Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Day 297 / 68 to go

Yet another tactic day - with the currently "usual" mixed results. I slipped some 15 rating points at CT-ART based on fat fingers: I simply dropped the piece one square to early two times...  Only happens using my mobile but never during a real game, so I am rather relaxed about it.

Then I dedicated my time to 8 Aagaards but only solved 6. Actually, I have reoccuring deja-vu moments: I am pretty convinced that some of the positions to solve are also in his other book (the one i started my journey with). But since I don´t konw the solution by heart, it is ok for me.  I guess I will start each chapter all over again, until I am able to solve all the puzzles in one chapter without any mistakes (but not necessarily in one single go).  Seems to be a nice challenge and should be useful for my pattern recognition (at least that´s what I hope)...

I caught a cold - let´s see how I can proceed the coming days...

Monday, 23 January 2017

Day 296 / 69 to go

Hmmm - wasn´t my day today: From 9 Aagards, I didn´t get 4, two of which had no "sudden death". So I was too focused on a quick win and "gave up" once I recognized that I cannot find it...  (At least I correctly identified that there was no quick win as such. But yet again, it doesn´t really matter: I simply didn´t find the right continuation or made insufficently correct judgements about the position as such!) Here´s one of these (Black to move):
Of course, I can identify Black´s clear advantage and even the correct move (Nh3) was on my shortlist, but... 8-/

My absolute favourite of the day (White to move):
The surprise Nd6 is a clear match winner!

Earlier today I did some CT-ART puzzles and kept my current rating. These days, I cannot hope for more (as I get 0 to max. 1 rating point for solving a puzzle, but lose 3 to 7 points for every miss)...

Free ticket for the Magnus Movie

There is a high chance that you qualify for a free ticket for the Magnus Movie shown on 03rd Feb in Langen!

Get in touch with me to find out more!
(I  will repeat this offer the coming days and will let you know more about the donating chess club - due to its 60th anniversary - soon.)

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Day 295 / 70 to go

Ok ok - the plan was and still is to go for 10 Aagaard´s a day, but tonight I only managed 6! I am dead tired and it wouldn´t make any sense to force myself into another 4...  However, I got them all correct!

Good night!

Days 293 + 294 / 71 to go

Friday I didn´t do anything decent apart from playing some online blitz. It is a bit strange - at least for me - that I have ZERO progess there: I am still on the same ratings there, although I have done some intense training by now...   Hmmm

On Saturday I did two sessions with J.Benjamin´s "Liquidation on the Chess Board".
(It was one of my x-mas presents from my parents.)
I actually did it together with my son. We finished the first chapter and did half of the puzzles of that chapter. The plan is to do that from now on every weekend/Saturday and get ALL the puzzles done.
This doesn´t only sound like a good plan anyway, but also like a nice "father+son"-thing!  😉

Friday, 20 January 2017

Day 291+292 / 73 to go

On Wednesday I, indeed, did the 10 tactic puzzles as well as additional stuff using CT-ART 4.0! And all in all I did quite well. However, on CT-ART I only receive about 1 point for solving a puzzles correctly, whereas I lose about 7 or even 8 rating points whenever I don´t solve it. Hence, I don´t make any progress these days: I am more or less stuck at 2450...

Yesterday, I came home from work at 23:30!  Yes, no kidding: I was in the office until about 22:45...   8-/
I forced myself into CT-ART and at least managed not to lose any rating points...

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Day 290 / 75 to go

Today was TACTICS day!

I worked on 9 puzzles in Aagaard´s CALCULATION - but missed three (the last ones). Not sure if it was due to the fact that I simply made too much and wasn´t fresh enough anymore, or because it was simply beyond my abilities. However, the plan is to increase from the usual 6 puzzles (which I went for throughout Smith´s book) to 10!
Although all three are "nice" - here´s my favourite (Black to move):

I like it, because it is so tempting for White to believe "YES - I got you!" but yet so wrong!  😏

In addition, I spent quite some time on CT-ART 4.0 (actually, I did so before I started with Aagaard) - but only made some 10 rating points (to 2460)...

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Day 289 / 76 to go

After having finished Smith´s work last week, the plan was so start with Ouderwerding´s two classical works.
However, my pal RB lent me his book from Aargaard, "Calculation"  - THANKS DUDE!
​So I started with this tonight.

It is interesting to notice that Aargaard seems not to be a great supporter of "analysis trees"! But I will keep relying on my PAT. A nice help during games could be his advise to ask yourself "What is the drawback of my opponent´s last move?" (Although it seems clear to do so, I like that sort of questions.) Here´s a nice one - Black to move:
It is a "quiet" move - not winning the game by brutal force but making sure to continue with a certain edge...

During the day I did some tactic puzzles using CT-ART 4.0, but instead of going up, I yet again dropped a few rating points to somewhere around 2450... I am not amused!

