Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fischer Videos

Dick Cavett Interview

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Psychology in Chess

The Psychology of Chess

Napoleon Hill, well-known author of various personal achievement books like "
Think and Grow Rich!", expounds on some very clear psychological ideas that can be related to chess training in meaningful ways. This article attempts to make some useful correlations between personal achievement and the progression one makes in chess training and performance.

Definiteness of Purpose
Definiteness of Purpose is the starting point of all achievement. A lack of definiteness of purpose is the stumbling block for about 98% of all people who do not achieve their goals for the simple reason that the never clearly define their goals and start towards them.
What does that mean in the context of chess performance and chess training? Performance in modern chess is depicted in the useful ELO rating scale as somewhat a rough indicator. It is, if you will, the 'money' of chess. If, for instance, you are determined, motivated, and obsessed with reaching a rating of 2000 but are currently sitting at 1600, you have given yourself a definiteness of purpose. you have defined your goal - USCF 2000 rating. Keep your eye on the prize!

At this point, assuming you are a 1600 player, we will want to write down a six-step method of achieving your goal of a rating of 2000:

First - Fix in your mind the exact Rating you wish to achieve. Be definite. "I want to be over 1700." is not definite. " I will be rated 2000." is definite.

Second - Determine exactly what it is you intend to give in return for that goal. "I will train 2 hours a day to achieve my goal."

Third - Determine a definite date by which you intend to achieve this goal. "I will achieve a rating of 2000 by End of Year, 2009."

Fourth - Create a definite plan for carrying out your goal, and begin at once, ready or not. Put your plan into action. "I will do chess-related studies for 2 hours a day to include tactical exercises and endgames. I will play every day and review my losses to address the deficiencies in my play. I will play in at least one rated standard time control event per month."

Fifth - Write out a clear and concise statement of the rating you wish to achieve, name the time limit for it's acquisition, state what you intend to give in return, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to gain that rating.

Sixth - Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night and once after arising in the morning. As you read, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of that rating! This is important as you are giving yourself reinforcement and impressing your brain with the idea, which will lead to autosuggestion.

With regards to training, a definiteness of purpose may be to perform concentrated studies each day for 2 hours (or, for that matter, any timeframe so long as you stick to it). Our useful GCTS (Generic Chess Training Schedule) paradigm, used in conjunction with a strong psychological approach outlined above, will lead you to improved play and the achievment of milestones and long-term goals such as rating increases and a better understanding of chess.

Here is an example of an action plan statement (section Five) for a 1600 rated player with a goal set at 2000 within 2 years. I have placed the step number to indicate which part of the action plan this portion refers to:

[1-the goal]: "I will be rated 2000."
[2-what you'll give]: "I will train 2 hours a day to achieve my goal."
[3-the date]: "I will achieve a rating of 2000 by End of Year, 2009."
[4-The plan]: "I will do chess-related studies for 2 hours a day to include tactical exercises and endgames. I will play every day and review my losses to address the deficiencies in my opening, middlegame, tactical and endgame play. I will play in at least one (or more) rated standard time control events per month (online or OTB)."

Now it would pay to do a detailed look at what it is you are stating here. You are essentially saying that in about 23 months from today, February 2008, ending in December 2009, that your goal is to increase your rating by 400 points. This might seem insurmountable to some, but let's break it down into smaller pieces, called milestones or short-term goals.

Would it make it more reasonable to say that you could bring your current rating of 1600 up to, say, 1618, by the end of February? And by the end of March 2008 to 1635? Those monthly milestones seem very reachable to you now, don't they? Having some experience in this method, I'd say that if you stuck to your plan for 1 month you'd see a dramatic improvement in your tactical abilities, resulting in improved play, and hence, an increase in rating. As you progress and improve, your confidence will build, and your ability to have faith and believe in your plan will take shape.
It's important to have a clear, concise vision of what you are trying to achieve as well as the steps you have to walk to achieve your goals.

No mountain climber ever got to the top of Everest sipping coffee with a sherpa at base camp just thinking about it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tactics Puzzle

Find the correct winning continuation for Black.

Answer tommorrow.

