Friday, July 18, 2014

Games #25, #26, #27

I'm very behind on annotating my games.  Ironically, one of the reasons is I'm playing so many games now I don't have time to go over them thoroughly!  As this has been an important part of my training, I'm now resolved to get caught up.  I have about 20 or so I've played since taking a month off, although I doubt all will make the list.

I feel like I've been playing some terrible chess lately, despite my rating continuing to increase.  More on that in a future blog post.

The following games were all played in a June Swiss at one of the chess clubs I've joined since moving.  As these were played about a month ago, the annotations will be sparser than usual.

A short disappointing draw in a game where I missed some tactical opportunities and could've had a big advantage out of the opening.  Not nearly as bad as some of my other games lately.

More laziness when it comes to analysis.  I'm trying to get better at managing my time, but that can't be at the expensive of looking at tactics.  As this has been an ongoing theme of mine lately, I had a conversation with Dan about it.  The gist of it went like this:

Dan: "When you're analyzing potential moves by your opponent, what should you assume?"
SK: "Assume he makes good moves"
Dan: "Right.  Now AFTER he makes his move, what should you assume?"
SK: "I guess you shouldn't assume anything".
Dan: "You should assume the OPPOSITE.  After he moves, assume his move loses the game.  And your job is to try to falsify that assumption."

I've been spending a lot of time assuming my opponent isn't dropping material in the opening and trying to get on with my development so I don't lose time.  I definitely consider his threats and make safe moves, but I'm not assuming their move was unsafe.  And I've missed some easy wins because of it.

The last game is possibly the only game I've played recently when I feel like I played well start to finish.   My first game back to OTB back in April featured a similar game and I was able to make a big improvement vs that game.  One of many reasons going after your games afterwards is a good idea.  After his 19th move, I immediately knew that capturing was likely the right idea  I just had to remember why.

I need to work on my consistency.  My two biggest weaknesses right now are time trouble and getting lazy with my analysis.   I'm playing "hope chess" far too often in my games and it has ended up costing me probably 100 rating points.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Heisman and Polgar Tactics Take 1 Complete

I thought I had completed my writeup for Heisman already, but checking my archive shows that I didn't.  How embarrassing. So this post will be 2 for the price of 1.  I completed my 6 repetitions through Dan Heisman - Back to Basics: Tactics on April 14th and Susan Polgar - Chess Tactics for Champions on June 4th.  Both books heavily emphasize double attacks, pins and removal of the guard.  Both books also spend a chapter on defensive tactics and on traps/failed tactics.  When I told Dan that the Polgar book was like his, he became interested and added it to his "to review list".

Heisman has 434 problems which I divided into 5 groups.

Here are the charts for my 1st pass through each group and problems completed in < 15 seconds in my 1st pass:

Only a modest improvement, if there was any at all.  Rather disappointing really.

Final chart of all 6 passes through Heisman completed in < 15 seconds.

Not surprising that I got better doing the same problems over again.  Of some interest is that my overall clear rate after 6 passes was better than Bain which has much easier problems.  I averaged 91% and 90.3% on passes 5 and 6, respectively.  My best pass through Bain was 86%, although I'd estimate a few points higher based on the timing issues I had when using Anki.  Even better, my "problem child" set in Heisman only represents ~5% of all problems.  Bain was almost 15%.  So maybe I'm making a different kind of improvement.

Polgar has 570 problems, which against my better judgment, I only divided into 5 groups.  I've mentioned before that I feel like anything over ~80 problems per group feels tedious and counter productive.  But I wanted to try to complete this book faster.

Here are the charts for my 1st pass through each group and problems completed in < 15 seconds in my 1st pass:

It looks like I got worse over time.  Set A is missing because Chess Hero crashed on me halfway through and you lose all statistics on your current session.  Excluding set E, I actually did slightly better on average with Polgar than with Heisman.

6 passes through Polgar in < 15 seconds:

Average of each pass in < 15 seconds:

D4 is missing because of a Chess Hero crash.  Similar to Heisman, I averaged ~ 88%, which was better than Bain.  My problem child set is a modest 6.4%.

Up next is Ivaschenko - Chess School 1b.  I vow to divide these problems into at least 6 groups, maybe 7.  I haven't been successful in finding a pgn or cbh of this book and  I haven't been able to find a way to group problems the way I'd like in either the Peshka or legacy version of Chess Tactics for Beginners, so it appears I'll be making another file on my own.  On the plus side, I've started using the excellent Chess Capture v2.3 software, which makes this task much easier when you actually have a diagram it can recognize.  PDFs of this book don't work, but the diagrams in Peshka work with minimal issues.  There also should be less chance of user error, which sometimes causes Chess Hero to crash or not load the diagram.