donderdag 28 februari 2008

The most beautiful move he (n)ever played.

It was the fifth round of the Hastings international open tournament. New years day 2006. Willy Hendriks the Dutch IM, had a good start in this tournament and with 4/5 he was playing board 5 on stage, and had the white pieces against Tim Spanton. Spanton had only a rating of 2018, but was one of the big surprises of the tournament so far.

After a 9 ..., Qe7 the folowing position had arisen.

Willy felt like he was in a dream. Could this be for real? New years day in an international tournament and here he sat on the big stage with the chance to play the move of the year! He would make headlines in chess magazines all over the world.

He started to think back to the discovery of the move. It was a few years ago. He was analysing an anoying sideline of the bishops opening. In every variation black apeared do come out at least equal. But for some reason Fritz didn't agree. At first Willy thought that the evaluation function probably had a bug. He stood up to get a cup of coffee while entering the strange and apparantly losing move that Fritz prefered. But when he subsequently entered the obvious refutation, there was a blow so unexpected that he almost spilled his complete cup of coffee over the computer. In an instant he knew what was going on. The "refutation" he had played allowed the most unexpected combination he had ever seen.

After checking the analysis he knew that this sideline was not to worrie him anymore. But Willy doubted very much if his discovery (his were after all probably the first human eyes to witness this combination), would ever see the light of day in a game, since this sideline was not popular at all.

And here, on a day pregnant of expectation, he found himself on what felt like the road to chessnirvana. He would write history today.

The last move he had played was 10 Qf4. This was the move Fritz had prefered despite the obvious refutation 10 ..., Nh5, chasing the queen away and winning the knight. This was indeed the move black played, fast and with confidence. Perfect! this was precisely the attitude that would allow the grandiose finale Willy had in mind. He played 11 Bxf7+ expecting nothing else than the apparent killer move 11 ..., Kh8.

Now the queen is hanging, the bishop is pinned and the knight as well as the game apear to be beyond salvation. Willy began to imagine how he would attract attention for the final moves. At first he would sink his head in his hands as if he were in desperation, then he would act like he was in denial. And as soon as his gesturing and obvious desperation had attracted enough audience, he would play out his hand as if he were in a pokergame. Winning the pot with four aces. Because this was what he had in his sleeve for all those years:

12 Qg3!!!. A supermove. The queen still defends the knight, but it does so by moving the queen to a square where it can also be taken. But look what happens if black would indeed take the queen. 12 ..., Nxg3 13 Ng6!! another stunner. And now 13 ...., hxg6 14 hxg3 and mate next move!

And while dreaming about a wild night in a bar surrounded by chessgroupies, he saw suddenly everything evaporate. After some thinking, never contemplating 10 ... Kh8 at all, black played 10 ..., Rxf7 allowing white a slightly better endgame. Willy won easily, but completely unnoticed. He went to bed early that night.

maandag 25 februari 2008

Taking Development into account

One of the subjects that is treated very poorly in chess literature is development and more specifically the question of how to measure an advantage in development. In most books a method of tempo-counting is used which is unnecessary complicated. There is a far better way to judge a position in terms of development. This system is comprehensible as well as practical.

In this position white has an obvious lead in development. But how large is this lead? The system I endorse works as follows. It takes a fully developed position as starting point for measuring development. Here white is completely developed. He has:

  1. Castled;
  2. connected his rooks;
  3. put his rooks on open files.

For black to reach the same level of development he has to play at least 3 more moves (0-0, Bd7 and Rc8). So we can say that white has a lead in development in this position of 3 moves. Besides having some more space and the more active pieces, this is basically his compensation. Three moves to create some new problems for black while he is finishing his development.

woensdag 20 februari 2008

Two propositions

After my "wet dream" comment on DK Transformations post, I received form three sources the Chessbase files with all positions from Polgars "5334 problems, Combinations, and Games". The first one from someone who prefers to stay anonymous, the second from one of the knights and the third from Blue Devil Knight, who gave me a link to a source still available on the Internet. To all of them I want to express my gratitude and appreciation.

Both the anonymous sources also gave me chessbase files of Polgars Middlegame Brick. But these files are not complete. although I got several versions they all appear to come from the same source, because all of them contain only the first 1.000 positions.

