Sunday, February 26, 2012

CTS Accuracy Update

Not been doing much of CTS lately for various reasons, and it's already been a month since the last accuracy update. Also thought I wasn't doing all that well, but as it turns out I just barely managed to reach the goal of 90% session average over this short batch of 1265 problems. The numbers are: 118214 problems done at 1610 rating, 80.7% total accuracy, giving a 90.0% session average. Which is nice, but I'll need to get that accuracy higher and do much more problems. No more slacking.

CTS: 1610, 118214 problems, 80.7%.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

CTS Accuracy Update

The big slow clock of accuracy at 100K+ level took a tiny step forward to 80.6% total accuracy, so it's time to calculate the session average since the last update. The numbers are now: 116949 problems, at a 1613 rating. Which gives a session average of 89.6% over the last 2543 problems. Still no 90%, but getting there... Also had a 100% accuracy session with 108 problems correct in a row today, which I believe is my record.

CTS: 1613, 116949 problems, 80.6%.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back At CTS

Some time ago I returned back to Chess Tactics Server after years of absence. So far I've done a few thousand problems, and am getting back into the groove of things. At first it felt a little weird after the ICC problem set, but I guess it went surprisingly well considering the length of the break.

When I left CTS in 2008, I was at 1632 with a 80.0% total accuracy over 107832 problems. Now I'm at 1615 with a 80.4% total accuracy over 114406 problems. which leaves me with 857 wrong for the last 6574 problems, and a 87.0% accuracy over that time. Can't really remember what kind of session averages I used to do before, but 87% doesn't really sound all that great. I'd like to get that past the 90% mark at the very least.

What's interesting though, is that the thousands of blitz games I've played during the break, don't seem to have any significant effect on my CTS rating. Yet my 5-minute blitz (peak) rating has risen from 1431 to 1705 over the same period. You might think playing a lot of blitz would improve tactics as well, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Just like the inverse wasn't true back when I began blitzing, when my 1550 CTS (or 1800 RHP) didn't affect my blitz almost at all. Instead I started from 1100-1200 and slowly fought my way up just like everyone else.

All of which is in line with my earlier hypothesis, that contrary to a popular belief, blitz is not so much about tactics. Or at least tactics don't dominate blitz strength in the way it's usually portrayed to do. Instead, blitz seems to be mostly about experience and familiarity with your openings and typical positions.

Why study tactics at all then? Well, even though it doesn't seem to do work that well for blitz, it did have a huge positive effect on my slow chess. And I firmly believe that anything you understand about slow chess, you can eventually internalize and transfer to blitz, through experience. Repetition.

CTS: 1615, 114406 problems, 80.4%

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tactics Revisited

It's been a long time coming, but I finally started doing tactics again. Haven't been doing any for 3-4 years now, as there's been so much other holes to work on in my game. But I've always known I'll need to take my tactics to the next level for further improvement, and for some reason it now feels like the time to do just that.

I'm not gonna do anything overly rigorous, no big structured training plans or anything like that. Just keep it very simple and straightforward, 30 minutes or so every day. I started with the ICC training bot set for now, but if need be, I might later switch it to a 'slower' harder set for the real mind torture effect. For now I'll be just taking it relatively easy, keep it fun and establish a daily training routine.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

ICC 5-minute 1705

Another year, another hundred points. As usual, I haven't been training much if at all. Just playing blitz, nothing else. And also as usual, I've had some lengthy periods of inactivity during the year. Doesn't seem to matter much though, it all comes back in just a few days after a break.

I feel I've developed into a slightly more solid player. Well, 'solid' is probably misleading, I still throw stuff at my opponents as reckless as ever. But maybe a slight change there. Also my endgames seem to have become more solid. I defend lost positions better, especially in a time scramble. Which I guess is the essence of blitz in a way, making 'winning the won game' as hard as possible for the other guy. And on the flipside simplifying my own won games as quickly as possible.

