Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Processing Failures On CTS

Today I started doing an additional round over my failed problems after I finish a session. I just got annoyed that I missed a mate once again in a position I knew I'd seen before. I'm also still doing the problem again immediately after I fail, as I always have, but now there's an additional round for re-inforcement of the correct pattern in my mind. We'll see how it goes.

First session went pretty well, although I have slept only 3 hours last night and feel exhausted. Haven't got this kind of percentages in at least a couple of weeks, mostly I've staggered barely at 80%, and often even worse. It's obviously been the 'curse of the even hundreds' again, but I think I'm getting past it (concerning 1500), as I'm stabilizing at 1520. No need for the desperate efforts to stay over 1500 anymore, which causes havoc on success rate.

5f/63 = 92.1%

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Visualisation and Master Games

I wrote the following on RHP 'only chess' forum, but I thought I'd store it here also.

I've been going through master games lately, and I was wondering if people had different ways to go about it? - At first, I went through the games without a board, but that proved much too awkward with my feeble visualisation skills. Then I started using a board, but it's still way too much effort deciphering the notation, energy which could be better used on focusing on the inner workings of that particular game. You decipher a line onto the board, but forget another, and when you try comparing some aspects of the two, you'll have to decipher the first one again, but then you're not sure about the second one anymore... You're just doing the same thing again and again, using short term memory, and getting frustrated and exhausted with all the repetition.

Then I started thinking, maybe I could actually do something to help the visualisation? So, I started doing some visualisation exercises. With time, that'll probably do the trick. But then I got and idea of combining master games & visualisation exercises: First I teach myself the game move by move on a board, and only after that start studying it. That way, I can focus completely on the annotation, and still visualize the board with practically no effort. It's also helping with the variations, even if you don't learn them by rote. It's just easier when you have the 'backbone' of the game in visual memory, so the variations have a solid visual context.

Memorizing the game fully seems to be surprisingly easy, taking up 3-10 minutes depending on the game. Not much, if you're going to take 30-60 minutes to study the actual game. I wonder how many games you can store this way, but it's probably quite a lot. -As you can as well easily memorize hundreds of song-lyrics pretty much perfectly. Of course lyrics have repetition and melody, but chess has a lot of re-occurring structures as well.

I also like the fact that I'm storing the game visually and even procedurally, rather than as little snippets of 2-5 move lines in short term memory which I'll forget within seconds. If you like, you can further strengthen the memory by reading the moves aloud as you go, combining visual, procedural and auditory memory. - And as an added bonus for memorization, I can play the games in my head as a visualisation exercise, if I feel like it.

"What are you daydreaming of?"
"- Oh, Colle vs Delvaux, Grand-Terneuzen 1929..."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The First Year

It's now exactly one year since I started chess, and it has all gone a lot better than I expected. I've been playing almost exclusively correspondence chess, and I think that's the main reason I've improved so much. The massive amount of CTS probably didn't hurt either. Blitz is still going quite bad, although I haven't really played it during the last 6 months. Same thing with standard, only 12 games ever, and even those were only 20-30min and 6 months ago. I'm trying to start playing more standard games, taking part to the T31 45 45 -tournament in U1800 with bahus and a couple of other finns. I have the weakest rating of the team by far, but I think the slow time controls will work for me, and I hope to get a reasonable performance. Standard games are probably the area I should concentrate my efforts on, but we'll see how it goes.

My first goal is to get 1500+ standard on FICS, but I hope to pull over 1600 before the end of the year. Other goals for 2006 are CTS 1600 which is approaching fast, RHP 1800 and FICS blitz 1300. Although I don't think I'll be playing blitz much, but that's the goal anyway.

current stats: (hi-score in parentheses)

CTS: 1535 (1542) with 44617 problems done, at 77.2% success rate.
FICS standard: 1381p with +6 =0 -6 total 12 games.
FICS blitz: 1053 (1055) with +38 =0 -38 total 76 games.
RHP: 1686 (1725) with +97 =8 -50 total 153 games.