Therefor I would like to make the following proposition to anyone who is interested and willing to put some time into creating a great file to practice your combinational skill. If we can find 10 people who are all willing to put in the effort of transferring 500 positions with solutions of the middlegame brick into chessbase, we can share these files and create a complete electronic version of the middlegame brick.

furthermore I propose to make files that help with training visualisation. I think a lot of us could benefit from training with positions in which the next 6 to 8 moves are given. These moves are not to be played however. You have to visualise them. As soon as the given notation stops there is a winning move. This move you have to find yourself. Again these positions will be made available in chessbase format.

A great source for games from which we could extract these positions, would be the under 12 section from a national youth champions tournament. These games are almost all decided by tactical means which are not very complicated. If we can form a group of ten, and everybody does 50 exercises, we again would create great training material for each other. I will provide the games. It will not be much work to make an exercise. You scan a game with an chessengine, and go to the last move before the decisive move (the move that has the changes the computers evaluation the most). This is the last move of the sequence given in the exercise. From that position you go back 6 to 8 moves, to get the starting position of the exercise. I would make exercises for myself this way, if making the exercises would not frustrate solving them (because I would have allready seen the solution). Therefor sharing is essential! Anyone who is interested can email me. I also would welcome other suggestions to make practice and trainingmaterial, by email, or in a comment.

High level scanning

The next position (Arkhipov-Kuznetsov, Russia 1980) is a forced win for white. You might want to solve it, and are invited to do so if you wish, but this not necessary to get the rest of this post.

What I will try to show you is what scanning and pattern recognition are about. In this post Temposchlucker refers to a article in which scientists reported that they had discovered that: "Grandmasters while studying chess get to see hundreds of thousands of different (chess board) positions. They store these 'chunks' in their brain. When they see a similar position, they retrieve the data from their memory. But what do they retreive exactly? To explain this I will introduce first some patterns that are relevant to solving this position. Patterns that any (grand)master will retreive when he is confronted with this position."

The next diagram is a standard mating position. Note that a piece on d7 is necessary (not a knight though) to prevent the king form escaping. Also note that it does not matter if the king is on g8, f8 or e8.

The following diagram is also a common mating pattern. It occurs frequently when the g-file is opened with force.

Armed with these chunks (and on equal terms with the focal gamma bursted grandmaster) we now return to the initial position.

When we start calculating a lot of us will now come up with the following variations:

1 Qh5 gxh5 2 Rg3+ Bg7 3 Rxg7+ Kf8 4 Rxh7 (see pattern 1)
1 Qh5 gxh5 2 Rg3+ Bg7 3 Rxg7+ Kh8 4 Rg3 (see pattern 2)
1 Qh5 h6 2 Qxh6 Bxh6 3 Rxh6 (see pattern 1)

Unfortunately however there is that darn Queen on c5 preventing this winning combination (1 Qh5? Qxh5). But a simple deflection does the trick here. After 1 b4! Qxb4 we are back to the variations given above.

This is what high level scanning should bring about. Focal gamma bursts that retrieve the right patterns and that make calculating look really easy! But to lift your scanning skills enough to reach this level, they have to be build up step by step.

zondag 17 februari 2008

chess trainers on the Internet

One of the good things of the digital revolution is that is has expanded the possibilities to communicate and share information enormously. and though I expect that there are much more new developments ahead of us, there are already many ways to establish e-learning environments that enable teachers to instruct their pupils. One the front runners in this development is (was) ICC. On their site you can meet trainers (vendors) and make arrangements for lessons. It even has its own currency to pay for these lessons.

The advantages of Internet instruction are numerous. You can choose form a great number of instructors all over the world, the interface is even faster and more flexibel than the board and pieces you would use with face to face instruction, and you can have a chess engine running on the background to check the analysis. The main disadvantage is however that the amount of information exchanged depends to a large degree on the typewriting skills of teacher and pupil.

Nevertheless a really good instructor should be able to overcome this handicap, and give you some high quality training. Unfortunately I recently had a very bad first experience with Internet chess training. I got into contact with a trainer who had gotten a very favorable review (albeit for a grouplecture not on the Internet). Because the stuff presented in this review was very interesting, I send him an e-mail, and we arranged for a chat on ICC. In this chat I explained to him what I expected to get out of the lesson, and asked him if he would be able to do this in a series of 5 lessons of an hour. His answer was: "of course".

The first lesson was OK, but all of the next lessons where a huge disappointment. He would not show op on time (although I had explained to him that I had to make arrangements with my family to have an undisturbed hour). He did not prepare, which became very apparent after he began to repeat stuff in the third lesson that we had done in the first. And he even took a break in two of his lessons of at least ten minutes, without compensating with extra time at the end of the lesson. On one occasion he showed up 10 minutes late, just to tell me he didn't feel very well and wanted to postpone the lecture to another day later that week. After the fourth lesson I was so fed up with it, that I stopped.