That's about it really. See you next year at 1800.

ICC 5-minute: 1705, 2414 games, +1183, -1185, =46.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

1613 On ICC 5-Minute Blitz

Another milestone reached. It took a full year getting from breaking 1500 to here, which makes it twice as fast as getting from 1400 to 1500. The main difference no doubt is that I've been on a more or less steady diet of blitz since last december. Roughly 1300 5/0 blitz games during that time, the longest breaks having been a couple of weeks at most. During this time my slow chess hasn't improved one bit. Yet more weight to my belief that blitz is mostly about experience, mileage.

Haven't been training much, but the little I've been doing has been openings. Zero endings, zero tactics. Just playing blitz, playing, playing, playing. And it seems like the way to go regarding blitz. Still got a staggering amount of work left with my openings though, so if what I've been saying about blitz & openings has any point in it, there's nowhere to go but up.

So onwards to 1700!

ICC 5-minute: 1613, 1318 games, +643, -652, =23.
RHP: 2031, 335 games, +230, -87, =18.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Building A Repertoire, And Mastering It

"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."

For the last months I've been busy building up an opening repertoire. Not that I didn't have one before, as I've played the same openings for a year or two already. But although I did put some work into it, it never was very systematic nor thorough. Reading books, studying games, blitzing the openings, sure, but I never really focused into it as with tactics. And I probably didn't need to, except maybe considering blitz where it really turned out to be surprisingly useful. There was just always other more important things to train.

So, now I've finally reached the point where I feel it's usefull to dive deep into it, and will be properly focusing on openings for some time. I began booking up on my selected openings a few months ago, going through videos & books and putting all the relevant lines into a database. All of which I've gone through many times already, so I'm somewhat familiar with the ideas, but shaky on the actual variations. Such knowledge is simply not digestable without extensive drilling, and although some of it stays with you, most of the details evaporate fairly soon.

It's still very much a work in progress, as playing a sicilian there's just such a huge ground to cover. I'm also already training the parts I've already plugged in, but still only beginning to cover anti-sicilians, not to even mention polar bear. I've got maybe 30% of the eventual material plugged in, of which I've now drilled (exhaustively) about 30%. So maybe 90% of the drilling still ahead, and also getting rest of the planned material into a database. This might take a while. It's not hard, but time consuming. A year, or two, but months at minimum. There are existing dbs, but I really want to construct my own versions, handpicking what I need.

The method of training is very much the same as with tactics: Drill the positions until they're second nature to you. Effortless, instant recognition of familiar elements and related patterns. -In practice I've got the lines in Chess Position Trainer, every opening as a separate sub-repertoire, from which I drill random lines until I know them inside out. Currently I'm doing lines from move 1 into the end of the line, around 16-30 moves deep generally. In sicilian the first 11-12 are pretty much fixed, so it's manageable. Also, I might not remember people's names, but this is the type of memorization I excell in.

In time I plan to switch into drilling from random positions, which requires accurate recognition of all the elements present in the given position. Out of order recollection. So far it seems that might turn out to be much easier than it sounds, the lines are not only sinking in well but also the triggering details start sort of popping up. Many of which you never knew about before, but somehow just deduce from constant exposure in different but similar positions. The black box of the brain at its best, nonverbally and unconsciously classifying patterns from a jumble of data. It doesn't need reasons or narrative, just feed it huge amount of data and let it do what it evolved to do best.

What I'm seeking to gain with all this, is a basic, rock solid opening repertoire. It won't be 'complete' by any definition of the word, nor it will be final. But it'll provide my brain a blitz-proof model of all mainlines and basic deviations, a geometry I can instantly recollect and recognize with no calculation. A base on which to build further understanding of the related typical middle- and engame positions and schemes. And when it's all in I'll probably start adding other openings as well, just to complement the understanding by learning different types of positions. But that's another project for another time.

Well, enough banter, back to work.