Monday, February 28, 2005
Thinking Process
I noticed that some of the knights are trying to use a checklist, to correct their thought process or to eliminate blunders...

I used to try and implement a list like that. Checking for pawn-structures.. Double-checking for blunders.. etc.. In a game, I would start of well-enough.. consistently using my list.. but somewhere, sometime - I would be totally engrossed in the game.. captured by my own schemes.. obsessed by my variations.. that I would invariably forget the list, and once again blunder...

"Checklist #10 Complete, #11 Commencing: Searching for candidate moves"
Did my hero Nezhmetdinov employ such a list? Did the masters really thought in such a way? I had my doubts even then but I really, really wanted to avoid blunders. So I began to search the net. Maybe get some pointers on how to do it. But to my surprise.. I could'nt find any grandmaster that uses such a list.The only prominent figure I found is AJ Goldsby. Now AJ Goldsby is a master so I should take his word for it right? But consider what GM Nigel Davies said

"When you have to think about imbalances, true mastery is not achieved"

Huh!? What!? You dont think about silman imbalances during a game? So how about a blunder check then? How about king weaknesses and pawn structures!?

"Suddenly you feel that one needs to create a little space here and attack there.
But why it is like that, you dont know" - Vladimir Kramnik(*)

This statement from the world champion floored me.. But thinking about it actually made sense. You see the state I described above - being a victim of my own schemes, is actually a good thing.. It is a time when I am cut-off from the world.. a time of outmost concentration.. I could hear my heart pounding from my chest, my hands shaking, and the veins of my temple throbbing.. In basketball terms, I am "In the zone". And to have to think about a list in such a state is preposterous.

Running thru a list in a game is like a guitarist thinking of finger placements during a recital.

Yes, I determined.. It is only natural that I loose track of such a list during a game. The time to implement a list is not during a game but before it.. During practice, until it becomes ability. As tempo would say- I understood what to do, but it is not yet ability. I understand it, but I dont know it.

So then, what I really need is to be able to practice an effective thinking method outside the context of a game. But what would enable me to practice the habit of thinking about my opponents reply? About thinking about effective piece placements? About loose pieces? About not blundering? Yep, you guessed it.. It is during practicing tactical exercises (Expecting anything else from a DLM trainee?). I am convinced solving all possible variations of deep combinations enables me to practice just that.. a good thinking process..

You see, the author of the book I'm using, this Maxim Blokh fellow is a tricky chap.. Most of the time I would find what I thought was a crafty move, only to find out that it will be refuted by a still craftier move.. After a few problems like this.. I began to double check everything. To go thru the variations, no matter how easy the position seems. Because, there has got to be something hidden there. So now I am beginning to have this habit, the "what else" of Mr. Kilgore. I noticed this in my recent play. I hope this continue and that this be deeply ingrained(fingers crossed).

During a game, to just go into the flow - is just about one of the nicest feeling to have.

I just read The Day Capablanca died. Didn't know that reading the death of someone I've never even met could make me so sad.
posted by Nezha at 11:42 PM | Permalink | 6 comments
Sunday, February 27, 2005
First Steps 2
Thanks guys for the welcome -

Anyway, I said earlier that My quest for chess improvement led me to the delamaza program.. but first to continue with my history -

After seeing that what I had been doing was all wrong, I started researching on the many ways I can improve myself. Of course I realized that chess has many dimensions and that trying to improve simultaneausly on multiple levels would be folly (My previous 2 years attested to that fact). But what to concentrate my time on? What should I try to improve? This question has lingered on my mind. Fortunately I chanced upon something which would prove to be the deciding factor.

"I played a game, and did a nice little combination"

Of course the combination was just a little 3move cheap shot.. and it was not the first time that I made these kind of tactical shot. But it was the first time that I realized why I enjoy playing chess (And why I choose it instead of the guitar - *sigh* maybe I'll
blog on my guitar frustrations later...)

