold'em poker so I'll be occupied those first couple days. After contemplating this trip, I remembered that my rating is still provisional, which means that if I were to win a section, the most I could win was $1500. Which is no good for me so I went out and found just enough tournaments/rated games to complete my provisional before the National Opening. Here is a list of the upcoming tourneys I will be participating in:
- Foothills Chess Club(Meets every third Sunday) Rated Game - My two rated games are from this chess club, so I will gain 4 more rated games before June.
- Colorado Springs Open(Mar. 8-9, Colorado Springs) - 5 rounds
- Oppenheimer Open(Mar. 29-30, Soccoro) - 4 rounds
- Springs Denker(Apr. 5, Colorado Springs) - 4 rounds
- Pir Maleki(Apr. 26, Montezuma, NM) - 4 rounds
- DCC May Flowers Tour(May 17, Denver) - 4 rounds
- Total Rated Games = 27!