Archive for the ‘Circles’ Category

Broke 1400

I’ve officially broken 1400 with a rating of 1407 on PlayChess!


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The ELO graph has been updated with this month’s average! I have improved.

Also, my final scholastic tournament begins tomorrow. I am hoping I can at least win the region this time around.

As far as training goes, things are steadily rolling along. I haven’t had a lot of time to train lately because of school and such, however, I will be importing all of the CTB exercises onto my TI-89 calculator so I can train during the day. Hopefully, things can go a bit faster that way!

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I have finished my twelve circles of CTB problems 241-360 and am now moving on to problems 361-480.

Sadly, I have to say that during the course of doing this set of problems in particular, my PlayChess rating has dropped by 150 points. This is very discouraging to say the least, but I’ll stick with it. I’m considering doing one circle of problems 121-240 every day to somehow compensate for this.

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I have completed my twelve circles of problems 121-240 and am now moving on to problems 241-360, which will almost finish CTB’s Stage Two. Also, as you can see, I am about to be accepted into the Knights Errant and I have added the current list of knights on the side of this blog.

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I have finished my eight circles of CTB’s Stage One. It wasn’t that hard, no doubt because I already knew most of the mating patterns and never finished with a score lower than 98% correct. Now moving on to Stage Two I will be continuing with 120 more exercises, but this time I’m going to change my circles up a little bit.

In Stage One I went through four circles standard, then I went through another four circles with the board mirrored alternating between the two each time. This time around I will do six circles standard and another six circles mirrored – so that’s four more circles! Again, I will be alternating between the two to keep things from getting too monotonous or boring.

I’m still waiting to hear from the Knights Errant. Hopefully they’ll get back to me on my join request soon. Until then I’ll keep training along. 😛

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Now that I’ve started using circles, I’m literally trying to get out of CTB’s Stage One as fast as I can. Why? If you’ll look to the right and see, I already know most – if not all – of the mating patterns. I can solve most of the problems in two to five seconds. Here’s an interesting, though easy, one I’ve been practicing:

In this highly unlikely position, black mates in 1. Please pardon the reversed letter and number markers on the board – I forgot to flip it when I set up the position in Fritz. Most beginners would be tempted to move their pawn to f5. However, most beginners do not know the en passant rule. The correct answer, of course, is Nc3#.

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I have been looking over Michael de la Maza’s circle-based study program for some time now and have decided to join (or at least try to join) the Knights Errant. I feel a sense of community would probably bring more encouragement to my training program.

How am I using circles in my study? Man de la Maza suggests a kind of exponential training, but I am going to be doing something a little bit different namely because I have a lot of free time on my hands at the moment. Right now I am actively going through Chess Tactics for Beginners. CTB is divided into five stages, which are then divided into subcategories. My goal is to do eight circles per 120 problems, with half of those circles using CTB’s randomization/mirror features. At that rate, I can do at least one of these smaller circles per day. Once I finish with CTB, I can then move on to CTI and do the same thing.

Also, as instructed by Man de la Maza’s column, I am now practicing with the concentric circles exercise as well as the Knight Vision exercise both at the same time, instead of doing one on one week and doing another the next. I have found these exercises to actually be quite helpful. I’ll probably do both of these exercises everyday throughout the rest of the month.

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