Saturday, May 27, 2006

Chess Exam and Training Guide

I personally found it to be a very rewarding book.
Having someone point out your Achilles heal(s) has to be a good thing, the Exam grades your relative strengths and weaknesses in 12 different areas.
You have to complete the entire book before you can begin scoring the tests.
The author combines 3-5 motifs for each of the 2 part questions. You may score really well in one chapter, and suffer through the next. I did notice there were a few questions in where I had zero idea of how to even start my approach in answering them. While others I found being related in one form or fashion to classic examples and started my search for the answer using those themes.
In hindsight I think it is a very accurate portrayal of my playing ability, and it further confirms what I thought I needed to improve. It has even shown me a few new areas that I had never even considered, but make perfect sense now that I realize they have a name. More importantly it further encourages me to focus my training on improving my weakest link (Strategy) which happens to be what I was trying to improve by reviewing complete games. (See my last post about playing through the games of Morphy.)

So anyway for your entertainment here are the “Titles” I received on the test.

Overall - Class (B)
Endgame - Class (B)
Middle game - Class (B)
Opening - Expert
Calculation - Class (A)
Standard Positions - Class (B)
Strategy - Class (D)**
Tactics - Class (B)
Threats - Class (B)
Attack - Class (B)
Counter Attack - Class (C)
Defense - Class (B)
Sacrifice - Class (B)

Looks like I’m going to have to dust off “Winning Chess Strategies”-Seirawan,
“Logical Chess Move by Move”-Chernev, and “Reassess your Chess”-Silman
In that order. :)

Off to the book case.