Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Upcoming tournament

Currently the plan is to play in a tournament this weekend (2 days, 5 rounds). The tournament is about 1 hour from my home, so I'll be commuting and taking a bye in round 3 Saturday night (don't want to drive home so late). The big question for me is whether to play up a section. I have played in the U2000 section before; I don't feel totally outclassed there and it's a better learning experience than the U1800 section. On the other hand, there is nothing like the thrill of trying to compete to win your section, which is more likely in my "natural" U1800 section.

My recent study has mostly been a lot of problems at CTS. I am definitely improving my instant recognition of patterns by solving problems there and I'm interested to see if this pays off in a long tournament game. The key with CTS is to understand what it is good for and what it isn't. CTS doesn't simulate game conditions, but it can help you to build a wealth of tactical vision on which to base calculations during a real game. I continue to play plenty of blitz games and while I've uncorked a few nice combinations recently, the USCF rating will always be a more accurate judge.

I also wrapped up reading John Nunn's "Secrets of Practical Chess" recently. It was a fairly straighforward read with lots of good advice. I'm not sure it will have any effect on my chess ability, but perhaps some of his ideas will have sunk into my subconscious.

My study also includes working through Chess Mentor. This is an intersting piece of software that takes you move by move through the winning side of a partial game. At each step you have to try to find the right move and any wrong move you make comes with an explanation. There are times when these explanations aren't adequate to explain why the move is wrong, but nobody's perfect. A lot of the ideas presented are strategic or positional in nature and not just tactical. There is typically tactical motifs throughout the line, but it is a definite contrast to the kinds of positions on CTS, it simulates a real game more closely.

I own a few other books (winning pawn structures, Zurich 1953, instructive modern chess masterpieces, positional play), but I haven't really delved into them enough to call it studying. A couple years ago I tried with Positional Play (by Dvoretsky), but this book may have been too advanced for me. I've been through some of the games in Instrucive Modern Chess Masterpieces (Igor Stohl), but it never seems instructive to me in a practical sense. Zurich 1953 was recommended to me as one of the best compilations of master games to go over. I should probably dedicate a whole entry or more on why I struggle with going over master games.

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At 3:52 PM, Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Good luck at the tournament!
I like the book of John Nunn, it's very readible.

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Good luck. That Chess Mentor program sounds cool.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Loomis said...

The Chess Mentor program is a pretty cool idea. It depends if the lessons are the kinds of things you're looking for. I believe there is a free demo on their website. It's worth checking out the demo to see if it's something you're interested in.


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