Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Day 263 / 102 to go

Due to a full day at work plus some 3h of travel I only looked into one opening variation with White... 8-/
Now I will take the freedom and play some online Blitz!  8-)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Day 262 / 103 to go

Finally, I finished Soltis book.  To summarise it briefly, the first half is good, almost very good, but the second half is not really my taste: it mainly deals with incorrect calculations, blunders and stuff. For me, there was not really much to learn from that section. Maybe I am simply not fully aware of what he tries to tell me...
Nevertheless, on a more abstract level I will (try to) keep the following in mind, which is my personal distillation of the last 2 chapters of his book:

Lasker´s Law: When you see a good move, don´t play it but look for a better one! (Sit on your hands!)
GM Szabó´s advice: After you´re finished calculating, calculate one move further!
Ideally, this becomes my new motto and I will, finally, really start doing exactly that. In many exercises during my various training sessions so far, I repeatingly made exactly the mistake of stopping my calculation one move too early!

On top, I did some opening theory - this time for White!  😉

I ended this training day with analysing two positions within Smith´s book. Here´s today´s annoying one - White to move:
Can you image that I didn´t consider Qxe7 at all! Sad sad sad  😟

Monday, 19 December 2016

Day 261 / 104 to go

Today, I started with Soltis - I am still going through the chapter where he stresses the importance of move order within tactical variations. Here´s a nice finish - White to move:
Interestingly, Stockfish considers a less forcing Variation much stronger...
I then continued with 3 puzzles from Smith´s book - at least I got 2 correct (although I could have calculated a bit deeper down the line). Here´s the first one - highlighting one of my typical weaknesses: I end certain calculation branches simply too early based on "prejudice". White to move (to direct your thinking - and at the same time remind me of what I did wrong: allow yourself to sac the f-pawn!):

Days 259 + 260 / 105 to go

I have done bits and pieces over the weekend, but to be totally honest, it wasn´t really that much.
Especially on Sunday it is more appropriate to say that I simply took a day off!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Day 258 / 107 to go

Besides a long working day and the usual Friday travel, I went for 3 puzzles and advanced with Smith´s book. Here´s an interesting one - both due to the position itself, but also because of the accompanying words by Smith (he reveals that he had problems to solve this one for the first 4 times, when he went for it every other month) - Black to move:

In addition, I digged into one sideline with Black - something I faced earlier this week in an online game, and got crushed... The result of todays analysis went straight into CPS!  😉

Finally, I took the freedom and went for some only Blitz...

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Day 257 / 108 to go

Uff - not really my (training session) day today...  8-/
I started with CT-ART 4.0 and dropped by some 20 rating points. Annoyingly, I didn´t lose the points due to hard puzzles, but based on a lack of focus/concentration --- maybe my working day was simply a bit to hard/long/stressful...
After a break I continued with Smith´s book: I reached a stage where he accompanies some puzzles with the words that these would be rather tough nuts to crack; and I actually failed on two out of three.

Whereas I initially planned to add two Lommers, I switched to Soltis "The Inner Game of Chess" - and was presented with a really really very nice and astonishing one; White to move - should he go for Nb6? Yes or No?:
Take your time - don´t read any further!

Did you see that Nb6 can be answered with Ne2?
If so, what was/is your conclusion now - who is better and how should White react?
Again - feel free to take your time and stop reading!
Well, to be honest, I didn´t see Ne2 for Black...It looks like a nice counterstrike, doesn´t it?
But now comes the real
Qf8!   😎

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Day 256 / 109 to go

I climbed above 2400 at CT-ART 4.0!  

In addition, I worked on two Lommers - I got the first one correct (till the very end), but I louzily failed at the second one: overlooked a simple check right at the start... 8-/

Finally, I continued to advance with Smith´s book.  My aim is to finish it by the end of this year, so that I can start working on Oudeweedering´s two books regarding Pattern Recognition...

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Day 255 / 110 to go

Now that my mobile is back, I did work with CT-ART 4.0 and solved some tactic puzzles. I went up to around 2485, but in the end fell back to around 2470.

