Friday, September 16, 2016

Need Suggestions on Training Material


This KPvK wiki article was an excellent bit of training material. It explained the complete topic clearly and logically: * this is the square of the pawn, and it can help indicate the outcome * these are the specific key squares under these specific cases, and one who controls them decides the outcome * this is the opposition, and it is thus used to achieve the said control of key squares * these are the guidelines with the king on sixth rank At the end of the article, it summed up the three conditions out of which at least two must be satisfied at all times for a win. Very effective training, a lesson I may not forget even if I wanted to. But it seems that such helpful instructions cannot be given for other types endgames. For instance, of the "Lolli Position" in the RBvR endgame study, all I could find was a 12 move long mating sequence (with Black to move): 1. ...Rd8 2.Ra2 Rb8 3.Ba6 Rb6 4.Bd3 Rc6+ 5.Bc4 Rb6 6.Rc2+ Kb1 7.Re2 Ka1 8.Re5 Rb7 (or Rb8) 9.Ra5+ Kb1 10.Bd3+ Kc1 11.Ra1+ Rb1 12.Rxb1# That's it. This is how you should play to win (and your opponents will of course oblige you if they know what's good for them). How cool is that! That throws two big hurdles in my path: a) I cannot learn anything by rote memorization; I fail to reproduce what I do not conceptually/logically grasp. b) Nor can I calculate possible variations 12 full moves deep when I look at any given position; not really sure how many players can do that, but I am sure my brain would melt and ooze out of my ears if I tried brute force calculation beyond 2.5 full moves. Now, I'm not asking for every to be worked out for me, but I need at least some definite conceptual guidelines to latch on to, so I can figure out the right moves for myself as I play. Something on the lines of: these are the key squares in this position; this is the rationale; this is what the attacker/defender should look out for; this is what the attacker/defender must prevent; this/these is/are the goal(s) of the attacker/defender; the attacker/defender must be within this distance from this/these square(s) at all times; the attacker/defender must get to this square asap... Is there a (preferably single) training resource which privides that kind of guidance in all types of endgames? If anybody knows of such training material, please give me a title or a link. Thanks in advance.



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Many thanks.
Prady.
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/HungryForChess
Partner FB group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/195960723787552/

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Starting on a New Path

It has been another long hiatus from the game, and a little longer one from this blog. I do confess that though my desire for improvement is strong, my attempts toward that end may seem sporadic due to these long breaks. But there is a factor that frquently and seriously interferes with my attempts, and repeatedly pushes me away on such breaks. That factor is the overwhelming gamut of information one needs to juggle in ones mind to arrive at the right answer while studying a given position.

Every time I return with renewed interest, and start reading articles/books about the game (the general considerations, tactical motifs, positional concepts and so forth), I digest the concepts quite easily. I can now talk at length about these concepts, and can even compose a succinct monograph about them. However, when I set out to solve some intermediate tactical/positional exercises, I somehow do not really measure up. In most cases I do solve exercises that clearly indicate motifs such as "Mate in 2" or even those that announce another motif (like Skewer or Pin or Double attack or something else) that is playable in the first or second move. In those problems I score about 90% (subjective). When faced with a position with many pieces still on the board and a suggestion like "White to move an play for a win", and if the complete solution expects 2 moves, my score drops to about 70% (subjective). Any such raw position that expects more than 2 moves drastically drops my score, especially if the exercise allows only limited time or attempts. I may play a decent move to the best of my knowledge, but that would not be the best move as is often proved by the composer of the solution.

There are also those times when I cannot see it at once even if someone tells me something is possible in the next two moves; and then it is really shameful when that someone, out of sheer irritation with my mental blindness, physically holds my hand and drops it on a piece I should move! When that starts happening, I go back to the books/websites searching for inspirational articles, which take me back to the same concepts I have read so many times. And the whole story repeats and frustration builds until my brain cries out for a break.

This time I decided to start all over again with a clean slate and try a different route. Study end games first. It is a suggestion I have often come across and ignored. So, in the last two days I spent some time understanding K+p vs K endings. After struggling with several incomplete articles that left me terribly confused, I was fortunate to stumble upon this excellent wiki. This article has been so methodically drafted, with logical explanations (also grateful for those accompanying diagrams with the dots and crosses) and principles to bear in mind for both sides, that it arrested my complete attention. I tried my hands at a few exercises from both sides, in which I did well. So far so good.

Now I wonder: where do I go from here? What's the next logical thing to study?


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Many thanks.
Prady.
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/HungryForChess
Partner FB group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/195960723787552/

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How Are Things...?

