Knight Keystor

A record of my journey of chess improvement.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Still Room for Improvement

My latest G/30 game reinforces the decision to continue with tactical training. I did win it, but I missed several earlier and/or faster wins. Here is the game, with my comments below it:

Kknight (1856) - Chel (1861) [B21]
Rated game, 30m + 0s Main Playing Hall, 22.02.2007
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 d6 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.e5 d5 7.Bb5+ Nfd7 8.Qxd5 e6 9.Qf3 a6 10.Bxd7+ Bxd7 11.Qg4 Nc6 12.Nf3 Nb4 13.0–0 Nd3 14.Bg5 f6 15.exf6 gxf6 16.Qh5+ Ke7 17.Be3 Qe8 18.Bc5+ Nxc5 19.Qxc5+ Kd8 20.Qb6+ Kc8 21.Rac1 Bc6 22.Nd4 Kd7 23.Rfd1 Ke7 24.Qc7+ Bd7 25.Nf5+ exf5 26.Re1+ Kf7 27.Rxe8 Kxe8 28.Re1+ Be7 29.Qd6 Chel resigns 1–0

I did evaluate 8.e6, but could not calculate the line to completion and so chose not to play it. Same with 17.Bxf6+ and then again with 18.Nd5+. I did not, however, even consider 23.Nxc6, although the line I played (starting with 23.Rfd1) is just as easily winning.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Expanding the Training Regimen

I've decided not to halt the tactics training, but instead to supplement it with some endgame study and increased master game study (to provide a sort of "strategy training.") My wife bought me Karsten Mueller's Chess Endgames 1 for Valentines day and I have Silman's Complete Endgame Course on order.

In order to make time for this supplemental material, I will be cutting back on my correspondence games at FICGS. I only have nine active games left and will not be joining any more tournaments for a while.

I'm hoping that this new, expanded regimen will continue to provide the benefits that I have been seeing from tactics training while also improving the previously neglected facets of my game. As always, I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Time to Give Tactics a Break? (Updated)

I think it may be about time to switch to strategy and/or endgame study in order to get those aspects of my game up to the same level that the tactical aspect is currently at. I'm finding my play to be extremely solid lately in regards to tactics. The games that I am losing are being lost in either closed or strategic positions or in the endgame. It's rare for me to lose a game on tactical grounds least at this level of play.

Using today's G/20 game that I played against a 2045-rated player on PlayChess as an example, I played a tactically sound game (with the exception of the last 6-7 moves which were played under extreme time pressure,) but in the middlegame started to lose ground strategically. I'm thinking that once I finish Tactics Module-3 in PCT (I'm about halfway done,) I'll move into another area of study for a while. I'd greatly appreciate any thoughts both on the plan in general and in my assessment of the game:

Kknight (1905) - Pommes (2045) [C91]
Rated game, 20m + 0s Main Playing Hall, 08.02.2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.d4 Bg4 10.d5 Nb8 11.Qd3 Nbd7 12.Bc2 Kh8 13.b4 Rg8 14.Nbd2 Nf8 15.h3 Bd7 16.Nb3 Ng6 17.Nh2 Nh5 18.Bd2 Ngf4 19.Bxf4 Nxf4 20.Qf1 g5 21.Bd1 Qf8 22.Bg4 Bxg4 23.Nxg4 h5 24.Ne3 g4 25.g3 Nxh3+ 26.Kh2 Ng5 27.Nd2 Nxe4 28.Nxe4 f5 29.Nd2 f4 30.Ng2 Bg5 31.Ne4 f3 32.Ne3 Qf7 33.Nxg5 Rxg5 34.Qd3 h4 35.gxh4 Qf4+ 36.Kg1 Rh5 37.Ng2 fxg2 38.Qg3 Rf8 39.Qxg2 Rxh4 40.Re4 Qg5 41.Rf1 Rf3 42.a4 Qh5 43.c4 Rfh3 Time 0–1

UPDATE -- The flip-side of the coin is that I have been seeing significant improvement in my playing strength and rating lately due entirely to tactical training. So should I just continue doing what has been working until I start to see diminishing returns and only THEN move onto endgame and strategy study? I obviously want the most bang for my study-time "buck" here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cruising Along

I've been burning through the PCT units at a rapid pace recently...largely two and three-move material winning positions. In addition, I've been spending a fair amount of time with CTS problems and have seen a slow rise in my accuracy score there. Finally, I am keeping pace with my Tuesday/Thursday schedule of G/30 games on PlayChess. I was quite happy with today's game, which put me back above 1900 for the second time now (I had a loss last Thursday to a 1977 that knocked me back into the upper 1800s):

Yikes (1857) - Kknight (1877) [A02]
Rated game, 30m + 0s Main Playing Hall, 06.02.2007
1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.g3 0–0 6.d3 Bg4 7.Bg2 Nc6 8.c3 Re8 9.0–0 Qe7 10.e4 Bc5+ 11.d4 Rad8 12.Qb3 Na5 13.Qa4 Bb6 14.b4 Nc4 15.Qb3 Be6 16.Ng5 Nd2 17.Qc2 Nxf1 18.Bxf1 Bg4 19.Bd3 Rxd4 20.cxd4 Bxd4+ 21.Kg2 Bxa1 22.e5 Qxe5 23.Nxh7 Qd5+ 24.Kf2 Qf3+ 25.Kg1 Bd4+ 26.Be3 Bxe3+ Yikes Opgeven? 0–1

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