I then went for two Lommers (finally)! Annoyingly, I spent some 30 minutes on the first one, just to find out that - against the overall concept of the book - it was, indeed, Black to make the first move! In all other cases it is "always" White to move. But for the one I am talking about, the solution starts with the following smart-ass introduction: "As Black couldn´t have made the last move, it is his turn to play..." Not really that funny...😒
"Of course", I missed the second one, too! But that´s ok, it was the first time after quite a while and Lommering is not easy at all... I actually consulted Stockfish as the subtle finesses were worth to fiddle around with using a board (and an engine).

Eventually, I called it a day after 6 of Smith´s puzzles. Here´s an interesting one (which I didn´t get):  Black to move:
To be honest - I was actually a bit too tired to really follow the solution. I will have to get back to this one tomorrow.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Day 254 / 111 to go

As "promised" earlier today, I picked up again!
I started with a post mortem of yesterday´s game. The draw as such was justified, although Stockfish acknowledges a very tine edge of about +0.4. But given that I was left with some 20 minutes for 21 moves, accepting the offer was ok. Even more so, as I still think that the position as such has a high drawing tendency...  Especially the "opening check" by Stockfish revealed that there is some improvement in the opening, where I repeatedly went for a certain move that I will not go for again!
In addition, I continued with Smith´s book and worked on a set of 6 puzzles: I solved the first three very quickly, but failed on the following two due to desperately looking for a tactical solution which didn´t work. And actually that was Smith´s intention: I simply didn´t calculate far enough but went for the "bing bang", which I shouldn´t. For this reason I also failed on no. 6: This time I did NOT go for the tactical solution - but I should have (if I only would have calculated far enough)! 😒

Tomorrow, I will definitely go for at least one Lommer.

Days 245 - 253 / 112 to go

Mea culpa - mea maxima culpa

The break as such simply "had to be": There either was simply no time due to travel+work load or I simply caught myself being struck by the "pre-christmas blues"... 8-/   But maybe even the circumstance that I was left without my mobile phone - including being "online" with my laptop added to the above...
During the last 8 days I did hardly go for any decent training sessions at all.
YES, I did "something" here and there (read some NiC-articles, solved some puzzles, repeated some opening theory, and, of course, went for some online games; finally, I played a team match yesterday and drew against an equally rated player) - but no real dedicated training sessions as such). Nevertheless, please find a nice one and true CLASSIC (Karpov - Unzicker / 1974) taken from NiC - White to move:
To my personal surprise Stockfish found it almost instantly - whereas I am still hoping to incorporate that sort of move into my own games... Can you solve it or, maybe, you simply remember this classic?  
ANYWAY, from today onwards up to the tournament in Erfurt - starting on the 26th this months - I will definitely take the necessary time at least 5 times a week! (Hoping that I can finish the last tournament of the year with yet another slight gain in rating points...)

Friday, 2 December 2016

Day 244 / 121 to go

Yesterday, something "wonderful" happened:  I fell asleep! I normally don´t fall asleep before 0100 in the morning (not to mention me suffering from insomnia anyway)... But yesterday I must have fallen asleep at around 2130/2145!

Nevertheless, I did proceed closing the gap of that one variation with Black. I used Stockfish 8 plus CPT and definitely finished an important sideline!
(However, I didn´t go for any Lommers...)

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Day 243 / 122 to go

I practiced the stuff that I hammered into CPT yesterday.- for some 90 minutes.
But then, I have to admit, I started to follow the games of Carlsen versus Karjakin throughout the evening.
 The second draw was interesting - it was not clear to me that rook versus bishop pair could keep the draw!

However, due to the world championship matches, I neither went for any Lommers nor continued with Smith´s book...   TOMORROW I will!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Day 242 / 123 to go

In absence of CT-ART 4.0, I did the 9 tactic puzzles available in each issue of "New in Chess". Here´s a nice one - Black to move:
Hint: It actually took me quite some time to correct my focus away from a mating-attack...

In addition - and as indicated yesterday, I was working with CPT and one variation for Black. I spent quite a while but only made little progress this evening; but it was overdue to start this sort of work!
Tomorrow I have to include one or two Lommers into the training session...