It was early in January 2014 that I had posted "Am I Reti? (8+1 Games)". It is a fact, as may be apparent, that I have since been on a break from the game.

I had begun to take the outcome of my games very seriously, and had begun to kick myself for not being able to spend sufficient time and efforts studying, although all the while knowing well that the game is only my hobby, not my profession, and that I have a life outside of it. My love for the game seemed prepared to branch out into a strange kind of possessiveness; my desire for improvement, if not checked at once, was on the verge of turning into an obsession. The warnings came in the form of uneasiness, irritability, growing frustration, and therefore I unceremoniously took myself off from the game until further notice. In the mean time, a Sudoku a day has been keeping my brain ticking.

Yesterday I tried a game on InstantChess FB app, got the White pieces, moved the Queen pawn as if in a daze, and some good soul immediately mated me in six moves and showed me how rusty I had become.

Just for kicks I tried again today, got the Black pieces, and ended up playing very badly, though my opponent played even worse and handed me the game in the end. If I had not been so careless, I should have won on move 19.

If the embedded game does not show below, please click here



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Many thanks.
Prady.
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/HungryForChess
Partner FB group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/195960723787552/

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Am I Reti? (8+1 Games)


Played 8 Reti games against the Level-3 Personality of software NagaSkaki with a 20/G time control. In every game my opponent played the advance variation (2...d4), which gave me the opportunity to ponder over move order issues during the games. In every game I was able to push my own Q-side agenda satisfactorily, resulting in an 8-0-0 score.

Despite the perfect score, I know my game is far from perfect. Therefore, I decided to challenge myself by playing a bonus Reti game against the Level-4 Personality of the Software, which has always proved to be a very tough nut for me to crack. Hence I used a 60/G time control for this game. I think I fought quite well until the very end, but something snapped inside my head (or was it just fatigue?) when I had 10 minutes left on my clock, and I entered an ending which I was not confident of drawing. I resigned. So the result after the bonus game stands at 8-0-1.

I know stronger players can surely identify and point out generic flaws in my thought process if I show them the 9 typical games. When it comes to analyzing games I prefer humans to engines. Hence I am sharing the said games below.

Please give me any pointers that you think may halp me improve.

Many thanks.

The 9 games follow:

Game 1: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819616

Game 2: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819628

Game 3: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819630

Game 4: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819632

Game 5: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819634

Game 6: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819636

Game 7: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819638

Game 8: http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819640

Bonus Game (Level 4): http://www.chess.com/emboard?id=1819642


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Many thanks.
Prady.
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/HungryForChess
Partner FB group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/195960723787552/

Friday, December 20, 2013

Book Review: Chess Strategy - Edward Lasker

Finally I made time to read the book "Chess Strategy" by Edward Lasker.

The approach used is very different from other books I've read on the subject: rather than introduce individual strategic concepts/motives and let the reader weave them together, this book takes a holistic, common-sense approach to the opening, end-game and middle-game plans. Everything is reduced to common-sense, which makes understanding and remembering concepts that much easier (bye-bye to rote memorization of moves/variations).

That's about half the book. The other half includes around 50 annotated games bearing references to the concepts discussed earlier, explaining why a move was good/bad (again based on common-sense).

The book uses descriptive notation, but it is quite easy to follow. I found this work simply awesome!

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Many thanks.
Prady.
FB page: https://www.facebook.com/HungryForChess
Partner FB group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/195960723787552/

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NagaSkakiLevel3_vs_Pradeep_20131218_01

In this game, Edward Lasker's common-sense training has succeeded in keeping me on track and not making wasteful pawn moves, not attacking pieces that can freely move away and so on. It also helped me identify and ignore empty threats and illusions. I believe reading this was another sure step on the path of improvement.


Of course, I hope not only to keep this up, but also to do much better in days to come. So all comments and instructional discussions are welcome.


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Many thanks.
Prady.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HungryForChess
Facebook partner group https://www.facebook.com/groups/195960723787552/

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hungry For Chess: Facebook Page


Now, Hungry For Chess has a dedicated community magazine page on Facebook! The goal is to have a common place to share thoughts and ideas related to chess, to share games and comments, to hold productive discussions, and to help each other improve. It is an open magazine, and people of all ages and playing strengths are welcome.

If you are hungry for chess, you are invited to like this page and participate actively:
https://www.facebook.com/HungryForChess

The magazine will also share some posts with a growing community group, "Are You Reti", and another community page "Chessconversations". The respective URLs are:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/195960723787552
https://www.facebook.com/chessconversation

Together we hope we can have lot of fun on the path of improvement.

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Many thanks.
Prady.