Finally, I called it a day after diving into one sideline with Black - and hammering it into CPT.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Day 288 / 77 to go

Today we had a team league match. Unfortunately, one player got sick so we were one behind already from the start. My son played a very nice game against a 2100 dude and crunched him. We actually had very good chances to beat the other team, but only managed a team-draw...  8-/

I came out of the opening with a slight edge, but made two moves which weren´t the best and the game went into the drawing range. Then I went for a positional pawn sacrifice which put me back into the game. My opponent then counter-sacrificed the exchange for two pawns, giving me nice edge of 0.4. But yet again, my judgement wasn´t solid enough and within one move it slipped back to 0.0. Worse, just another move later I blundered and should have lost. But due to the severe time trouble of my opponent he didn´t see the winning move and agreed to draw...   The result as such is a fair representation of the game as such, but the quality was rather bad!

So all in all, I really have to work HARDER on my middlegame strategies/positional judgements!

Day 287 / 78 to go

Easy - I took a day off (went to a b-day party and watched two cool movies with my son)!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Day 286 / 79 to go

I spent most of this evening with Queen versus Queen + Pawn --- . To be honest, it wasn´t clear to me that there are CLEAR winning chances for the side with the pawn, especially with one of the central pawns. I guess, I would have settled for a draw easily withouth this knowledge. Even worse: I guess I would have even offered a draw had my opponent the pawn (which shows even more that I had no clue)!

 Smith taught me about the winning and drawing motifs if the g or b-pawn is concerned - very instructive. I believe there is a high chance that I will keep (i) the key squares principle and (ii) the "run away king" in mind.

In addition to yesterday´s thought about focusing more on my own game instead of too much wandering around, I was and still am impressed by the following comment: Magnus Carlsen gets more exhausted than his rivals after a game and it would be good to learn how Carlsen manages to give everything!
This might be an important "picture" for me to keep in mind:  In the coming games (especially in the afternoon rounds) I will try to GIVE EVERYTHING and get TOTALLY EXHAUSTED!

Herewith, I finished Smith´s famous Pump Up your Rating! It is really a good book.
Next I will work with Outerwerdering.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Day 285 / 80 to go

I spent some time with CT-ART 4.0 but didn´t really make any rating-progress... 8-/    I guess I am not yet really fully in a decent training mode...

In addition, I advanced with Smith´s book: I take three hints with me.
1) I should use a real chess board more often. Especially for practising openings and endgames.
2) I should start asking myself "why this move now"/"what is the purpose of this move" more often while practising opening and endgames!
3) I should stop watching other games while my game is still on.  I remember that coach gave me that advise about one year ago. And I remembered that I did decrease the time I was wandering around. I don´t know for sure, but I believe that it actually did have a positive effect on my game. But for some reason - at least during the latest tournaments, I constantly was looking at my team mates games!

These hints will now make it into my Summary of Training Achievements!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Day 284 / 81 to go

Today I did some tactic puzzles using CT-ART 4.0 --- but fell below 2500 (some of the stuff was way over my abilities; maybe, using a board and taking more time I would have achieved more; but on the train using my mobile: no chance).
As indicated before, I limit the difficulty level to the margin 30-130 and I had the engine pick the themes randomly. THIS WAS A MISTAKE - at least according to Smith´s Woodpecker method! From now on I will
decrease the difficulty level to 100
have the puzzles ordered by theme.
This (according to Smith) will assure that I will easier remember/recognise/internalise the themes and motifs!

Then I advanced in Smith´s book. Did you know about this THEORETICALLY DRAWN ending? Black to move:
Actually, I didn´t. But it appears to be rather "straight" forward and something easy to remember...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Day 283 / 82 to go

I started with 6 (4 tactical and 2 endgame) positions at Smith´s book, solved them all (but not in each and every variation to the very end) and should be able to start Chapter 7 within the coming two days.

Then I went back to my database (variation with Black). To be very honest, I guess I know only half  (or even less) of the possibilities Chessbase 13 offers...😕

I closed the training day with two Lommers. BOTH were incorrectly set up in the book!!! My coach told me that this would happen every now and then throughout the book, but not that it would happen twice in a row! So it took me some 20 for each position before I gave up, only to find out (and have it confirmed by an engine) that the text is incorrect. Hence, my analysis as such was correct and I correctly didn´t find the desired solution according to the book, as the book is simply wrong...

(I guess tomorrow I will add all those louzy games to my "Mistake db".)

Ah - by the way: I bought the highly praised newest book by Gelfand "Positional Decision Making in Chess" for my eChessReader-App "Forward Chess". So that I can use public transportation time for studying. But, what a disappointement, this book is pretty useless and much more a special edition of Gelfand´s best games - something I am not interested at all. (A pitty, Aargaad gave his good name as chess author for Gelfand´s work: it is so misleading the way the book is offered!)

