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...)