Thursday, February 28, 2013

Opening Study

I am happy with my opening repertoire.

I am unhappy with the results of my opening studies.

I forget critical moves in the main variations, while remembering trivial lines that I have never seen in a game.

I am going to rethink how to study openings from the ground up.

Why study openings? To improve our play. There are several aspects:

  • To better understand the middle game plans that occur from an opening.
  • To better understand endgame structures that happen from an opening.
  • To become familiar with the tactical ideas that occur and spring from an opening
  • To save time in a game by making decisions ahead of time.
Memorizing lines is a problem for those of us with less than grandmaster memories. The main problem is that there is too much to remember. Since memory fades over time if not refreshed, most of us will reach a point where the amount of time to study openings will only be enough to refresh what we have already memorized. There will be no room for improvement. Some solve this problem by choosing lines that are not as challenging for your opponent, but are easy to grasp like the Colle. Others make the mistake of choosing offbeat lines like the Grob.

With clear knowledge of an opponent, you can do a more in depth study of lines before the game. From a few moments between rounds to months before a major match, the study will have to be adjusted to the time available and your knowledge of your opponent.

I think I need to drastically trim the size of my repertoire tree for line memorization. I still want to document and comment a very large tree, but only do memory training on a much smaller subset. I should train on the larger tree only in subsets for know upcoming opponents.

I need to come up with a better way to organize Tabiya and be more precise in defining those in my Repertoire. I should write a monograph on each Tabiya that is like a very verbose Stoyko exercise.  In particular, I should note paired moves. I should also create a flash card for each Tabiya. Eventually, I should use my collection of Tabiya to extract games from the WeekInChess weekly game download to review.

Paired moves is a concept I came up with a while ago. The idea is that the problems presented in an opening have a limited number of ways to address. Each move to address a problem may have a natural response. A good example of this is in the closed Ruy Lopez is the point when white directly defends his e4-pawn. Black must address the Bxc6 and Nxe5 threat. You should have selected ahead of time whether you are going to play ...d6 or ...b5 (assuming Morphy's ...a6 has been played), depending on how white defends the pawn. For instance, your paired moves might be (Re1, b5) (d3,d6).

(An aside: Here is a good reason for every chess player to be familiar with the Ruy Lopez, it is a good place to find any kind of example you might want, and it is continually used as example material by writers)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Programming problem with chess app

Just venting a bit

I am working on an Android app to help me study chess. I hope to make it useful enough to sell.

I want to use text areas and chess fonts to make some of the programming easier, but all of the good free fonts are not working with Android. (Except ChessAlpha2, which is not free for commercial use)

I guess it is known that some fonts just silently fail, but I cannot find what makes them fail. (I could fix them).

(If the app caught on I was intending to add a free upgrade to allow for various fonts and pay for a ChessAlpha license then)

MN Open 2013

I stepped up to the Premier section this year, so no MN Closed for me.

I did well. I lost to an IM, beat two lower rated players and drew with an expert and a player that is bouncing around 2000 USCF.

My last round game was an exciting, error prone, and long draw. I was black and played a King's Indian Defense. He chose the Saemisch variation.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

TCCL 2013 round 6

Again, I forgot the critical move in the main line of the variation of the KID classical I play as black.

My wrong sequence of moves ended up with me having a weakness that my opponent eventually was able to exploit.

I have got to do a better job memorizing my mainlines now that I am playing experts and masters on a regular basis.

Monday, February 4, 2013

MN Winter Open 2013.

Overall mediocre results, till the last round. I beat who I should have beat and lost to who I should lose. In the last round I I got lucky to face a Dutch (which I had just been studying). I pulled out an unusual line, and got a favorable game out of the opening, and ground out a win.

TCCL 2013 round 5

Another substitute board 4. Our opponents lineup has been in flux anyway, so I did not have much clue what to prepare against. I chose to work on the Dutch a bit, but did not face it.

My opponent played well though he was punching well above his weight class. I basically just played solid and took advantage of the weaknesses he made in his position and slowly squeezed him. This is precisely the kind of game I hope to make a regular thing, but against stronger players. I made several imprecise moves and have identified things I can improve.

On one move in particular, I forced him to improve his position.

I played the simply awful 15.Ba7 which forces his rook to a better square. In keeping with my plans, 15.a5 to fix the hole on b6 would have been better. My knight could take up residency there. Houdini thinks now is the time to strike and favors 15.e5.