Monday, 28 November 2016

Day 241 / 124 to go

Tonight, I spent quite some time with closing the opening gap I so painfully was confronted with during the Heusenstamm Sparkassen Open. But isn´t it especially that sort of pain making us - at least me - work harder? It is! 8-)
Tomorrow I will start to hammer some of the stuff into my CPT. (Running Chessbase + Stockfish on 4 cores makes it a bit tiresome to work with CPT at the same time...)

On top I advanced in Smith´s book: I reached the part about tactics, so I couldn´t really practise my PAT. Here´s a very fine one I missed - White to move:
Also the following one was "too extreme" and "too out of the box" for me - Black to move:

BTW: I crashed my mobile phone yesterday! So no continuation with neither CT-ART nor Soltis´ "The Inner Game of Chess" for approximately two weeks (given that it´s a company mobile that needs to be replaced --- somewhat scary but true: it takes longer to have it replaced by the company)... 8-/

Days 237-240 / 125 to go

Yet again, I managed to gain some 10 rating points out of the tournament. However, I went into the last round with more or less no rating difference, i.e. I didn´t really achieve anything during the first 6 rounds. That´s not really satisfactory... 8-/
All in all, I still have one - but known - huge construction site with one variation for Black. Something that a strong IM made me aware of the hard way...
In addition, I made inappropriate judgements within three middle-games, resulting in a draw (instead of "more") and a loss (instead of a "dead draw"), but also one victory (which, overall, was not really deserved). However, I also went for variations which I don´t play frequently in 3 games but came out of the opening pretty fine. Hence, I would conclude that this tournament showed a "certain weakness" in positional understanding. Taking the last three tournaments into account, it probably was the weakest one, purely taking "quality" (and not rating points gained) into account.
But, as stated above, I still managed to finish with a two-digit rating improvement... 8-)

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Day 236 / 129 to go

As indicated yesterday, I started with CT-ART 4.0 and made it up to 2469.  After the tournement (next week) I will increase the level of difficulty to the range  50 to 140 (instead of the current 30 - 130).  Let´s see how I do then...
On top I worked with CPT - focussing on one variation for Black.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Day 235 / 130 to go

Today I continued with CT-ART 4.0 and managed to climb up to 2450 (and for all those "wondering": I am limiting the difficulty-level to "30 to 130" - thus neither working on the very easy ones from 10 to 20 nor on those above 130 up to 180. I simply found out that my current limit is at about 130. I can still manage some of those between 130 and 150, but only if it is not about endgames).
Furthermore I started to prepare for an upcoming tournament which starts on Thursday: I went through some opening variations using CPT - actually, I spent almost 2h on that!

Tomorrow, I will actually do the very same again: One session CT-ART and one session CPT.   Hopefully, this will assure that I can once more increase my rating (or at least not incur any loss)...

Day 234 / 131 to go

Yesterday I spent some 45 minutes with CT-ART 4.0. All in all I remained at around 2400 - no rating progess made...

In addition, I practiced my PAT with 6 positions from Smith´s book. I solved all of them and didn´t even need to spend 30 minutes as proposed by Smith...

Day 233 / 132 to go

Sunday I spent the whole day (0845 in the morning until 1830 in the evening) doing my annual tax report - but all in all, it transformed into a nice "income")!

No chance for any chess training...   

Day 232 / 133 to go

Saturday (afternoon) our team played 14 rounds  at the county championship and finished third - thus qualifying for the state championship! (Which gives us the chance to qualify for the national championship tournament, but that is definitely simply unreal to achieve...)
Nevertheless, we succeeded and made it to the state championship tournament!  8-)
(The young dude on the left is my son.)

I did pretty well - only lost two (against stronger players, one in totally won positions, though) and made two additional draws. That´s not bad at all! Even better: one dude played a variation that I cannot remember having had on my board before, so I did have a closer look at it Saturday night. Hence, it shouldn´t be a surprise next time...

Day 231 / 134 to go

Friday I was preparing for a Blitz tournament held on Saturday: I was intensively practising online blitz! I didn´t play well, though...

