Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Grandmaster preaches tactics training similar to Seven Circles

I was reading an interesting collection of articles from GM Rashid Ziatdinov(Author of GM-RAM) concerning many aspects of chess and psychology in chess. After about half an hour of putting up with this guy's somewhat delusional beliefs on chess training, I came across his article titled "TACTICS vs. STRATEGY". In it, he preaches a similar tactics training program similar to 7 circles. Without giving my own summary, I would rather just directly quote the GM:

"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, 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!
As you can see, that will put me right over the 26 rated game provisional and will allow me to compete for some decent money. As you can tell, I expect to win any section I participate in. I will show no mercy =P. That is all for now.


damourax said...

Good luck on your tournaments Nemo! I'll have some rated tournaments too, but not that much! lol

drunknknite said...

Tough schedule. There's a tournament in Reno during Easter weekend if you're interested, bring your board and I'll take Monday off, the snow here is amazing this year.

The National Open is my favorite tournament. I missed it in 07 but I had played in it 3 consecutive years before that. It is intense though, over 100 people in the B and C sections for sure, and every section is very large. My first two years I couldn't quite break through in C I ended up with 4.5/6 (5 guarantees $250). Then my third year I tied for first in B. That was sweet, $2800 for shared first-second. There were 146 people in the section, one of them was rated 1847 in the under 1800 cause it was an unofficial rating. A lot of people sandbag into tournaments like that. But you're underrated anyways so you have good chances.

If you can't come to Reno I'll see you in Vegas for sure.

Glenn Wilson said...

Good luck. If it is important that you not have to play as an provisional you might want to check with the organizers in advance on their policy. Will they use the June Rating supplement (I'm not sure what the cutoff date would be)...or will your games at the end of May count...?

Sir Nemo said...

Sir Augusto - Thanks! I hope you have luck on your tourneys as well! It shall be fun, you're a tough player.

DrunkNKnite - I probably won't be able to make it to the tourney in Reno, however it would be pretty cool if we hung out at the National Open. I spoke with some gentlemen at the club last night and they think I don't have what it takes to be a serious competitor. I'm like the ultimate underdog haha.

Glenn W. - Thanks. The policy on the whole provisional rating at the National Open is that if you win a section, the most you can win is $1500 compared to the $5000 first place prize. I know it's a little steep to think that I will win my section, but I'm going in all guts and no glory. I believe they will be using the May supplement. I hope I'm out of my provisional by then.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Ziatdinov is inspiring and fun, even if a bit over the top sometimes. His fresh perspective really inspired me in my Circles as I mention here with an extensive quote from his articles on chess improvement.It really is a great quote that opened my eyes to the importance of breadth of tactical thinking rather than depth. A watershed, everyone should read it. If memory serves, I think DK pointed that out to me.