Friday, February 22, 2013


"...out of the lingering mist appeared the devil with a chess set..."

Not dead yet.

Because of my nature, I sometimes get carried away with trivial things that occupy my time, diving headlong into the fray only to come out the other end completely churned and sand-tossed by the surf. So was the past few years with regards to games. Euro games to be exact. They left a bad, unsatisfying taste. I ran the gamut. Found that I dislike them for the most part, prefer 2-player games of war, and so I have arrived back to where I belong. I did retain several 2-player war games in the process, which I hope to get played here and there.

I have to rediscover my love of chess. Today begins that journey.

In this post, I want to further define the GCTS and how it relates to actual chess books that I use. This is more for my own benefit than anything else. I find it useful to enumerate such things so I don't have to "reinvent the wheel" at a later date and not recall the details. I'm aging, and not so gracefully.

So, let's go day by day based on the following Generic Chess Training Schedule that appears earlier in this blog here.

[Keep in mind that mnemonics like "SO2" have specific translations, and the "2" is not literal. Each day is broken into 4 units of time. What that unit of time represents is up to you and the amount of study time available to you that day. for example, if you have 1 hour of study available, then "SO2" translates to "Study Openings for two units of time". Since we use 4 units per day, that means 30 minutes in real time, give or take. K.I.S.S.]

We will associate the following with specific books.

DAY1: SO2*, VT1*, SG1*
DAY2: VE2* PL1*, VT1*
DAY3: SG1*, VG1, PL1*, VT1*
DAY4: SO2*, VE1*, VT1*

S = Study

V = Solve
G= Strategy
E = Endings
T = Tactics
O = Openings
PL= Play (4x 5min, 3x 10min, 2x 15min games)
# = Units of Time

DAY1: SO2 DAY4: SO2:
SO2 - Study Openings, 2 units
My opening study relies on a pseudo-feedback method based on my current play, and based upon ongoing correspondence games I participate in. As the games progress, I review the played variations to determine my next move and what to study on an ongoing basis.
If you have money to burn (who does), an option might be , which allows you to practice your opening variations on a virtual chessboard. Otherwise, I have two books I use as a basis for my opening repertoire:

As Black:  Black Defensive System For The Rest Of Your Chess Career by Andrew Soltis - Dated, for sure, but I'm not using it as a Theoretical Reference.

As White: A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White by John Watson

I recently chose this book because, historically, I have been a 1 e4 player for my entire chess career and have decided I think the time has come to switch. You'll notice there is some cross-pollination here between the colors. I could conceivably be on both sides of a Slav/Semi-Slav. This is a great way to gain a complete perspective on the opening in question. This repertoire now includes the Nimzo-Indian and the King's Indian, two gigantic theoretical undertakings, but I'm not going to worry about that because I don't plan on testing the theory very much.

DAY1-4 VT1:
VT1 - Solve Tactics
Tactics you should really do every day. I use several books:

The last two books get progressively more difficult. I also use George Renko's Chessbase "Intensive Course Tactics 1 & 2", organized thematically. There are free Internet resources as well, such as which provides you with a (questionable) rating.

SG1 - Study Chess Strategy
Here I tend towards both classic and modern texts and software as well:
Bangiev's Cd's have been given a bad rap from the few press outlets that have even bothered to attempt the course. I find it a refreshing way to look at any game situation and it works, but the amount of work you have to put in will scare most away. Everyone wants quick and easy. Nothing in Chess is quick and easy.

VE1/2 - Solve Endings
Solving endgames can be a real lot of fun. There are so many sources for this I will name just a couple: Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual and Fundamental Chess Endings . Both books have challenging, thoughtful and highly education material. OK, a third: A Guide to Chess Endings . I particularly like this book as the examples are short and to the point.

PL1 - Play

We MUST play.

VG1 - Solve strategic Problems (Middlegames)
I use the Encyclopedia of Chess Middlegames: Combinations for this portion of my study. It's an older title from the publishers of Chess informant. Chessbase stuff will work too, or even Chess Informants and the diagrams they have near the back of the books in the older editions.

In any event, that is it in encapsulation. I have begun playing again at a local club, so that is good news. The results, not so good - .5-1.5. I was in position to score 2-0 and should have, so that is more good news.

Apparently my chess death has been overly exaggerated.