Seven Circles Completed!
Five months, 175 hours, and 1200 tactics problems later, I've completed the Seven Circles tactics training program.
I plan to write a recap blog post or two on lessons I learned following this intense program. There are some small changes I made to the prototype described in the Novice Nook article linked above, for instance, and there are interesting patterns and clues that I picked up on that are not mentioned in tactics books (as far as I have seen).
For now, let me recap the final three days, circles six and seven. I did circle six on Saturday and Sunday, completing 800 problems and 400 problems, respectively, as you'll see in the chart below. I missed 28 problems giving me a 98% score and it took me 12 hours.
Finally, on Monday I holed myself up in my mancave to complete all 1200 problems of circle seven by the end of the day. I estimated it would take 12 hours and it ended up taking only 11.25 hours. Believe me, I wasn't sure I would be able to handle another 3/4's of an hour, so I am very glad to have finished even a bit early.
For the final circle I missed 20 problems, again earning a 98%. The missed problems I can all attribute to fatigue (aka losing concentration or simple miscalculations). Yes, I said miscalculations. Even having completed all the problems at least six previous times, many problems still required calculation to ensure that I was choosing the correct line when several promising lines were present in the problem. The problem set consisted of many 3-4 move "move and win" problems and some problems went 6-8 moves before reaching either quiescence or an advantage.
Monday offered both a physical and mental challenge for me. Sitting in a chair for over 11 hours with only a few brief breaks was demanding. My legs cramped and became sore. My eyes blurred a bit. My mind would begin to wander and I had to will myself back to concentrate on the screen. All in all pretty good conditioning for your typical weekend swiss tournament.
I increased my overall score from an 87% in circle one to a 98% in circle six and seven. I'm very happy with that, though I tried to score a knock-out perfect score in the final circle. But, my concentration waivered 20 times. Cie la vie!