Sunday, October 31, 2004


I was able to squeeze in two practice sessions worth of exercises.
300 completed 909 remaining in circle 1.
22 down 133 to go.

Friday, October 29, 2004

3 Weeks

Problem solving is becoming addictive.
Knocked out 40 this afternoon.
200 completed 1,009 remaining in circle 1.
21 down 134 to go.

Thursday, October 28, 2004


Trying to settle into a normal routine.
160 completed, 1049 remaining in the first circle.
20 down 135 to go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Rolling along

Off to a good start the past two days by finishing the level 10 exercises.
Those were a breeze. Just look for a check and the rest falls into place.
Lots of Queen sacs, deflections and overloading a square type stuff.
I did a few of the level 20 exercises just to get a feel for what was next the answers aren't as obvious, but are still fairly simple.
Going to try and catch up on some sleep.

125 problems completed 1084 remaining in the first circuit.
19 down 136 to go.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

False Start !?

After analyzing my recent on-line Chess Ninja tournament game. I have come to the stunning realization that at this moment my tactics are about as sharp as a bowling ball. My recent suckiness hasn't gone unnoticed. The chess servers keep a pretty accurate record of my on-line games. I have just refused to believe the numbers shown beside my playing handle. At first I thought it was because I haven't played on-line and I drop a few points the first few days back to the realm of 2-D, but I usually rebound quickly and have always ended up with a higher rating than I held between my last break and hermit study session.
Not this time, I dropped as expected but have barely been able to limp my way back to within a 100 points of my "highest". Last night's game was just the icing on the cake. I continuously failed to even look at exploiting any of advantages that I obtained. Stuff that I would have normally pounced on, or at least would have had a glimmer of an idea to start chipping away. But I didn't even consider the good moves. My only consolation was my assessment of the position. I knew when I had the advantage, then I knew when it was even, and then I knew when my opponent had the advantage. Fortunately it ended in a draw. This sourness is not to take anything away from my opponent's play. I thought he played a great game. He completely stifled any counter-play on my part.

Anyway I have been neglecting any kind of study other than hopping pieces around the "hapless King on d5" and making lap after counter-clockwise lap around an empty chess board with my knight.
My tactical rust of course cannot be blamed on following the prescribed method found in "Rapid Chess Improvement" I haven't even entered into the "tactical saturation" chapters. I firmly believe that if anything I have a greater understanding of the pieces thanks to Mr. Michael de la Maza. I know that after just a few short weeks I do see target squares much faster and with more clarity than I can ever remember having in the past. I will continue to follow these drills.

No my rust is mainly due to neglect.
Over the last few months I haven't even bothered to review any of my games searching for improvements with Fritz humming along side offering up juicy tactical tidbits of advice or having Herr Fritz laugh at my blunders. Nor have I bothered to look up any of the deviations played by opponents while searching for improvements in my favorite openings.
This brings me to my accelerated jump in my training schedule. I fired up the CT-Art 3.0 program and started working on the exercises. I still plan on continuing with the prescribed drills but I had to get started on stopping the points slide.

18 down 137 to go.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Forced myself to slog through the exercise.
Loooooooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnng day.
17 down 138 to go.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Déjà Vu

16 down 139 to go.

Around the board in 80 ways...

The Knight Sight Concentric Squares exercise is interesting to say the least.
One just needs to explore the relationship between the two squares (home and target). There is no difference in the pattern going from d5 to d2 than there is from d5 to g5. D5 to a5, or d5 to d8 are truncated versions of the patterns created from d5 to d2.
Like Don said once you get the gist of the movements involved you can simply repeat the pattern in an overlay like fashion.
If I were really a masochist I'd try and calculate patterns of various lengths. I guess at least this would be useful in possibly creating opportunities to gain opposition or create some sort of zugzwang.
But I think the experience gained by moving around my Knight will have to do for now.

15 down 140 to go.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

2 Weeks

On to the next set of exercises, calculating all of the possible Knight Sight patterns.
14 down 141 to go.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Day 10

I really have started to notice forks and skewers much more quickly.
Now not only do I see them faster. I also know where, and where not to look.
Pretty cool stuff indeed.

10 down 145 to go.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Day 9

Still going.

9 down 146 to go.

Day 8

It now takes only 30 mins to complete the exercises.
Concentric Circle (White's Queen versus a Black's King on d5 using a Rook, Bishop, Knight, Queen, and pawn as the targets.) and the first Knight Sight drill.
I'm beginning to see the target squares in a complete series now.
This versus the hunt and peck method I was experiencing early in the practices.

8 down 147 to go.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Week 1 Completed

Still chugging along.
7 down 148 to go.

Day 6

The time required to complete the exercises is dropping dramatically.
Not sure if this is from memorization, or a difference in my visualization.
6 down 149 to go.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Day 5

Noticeable ripples.
I have also incorporated the Knight Sight drill.
5 down 150 to go.

Day 4

Not sure if the squares are popping out yet, but they did seem to ripple in a few places.
4 down 151 to go.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Day 3

Slogged my way through the exercises after a long day.
3 down 152 to go.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Day 2

This afternoon I took my oldest nephew down to the local skateboard park, so he could do some skating.
I figured what the heck while I'm there I could spend some free time doing the concentric circle exercises and a little reading.

2 down 153 to go.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Day 1

Ok just completed the first exercise.
I followed Don's advice about taking it slowly through the first run. I tried to find common themes in relation to the piece(s) being forked or skewered and the home squares of the pieces involved.

The following is basic knowledge for most, but it seems to help me grasp a concept if I state the obvious. If only for my own peace of mind.

You know something along the lines of a Knight on "dark squares" always attacks "light squares."

Queen versus King and Rook.
The Queen will always attack the Rook from a Bishop's perspective.

Queen versus King and Bishop.
The Queen will always attack the Bishop from a Rook's perspective.

Queen versus King and Knight.
The poor Knight just gets hammered from all angles.

Queen versus King and Queen.
The word of the day is skewer, can you say skewer?
I knew that you could. :)
This was the easiest of the drills.
Only a few possibilities exist.

By the end of the drills I did find myself counting the checks and also running a pattern while searching for the checks.
A1-H1, then A2-H2, etc... This wasn't a conscious effort just something that evolved either out of repetition or a quest to end the madness as quickly as possible.
So to really sum all of this up, just stay off of the squares that your opponents pieces control and your Queen will do just fine.
Bet you're all glad this stunning insight is free...
I also added a pawn to the exercise. I figured why discriminate.

I started thinking about "The Seven Circles" exercise. I just wish that the CT-Art 3.0 software had a 3-D board option. Since the idea is to simulate a game environment the only way to do this is manually set-up a real board to solve the exercise. Or use a different software package that can achieve the same objective while utilizing a decent 3-D board.
I'm one of those people that have a hard time making the transition from a 2-D computer monitor to real chess set.
Yes I know I'm weird.

As Don says "1 down 154 to go."

Wish me luck!

, thanks for dragging me into this.
I think.

Off chasing windmills...

Today begins the first day’s journey of mission De La Maza.
Armed with my trusty tome of knowledge, I move into the world of tactical saturation.
Hopefully with the support of my new comrade in arms I will be able to complete the monumental
task at hand.
Learn how it all started here.