How Good is Good?
I use three different sites for tactics training and those sites give me quite different estimates of my tactics skills (approximately 1300, 1500 and 1700 at the moment). Ratings are just ratings but as a professional statistician almost any number has some sex appeal. Still, I like to know a little more about my tactics skills.
IM Jesper Hall is suggesting in his excellent book on chess improvement, "Chess Training for Budding Champions", that improving players should keep a notebook with interesting chess stuff and never forget to have fun while training.
In a recent slow game I found myself in the following position (nb: white to make move 18) that made it into my notebook for several reasons. The position gave me a clearer picture of my strength and weakness as an OTB player. My spider senses went all crazy and I was almost sure that 18. Nh5+ was the proper move. I spent a fair amount of time trying to check the calculations but I could not convince myself that the move was sound. The good thing is that I found the move and perhaps even that I decided against the move when I failed to make sure that it was sound. The bad thing is that the move I did make swept away all my edge in the game.
So, my positional evaluation (amongst other things) are bad but my spidersense for tactics is OK. The nagging question is: "How Good?"
Or more precisely: "How strong would a player have to be to find this move most of the time?" What do you think? I asked the question to a very strong player who kindly offered his view of things.
The fact that I almost found this move OTB is a small highlight of my Chess Life and maybe an indication of the fact that my tactics training is paying off. My GM friend suggested that the Nh5+ move might be of, say, "2250-quality" which of course made my day. Surely a confidence boosting entry into my chess notebook! I am not there yet but there might be a possibility to reach 2000+ a few years down the road.