When you are really disappointed in the quality of a product or the service, sometimes it is good to think about what demands the it should have met to satisfy you. In this way you will be more aware of what exactly you are looking for. And I came up with the following criteria for Internet lessons that would be worthwhile for me. Besides the most basic demands that should be respected with any service you get like showing up on time and delivering nett time, the following criteria should be met:

  1. The lessons should be based on a clear study plan that has explicit goals;
    The goals should be adjusted to your playing strength.
  2. To get a clear view on your playing strength the instructor should first (before the first lesson) review a number of games you played.
  3. At the end of the lesson you should get some study (or even better training) material that enables you to train with the knowledge acquired in your lessons.
  4. Every two months trainer and pupil should evaluate on the progress the pupil is making.
  5. The evaluation should be on progress in skill (not on progress in knowledge).

Are there chess trainers on the net who meet these criteria?

zaterdag 16 februari 2008

Pinning, head to tail

After the introduction of scanning as the first step in search for double attacks, I will use this blog to expand the scanning to the search for potential pins. But before I come to that I would like to spend some attention on the characteristics of the pin. This is not only useful because helps the reader to appreciate the pin as an attacking tool, but also because I read a blog of Blue Devil Knight in which the question was raised if the pin is a tactic.

The pin has three essential elements:

  1. The pinning piece.
  2. The headpiece (pinned piece).
  3. the tail (the target behind the pinned piece).

It is deliberate that I don't speak of a tailpiece. The tail can be either of the three classic targets king, wood (piece), or (mating)square. There is another aspect that is typical for the pin. In most cases a pin can only be effective when when the tail is of higher value than the pinning piece. The exception to the rule is a situation in which the tail is undefended.

The use the pin as an attacking tool you should expand your should expand the scanning of a position with the following leads:

  1. Are there targets (pieces, king or square) on the same file, row or diagonal?
  2. Are these targets undefended?
  3. Is the tail a target of higher value than the pinning piece?

In the next diagram it is black to move. what should he play.

To see the answer block the space between the brackets. ( If you came up with 1 ..., Rxe2 you probably wont have executed the target scan I suggested in this post and in the former post. After 1 ..., Rxe2 there are two targets in the black position that give the opportunity to win material with a pin. The tail is the mating square a6 and with the rook on e2 on the same diagonal the pin should be obvious. The exploitation of this pin is as follows: 1 ..., Rxe2? 2 Rxe2 Rxe2 3 Bf1!. 1 ..., Kb7 looks like a sensible move in the initial position. )

vrijdag 15 februari 2008

Level 1 scanning

The content of this post mike strike the most of you as more than obvious. Nevertheless I want to make the foundation for the scanning proces absolutely clear. This will decrease the chance that readers get confused later on when I write about the nuances of the scanning proces.

When I teach beginning clubplayers (those who have mastered step one). I give them a sheet with the position in the diagram above. I don't tell them them who's move it is, but I ask them to put a circle around every target they see. At that time they are familiar with three kind of targets: King (check), wood (uncovered piece) and (mating)squares. If they have mastered the skill of recognising these targets this is what their sheet will look like after they have finished their task.

Of course I have highlighted the squares my pupils mark with a circle. Then I tell them it is black to move, and ask them to play the best move. As they are also familiar with the double attack most of them will come up with Qf4 and Qh6. Both moves are aimed at two targets (King and bishop/King and Knight). But as soon as I ask them if white can defend, they see that there is a defense against Qf4 (2 Kg1) but not against Qh6.
Obvious isn't it? But then again you would be amazed about the difference in results that occurs if I show this position to a similar group without letting them search for targets first. In the latter case the overwhelming majority simply misses Na6 as a target. And you, did you see 1 ..., Qh6! immediately when you looked at the first diagram? It are experiences like this that convinced me that scanning is a very powerful skill to improve in chess. Albeit that the scanning is a much more sophisticated process when you, and the opposition you are facing, get stronger.
I dare you to experiment with this simple scan yourself. Try it when solving and during your games. It doesn't take a lot of time, and for some of you it surely will contribute to your chess vision and awareness of the key features of the position.