Day 282 / 83 to go

As indicated yesterday, I created/worked on a separated DB for one variation with Black.

In addition I continued with Smith´s book solving some middlegame puzzles. Actually, I did a repetition of those positions I was working on some 3 weeks ago. As a matter of fact, I still wasn´t able to solve all the 6 positions straight to the end. Actually, I couldn´t even remember the correct first move for one of these...
But as indicated on training day 258 (see the position there): even Axel Smith faced the same problem!  😉

Monday, 9 January 2017

Day 281 / 84 to go

I went to the movies with my son - we saw the Carlsen documentary --  not bad (and motivating my son)!

In addition, I created my very first database for one variation with Black, but didn´t finish it 100%. Tomorrow I will pick up Smith again!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Day 280 / 85 to go

I spent the much of the afternoon and some time during the evening with one variation for White and one for Black --- using CB13 and my CPS. For the first time ever, I even used two Laptops!

I then took the freedom to play some online blitz.
Tomorrow I will start analysing my mistakes and pick up Axel Smith again and practise my PAT/solvve exercises in his book.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Days 275 - 279 / Staufer Open

It was a Nightmare - from day 1 right through to day 4!

As we all know, pictures tell more than 1000 words, so, here we go:

Round 1 - Black to move (and win - whereas I didn´t see it and had to settle for the draw - AFTER I was presented with yet another clear winning position some 15 moves later, which even was spotted almost instantly by my son):

Round 2 - White to move (and get a clear edge of above 1.0 - but I didn´t even see it):

Round 3 - Black to move (and win - but I managed to fuck it up and again only get half a point):
I saw Bd7 and knew it is winning. But while my right arm was moving towards the board, I took the knight with my rook!!! Don´t ask why...

Round 4 - White to move (with a plus of 1.2 it is actually a win; guess what I achieved? But I have to admit that this is one of the positions I will have to dig into during a post mortem):
 Within this game, I reached the lowest motivational low I EVER - really, ever - experienced. I made some 20 moves in about 10 minutes and I couldn´t be asked to give a sh... about the outcome of the game!

For those being more into statistics: I assume having lost some 30 rating points. I drew 5 times (!!!) against opponents having some 150 Elo-points less than I did. 4 of these are part of the above compilation (ie. I should have won CLEARLY)! I won two games against lower rated dudes and lost two against higher rated dudes.

I "blame" it on the following things (no particular order):
  1. The slight cold I had.
  2. The 8 rounds played just a few days before.
  3. The sluggish training advances I made in November/December.
  4. The yet to be improved positional understanding, calculation accuratness and calculation depth
  5. The ongoing separation/divorce (with all the emotional and financial stress - which increased my insomnia even more)  
Nevertheless, I am highly motivated! (Is this strange?) Actually, I could start the next tournament RIGHT NOW, really! (Yes, this is definitely strange!)

The good things:
  1. I had my new opening for Black on the board 3 times and really learnt a lot.
  2. In addition, the above shows that I made it out of the opening and sometimes even into the advanced middle game pretty well and it was me to face the full point instead of my opponent! (On 7 out of the 9 games, I had clear/concrete winning chances.)

Days 273 + 274 / 91 to go

New Year´s Eve and 1st of Jan were left without any chess: as indicated before, we already drove to the next tournament in the afternoon of the first of Jan..

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Days 268 - 272 / Erfurter Schachfestival

For the third time my dad, my son and me were participating in the Erfurter Schachfestival.
And for the first time all of us finished with a rating plus! While mine was "pretty moderate", my son made some 60 points and my dad still some 15. So, all in all, it was successful. I fu..ed up three games, a winning-position against an IM (but I have to admit that I actually didn´t really understand the position and therefore didn´t even believe there was any chance for a win; I was sure of the draw, though) that I at least should have easily kept a draw. A painful draw against a lower rated opponent where I saw/calculated two plans but decided for the wrong one. And finally a loss against a 2100-dude where I repeatingly (3 times) drew false conclusions.
But, as indicated above, I continued my lucky streak of consecutive rating gains - although only by some 5 points.

Owing to the fact that my son made me inroll (together with him) for the Staufer Open starting on the 02nd Jan, a cold that I caught during the end of the Erfurter tournament, and, of course, New Year celebrations, the detailed post mortem has to wait until next week. Especially the loss against the IM needs to be analysed and reprocessed in detail...

Days 264 - 267 / 98 to go

Well, what can I say (write):  The x-mas season was simply a bit too stressy. I was working up to the 23rd while having two intense travel days on the 22nd and 23rd. Due to aforementioned "private inconveniences" the whole x-mas preparations (decorating / shopping / baking - yes, yes, my son and me spent two afternoons with baking very delicious cookies) took an awful lot of time, too...

During these days I was repeating some opening lines and did some CT-ART tactical exercises, but there was definitely not a single "real" training unit.