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Chess is 99% tactics that is starting to be boring. I know that my biggest chess improvement was help of tactics, but then I had never heard about de la Maza chess improvement. I improve 600 points in my first year of tournament play, but I was 17. Do you had ever seen the game of Michael de la Maza?
I saw it was so equal, he couldn't build anything expect of looking for win of material. Open files, open centre, open everything. We our humans, we shouldn't play like computers. Chess isn't only tactics there are openings, endgames, strategy. Building combination only from nothing is sick!!
I haven't seen his games but I am skeptical of his methods. Tactics flow from positional elements and rarely in isolation. One needs a more organic grasp of the game to be truly successful.
BTW: The strongest engines are not just calculators. For example, Rybka is built by a team of IMs with feedback from GMs and many other strong players. As such, it understands numerous positional features. In fact, most programs today have a lot of positional knowledge and would be many hundreds of points weaker without it.
I could be wrong but Michael de la Maza wasn't 99% tactics he was 100% tactics.
Silman was very critical of the book here http://www.jeremysilman.com/book_reviews_js/js_rapid_chess_improv.htm
I'm sure it helps people, but it's not the end all be all. If his technique was so great why did he give up at just over a 2000 rating? Why not continue and see how his method fared against top rated opponents.
Of course Silman was critical. He sells strategy books, not tactics books!
But seriously, De La Maza demonstrated that micro-drills and daily tactical study alone can take a player from amateur to expert. That's worth noting, because the same claim can't be made for opening or strategic study. He also harnessed the power of repetition in his circles approach to study.
However, people eager to follow in his footsteps should note two things: (a) first, he studied chess full time. People with jobs and classes average don't see such a fast improvement; (b) his plan can and has been improved upon by using spaced repetition to dictate review intervals.
There is a method to his madness--tactics is the biggest weakness of most amateurs and repetition is very useful in learning. I don't agree with him about mostly ignoring endgames, strategy, and openings. Not many do. :)
xtnslromeo> If his technique was so great why did he give up at just over a 2000 rating?
It's anyone's guess. He took it as far as he wanted to, or he couldn't go further, or he was worried about dropping 50 points, or he was burned out. Maybe all of the above.
At 17 your room for improvement is vast and occurs rapidly to your natural level. You can improve beyond this by hard work, but only to a certain point.The truth is there is no magic formula for success in chess. It comes from hard work. Professionals train continually and they have limits.
So how hard did de la Maza work? This is an excerpt from the book quoted in Jeremy Silman's review:
"How much work did de la Maza do? Let’s have him tell us: “It took me about twenty months to achieve a rating of 1900 and during that time I studied two to three hours a day for a total of approximately 1500 hours of study. In addition, I played approximately 200 chess games, each of which took approximately three hours for a total of 2100 hours of study time.”"
So, spend 3 hours a day on the tactics trainer/studying the openings/etc. That's 3 hours every day, 7 days a week, Play in every chess tournament you can find. Keep on doing this persistently FOR TWO YEARS.
Eat, sleep and breath chess, and you will improve to your maximum level of achievement (then quit playing and write a book and make a bundle). Obviously Mr de la Maza understands this very well, else he would have persisted. $10,000 (which is what de la Maza won in the World Open U2000) is a paltry sum for that amount of effort. And a rating of 2000 is not even strong amateur, unattainable as it may seem to most of us. It's important to remember that the MINIMUM rating for professional players is 2400+ and most of them don't make a living from it.
Better to invest your money in a membership here and use the facilities such as the Tactics Trainer, Game Explorer, etc.
chawil> At 17 your room for improvement is vast and occurs rapidly to your natural level.
Most players who work at improving reach their potential after 10 years, not 2 years of play. And I got that from a neurologist who studied chess players.
chawil> So how hard did de la Maza work?
chawil> So, spend 3 hours a day on the tactics trainer/studying the openings/etc. That's 3 hours every day, 7 days a week, Play in every chess tournament you can find. Keep on doing this persistently FOR TWO YEARS.
Or... use his drills and method without studying 3 hours/day (just as you can leverage NBA drills without practicing as much as pro players do). Many adults have spent 30-60 min/day and reaped an average 186-elo increase from their studies.
And, of course, all the better if you supplement with a healthy dose of endgames, strategies, and a bit of openings to avoid tunnel vision.
chess.com has some nice learning tools, too. :)
You are completely right spending 2100 hours within 2 years is big thing. I'm going to school and this doesn't give me chance for seven circles.