"Combinations" I suddenly realized "Making combinations makes me happy"

Playing over the games of Euwe and Botvinnik made me respect the positional school of chess. But see, I when I carried out that little tactical trick I knew then that the game I love is not the chess of Botvinnik.. Heresy.. yes, and - didnt I told you I was clueless? But I am happier when watching the games of shirov and tal.. and most of all the games of Nezhmetdinov.

And so now I know how I needed to play. I will no longer play to reach the ending. The game will be decided in the middle game - and preferably via a combination. Why not? Some well known playes rely on combinations - Mr. Anderssen and Mr. Zukertort are two prominent examples (And yes, playing this way is fairly one-dimensional.. some serious drawbacks are present - more on this later)

And so realizing this made it easier for me determine what I needed to study. Its so easy really I just needed to study 1. Combinations and 2. How to properly setup combinations.
In relation with this, maybe I also needed a deep calculation ability. So my combinations
are deep enough to work effectively (I read somewhere that the 3move cheap shot can only
get you so far - So how how about a 7move cheap shot then?)

After researching on the net I came up with this..

1. Delamaza-style program
I have a book of maxim blokh - I am doing 3 circles per chapter and after completing the entire book in this way, I will do circles 4-7 on the whole book (Sort of like what CelticDeath is doing)

2. For calculation - Blindfold chess
"A chessmaster can play a single game of chess blindfolded" is what they say. So I am trying to learn this. Although to tell the truth, I haven't notice much improvement in playing strenght due to my learning this. But comes in handily during boring meetings =>

Current Status:
Completed three circles each of the following chapters
1. Annihilation of Defense
2. Distraction
3. Decoying
4. Discovered Attack
5. Opening of file rank and diagonal
6. Clearing the space

A total of 400problems
posted by Nezha at 7:07 PM | Permalink | 2 comments
Thursday, February 24, 2005
First Steps
I have started this blog in an attempt to record my progress using a delamaza-like training program. I am actually on my second month, and after following the knights-post's I decided to get my blog too.

I hope to keep this as a sort of chess diary, so after some time I can come back to my posts and laught about how clueless I really was.

A Brief History

1. In the past two years, I have been putting in serious hours studying chess.
Some of the books I have studied extensively are:
1. Chess Fundamentals by J.R.Capablanca
2. Judgement and Planning in Chess by Max Euwe
3. Best Lessons of a chess coach by Sunnil Weeramantry
4. Turning Advantage into Victory in chess by Soltis
5. 303 Chess puzzles by Bill Robertie
6. Art of Attack by Vukovich
7. Tal's Like and game by Tal
Apart from this, I have also
1. Completed all the Josh Waitzkin games in Chessmaster
2. The Larry Christiansen Games too
3. And all the other CM-based tutorial by Seirawan
4. Played thru hundred of grandmaster games
5. Attempted to map out the open-defense to the ruy lopez

2. After doing all of the above, I realized that my understanding of the game
deepened, and that I gradually realize just how complicated chess really is.

3. Sadly, even after all that - I would get blown by people who does not study
at all. This set a deep conflict within me. I even contemplated quitting the
game althogether. Whats the point I wondered. I love the game, but I dont seem
to improve.

I mean, If I had put that many hours on the guitar, I would have been able to
play half-decently by now

4. I am deeply frustrated by my apparent tendency to blunder too. Here I am trying to build a nice pawstructure, and trying to stick a knight in an outpost - (and I succeed too from time-to-time), but then somewhere from move 15 - I would blunder and give away a piece. This one really pissed me off.

And so after this, I dropped reading books altogether. I became convinced that I don't need to study, specifically - study from books. Why whould I? Did not the very same people who defeats me time and again not study anything?

But I still have this burning desire to improve. It keeps me awake at night. It is a call I cannot resist. And so once again I am forced to try and study - but not books. No, no longer will I study from them.

And so my quest has bought me here:

The 400points in 400days by Mr. Delamaza.

More on this later -
posted by Nezha at 1:34 AM | Permalink | 8 comments