zondag 12 oktober 2008

Chess Improvement.

Many Knights in the heat of battle will ask themselves from time to time “Why am I not improving despite doing the cycles” Or “Why am I improving so slowly”
I asked my self this question too.
Many high rated players will tell you to devote most of your time to tactics, which I believe is a very good advise. But if you are being outplayed in the opening, tactics will only help you in some cases to save the draw.
After reading DK’s article about Wang Yue, especially the part where he writes that Wang does not go for the opening advantage but for solid opening play and endgame superiority, I was definitely convinced that this is the best way to make some substantial improvement.
Where do you begin?
1. Khmelnitsky’s book Chess exam is a very good start. It is like going to your home physician for a general checkup.
2. Pick a solid repertoire and play main line variations, don’t try to outfox your opponents with offbeat variations if you don’t understand the ins and outs of the opening.
3. At the end of the opening stage you will have standard positions. Here is where you will benefit the most of your tactics training (Cycles!), your opponent will probably deviate from theory/ middle game plans. Find the best move and go for it. Tactics alert !
4. Endgame virtuosity is the way to grand mastery . I think it was Smyslov who said it.
5. Play trough games of GM’s

1. I took the exam and my predicted ELO was not far from my current.
2. I’ve been playing many blitz games on the Chessbase server just to practice my opening and to collect games. So I can have some statistics on the different variations my opponents (ELO differentiation) may choose in a normal game. I’m sticking to my repertoire! I’ve experienced a slight stabilization of my blitz ELO.
3. Going trough Pawn Power in combination with Zurich 1953 helped me in choosing a solid repertoire. The comments of Kmoch and Bronstein are very instructive, I’ve a better understanding of what the opening is about and what my middle game plan has to be. After reading Pawn Power I do understand many openings and middle game plans, even of the openings I do not play. I know where the game is heading to and I’m enjoying kibitzing. I’ve noticed the benefit of tactical training (CT-art) mainly in the transition from opening to middle game, after reaching a standard position. For instance a transition to a favorable endgame, a mating combination or a 2-3 move material gain, mostly a pawn or a better placement of my pieces.
4. I’m still tuning my repertoire. I’m doing some endgame training but just the basics. This section will get more attention in the near future.
5. 10% of my time is Opening preparation(Main line), 10% Strategy, 40%Tactics and 40% Blitz games (for now!).