donderdag 14 februari 2008

The move-selecting process

How do I prevent blunders? this question is raised in several posts of the Knights and their friends. I think it is good to broaden the subject to: "how do I select a move'. This question is addressed in in a lot of books. Based on those books, my own experience and on a confession of my teacher I have formulated a thinking protocol that works form me. It consists of the following steps:

  1. Let it flow! This step is not given by any of the books I read on the subject. But I got the idea when we were discussing move searching strategies during my chess trainers course. During this discussion teacher Cor van Wijgerden (author of the steps-method) suddenly said when asked how he picked a move during a game: "first I analyse the moves that immediately come up. I think almost everybody does so. But If I see they don't work I start to think methodically." These words made a deep impression on me. Suddenly it was clear to me why I never succeeded in applying the thinking techniques that were prescribed in the books I read. Nobody thinks like that! When I contemplated a bit more on this subject I came to the conclusion that there is a very good reason to listen initially to your inner voice. It is the voice of all your experience and your intuition. It will do you no harm to check if it has something to say to you that is worthwhile. But you have to be as objective as you can. If it is not clear in 30 to 60 seconds that the move that came up is a strong move, you should stop analysing it and go to the second step.
  2. Orientation. Now the time has come to observe. What targets do you see (king, wood, squares)? Look at all the targets those in you opponents position and those in your own.
  3. Exploitation. After your scan of the position the time has come to search for moves that make use of your opponents targets or make them even more vulnerable. If this is not possible because your own position is under pressure, try to defend your own targets or reduce the vulnerability of pieces or squares.
  4. Evaluation. When you have chosen an move, check if the move really meets the demands of the position. Did you really incorporate all targets in your analysis?

This is the basic method I (try to) use when playing a game and when I solve exercises. I must confess however that there are days (more than i would like to admitt) in which my thinking is very chaotic and fuzzy. On these days my thinking is stuck in the first step and never goes beyond trial and error. However on good days the above method is something that works for me!

There is a lot more to be said about the scanning proces. I will address this in more detail in a number of future posts.

Modifying the circles

In my last post I stated my doubts about the effectiveness of the last circles of Michael de la Maza's program. It is however unfair to criticize without offering an alternative. Therefor I will make some suggestions to improve on Michaels program. These suggestions are based on my assumption that the three phases (learning, training and memorising) each have their own characteristics and function, and that the program can be optimized by incorporating them.

When I worked through the TASC-CHESS CD 2, I used the following method. In the first circle I completely worked through all the lessons and all the exercises (starting at step 2). Each lesson is followed up by an number of sets of 10 positions that have to be solved. As soon as I had completed a step, I would repeat only the sets in which I scored less than 100%. I would repeat this until I scored 100% in every set. Also I would pause every time I didn't solve a position and ask myself: why did I miss that? Didn't I know that pattern? Was there to much fuss/noise that distracted me? Was the solution beyond my horizon of visualisation? I really put in some quality time to make sure I was learning.

By concentrating the next circles on sets with positions missed, I avoided spending to much time on tasks already accomplished. So the second (and if necessary the third and the fourth circle were all about training. When I moved up to the third step, I used the same method. After completing step 3 I would go back to step two and do the mixed (not sorted on theme) sets of exercises of step 2. This way I made sure I had really mastered this step, and memorised the patterns. After completing step 4 I went back to the mixed exercises of step 3 and so on.

I am convinced that this method is more efficient than Michael de la Maza's approach. It does not throw away the strong elements he introduced though. Just like him I use repetition to store the patterns in my memorie. I also make sure that the amount of time used for repetition decreases.

But unlike him I avoid repeating a truckload full of exercises six times, that don't give me any problems any more. Neither do I bring myself in a situation in which I am forced to memorise positions, just to be able to spit out an 'solution' of 9 or more ply within 30 seconds. I am convinced that by focusing on the positions unsolved, quantity is exchanged for quality. This way you will gain more at lower costs.

woensdag 13 februari 2008

The killing fields of chess training

"The last two circles require special dedication. If you are doing 1000 problems then you will be averaging 500 per day in the 2-day circle. At a rate of 30 seconds per problem, you will spend 4 hours and 10 minutes doing tactics problems on each of these two days. In the 1-day circle you will spend 8 hours and 20 minutes doing tactics problems.

Although these last three days are likely to be painful, do not skimp. They are a critical part of the Seven Circles training. You may feel faint, nauseous, and sick. Blood may start dripping from your forehead. But if you have the courage to push on, you will be rewarded with a greatly enlarged tactical muscle that will leave your opponents in the dust."

