Sunday, August 17, 2008

A treacherous path

I'm gearing up for my next tournament, the Exchange Bank Fall Classic G/60 in Santa Rosa, CA on September 27th. I'm confident I would destroy the Booster (U1500) section so I'll play up in the Reserve (U1900) where I'll face stiff competition.

Playing up I won't win and I won't recoup my travel expenses. It's no wonder many choose to sandbag instead of playing up a section or two. But I want to play interesting games and improve, not win more money and trophies.

Training Schedule

Tactics30mM-FStudy Chess Tactics for Champions
Exercise30mM-F20m elliptical & 10m weights
M-FStudy 100 Endgames You Must Know
M-FStudy The Scandinavian
SunWrite Strategy of 'My System' articles


My goal is to maintain and slightly improve my tactical, endgame, and opening skill while working aggressively to acquire new strategic knowledge.


RT Solo said...

Dude I think your title is missing an "R" somewhere?

Everytime I see Chess Tactics for Champions I want to run to! As if I don't have enough freakin' books already. What is with chess people and books??

BYW, what do you think about the book, is it as good as I imagine it is?

Banatt said...

Ah, You really have that confidence, playing one section up!

You can do it! Keep it up!

tanc(happyhippo) said...

hello likesforests,

Your goal is very admirable and I hope you'll do well in the U1900.

Your training schedule sounds like a great plan.

Best of luck for the competition.


likesforests said...

It's a good book. I mean, the positions seem practical and useful. While Heisman's Back to Basics: Tactics has 1-3 move tactics, Chess Tactics for Champions has 2-4 moves tactics. For a G/30 against players <1600 I felt the former was a better choice; for a G/60 against players <1900 I'm choosing the latter.

likesforests said...

Banatt, well, I won the U1600 with a perfect score so yeah I think the U1500 wouldn't be much of a challenge. In the U1900 I'm sure I will get pummeled. I'm hoping to win at least one game though!

tanc, thanks for checking out my plan and the well-wishes. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Likesforests!

Good luck in the tourney next week! I am sure you are going to rock a few 1900's!

I am actually revamping my study regiment based on some things you have said at my blog and based on what my coach told me at out lesson last week.

Between learning from the methods of you and blunderprone and the critique and help of my coach I am going to get this game one way or another!

Thanks again!

Oh and RT Solo: I happen to love the Chess Tactics for Champions book. It has been a good follow up to the Dan Heisman book (which I also really liked).

logis said...

Good luck in the tournament. I wonder if you have to go to work each day or not since you do alott of chess study and never seem to have no time to do it. :-)

likesforests said...

tommyg, it's next month actually, but yeah I hope so. :)

logis, thanks... I have a day job! But I go to sleep late and I get up early so there is time.

drunknknite said...

nice study schedule. i'm considering playing this tournament, it would be a good warmup for the western states. i'll keep you posted. keep up the good work i can see you're making progress.

Polly said...

Good luck in the tournament. I think playing up is a very reasonable ide given how well you did in your last under 1600 section. I seriously doubt you'll get pummeled to death. It's not like you're playing in the open section with a bunch of experts and masters. A and B players are mere mortals and we're prone to screw ups against players of any rating.

Anonymous said...

So how did you go about studying the endgame? Did you study out of a book and then analyze a bunch of similar positions? Did you study a bunch of different books and then analyze? The endgame does seem to be the secret to the whole thing....



Hiddenleaf said...


You're right, getting trophies won't make you a better chess player. I think that you will give a few of those U1900 (are there sandbaggers in those too?) a very hard time, to say the least.

Do you agree with Tommy G on the two tactics book: that Heisman's is a good place to start and Polgar's is a good follow up?

I also find it interesting how you consistently view physical training as a contribution to your chess training.

Good Luck!

likesforests said...

drunknknite - Hope to see you there! Santa Rosa is a nice place to visit.

polly - Thanks. In any event, it will be interesting. I still wonder how good/bad I am and this is the surest way to find out. :)

tommyg - I would begin by reading a set of key endings (Silman, Pandolfini, etc). Then I would study them again in more detail (change who has the move, move pawns and pieces one rank or file over). You can play them out against a chess engine or against yourself. Then I would use a database to find practical examples to get a feel for what really tends to happen.

The most profitable endgames to study are pawn and rook endings.

hiddenleaf - Heisman + Polgar is what I'm using so yes I agree! :)

I've read Heisman 6 times (that's what the checkmarks on my sidebar mean) and Polgar 1 time.