Monday, February 04, 2008

FIDE Grand Prix Events

Mark Crowther writes for The Week In Chess:

The winner of the Grand Prix will play with the winner of the 2009 World Cup for the right to challenge the World Champion in 2010. Each Tournament will be a 14 player all play all. 14 players have the right to compete in the circuit and they have to play 4 of the 6 events (there will be local players too), these will be allocated to them. Below are the details as announced. It will be interesting to see who signs up for this event, my bet is that a number of the top players won't. This was supposed to be a held on different continents but the majority are being held in Europe. Secondly the presence of reserve cities suggests that some of these venues are not certain. Of course there is a certain chicken and egg situation, getting sponsors for the events without the players having signed up will be hard (they could end up with a distinct 2nd string) and the players won't sign up without venues being in place. Things will no doubt be easier if they do get this first series off the ground. They'll be nice events if they take place, I'm a big fan of all-play-alls but I've become quite cynical about announcements such as these.

FIDE Grand Prix 2008-9
Baku AZE April 20th - May 6th 2008
Krasnoyarsk * RUS July 30th - August 15th 2008
Doha QAT December 13th - 29th, 2008
Montreux SUI April 14th - 28th, 2009
Elista RUS August 1st - 17th, 2009
Karlovy Vary CZE December 7th - 23rd, 2009
* or other Russian city.
Reserve cities are Istanbul and Teheran.

Grand Prix 2008-9 Qualified Players
No Name NAT YroB Ja08
1 Kramnik, Vladimir RUS 1975 2799
2 Anand, Viswanathan IND 1969 2799
3 Topalov, Veselin BUL 1975 2780
4 Morozevich, Alexander RUS 1977 2765
5 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyaz AZE 1985 2760
6 Shirov, Alexei ESP 1972 2755
7 Leko, Peter HUN 1979 2753
8 Ivanchuk, Vassily UKR 1969 2751
9 Aronian, Levon ARM 1982 2739
10 Gelfand, Boris ISR 1968 2737
11 Radjabov, Teimour AZE 1987 2735
12 Carlsen, Magnus NOR 1990 2733
13 Karjakin, Sergey UKR 1990 2732
14 Kamsky, Gata USA 1974 2726
1 Adams, Michael ENG 1971 2726
2 Svidler, Peter RUS 1976 2763
3 Polgar, Judit HUN 1976 2707
4 Grischuk, Alexander RUS 1983 2711

Grand Prix 2008-9 Prizes Each Event
Place EUR Points
1 30,000 140 + 40 bonus
2 22,500 130 + 20
3 20,000 120 + 10
4 15,000 110
5 12,500 100
6 11,000 90
7 10,000 80
8 8,500 70
9 7,500 60
10 6,000 50
11 5,500 40
12 5,000 30
13 4,500 20
14 4,000 10

Grand Prix 2008-9
Prizes for Final Standings
(Best three events)
Pl Prize (Euros)
1st 75,000
2nd 50,000
3rd 40,000
4th 30,000
5th 25,000
6th 20,000
7th 18,000
8th 16,000
9th 14,000
10th 12,000

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Useful Observations

Here are some useful observations for those of you out there trying to complete the Seven Circles tactical training suggested by De La Maza. I not so much discovered these, but rather suffered in their absence.

Observation #1: Stay true to the number of puzzles you solve each day AND the amount of time you take to solve them.

For example, for the first 64 days, you are asked to solve 16 tactical puzzles each day with the puzzles getting more difficult as the days go by. Now 16 tactical puzzles can be completed in a matter of minutes if they are the garden variety 2-move mates and such. But as you get through your problem set and they become more difficult, you'll find that it takes longer and longer to truly solve the 16 puzzles. My advice is to not fret and have the answers handy to be disclosed to you. This is not *cheating* because, and remember this, you are training your tactical eye, and that is the entire purpose of these drills. It does you no good to sit and dwell over a puzzle for 5 minutes. Look up the answer and move on.

You essentially want to try and solve each puzzle in the same amount of time, no more. My advice is to give yourself at most 1 minute on each puzzle. That way, you'll be solving all of them for that day in under 20 minutes, then in about 30 minutes, then in about an hour, etc.

Observation #2: Play at least three blitz each day.

Blitz is essentially all tactics, for the most part. Play on a rated server like ICC or Playchess so your rating is tracked. Hopefully You'll begin to see improvement as you advance through the Seven Circles in your blitz play.

Good Training and Good Luck!