Monday, May 25, 2009

It was quiet on the Kingside, but boy did I win

The story

A few days ago after a lousy session on CTS and after some fine training in Tasc Chess Tutor, I decided to give the easy mode of online shredder a go.

The first game I not just lost, but I was really shot to pieces, but to my astonishment I won the second game. This is the first game I ever won a game against this engine!

Quite unfortunately the web page doesn't save your moves and I didn't keep notes. I tried to recreate the game, using the take-back button, but that didn't work either. So I'm afraid this achievement won't be more everlasting than bronze, but just forgotten.

The game

What I do remember is that I opened with 1.e4 and the program responded with 1... e5, this allowed me to start playing with basic opening principles. However, soon I found myself pausing my development and start attacking the engine with threats and tactics, this kept Black busy and allowed me to continue development with threats. This fully stopped Black's development and crippled his Queen-side: it lost its Queen, some pawns and some minor pieces. Its King side was just as it was when the game started, my back rank was empty with the exception of my Rooks and uncastled King. Instead of also taking its Rook, I mated Black on the 7th or 8th rank.

The lessons

  1. I should play more often. This will also show me with trial, error and analysis how to deal with different opening moves;
  2. I actually do stand a chance in simple low level games, just play "real chess";
  3. I should follow opening principles, but if I can win material and stop the opponent from developing that can work as well.
  4. Attacking (overwhelming and crushing) the opponent is fun! Maybe I should do it more often but it's also a bit of a risk.
The meantime

  1. CTS at least 25 problems a day, 5 times a week, My focus is still on a
    80+% score, today I had only 2 mistakes;
  2. TCT at least a lesson a week, currently working on Step 2.
The plan

  1. Getting CTS above 80% and either keeping it there while my rating should rise* or changing to Chess Tempo, Chess Tactics for Beginners, Chessimo, Back to basics: Tactics;
  2. Finishing TCT's Step 2, and then repeating Step 1 & 2 and starting with Step 3. (In the Steps method books I have I've almost finished Step 3);
  3. Playing at least one game as White and one as Black a week, against easy machines, human opponents or on FICS, but with a not too fast time control (at least G15/15), no doubt slower is better, and analyse those games;
  4. Some sort of analysis of 3 games a played a while back;
  5. Continuing the game on my phone;
The longterm

  1. Getting better and better, (success and rating) at CTS
  2. Working trough Gillam's Tactics and Mates books (SCT, SCM).
  3. Finishing growing "circles" of TCT and doing shrinking "circles"
  4. Playing at least two games a week and analysing them
The order in all but the Lessons-list give some indication of the order of importance to me. I used the "numbered list", but somehow the numbers aren't displayed and we have to do with some chrysanthemum like bulleted lists.

* I will be focusing on correctness rather than rating, but I have found that focusing on correctness doesn't need to have a negative effect on my rating, although there is not the steep rise one gets with playing on time.