My opinion on the matter is that chess is tactics. Look at all the analysis of today nothing but tactics. When you learn tactics first instead of last you easily understand why its like that. Calculation and evaluation seems to be given freely with thousands of tactics. Yet to understand positinal play everyone seems to say a teacher is best. So I say make a goal do tactics until you get there and then do endgames/openings/master games. It is kinda weird though how he played his games. For me, at first tactics were kinda threat no threat, but now that I've mastered two thousand tactics its like I can lead the game where I want to, instead of being pushed around by my opponent. Without tactics your a sitting duck. Just my opinion. #)
why was this suppose "dead horse" was brought back to life ?
So that everyone here can be reminded (once again) that:
Rate of Rapid Chess Improvement =~ Level of Obsession
Not tactics but tic tacs!!! When it's your foe's move shake your not empty tic tacs container!
This doesn't work as well online
The number of hours de la Maza tells you to put in is unrealistic, and makes me highly sceptical. Surely spending THAT many hours on any form of chess study is going to greatly improve your game.
lol. this "dead horse" is back in action. De La Maza says that the players who played thousands of games are still low rated, so why not spend more time on tactics. So even whole games of thousands and thousands of games, meaning thousands and thousands of hours wont make you a better player. So it is "un-realistic" its quite possible by the dozens of low rated players that you cant get better by doing one thing namly playing chess alone. Just another opinion.#)
So his contribution was that spending many hours studying will help you improve more than spending many hours playing.
Ok, got it.
wow, people really like or hate michael. this is quite amazing. most people here seem to dislike him with splendor. i am amazed you are all chess players. chess is so diverse that you can win any way you want to. It wont be solved by positional play or tactics alone. It cant be! I just have an opinion that tactics take precedent over everything else. I love going into old games like the world championship between Alekhine and Capablanca(Capablanca is a fav.) its just that calculation and evaluation abilities are given to you by tactics. My opinion is that you should read the book at least disprove it by actually trying it and after you've done it at least once say this is total bogus, then Id say yep your right its bogus now go back to studying a new line that you'll forget in a week or two. sorry for ranting, it just burns me up that people can discredit someone else because they promise a lot but since its goes aganist all reason it has to be completely off kilter. enjoy your chess!
De La Maza created quite a sensation with his book a few years ago, and gathered a whole host of followers. I believe they called themselves the "Knights Errant" and they put up web pages where they encouraged each other and recorded their progress in following the De La Maza "Method."
Almost all of those web sites have gone dark now as the players became bored and discouraged and dropped out. De La Maza himself hasn't played a rated game in ten years. Why? One reason might be that the De La Maza method sounds incredibly boring, tedious, and soul-crushing: Doing the same tactical exercises over and over and over, until you can do them in seconds, while simultaneously ignoring strategy, the endgame, and all the other things that make chess a great game. Of course you'd get bored and discouraged and quit! The De La Maza method sounds like something you'd be sentenced to, not something you'd do for fun.
PS: Of course tactics are important, and a developing player should do a set of tactical exercises every day, but there's so much more to chess than pushing the pieces around hoping for a knight fork!
I think most people intuitively know something about what good pedagogy looks like, and they know something about what snake-oil looks like, and they can discern which of these De La Maza's book is.
But a part of all of us wants what he's peddling to really work. We all want the magic bullet that solves all our woes and makes us the local chess diety.
Of course, what is truly insideous about De La Maza is that he isn't selling pure snake-oil. What he is saying is based on a kernel of truth -- that most people can improve their results at least to some degree by being better able to take advantage of thier opponent's tactical oversights and by making fewer such oversights themselves.
Of course tactics are important, and a developing player should do a set of tactical exercises every day, but there's so much more to chess than pushing the pieces around hoping for a knight fork!
Speaking of which, I have read somewhere here on the forums that De La Maza has some method in his book that promises to improve "knight vision". If I am not mistaken, it is an advanced "Knights Tour" method? Does anyone know if that particular method of training is helpful? It does sound like less of a sentence than doing the same tactical puzzles every day
Ha ha. Good one, a sentence rather than fun. I agree its tough. Who said chess was suppose to be fun? Lol. To be honest no matter how you study chess to me it seems like everything about chess is a sentence. I've studied every book I have and still be bored. I've also been bored watching t.v. heck Ive been bored with life itself. I think our ability to adapt to things is what has kept us going. The knight drill is very interesting you basically work up to the knight tour which to me sounds way too hard. First you put a knight on h1 point to its squares it can go to then move up again. Repeat. This helps your knight vision. Then the knight tour is like moving the knight over the whole board in your head. Too hard and long for me.
I'm not aganist quick fixes heck they could work alot. Im also interested in whats not working. Usually, the only complaint is boredom. "you have to die for what you love. when im on that treadmill, and you and I race your coming off first." Will Smith
I honestly dont know what else to say to make maza seem good. ah well, my opinion is done. i wont respond anymore. have fun playing chess.
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