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Day 230 / 135 to go

Started with Soltis - here is a very nice position and if I am not mistaken, it was Tal with White who showed how to handle it with a purely positional sacrifice:
Ok, talking about a sacrifice it becomes clear that it has to be Bxf7. And yes, Komodo judges this move simply as "bad" - resulting in a downgrade of the position of -0,5. Nevertheless, I like Tal´s thinking behind it:
1) Positionally, it is still bad for Black (which is also acknoweldged by Komodo).
2) There are certain attacking chances for White - and a lot Black can go wrong with!
3) Although there is no surgically clean or forcable win for White, Tal simply reverses the burden of proof: (this seems like the essence to be taken from this game) Black is NOT - by no means - able to show that the sac doesn´t work!

Hence --- let´s go for it!   8-)

This sound like he had quite some fun during that game just as much as it indicates the right level of self-esteem. Hmmm, reminds me somewhat of the buzzwords "flow" and "gumption"...
So going back to Day 143 - I not only read about these things again, but also about some other helpful stuff...
Actually, I guess I should go through some of my older posts regularly (maybe even create my own "top ten")... 8-)

On top, I took the freedom for some online blitz games --- Saturday my team (incl. my son) will participate in a local Blitz Tournament! So besides the fun-factor, I can honestly say that this was some sort of preparation for Saturday.

Day 229 / 136 to go

Yesterday I spent my training day with CT-ART 4.0 --- gaining some 20 rating points and continued with Soltis´ (e)book.  The session with Soltis was not too fruitful: it was mainly about mis-calculations of others. Something I didn´t really benefit from. Actually, I deliberately didn´t put too much energy into this section as I simply don´t want to engage too much with the bad variation calculation quality of others...  8-/

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Day 228 / 137 to go

Remember Rowson´s analogy to E=mc taken from "The Seven Deadly Sins of Chess"?
In Soltis work which I used today as part of my training session, he refers to Botvinnik regarding the same issue: "Sometimes you are dealing with material apples and strategic oranges which cannot be added."  So today was a - hopefully - helpful repetition of the importance to include the dynamic value of a piece into the calculation/evaluation of a position...

In addition, I did two Lommers:  In both puzzles I found a mistake! (No´s 80 and 81 - for those "really" interested)  80 is a draw and not a win and 81 is definitely a loss and not a draw.  Of course, I only found out due to Komodo, but I somehow "felt" that it would be worth while not to trust the book but to consult the machine! I got the overall plan as well as the first moves correct, but coulnd´t calculate the variations deep enough... 8-(

Monday, 14 November 2016

Day 227 / 138 to go

I climbed to 2407 on CT-ART 4.0!  Now I have to try and keep this level - I don´t think I can increase that within the coming days.... maybe I can climb a bit higher within the coming months, though. Let´s see.
Here´s a nice one from CT-ART, which I didn´t solve completely (but still earned some points):White to move
The first move appears pretty obvious and natural - but already White´s second move is only to be found if one already is aware of the right theme/concept...  What is White´s move in the following position?
Did you see Kf5 and Rxf5?  No? Neither did I --- but now it should be clear, what is going on, right? White to move and keep the draw:

In addition I solved one Lommer. That has to be enough for today. I admit, overall, today´s session was a bit short... 8-/

Day 226 / 139 to go

Yesterday I did my best to finally get over 2400 with CT-ART 4.0 - but after about 90 minutes I reached 2397. Since my concentration was really going down, I stopped and didn´t try any longer...  TODAY, I will try it again!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Day 223 / 142 to go

Today I honored Smith´s Woodpecker method: I spent some two hours with CT-ART 4.0, trying to lift my rating above 2400. Actually, I reached 239x a couple of times, but fell down to 237x just as often...  8-(


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Day 222 / 143 to go

During the day I did some Soltis-stuff, and it actually started like it ended yesterday: I missed a check within my calculation.. But maybe, in the very end, it is good that it happened rather often in a rather short period of time: there is some chance that I don´t forget about it...

