Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Progress report

Progress Report: I'm about half way through Simple Chess, with 3 more chapters the go. It's a well-written and concise book. I could have finished it by now, but I'm going at a leisurely pace, picking up the book every few days and reading 10 or so pages at a sitting. I'm also doing daily tactical exercises from The Chess Tactics Workbook by Al Woolum. I've completed 40 of 130 pages. Though the first 1/4 of the book was pretty easy, it's become more challenging quickly. I find myself searching for a solution for 10 minutes sometimes. Of course, once found, the solution becomes obvious and I wonder why it took so long. Also, some of the positions are tricky. Either the obvious way doesn't work because of some overlooked tactical save, or you find a win of material but the solution is a mate. For a 3rd edition of a book, the editor could have done a better job. I've found typos in the solutions, as well as alternative solutions. However, overall I like this book for my purpose of daily tactical training.

I've started playing standard chess on US Chess Live, soon to be simply Chess Live. After 35 games, my rating is in the high 1900s. IMO, the standard ratings there are around 300 points higher than USCF over-the-board ratings. My win-loss record is very good, but probably attributable to playing players in the 1600-1800 range. I think playing other 1900s would be a challenge for me. Despite the good record, I'm not very happy with my play. Even in standard, I find myself falling for one-move tactics. Last night, a pawn forked my knight and bishop. The night before that, a knight forked my king and rook. In both cases, I moved a piece into position to be forked, so perhaps a quick 5-10 second check for simple one-move tactics is in order. This might also indicate a blind spot in my visualization, so hopefully my tactical training will help remedy it.

Concerning standard, I find that at 15 0 time controls, I still run short of time. I think I'll start playing the rapid time controls (25 10 and 30 0) or longer. I've joined the STC Bunch and am looking forward to playing in their STC Gauntlet 2003, a 45 5 elimination tournament. I'm also planning to play in the 2003 Hawaii State Championship, to be held over Labor Day weekend. With events to look forward to, it helps me to focus on my chess study.

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