Sunday, July 03, 2005
Why I'm not an 1800 player
Recently I was analyzing why my rating is not in the 1800 range. Why it is fluctuating only in the 1700-1750 range. I feel I should be an 1800 player by now, because for one, my win-loss ratio against 1800++ players is a healthy 60-70%(estimate) - so I have reason to think that I should be in that range too, right?

The problem is I would gain 11 points beating some 1800++ player, then turn around and lose 20 points to some 1550 player. So even though I actually win more than I lose, my rating points stays roughly the same.

Ok, so figuring that out, I decided to analyze next why I lose to U1700 players. I should be obliterating them by now. What I found out was that the most common culprit in losing to such players, indeed the reason why I generally lose - was errors in calculation. I mean, most of the time, I would spot neat little tactical shots, and proceed to carry it out. But somewhere, in the midle of the combination, I would miss an important defense and the combination fails. This tells me something important -

1. Tactical motiffs:
Most of mygames, I spot a tactical motiff. Maybe I sometimes fail to exploit it - but the important thing is - at least I see them. So in this regard, I can say that the circles - and my continued work on tactical exercises are paying off. I am really pleased with the dvelopment of this particular chess ability.

2. Candidate moves
Here is the key weakness. Spotting a tactical motiff and generating an unrefutable forcing sequence are two separate things. In one of my loss, I carried out a 5-move combination, only to see the opponent do a quiet move that totally ruined my plans. I think that if I could just be more concious of the various defensive possibilities on the board, and have an aswer to everything, my rating will rise.

Of course, not all my loses can be attributed to errors in calculation, but seeing as this is one where the solution is pretty straight forward.. so this is the one i'm gonna attend on..

Sooo - in summary, this means I have to do yet another boat-load of work.. This time to strengthen my calculation skills. In my last post, I intimated that I intend to do the "hard" tactical exercises to develop this, but JavaManissa swears by mate studies as being better. Also, my research has shown that almost all grandmasters have recommended mate studies as a usefull learning tool. I have my doubts of course, but if Shirov does it, I figure I should give it a try.

Go here for the material I am gonna use - EG: Mate Studies

Of course fooling around with mate studies should in no way shape form or manner interrupt with the tactical exercises..
A few hours ago, I went to the local bookstore, and my eyes nearly poped-out of their sockets. A whole bunch of new chess books have just arrived. The Art of Positional Play, The Middlegame in chess, Chess Endings, etc.. etc.. My hand nearly went to my wallet. Fortunately, I was able to control myself and not buy anything.. I dont have time for that stuff right now.. and if I add another set of books to my "Must Unread" book collection - the bookshelf will collapse..
Seems our U1600 has won the round 3-1. A round of applause for everybody. And dont worry PawnSensei.. You'll win another one eventually.. =>
A hello to CamC. I met him at FICS and it seems he is reading our blogs.. He is rated 2010 - so must really be strong. Hey CamC - lets play sometimes okay.. =>
posted by Nezha at 9:54 PM | Permalink |


  • At 2:02 AM, Blogger JavaManIssa

    It doesn't exactly have to be mate studies, but mate problems all seem to be quite good as they are forced wins and all variations are taken into consider.

    May sound weird, but regarding CamyC (Rated 1800's on CTS). We met a couple of months after i started getting into chess. We met in a chatroom haha.

  • At 4:40 AM, Blogger bahus

    I guess the trouble with lower rated players is mainly psychological. One gets easily carried away and playing overaggressive moves. Dan Heisman has touched this subject in some of his columns, and there is also a good article at ChessVille.

    My own case is quite the opposite to yours; I fare very well against players lower rated players but perform still badly against players of my level or higher. Before starting to play at FICS I only played long games over the board against three friends of mine who are interested in chess but don’t care for studying it. When we first began playing we were all about equal in strength but after about year or two I started to beat them on a regular basis. These last two-three years they’ve improved more or less the same rate as me but the difference has stayed about the same… Thus I have a lot of experience playing games where I expect to score 75%-90%.

    My problem is that against better players a) I get frustrated as I can’t get an advantage and do something silly and b) my tiniest mistake is punished ruthlessly. Still here also the main problem is just in my head, I need to play more patiently and stay more alert about my opponents tactics (this is a surprisingly big thing – I wasn’t accustomed for my opponent to play sharp tactics as they were MY trait in the games against my friends).

    BTW, if you’re interested to get an overview of your FICS games you could try this little program that shows how you perform in certain openings etc. Just copy the blitz and standard games (pgn) to same folder, change information in .cfg file (player handle, comma separator, .pgn filenames and possibly opening moves) and run the executable.

    - bahus

  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza

    I had a question about putting the ICC viewer in the blog. I've got iframe tag set up but everytime I publish, the post pushes out my entire sidebar and all other posts previously are gone, there isn't even a comments section. Did you have this problem? I've tried resizing the applet and I've gotten it down to about what you have on your posts, but for some reason making the link completely wipes out everything else on the blog. If you could help me that would be great.

  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza

    By the way, the applet appears to work just fine, it just annhilates the rest of the blog.

  • At 9:41 PM, Blogger Nezha

    To PMD -
    you have to use the iframe tag, I am renting a computer so I cant show you the codes right now.. but there is a discussion about the ifram from altergoniffs page.. see my sidebar.. he used the iframe tag to display his games too..

  • At 3:16 AM, Blogger Mousetrapper

    Hey Nezha I am coming nearer on CTS...