Knight Keystor

A record of my journey of chess improvement.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

First CTS Session

I did my first session at the Chess Tactics Server today. I'm amazed how much of a factor time plays in the rating calculations. I consider myself to be doing pretty well if I am able to solve a problem in 5-10 seconds, but that's often not good enough on the server.

Oh well, my purposes for using CTS are exposure to and practice of a large number of problems as well as an evaluation of sorts to gauge my tactical progress in general. As long as my accuracy stays within an acceptable range and I am solving the problems in well under 30 seconds, I'm not going to worry too much about my "rating." Anyway, my statistics are now on my sidebar along with the rest of my ratings.

Speaking of ratings, I broke back above 1700 on PlayChess again today! After I hit 1700 last week, I lost a game to an 1891 and then another to a 1776, knocking my rating back down to 1677. Time to start looking toward 1800 as the next milestone.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Just Right...

I think I've gotten my blog set up the way I want it. All of my current ratings are on the sidebar and will be updated regularly. My training progress and current master games being studied are also there...the number of opening repertoire positions comes from how many positions I have in Chess Position Trainer. Feel free to let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Hi Everybody,

I've been playing chess since last June (2005) and studying/training since January (2006.) I recently came across the Knights Errant de la Maza and decided to join the community.

My primary method of training is the one recommended by Michael de la Maza in his book Rapid Chess Improvement. Using this method, I've finished the first two tactics modules of Personal Chess Trainer 2.0, all of Chess Tactics for Beginners, and all of Advanced Chess School. I usually go beyond the seven circles and continue repeating the problems until I can solve each one in 5-10 seconds or less. It generally takes 10-15 circles to achieve that. Also, once I've gone through about half the circles, I turn on the randomizing options in the Convekta programs (reverse colors, flip board, mirror board, etc.) for the other half. Basically, I want to make sure that I have the patterns down cold.

After completing a new module or program, I do a complete refresh of all tactics problems that I've done previously. So since I just finished Personal Chess Trainer Tactics Module-2 a couple of days ago, I went back through Module-1 (Unit 51) and I'm now going back through all of Chess Tactics for Beginners in random mode. I will then go once more through Advanced Chess School.

Between modules/programs, I spend a few weeks playing G/30 games on PlayChess in order to integrate what I've learned and let it sink in a bit. I'd like to play slower time controls, but I generally do my studying and playing during my lunch hour, so G/30 is all I have time for. I do play slower games at my local club on Mondays and Wednesdays.

As for openings, I use the Heisman recommendation of looking up the opening after each game and only adding one move per game to my personal repertoire. I use Chess Position Trainer 3.2 to keep track of and train my repertoire.

My final area of study is playing through master games. The method I use is to enter them into my Fritz 9 database complete with variations and color commentary. I find it much easier to play through them this way versus using a board. Jumping around between variations and doing "what if" type explorations is much less cumbersome. Thus far, I have entered and played through all the games from Logical Chess: Move by Move by Irving Chernev, all the games from The ABC of Chess Openings (DVD) by Andrew Martin, and all the miniatures in the Advanced Chess School software. I am currently working through The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played by Irving Chernev.

I've been playing online at PlayChess for about a year now (under the handle keystor.) My slow rating has gone from ~1400 to 1700 in that time...primarily through tactics study. My provisional OTB rating is under 1100, but I've only played 7 games in two tournaments...a swiss in January and a quad in April. I'm hoping to start attending tournaments more regularly after I get back from vacation in November.

I guess that about covers my training history...I look forward to continuing my journey of improvement as a member of the Knights!

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