Sunday, February 18, 2007

To Blitz or not to Blitz...

The topic of tactics has come up amongst many blogs and, after taking all the ideas in, I've changed my routine to reading a concept from Seirawan's Tactics book and then practicing the same tactic in the "303 Tricky Tactics" book. That is all I plan to do for now in terms of tactics as I'm still an emerging player...I need to play and play often. I do think that I could be ready for the "Chess Tactics for Beginners CD" someday soon. Is there a better way to invest my next $23???
Perhaps the best and worst that I've done the last few weeks is playing almost all of my games from the correspondence sites of: (see my games here) as "edukator" and as "recess_bully" (see my games here ). I did this to slow down my games and perhaps lower my blunders (and perhaps it has done this) but it has also probably lowered my blitz ratings. I attribute some of this to the fact that I love to play the Scotch opening as white in blitz and I am certain that it confuses people at first (a definite plus in blitz) but it does little in the correspondence games. I also wonder, however, if the fact that I've played fewer chess games as a whole in correspence than in Blitz has something to do with my lower blitz ratings as well.
I have been playing with the French defense with black just out of interest as it really seems to change the type of game in ways I'm not sure I understand (more later)....
Blitz (mainly 5/12 Blitz) as "edukator":
ICC: 899
Playchess: 1163
Average: 1031
Disseration: Proposal to be worked on for President's Day :)
Addendum (correspondence chess):
Playtheimmortalgame (RedHotPawn): 1409
Gameknot (as recess_bully): 1301
I have collected a series of "checkmate-in-one" games and my students seem to enjoy them...I can see them pointing to the sheets and trying to find the checkmate before their buddies. This is promising...perhaps I should add "Checkmate-in-two" soon.


Blue Devil Knight said...

Seirewan's book is second-rate in my opinion. Much better are Nunn's Learn Chess Tactics or Littlewood's Chess Tactics (the latter is especially good). They are much more clear, systematic, more practical, and have better problem sets. They are already set up like you are doing it: brief description of theme, followed by a bunch of problems.

As I have said, Chess Tactics for Beginners is just fanstastic. The first hundred or so problems are simple: mate in 1. Then come some mate in 2 and material-winning tactics, and so on. By the time you are done, you are ready for CT-Art.

I sidebarred you.

Blue Devil Knight said...

I think it is important to just gain experience by relaxing and being willing to lose thousands of games. I have found my recent blitz of blitz games to be helpful. Note that it is key to analyze after with a computer to find the big shifts in the evaluation of the game, and make sure I understand why they occurred (they are nearly always tactical in nature and easy to figure out).

Do you have Fritz? Do you know how to do blundercheck and get the evaluation graph up? It is a fast and easy way to get a quick graphical representation of the game evaluation. It literally takes me about 20 seconds to have an analyzed game in front of me.

Note for longer games I do the analysis slowly "by hand" before letting Fritz tell me the answers. But for the blitz of blitz, it is helpful to have tactical feedback quickly in the context of real games.

Edukator said...

It sounds like Nunn and Littlewood were ahead of me and address the shortcomings of Seirewan's book. I clearly felt a need to shore it up.

I really need to investigate Fritz more for all it can do. I've been using Crafty on ICC to review my games post hoc...constantly amazed at the opportunities that I seem to have overlooked (and some are huge misses) or other ideas that would have been better.

I use Fritz primarily to play on chessbase's I need to perhaps upgrade (I have Fritz 8 which can be bought at Target now for under $10!).

I am convinced that Chess Tactics for Beginners is the way to go and has quite a following. I actually searched for it at the Atlanta Chess Club store but all they had was the book...ebay has it for $23.

Good luck with the CT-Art and thanks, as usual, for the wonderful ideas.

Dean said...

Hi, I'd advise playing longer games in realtime. I've tried both blitz and turn-based sites, but nothing improves your games as much as playing long games (at least 30mins each), then analysing the games afterward. Good luck, Dean.