Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A few questions on CT-Art

Played a few more games on FICS, provisional rating now 1606. Total games played 10, won 6, lost 4. I have to try to stabilise my rating before I start the Circles, so that it's easier to track my improvement.

I had a few questions about CT-Art. I was planning to follow de la Maza's schedule as closely as possible (unlikely, given how far behind I've already fallen on the microdrills, but I'd like to be optimistic for now). For the first circle, he solved 233 problems in the first week, at an average of 33 per day. How exactly do I go about doing this? I mean, when I log on to CT Art, do I start a test? Do I solve 33 problems on the first day, and then quit the test? Is that allowed, or will I have to start the test all over again when I log in the next time? Basically, what options do I choose when I start the Circles?

Here's my plan:

Click on Test
Studies with Difficulty Level 10 (Current Theme)
Exercises : All
ELO range : ? (do I need to mess with this?)

Now when I logout/cancel the test on Day one after solving 33 or so problems, will I get a rating such as 86% accuracy or something? Or do I have to finish the entire exercise before I'm given a rating? Also, when I login on Day 2, should I change the options from Exercises : All to Exercises : New, to ensure that the same problems are not repeated from the previous attempts?

I realise I could set up another profile in CT-Art, and fool around with the options for a while, to see how things work, but that would force me to start the exercises and become familiar with some of the problems, which would mess up the final results.

Any help appreciated.

Friday, 24 August 2007

The revolution begins

Sorry I've been quiet for a few days. Well, a lot has been happening in my country, non chess related. I have to be careful with my words I suppose. The people started to protest against the military backed (or should I say military led?) caretaker government in our country. The national elections which were supposed to be held in Jan, have been postponed by almost two years, so this 'caretaker/interim' government will continue to rule. Protests got really violent, after an altercation on the Dhaka University campus between a group of students and soldiers (who have set up camps in several universities) while watching a football game. Perhaps it was the pretext that everyone's been waiting for. Two days of violence of the streets, with a lot of other people joining in with the students. The government imposed a curfew, and blocked mobile phone connections. There was no internet access, as apparently the lines were "sabotaged". The curfew was partially relaxed today, so let's see where we go from here. Overall, the government has earned a lot of praise for arresting most of the corrupt politicians, and fast tracking their trials. But the discontent is there for all to see...

As far as my chess is concerned, I've really fallen behind on the microdrills. Work, illness, and the political situation (everyone spends hours watching the news channels, heavily censored though they are) have all conspired to keep me sidetracked. And I don't want to start on CT-Art until I feel I am mentally 100%, or as close to 100% as possible.

Played a few games on FICS, my rating (still provisional), is now 1462, with 3 wins and 3 losses.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Holy Zwischenzug Batman!!!

“I do.”

With these words I accept Pale Morning Dun’s offer to become his sidekick. However, I absolutely refuse to wear those green Robin mini-tights, as I have neither the upper thighs nor the testicles worthy enough to expose to the general public.

Nananana Nananana ZUG!!! (I use my knight to fork my opponent’s king and queen)

Nananana Nananana ZWANG!!! ( I skewer my opponent’s king and rook with my bishop)

On to more serious (or at least relevant) stuff. I was supposed to have finished the concentric circles drill by tonight (14 days are up). However, I’ve only done 12 rounds, hoping for another tonight.

Will take my mentor Pale’s advice and play a bit of chess as well. In particular, I’d like to have an established rating (as opposed to a provisional one) on FICS before I start my Circles. I also play on a correspondence site, I used to have 40-50 games going on simultaneously, but the games would take too long to finish, and it was difficult to keep track of where I was and what my plans were in each game. I think I’ll play a game or three on FICS on Tuesday.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

micro drills = macro improvement?

Haven’t even started the circles yet, and I’ve already missed a day. Will try to make up for it today with two sets of microdrills. Are these drills helping me at all? Here’s the evidence from a correspondence game I’ve been playing:

In this position, my opponent (Black, rated 1700+) played 37 ... Qf3??

While the next move which seals the game (38. Qf8+) may look obvious to most players, there was a time (even a week ago) when I wouldn’t have noticed this immediately. I mean, perhaps I could have looked at my pieces, wondered how to protect my knight while avoiding a back rank mate, and maybe, just maybe I might have noticed the winning move. But what really impressed me was that after ten days of microdrills skewering and forking enemy pieces with my queen, the move just leapt out automatically. Not a great move by any means, and if set as a puzzle, could be solved by practically anyone, but like I said, what impressed me was not that I noticed it, but how quickly I did.

Read some interesting posts in some of the other blogs, I have a bit of free time tomorrow, so I’ll try to post some comments.


10 days of Chess Vision Drills Completed

145 Days Left

Approximate Time Spent So Far on the Quest : 6 hours

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Week One Complete

Managed to complete my first week of microdrills. Time required has fallen from 57 min to 30 min. I just hope I’m doing the drills accurately. Logged on to my regular correspondence chess website, and immediately played a move which set up a mate in one for my opponent. But other than that, I think I played pretty strong moves in all my other games (playing 38 simultaneously). Also played on FICS on 8th Aug, here’s the game for anyone interested:

Carduelis (1402) vs. Farhadexists (1828 - ignore this rating for now, it only includes one completed game, posted previously) --- Tue Aug 7, 12:02 PDT 2007 (1:02 A.M my time)

Rated standard match, initial time: 15 minutes, increment: 0 seconds.

