Sunday, October 23, 2011


I think I have reached a plateau in strength. I know that I play much stronger with a long time control, but my results in the local  tournaments (G/60) are not what I would wish. I seem to be in the middle of Class A somewhere.

One idea of which I am fond, is that plateaus happen because you have accumulated as much new knowledge as you can, and you have to play a lot of games to integrate that new knowledge, before you can absorb more.

I have taken a big chunk of time recently to restructure my openings with white. When I am done (soon I hope), I will start playing games regularly on the internet, this should help me integrate some of the acquired knowlege.

Another idea on improvement, that I picked up from a Dan Heisman column, which may originate from Michael de la Maza (author of Rapid Chess Improvement), is that you need to do lots of easy (for you) tactical problems so that you gain instant recognition of patterns and don't have to calculate them. Dan Heisman claims that there are 2000 basic tactical patterns (attributed to IM Mark Dvoretsky famous chess coach).

Dan Heisman has two Novice Nook articles with a tactics quiz. I scored 1400 on one and 2050 on the other. That shows I instantly recognize some of the patterns, but not enough.

tactics quiz one

tactics quiz two

So maybe I am using ChessTempo sub-optimally. I am doing 3 very hard tactics problems a day in regular mode and taking a long time on each. Based on the above emphasis on quantity over quality, I should be doing lots of easy problems a day in blitz mode. How many problems? I don't know. I guess less than 30 mins of time. Each fail should be thought over carefully, so the more fails, the fewer problems done a day, but the more fails, the more new patterns to learn.

Alternatively, Michael de la Maza method is to do the same set of problems (around 700) 7 times, taking less time each pass.  (His method is documented in  Rapid Chess Improvement)

No comments:

Post a Comment