I find physical training gives me more energy. It's also good for fighting of the mid-day 'drained' feeling and the 'nervous energy' that sometimes tells me I need to alter my training regiment (when I really should hold the course).

Chessaholic said...

Good luck in Santa Rosa! It's encouraging to see your progress.

By the way, I just ordered the CB version of Rybka, I'd be curious to compare notes once I've had a chance to put it through its paces.

likesforests said...

Sure. I'm really enjoying IDeA (a feature in the Rybka-Aquarium package) and the Rybka3-Human engine. The way I've been using it is when I encounter an interesting position I highlight the lines I find most interesting and let it work on the position overnight. In the morning I get a detailed report of which lines are best and by how much... but more importantly, it tells me why! :)

Hiddenleaf said...

"(that's what the checkmarks on my sidebar mean)"

Interesting, only when I select the text in the sidebar I get to see the flags in the sidebar.

Anyone who has the simular experience or suggestions?

chesstiger said...

Good luck in your tournament. I hope you have many upsets.

I saw that your read "The art of learning" from Waitzkin (spelling?), is it any good?

Btw, since you have a succesfull chessblog i wonder how you do it? How do you decide what to put on your blog and how? Just asking since i will be also starting a chessblog ( )so all tips i can get are welcome.

likesforests said...

"I saw that your read "The art of learning" from Waitzkin (spelling?), is it any good?"

Yes, but I'll warn you that it's more about sports psychology and training than chess moves.

"Btw, since you have a succesfull chessblog i wonder how you do it?"

I advise others when I can and they advise me when they can, and it all seems to work out. There's a large and mostly friendly chess blogging community out there so it's not hard. Jump in and enjoy!

As far as content, keep adding to it and it eventually grows. I'm hoping my Strategy of 'My System' blog will one day be a very useful resource. :)

likesforests said...

ChessTiger, most of us use Blogspot or WordPress. When I tried to leave a message on your blog Vox asked me to register my e-mail with them and the privacy policy said I could not opt out of spam mails from the 'six apart' ad network.

likesforests said...

What I was going to say:

"Well, maybe begin by telling us your OTB rating, how long you've been playing, and how you plan to tackle getting a 2000 rating (your study plan). :) is more or less the standard blog chess game viewer. For diagrams I use Chessbase. I don't know much about other tools."

chesstiger said...

Thanks likesforest. Are you saying that i must use a blogger or wordpress blog aswell?

Oke, going to make a blog about the things you suggested.

Thanks again.

chesstiger said...

Took your advise and moved my blog to


so that it's easier to leave comments.

Hope to see you there!

Chessaholic said...

likesforests: the IDeA feature almost made me buy the Aquarium package, but in the end I decided to go with CB. I can't wait to try the Monte Carlo analysis. It would be great to take a position and compare the results IDeA provides with the results of Monte Carlo. I wonder how different the results will be? I believe the two are intended to do different things, but both should yield interesting conclusions. I am not quite sure yet how useful the "sampled search" function will be, but I'll do an extensive post once I've played around with it all. The package should arrive tomorrow :)

Here's a suggestion for a post, if you find the time: it'd be super cool to see you walk us through IDeA analysis of a well-known position from a GM game :)

Anonymous said...

You shoule play in the U1500 Section.

You know "learn to wlak, before you run"

After you tournament, I'll say;

I told you so!

Chess Guy USCF 2312

Anonymous said...

"learn to wlak before you run"


I think Likesforests reasons for entering the higher section are admirable and pedagogically sound! He has shown that he can win and win big at the u/1600 level. He is aiming higher and will succeed because of that.


Thanks for the endgame advice! I need it! I went 0-3 in the quads last night. I am now the anti-phelps! I have lost 8 games of chess in a row...but I am learning.

Have a good one,


Chessaholic said...

wlaking is fun, I shoule do it more often.

likesforests said...

Chess Guy,

I proved I can walk by winning a U1600 with a perfect score. I won most games swiftly and tactically.

An example.

Now is the time to jog in the U1900. It's very possible I'll lose games... but to grow I need to face opponents who can punish my mistakes instructively.

chess addict said...

I have also added you in my blog roll of chess links. Thank you so much.



nd1361 said...

i very like for this game

darkhorse said...

So, did you do well in U1900?