1. e4 e6 2. Bc4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Bb3 Nf6 5. Qf3 c5 6. a3 Be7 7. h3 O-O
8. d3 Nc6 9. Ne2 Re8 10. Bd2 Bd6 11. Nc3 Nd4 12. Qe3 Rxe3 13. Bxe3 Nxb3
14.cxb3 d4 15.Bg5 dxc3 16.Nxc3 Be7 17.O-O-O Bf5 18.Ne4 Bxe4 19.dxe4 Qb6

20. e5 Ne4 21. Bxe7 Nxf2 22. Rd6 Qxb3 23. Rf1 Qe3+ 24. Kb1 Qe4+
25. Ka1 Qxe5 26. Rd7 Nd3 27. Rxd3 Qxe7 28. Rfd1 h6 29. Rd7 Qe2
30. R1d2 Qf1+ 31. Ka2 b5 32. R7d5 Qc4+ 33. Kb1 Rc8 34. Rd7 a5
35. Rf2 Qe4+ 36. Rc2 c4 37. Rb7

{White resigns} 0-1

2 wins in a row. I promised my opponent I would offer a rematch the next day, but I haven’t been able to log on since. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the new members, Magic Knight and Tacticus Maximus.

I’ve downloaded CT-Art 3.0, which was a big mistake on my part, as the temptation to jump right into the Circles is almost too much to resist. However, I will try my best to continue with the microdrills, trivial as they may seem at times.


7 days of Chess Vision Drills Completed

148 Days Left

Approximate Time Spent So Far on the Quest : 4.5 hours

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

It's been a Hard Day's Knight (No wait, that's already been taken!)

Had a horrible day. Summer vacation’s not over yet (I’m a school teacher), so only had 2 hours of classes, and was expecting to spend a lot of time reading blogs (still need to get my priorities right apparently). Anyway, those two hours of classes were accompanied by over 3 hours stuck in the Dhaka traffic, wish I had a laptop.

Bad headache, but continued with my second day of microdrills. Noticed a few more mistakes from my “solutions” from yesterday, so dear readers, please ignore yesterday’s post, it’s official, it was all gibberish after all. For the real thing, visit Rise and Shine Knight's blog. Took me about 50 minutes to finish the microdrills this time, but given all my errors from yesterday, I have to wonder if I’m doing them correctly.

Had two cups of tea after midnight, headache gone, watched a couple of Simpsons episodes from Season 5, next up was The Boy Who Knew Too Much, reminded me of the Hitchcock movie, so decided to watch that instead. Halfway through the movie, remembered my new membership to FICS, so played my first game. Here it is, for those interested. Perhaps one day I’ll Play Like Tal and post some worthy images from my games. Anyway, if you want to play through it, here’s the details:

Farhadexists (UNR) vs. estepona (1553) --- Mon Aug 6, 12:55 PDT (that’s 1:55 A.M my time) 2007
Rated standard match, initial time: 15 minutes, increment: 0 seconds.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nxd4 exd4 5. c3 dxc3 6. Nxc3 c6
7. Bc4 Nf6 8. e5 Qe7 9. Qe2 Ng8 10. O-O d5 11. Bd3 f6 12. Re1 fxe5
13. Qxe5 Qxe5 14. Rxe5+ Be7 15. Bc2 Nf6 16. d4 Ng4 17. Re2 Kf7
18. Bf4 g6 19. Rae1 Bf6 20. h3 Bxd4 21. hxg4 Bxg4 22. Re7+ Kf6
23. Rxb7 Bxc3 24. bxc3 Bf5 25. Be5+
{Black resigns} 1-0

Sorry, no annotations, I’ll try to finish the movie and go to sleep.

Monday, 6 August 2007

(K)night 1 complete

It doesn’t seem like I’ll have any time to practise my skills during the daytime, as I work full time from 8-6 six days a week, so it’s 1 night gone, 154 nights left. According to my calculations, I should finish on Jan 5, during my holidays, so I’ll have plenty of time to work on Circles 5-7.

Impressions of my first night? (I wonder how many people with too much time, among other things, on their hands, will google the term “my first night” and come to this blog :) Anyway, took me 57 min to finish my first Concentric Square Exercise. When I first read about the drills, I was a bit intimidated, but I actually enjoyed it. Only thing that worried me was that my first night nerves may have led to missed opportunities. Therefore I have decided to post my solutions, perhaps someday someone may wish to match the results with his own. Also, it would help to see if I missed out on anything. Only the “Rook Solutions” today.

Rf3 : Qa8, Qb7

Rf7 : Qa2, Qb3

Rb7 : Qg2, Qf3

Rb3 : Qg8, Qf7

Rc2 : Qd1, Qd3, Qb3, Qf5

Rd2 : Qd8, Qd7, Qa5, Qg5

Re2 : Qd3, Qb5, Qd1

Rg2 : Qa8, Qb7, Qh8

Rg4 : Qh5, Qf5, Qd7

Rg5 : Qa5, Qb5, Qd2, Qd8

Rg6 : Qf5, Qd3, Qh5

Rg8 : Qa2, Qb3, Qf7

Re8 : Qd7, Qb5

Rd8 : Qd1, Qd2, Qd3, Qa5, Qg5

Rc8 : Qd7, Qf5

Ra8 : Qb7, Qh8, Qg7, Qf6

Ra6 : Qb5, Qd3

Ra5 : Qd8, Qd2, Qf5, Qg5, Qh5

Ra4 : Qd7

Ra2 : Qb3, Qf7, Qg8

Coming up tomorrow : “Bishop Solutions”

Or perhaps I should spend less time posting gibberish on my blog and practise more tactics. I wonder how this’ll all end.

I've just noticed that the solutions to the drills already appear on Rise and Shine Knight's Blog. Looks like he's done an excellent job there, I've already noticed two mistakes on mine.


1 Day of Chess Vision Drills Completed

154 Days Left

Approximate Time Spent So Far on the Quest : 1 hour.