My Journey To Getting Better At Chess #2

My Journey To Getting Better At Chess #2

DanielGuel
DanielGuel
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8

Hi everyone!  Oh, the same title again? Well A) my last post got quite a bit of views! And B) No one has recommended a good title for these entries. So, if you think you can come up with a better title for my series, I am open to suggestions!

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First thing is first, I will reveal the answer to the puzzle I posted last week. I believe I've added all relevant variations! I am pretty sure coach said it's from a Dvoretsky exercise, so don't feel bad that you didn't get it all. Remember that it took me 45-60 minutes WITH help to get it!:

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That said, what did I do chess-wise after my first session? As I mentioned in my previous post, I got Aagard's book on calculation. Coach suggested me aim for one position per day, and I got seven done!  I felt good about five of my answers (I would say four of them were pretty straightforward, one of them I needed to calculate, but I felt good about, and I was stuck on two of them). He also gave me two extra exercises as "homework", and we reviewed my analysis during our second session Friday. 

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I also played some games. My playing time and routine was pretty sporadic. I played one 30|0 game, and quite a few rapid and blitz games. I'm probably going to make some adjustments, I'll discuss later... but in the meantime, here is my 30|0 game, which I won!

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I also played in a online family tournament Saturday morning. My uncles and cousins caught the chess fever, so we organized a tournament, me, my Dad, my siblings, uncles, and cousins. I topped the field 4/4. I'll show you how I won each game with a puzzle!

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It was not the strongest tournament I have played. But I enjoyed showing off my tactical prowess 😈

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In all seriousness, I saw my coach on Friday. We did more calculation work, and he gave some good insights again! He commended me for the pace of my calculation and visualization, indicating that I had improved in those areas... I completely agree, as before I started working with him a week and a half ago, I hadn't worked all that hard on calculation, so there would be some improvements. 

He did give me some advice, while it's good to be confident and not doubt yourself, you want to be skeptical with your variations, don't be overly optimistic. The way he worded it, if I come to an evaluation (such as "White is better"), check and make sure the moves leading to the position were forced, or if I missed a strong reply somewhere

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So yeah!  My study plan for this week is to get roughly 5-7 Aagard exercises completed on top of the two extra positions coach sent me. I also have read the endgame book, but not a whole lot, I'll probably talk about that more next post. As far as games go, I'll try to get three classical games (30 minutes per side, or longer), as well as a few rapid and blitz games. I plan to do an analysis for the classical games, and I'll briefly look through rapid and blitz games, at the very least for opening improvements!

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I hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed writing it! Just a couple of more things. Especially if you are already here, I know you spent some of your precious time reading this post... if you have any more to spare for chess, I really liked this video lecture. It's a US Chess School lecture, open to the public. Reminds me of the St. Louis Chess Club lectures. I'm pretty sure the US Chess School was an in-person chess camp, but due to COVID, they moved it to online. But I could be wrong! 

Lastly, I will leave you with a puzzle. Much easier this time! This was from my rapid league game this weekend, and it's White to play. It's a good test on calculation, as well as evaluation and confidence. It's not hard to find the best move in itself, but be sure to calculate Black's critical response, and how to deal with it, etc. Good luck! More than one move, please!

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