Hello chess readers!
Well... no tournament or anything exciting. I am just here to, well, update you on my chess studies. OK, I won't lie. I do have something to tell you guys for the beginning of the blog: You see, I have been searching for a concrete way to study endgames (I was going to download a book on Chessable, though I still could not really afford it). I decided it was worth a shot messaging a few chess.com masters/personalities and seeing if they would answer. I messaged about six of them, and to my surprise, three of them responded!
I will include what they said, however, for the sake of confidentiality, I will keep the names anonymous. If you would like to know their names, please message me, and I will let you know. Two of them responded within an hour! The other the next day:
Note: I added that I own the Dvoretsky Endgame Manual and asked if that was an OK place to start:
GM: Hi, Daniel. Considering that you are a 1700 player, I think Dvoretsky's manual should be a good book for you. Challenging but very useful. Good luck!
IM: Hi Daniel. Wayyyyy to hard. That book is for players rated 2400! The average OTB players has basically no endgame knowledge, so it's OK if you have very little. Here's where to start: 1) [Link to Chess.com Drills]. Make sure you can do all the basic mates nicely (bishop pair and bishop+knight), then you can start working your way up through various endgames you should know. 2) [Link to one of his YouTube videos]. Watch this video, it gives my advice for improving at endgames. Good luck!
FM: Hi Daniel! I'm a good company man and I'm not going to point you away from the Chess.com videos or lessons. I'd watch/do all of those!
I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from all three of them, but I thought IM's response was very interesting and instructive. Long story short, I am going through Chess.com drills starting with Endgame Fundamentals. I do think mating with two minor pieces is a good tool to have in your arsenal, however, I decided not to work on that yet. Maybe I will spend my summer doing it or something like that.
But lesson learned: send in questions for these masters, and they will answer!
Anyways, in a brief bullet point summary, here was my training this week:
- Tactics: Chesstempo standard problems
- Endgames: Endgame drills on Chess.com
- Play standard 15-30 minute practice games on Chess.com
As far as endgames go, I did not have a specific goal on how much to go through... I just wanted to go through quite a bit and make sure I could complete them several times in a row. I ended up going through 19 positions. Here is one I really enjoyed: (note, the diagram is in puzzle mode. You only really need to focus on the first two moves, then know how to win the position from there.
Also, check out my forum topics
on one of the endgames I got stuck on (which an IM eventually settled!).
As far as tactics go, some good and disappointing news. The disappointing news is that I only got five tactics done (my goal was twelve before this blog). Another piece of bad news is that while I was attempting a tactic, I closed the tab to think about the tactic later (and it saves when you do it). Somehow, I was logged out (it normally stays logged in), and when I logged back on, the server automatically counted the tactic incorrect!
So all that to say, I am not counting this toward my progress as I did not even attempt that problem.
The good news is that I am still maintaining my consistency in the tactics area, at 5/5 since I last updated you guys. I am 15/15 my last 15 standard attempts and have not missed a standard problem in almost a month. Here is one I thought was somewhat cute:
As for training games, I did get a few in. I could be spending more time analyzing them though. Here is one of my good wins where I went from equal to slightly worse to equal again, and then winning. All three results were certainly possible:
I know I did not add too many notes, though I thought it was a good game.
I think that about sums up my studies the past couple of weeks. I do not know when my next blog will be. I will mainly be focused on enjoying Thanksgiving break (which does include extra training!).
For master games, I think what I will do (a little "sneak peek" if you will), is begin a blog series called "Wonders of the World Champions", where I highlight in sequential order the World Champions, their style, patterns, etc. Each WC will have their own blog. We can kinda think of it as a research paper of sorts.
I don't want to OPUD (over promise under deliver), though keep an eye out!
I do not know when my next blog will be. I will again, simply use this Thanksgiving break to enjoy myself and get as much training done as possible (and reasonable).
I hope you enjoyed reading and have a Happy Thanksgiving!