Sunday, June 17, 2012

I'm still plugging away at my 1st Circle, but the question is whether to continue on to the second with this batch of tactics.  My Circle was defined as
I have 180 problems to go in CTS until I'm done.  As I've written previously, they are very easy two/three-move tactics.  It's a great book for what it's trying to do.  But they're so easy I'm not sure I'm going to speed up at them much, and using a book... turns out to be drudgery.  I had wanted to do my Circles with books, because I'm sick of staring at monitors all day.  But you just can't beat the software options.  I did 303 with PGNs.  And now...

I've discovered Chessimo for the iPhone.  The tactics module costs $3.  How could you make a big mistake at $3?!  I should start a scholarship for kids - I'll buy them the $3 Chessimo app if they demonstrate an interest in chess.  And get off my lawn.  Anyway, I gave it a go and I love it.  When I chose to go the book route, I never imagined I would end up loving working on my dinky iPhone screen.  It's just really convenient and fast.  I've already done ~1,200 problems on the thing.  I think this is my new "Circle".  Finish Chessimo tactics.

I did end up buying the whole thing for a whopping $8, and the other modules are great.  Well, the openings module is kind of a useless survey, but at 1/4th of $8 I can swallow that cost.  Strategy is fun, and endgames I believe will be great.  I poke around at endgames, re-acquainting myself with opposition, etc.  It's humbling, but I enjoy it.  I think I'll be good at endgames.  I can do algorithmic things like butter...

But I'm letting discouragement hit a bit on tactics.  I'm on Set 1 - Unit 10, which is two-move mates.  Why aren't these automatic?  I might spend up to a minute staring at a two-move mate.  I get stuff wrong.  How can you not calculate a 2-move mate?!  Well, I can't explain how, so stopping asking me in that mocking tone, "gentle reader", but let me assure you it is very possible.  Ah well, I'm just reminding myself that I chose to start up chess again because there is zero financial incentive, and very little pressure.  Being good at chess gets me nothing but more chess.  If it takes me three more Circles than somebody else, that's not a problem.

And I guess I'm not doing that bad.  Just impatient.  I'm not sure I'll ever be great.  I'm very poor with spatial-visual geometry.  My mother is the same way.  I still can't map out my hometown, or my adopted town.  It's sort of a gray fog.  We figure it's a type of dyslexia - some of my uncles and cousins have it bad, and my siblings were diagnosed with mild cases.  I was never tested, and it clearly hasn't impacted my life much (and smartphone GPS has revolutionized my life!), and I'm more than happy with my route-based style of thinking that has given me my algorithmic and deductive qualities.  It's just a weird quirk that is finally having its day.  It's like my very mild claustrophobia that was mostly amusing, until I was medically forced to use a CPAP every night.

But on this, I can suck!  And I don't think I'll suck, it just might take some time and my achievements might be modest.

I'm a Knight Errant, but nobody knows it.  But there's nobility in anonymity.  Or, I'll have to slay a dragon, publicly.  That'll get me on side bars.

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