Wednesday, June 27, 2012

As promised, here's my favorite Chessimo position so far:

Black to move

I like the attraction into the sandwich of ill intentions.

Tactical training status:
Studied 2841, Learned 300

I'm not going to lie, today was a bit more grueling than others.  I wasn't in the mood and I was sloppy.  I might do that unit over again.  However, I'm happy I pushed through.  They'll be more days like this.  I'm a bit ahead of my schedule, so I might go easy tomorrow, combined with some soft study of something else.

Chessimo is technically spaced repetition, but the 'spacing' is crude, based more on how quickly you are moving through the problems.  Spaced repetition is on a perpetual to-do list over at ChessTempo.  CPT 3.3 handles tactics but has crude spaced repetition, CPT 4 has scheduled spaced repetition but doesn't handle tactics.

There's an Anki deck of tactics; I haven't looked at it yet.  It seems to me that it's a straightforward matter to build Anki decks of chess positions:

Position file --> Scid --> use the Engine Analyze Each Position feature --> Save analysis as variations or commentary --> Export --> Parse and chop into Anki-able text file --> automate diagram production via Winboard, Crafty, or whatever tool works best.  Actually, you could do the bulk via Crafty command line scripting and the annotate[h] functions.


  1. Hey There!

    I really like Chessimo but I also really enjoy the Peshka software with Chess tactics Level 1 and Level 2. (and then just repeat them as much as you want)

    I found the Peshka course very sound for learning and they made Chessimo's tactics make more sense.

  2. Thanks for the advice; I'll take a look!

  3. And I also would recommend not worrying about completing an entire tactics unit the same day you start a new unit. (in chessimo)

    Some of the units get very large indeed and it makes training NOT fun!

    Just complete however many you feel like doing. The repetition will still be happening.

    And for what it is worth (and this is just another patzer's opinion) the main flaw in Michael de la Maza's tactics plan is the "you have to do so many in a day, with a big bang do all 1,000 in a day finish" concept.

    A musician (which is what i do for a living) does not work on doing his scales (which is what tactics are!) faster until he or she can do so many scales in one day.

    I think De la Maza's big bang finish takes our eyes of the ultimate prize: Getting better at chess.

    I have noticed with other Knights that finishing the circles became the goal and then they burnout. (not always)

    De la Maza's basic tenet of repetition HAS to be correct. That is the way we learn and gain proficiency with any skill.

    Just my thoughts! Chess is an awesome game!

  4. Your advice is perfectly timed. I pushed the Chessimo deadline out further this weekend, and felt a twinge of defeat. It's nice to be validated on that decision.

    The default deadline was only a few months - a full-time job for most of us! I had already pushed it out to approximately one unit per day. But at 150-270 problems/unit, eventual defeat or missed deadlines seemed inevitable. I'm going to finish Tactics 1 this month, and then I'll regroup, see where I stand, and see what resources I want to use going forward. Likely, I will start to reintegrate non-tactical training, which will proably reduce my tactical training time.

    As others have stated and spaced repetition implies, de la Maza probably has it backwards. Each Circle should be slower than the previous one, not faster! Still, the age-old advice for repetition has to be correct.

    I hope I don't burnout, but it's a possibility. Chess study is serving more than its own purpose for me. I wanted a study-based mental exercise, with absolutely no angle of financial or female gain. I just wanted to get my brain flowing, and enjoy something for its own sake with zero pressure. It's doing that! But if it accomplishes its goal, but doesn't fit into my life, I can let it go... or can I? Chess grabs a hold of a certain subset of us, and we just can't shake it.

  5. I think you are 100% on the right track with wanting something to enjoy for its own sake with zero pressure! One of the problems chess addicts have (and anyone who gets obsessed with a hobby) is that they think it is a zero sum activity. IE: we are either in or out! That is wrong thinking.

    If there is a month or so where chess doesn't fit your life....just let it go for that month. No big deal. If you love the game and enjoy studying and/or playing just keep it in your life in the way that best fits your life at any particular moment in time. That is what I have done and it is almost five years later and chess is still very important to me! So important that I have no problem letting it go for month or so if need be so that I can enjoy it for the long haul!! (i addressed this on my blog when I had a blog..)

    Anyway, my point is that if you enjoy chess as an activity you can keep it in your life for as long as you want IF you are able to adjust it to the ever changing schedule that all our lives seem to adhere to.

    I hope this helps. I have never quite understood the burn out thing. If someone loves doing something there shouldn't be burnout. Just take a break for a minute! :)