If this sounds familiar you probably have read Michael de la Maza's second article in which he explains his program. Although I greatly admire the knights who have followed Michaels example, and have finished the last two circles, I do have my doubts if they have done themselves a favour.

I fail to see how anyone will benefit from solving chess exercises for the seventh time, especially when it involves "solving"puzzles of great complexity within 30 seconds.

There is however no doubt in my mind about the usefulness of following the first cycle, as well as the use of repeating them a few times. For most players the first cycle will be all about learning. They will be confronted with a lot of tactical patterns that they have never seen before.

After this first round the second circle is a bit more more about training and not as much about learning as the first circle. Training is not the same as learning. Learning is getting acquainted with new knowledge. In training the pupil is confronted with tasks which he has not yet accomplished, but is not longer quite incapable of accomplishing. Having seen all the exercises and their solutions in the first cycle, we can expect the pupil to do a lot better than in the first cycle, because he has acquired knowledge (patterns) that enables him to solve problems he couldn't in the first cycle.

In the third cycle an element is added. Besides learning (which still happens because he now has a foundation to grasp the more difficult exercises) and training (the solving of exercises missed in the first cycle) he is also memorising. The repetition of familiar exercises will be stored in his long term memory. Gradually it will be less and less about learning and training and more and more about memorising. But enhanced by the decreasing time the pupil has to solve the puzzles, the memorising of patterns is taken over by the memorising of positions. In this phase the circles do not contribute anything to your skills anymore and may even be harm full. The speed that is required to solve 1.000 puzzles in a day can make you believe that finding and calculating complex combinations in a game, is something that can be done in less than a minute.

This kind of dedication, as Michael calls it, may well take all the fun out of chess training. It may easily convince you that training is completely useless, incredibly boring as well as hopelessly time consuming. Those who have followed Michael all the way may well have walked through the killing fields of chess training.

dinsdag 12 februari 2008

The Dvoretsky Method

In some of the knight’s posts and comments the question is raised if the Dvoretsky School of chess has a sort of GM-RAM which contains essential chess knowledge. I very much doubt that this is true. Dvoretsky and his followers do however have a set of positions that they frequently use to train and test their pupils.

In his wonderful book Chess for Zebras Jonathan Rowson gives us some insight in the way these positions are used for training. He gives the following description of the way he was trained by Yusupov.

“This (the training) consisted almost entirely of attempting to solve exercises that he (Yusupov) knew well. The training exercises had definitive answers, but they also resembled real positions so if I deviated from the answers Yusupov would put down his book of answers, and I had to deal with the man himself! This took place over the course of five days at Yusupovs house in Germany. I enjoyed the hospitality of the Yusupov family, but my ego has never had such a systematic pounding before or since. I imagine we looked at about 30 different positions, and in most cases I got the first moves right, only to slip up towards the end. Almost never did I get the solution right from start to finish. It made me feel like a very weak player. Yusupov is generous in spirit, and didn’t want me to suffer, but he pointed out to me that I did not calculate like a grandmaster. On the one hand this was discouraging, but it was good to know what I needed to work on, and given that I was 2550 at the time, I consoled myself with the thought that I must be very good at other aspects of the game. Perhaps, I thought, if I could sort this part of my game out then I could still make significant strides.”

As I get it, the Dvoretsky method is so much aimed at building up GM-RAM knowledge, as it is about developing the skill to play out difficult positions that require precision and determination. Qualities all star pupils of Dvoretsky seem to have (acquired).

The Knights Gambit

When I read the blogs of the Knights Errant and their friends, I see that a lot of them love to play gambits. This doesn't surprise me. It makes sense to seek complications if you think that your main strength is your tactical skill.

But what most Knights do not seem to realise is that tactical skill is only one element of gambit-play. Just as important as tactical skill is the gambiteers ability to retain the dynamic advantages (development, activity, coordination) he has received in return of the pawn(s). The natural tendency in chess games is that dynamic advantages level out, but that structural advantages (material) remain.

Most chess players are consciously or subconsciously aware of this. Therefore they are tempted to focus on forced lines, in order to capitalise as soon as possible on their dynamic advantages. This attitude though is often very contra productive. The secret of successful gambiteering is the skill of fostering the dynamic advantages by constantly creating new threats and keeping the tension in the position. This is a skill that not many class players have. On class level most players force events, thereby resolving the tension which is the essence of their compensation.

maandag 11 februari 2008

The problem with the problem-solving mode

When I followed the course to become a chesstrainer, our teacher asked us to explain to him why some problems are more difficult than others. This had to be absolutely clear to us, because we had to construct our own chess puzzles for beginning chess players.