In the evening, I eventually went for two (yes, two) Lommers!  Got the first one right and the second as well - but both were rather easy...  I probably should have done a bit more - but, all in all, it was ok for today.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Day 221 / 144 to go

Today I continued with Soltis and came to a (famous?) game/position of Fischer:

I failed on the following line: Rxf7 Rc1 / Qf1 Rxf1  just like I failed on Rxf7 Rc1 / Qf1 h5 / Qxc1 Qxc1
In neither variation I properly identified that the rook on f7 can retreat to f1     8-(

Later on I actually did a Lommer:
Here I failed because I lacked to recognize that if white queens in the following variation, he does so with check!
Kb5 g4 / Kc4 g3 / Kxc3 g2 / h7 g1=Q / h8=Q Qa1 now Black get´s the queen on h8 - so I skipped this line as favourable for white - and therefore any chance for white to keep the draw.
But - white queens with check (and this makes the variation work and correct)!

In both cases I miserably failed due to the same louzy oversight: a check - and considering the relevant pieces and not just the threat of the opponent!  Hard work still ahead!  8-(

Day 220 / 145 to go

I started with some Soltis - here´s a very nice position every White player would be delighted to have - but how to continue?
Unfortunately, I turned away from any tactical posibilities and focused on positional moves too fast. So I missed an impressive variation... 8-(
Interestingly, Houdini and DeepFritz get the right continuation pretty quickly - but my 9.3 Komodo took some time...

I closed todays session with 4 puzzles in Smith´s book (sovled them). Tomorrow, I have to get be to my old friend Lommer... 8-/

Monday, 7 November 2016

Day 219 / 146 to go

Yesterday we (son and me) had a team match. We both scored the full point - both with White. Both somewhat impressively and at no moment endangered...  Especially for my son it was a nice victory against a player rated somewhat 250 points higher.
Unfortunately, the team lost... 8-(

Day 218 / 147 to go

Yes yes -- I probably shouldn´t have done it, but it did:

...and know what?  I enjoyed it!  8-)

Day 217 / 148 to go

"Sometimes the hardest move to see/find appears on the shortest calculation-branches within an analysis tree."  - how true...  Already on Friday I continued with Soltis --- more and more I have to revise my previously mentioned opinion: I think it is really a good (e)book.
In addition, I continued with Smith and solved 12 puzzles there. Here are two really fine (and actually a bit too tough for me) ones:
(White to move)
I saw/thought about c6, but didn´t get the point...  8-/

(Black to move)
Here, I actually didn´t have any decent plan at all - shame on me...  How does it continue after Bxe2?!

Both made very obvious that I am not yet going deep enough! (Funny enough: I read about that kind of stuff in Soltis book and at the same time reach the topic in Smith´s book.)

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Day 216 / 149 to go

Today I simply took a day off - due to work + travel.  Tomorrow evening I will have sufficient time for a decent training session!

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Day 215 / 150 to go

This evening I contnued with Soltis ebook and puzzles/motifs on how to drag defenders away. As already indicated, the amount of diagrams and positions to solve is great. Here´s a nice one (Black to win):
In addition, I continued with Smith´s book and reached some exercises there - I did the first three and got the moves right but not the variations properly calculated: I was simply too tired. So I decided to stop. Assumingly, the daylight saving (clocks changed last weekend) is yet "disturbing" me...
 I prefer to continue once I am fit enough and not tired in order to get the solution 100% straight instead of just identifying the correct theme/first move...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Day 214 / 151 to go

Just came home --- horrible day.  No chance for any decent training today...   happens every once in a while!

Monday, 31 October 2016

Day 213 / 152 to go

Continuing with Smith; today, he provided me with some interesting insightd into his "Woodpecker Method" --- something I anyway planned (and already announced) by using Oudeweetering´s latest work!

In addition, I continued with Soltis and two highly interesting puzzles on drawing defenders away. Here´s a very instructive one (which I didn´t solve) - how can the white queen be dragged away from its defensive task(s)? The first move - Bh4 - might be part of intuition for most of us, but how to make this move work?

