Rapid Chess Improvement

Jun 30, 2014, 6:55 PM |

After losing a couple of tournament games due to missed tactics, I bought Rapid Chess Improvement on Kindle and decided to implement de la Maza's program and see if it helps me get stronger tactically. The book itself is not very well written (IM Jeremy Silman's review (http://dev.jeremysilman.com/shop/pc/Rapid-Chess-Improvement-p3511.htm) captures the irritating thing about this book: it reads like de la Maza is trying to sell you a used car), but the exercises make sense to me and I hope that if I improve tactically my rating will also improve. I'm an adult beginner; I've been playing in tournaments for two months and my rating after my last tournament is 1162.

The book prescribes an intensive six-month tactical training regimen. The first four weeks are spent doing 'board vision' exercises each day.  The exercises are pretty simple and involve forks and knight moves (you get the impression that de la Maza had serious problems visualizing knight moves. I've known how to move the pieces since before I can remember, so I don't think I have this problem, but we shall see). I'm on my second day of doing the first exercise; I would estimate that it took me 45 minutes yesterday and 30 minutes today, so the program does not start out too time-consuming. I plan to complete the first four weeks and then decide whether to continue on with the second part of the program, which involves repetitiously studying a set of basic tactics problems.

While I appreciate the scientific method, I like chess too much to spend all my study time on these exercises, so I won't be totally sure whether any improvement I see is a result of Rapid Chess Improvement. I also study other tactics problems (I do Tactics Trainer quite a bit and I'm working on making a set of flash cards out of John Bain's Chess Tactics for Students), analyze my own tournament games, and play through master game collections.

I'll post updates on my progress here.