Our answer to his question was that the level of difficulty was determined by the following factors:

  1. the number of ply of the solution;
  2. the number of branches.

Our teacher confirmed that these criteria indeed determined the level of difficulty to a large degree, but added one we had missed. He used the Dutch word "ruis", which can be translated as "rustle", "noise" or "fuss".

A position becomes more difficult to solve as soon as you ad pieces to it, even when they have no bearing on the solutions number of ply or the number of branches. Adding pieces makes it more difficult to see the pattern. Often it also creates patterns that do not work in the given position, but do distract you.

Handling fuss/noise is therefore a key element in improving as a chess player. I suspect that dealing with fuss may be a big problem for anyone who has followed the circles, but has not achieved the progress he expected.

A major difference between solving positions and playing a game is that the fact that the knowledge that you are solving a puzzle decreases the level of fuss/noise enormously. This is very beneficial when solving, because it prevents you from analyzing non-forcing lines. But in a game this problem-solving mode may be the reason that you are to pre-occupied with forcing lines. This may distract you from the real issues you have to handle when selecting your move.

donderdag 7 februari 2008

the 7even circles (un)broken

Years of experience have shown me that most players don’t show significant progress anymore after 10 years of playing and training. Even those who study a lot and are convinced that they have learned, seldom see a structural increase in their ratings.

Therefore Michael de la Maza cannot be praised enough for showing the chess world that the sheer impossible can be achieved. You can improve significantly if you are willing to put in the hard work that is necessary. The program he devised made his rating go up for 600 points in two years. Others who followed his program have also seen their rating go up with hundred points or more. In the links section you can find the two groundbreaking articles in which Michael explains his program.

There is however also reason to be a bit skeptical about the claim that anyone can improve 400 points in 400 days. The Knights Errant is a community that has committed itself to following the program, but the results achieved by its graduated members don’t show an increase with 400 points. Besides acknowledging that Michael’s program has been a breakthrough and has a lot of pros, we must also be aware of the cons. A major objection mo Michael’s program is that it does take a lot of time, and allows you almost no time for other activities besides work and chess. As a father of two children, I cannot afford to follow the seven circles in the way Michael did himself, and suggests to his readers. But even the people who have followed his footsteps did not get the results that Michael had. So one wonders, are there perhaps some flaws in this program?

As far as I can see, there are two aspects on the program that can be criticized. The first is that I cannot see what the contribution is of doing the circles in one (the seventh circle) or two days (the sixth). Solving really difficult tactical problems in just a minute or two, may boost your ego, but if you only solve them because you have learned the position and the solution by heart, it will not contribute much to your chess playing skills. It may even be harmful in some ways. If your mind is too much focused on solving chess puzzles, almost every tactical motive is perceived as winning. This state of mind works wonderfully if you have to solve puzzles because you know the solution is there to be found, and you don’t waste any time on unnecessary verification. But playing a game and solving an exercise are two different things. In a game you cant be sure that there is a 'solution'. Although there may be tactical motives, it is not sure that there is a forced tactical sequence to exploit these motives.

The other flaw in the program is that it ignores the endgame. Michael dismisses this, and said that endgame training is useless if you don’t make it to this final stage, because you or your opponent drop pieces or are mated. But there is a significant percentage of games in which this isn’t the case, and then some basis endgame knowledge is quite useful. It will give you some extra wins or save you some draws. In my next posts I will make some suggestions on improving Michael’s program.

dinsdag 5 februari 2008

You can improve your chess!!

This blog is all about improving your chess. I will share with you my experiences as a certified chesstrainer. English is not my native language, so it takes a lot of effort to be as clear as I want to be, but I will give it my very best.

As a trainer and as a active chessplayer it is my experience that significant improvement (more than 50 ratingpoints) is possible, even when you are allready playing for more than 10 years. It is not that easy to find the richt way to do so however. Therefore I hope to offer you a guide to effective techniques that do make you better, but allow you also to have a social life. My next blog will be on the seven circles program designed by Michael de la Maza. An intense trainigschedule which worked wonderfully for Michael, but was somewhat less effective for his following (see the Knights errants blogs).

Besides giving advise on training and self-improvement I will review books and software. I hope this blog will be usefull and entertaining for everybody who is interested in chess.