Next to the move/motive itself, also the computer evaluation is interesting: The right move for Black gives him a plus of 2.3. The second best move for Black, however, is 1.3 points better for White!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Day 212 / 153 to go

Today I continued with Smith´s Pump Up your Rating. After already having taken his advice to categorize own mistakes made serious, I only found out today that I lacked to put a bit more wording to the categories - or at least provide an overall summary.  Only around page 186 Smith finally provides an example of his own annotations and it becomes clear, that I should give it a more personal tune instead of using too surgically clear-cut boxes: So from now on, I will add some sort of "overall comment". It´s more this comment than the statistics about each category that should add practical value to my games (as far as I understand Smith).

In addition, I continued with Soltis´ The Inner Game of Chess. I reached Chapter 2 but up to now I lack somewhat the "aha moments". Let´s see whether this improves or if it stays at the "surface" throughout the book. However, at least it provides more than enough puzzles within these first two chapters!

Finally, I went back to some endgame basics (something also proposed by Smith). To be really honest, I simply forgot about Philidor and Lucena. But since I knew about this lack of knowledge - I simply went back to de la Villas "100 Endgames you must know" and refreshed my memory on this end.  I guess I simply should go over these sort of endgame basics every 6 to 9 months...  8-/

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Day 211 / 154 to go

Today, I did absolutely nothing - literally nothing - but relax.  Ok ok, some online blitz (all in all with a slight rating gain) plus some PAT repetition/training with my son (but it really was about my son and not about me). So it was not a day without any chess at all, but it was definitely not a training day... happens, that´s ok!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Day 210 / 155 to go

As so often on a Friday, due to work+travel, I didn´t really go for a decent training session.

However, I did practise a bit with my son: I started to teach him my PAT some days ago and tonight we went through one position in depth. In addition, I improved my online rating slightly.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Day 209 / 156 to go

Once more, I started with two Lommers --- and got them "pretty much" correct: I was able not only to find the right starting moves but also the overall concept, so that is ok.

I then continued with Smith´s lecture - and finally reached the point where he advises on how to set up the daily training. Strictly following it would mean for me to increase the time I spend solving tactical puzzles. The plan for the time being is to do so only some 10 to 7 days prior to a tournament as I still want to spend more time with increasing my PAT-internalisation as well as my positional play by forcing myself to make middle-game decisions.

Last but not least interesting - I started to check out A. Solti´s "The Inner Game of Chess" (using Forward Chess). He starts with the hypothesis that it is "enough" to properly identify a sequence of the next two moves instead of being able to calculate lenghty variations. Once more - like so many other authors - he claims that it is much much more about pattern recognition than anything else... Hence, after having finished Smith´s award winning lecture, I will go back to Oudeweetering´s work (I and II).

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Day 208 / 157 to go

I have done bits´n pieces with Forward Chess during the day - pretty cool to enhance my opening knowledge during the train ride or the lunch break! 

Tonight, I started with two Lommers and finished with Smith´s bestseller. I am still not really happy with my Lommer-performance: this has to improve! Not because I am not solving many but because I don´t feel like I really see/calculate enough...

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Day 207 / 158 to go

Lommering is really no fun... but I am pretty convinced that it is an important part of my training, helping me to increase visualization and calculation abilities. Hence, I did two Lommers (actually 4, but two were about how to hold the draw against two knights - not really challanging and somewhat not really in the spirit of a real Lommer).

Then I got a bit lost playing around and getting acquainted with a new "toy": Forward Chess.  Thanks, LvD, for mentioning this to me! It seems to be a pretty handy way of reading books via tablet (or even mobile phone) - offering nice features like an engine and a board next to the text...  Should I mention that I actually not only downloaded the app, but bought a book?! So it looks like my purchase of one of these posh SurfacePro´s is finally adding some sort of value...

Besides this little getaway I went back to one variation I played during the Korbach Open and used the MegaDB plus Komodo to work out the most suitable variation/moves which I then hammered into CPT.

So just like yesterday, I can fairly call it a day!
The plan for the coming days, however, is to get back to the more classical "Lommer + PAT-training" (currently using Smith´s Pump up Your Rating)....

Monday, 24 October 2016

Day 206 / 159 to go

Today I started with the post-mortem of the Korbach Open. All in all, summarizing the mistakes made, the highest count (mode - for the statisticians amongst us) and thus my biggest problem during the tournament was a "lack of opening knowledge" (whereas during the tournament before it was "lack of positional understanding").  So today I went into 2 different variations for Black and one for White.  I kept the result as Word-document and incorporated parts of it already in my CPT...

Doesn´t sound like much, but it kept me busy for some 2,5 hours - so I can certainly call it a day!

In addition, I found the time for some online blitz matches - increasing my rating there as well...

Days 202 - 205 / 160 to go

The Korbach Open went pretty well - at least in terms of results.

Whereas the Nibelungen Open some 4 weeks ago only brought some 3 rating points, Korbach will gain me some 25. Nevertheless, I would conclude that the overall quality of the matches in Nibelungen was a bit better - at least they showed less variance...  However, during two matches in Korbach I purposely took some risk (and was rewarded).  Just like during the Nibelungen Open, I managed to keep some 2200-guys off my neck and didn´t get into serious time trouble at all.

 I am pretty confident, that I finally managed to bring my game to the next level: my training did pay off! Actually, this is the first time in my life that I got out of a tournament with a rating plus for 4 consecutive tournaments!  Let´s see what the final two tournaments in 2016 will bring - the plan is to close this year somewhere around 2045 and 2065 (which means that I either don´t make any further rating gains this year or manage to get another 20 rating points out of two tournaments). In any case, given the deep dive that I went through at the beginning of my journey reaching this corridor is pretty fine (and actually not really far from my all-time high anyway)...

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Day 201 / 164 to go

During the day, I did some tactic puzzles using CT-ART 4.0 whenever possible. It is getting harder now to increase my rating --- the algorithm is now expecting me to solve pretty much any puzzle, which I can´t. So I hardly gained some 10 rating points...

In the evening, I went through some of the variations with Black that I have available in my CPT.  Let´s say that this is somewhat a lightweight training - given tomorrow´s start of the tournament...

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Day 200 / 165 to go

I started with some tactic puzzles using CT-ART 4.0 and elevated my rating to 2300. YES, yes - I am most likely not yet at 2100 in real chess, but at least I went from 2100 (this was the rating I gave myself when I bought CT-ART 4.0) all the way up to 2300.  So, althought the number itself is unreal, the increase as such is motivating...

I then worked with Lommer - did fail on two puzzles; still miles away from claiming "I am back!" But at least there was a somewhat re-occuring theme during the last days: promoting to minor pieces (instead of queen or at least a rook). Although this sort of "under-promoting" is pretty unlikely to help me to score in real-life games, it widens my horizon as such... Here´s what I am talking about (remember, it´s a Lommer - so it´s White to move):

Finally, I continued to work my way through Smith´s Pump Up Your Rating: Today was an interesting session on visualisation. As an exercise he proposes to name the colour of a square just by reading its coordinates and vice versa: it helps to get a good mental image of the chessboard. Actually, I know that I am somewhat weak at this (and I remember that I was pretty good at it some 25 years ago). Hence, I will include this sort of "warm-up" into my training sessions!   And just like I am using CT-ART 4.0 "on the road", I can conduct this sort of "warm-up", too...  8-)

Monday, 17 October 2016

Day 199 / 166 to go

As indicated yesterday, I started with three Lommers. I would say that I got the first two "pretty much correct" but failed just as louzy on the third one. I can really "feel" that I am not yet at the same level I was back in August... 8-/
Here´s the one I totally missed - White to move (BTW: it is always, really always White to move within the whole Lommer)!
Actually, even Komodo doesn´t get it from this position onward! Yes, the machine is just as stuck as I was... 8-)

In addition, after quite a while now, I finally went back to practise my PAT - using literally every next position in Smith´s Pump Up Your Rating.
All in all, a nice training session today!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Day 197+198 / 167 to go

Saturday I had a really nice time with my son --- no interest in chess.
Sunday my ex gave me a really hard evening - no chance for a clear mind!

Tomorrow until Wednesday evening I will go for Lommer+Capablanca endings every evening. So that both my PAT as well as pure calculation strength will be practised.
Thursday + Sunday: Korbach Chess Tournament!

Friday, 14 October 2016