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crafty 107 ( +1 | -1 )
Rapid Chess Improvement - 7 Circles Hello out there. I'm curious to know if anyone has read and taken up Michael De la Maza's recommendation in his book 'Rapid Chess Improvement', the seven circles tactical training programme.

The argument goes that the best way to improve your chess rapidly (which is backed up by the authors own success) is to study tactical chess puzzles (as opposed to opening books which us class players are guilty of spending too much time studying). Specifically take 1000 tactical exercises, ranked in order of complexity (say 2/3 move combinations ranging to 7/8 move combinations) and solve them, repeating each circle 7 times. The first 3/4 circles will consolidate calculation and the remaining circles build upon pattern recognition. The amount taken is scheduled to take 64-32-16-8-4-2-1 days (yes, 1,000 puzzles in one day!)

I'm halfway through my first circle and feel my tactical vision has greatly improved already. I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there who is doing a similar thing and what effect it has had on their rating, in particular OTB games.

chrisphillips71 11 ( +1 | -1 )
Tactical Problems What do you use for the source of your 1000 problems (i.e. what book or computer program)?
Thanks,
Chris
crafty 73 ( +1 | -1 )
Tactical Problems I use books though the author does recommend the CT-ART programme. I would use such a computer programme but this isnít possible for me as most of my studying is on my train commute to and from work (2hrs). Iíve got 2 books I use, one called Ď303 Tricky checkmatesí by Wilson et al, this book comprises of 2/3 move combinations and the Manuel of Chess Combinations Vol. II by Ivaschenko ( this book is aimed to 1600/1700 players who want to increase their rating to 2200) of which I intend to do the first 700 which range from 4 move combinations to 7 move combinations Ė the remaining puzzles of this book would be too difficult for me at this stage and I try to stick within the time-limit of 10 mins per puzzle in order to get through 1,000 puzzles.

Regards,
Doug
bonsai 100 ( +1 | -1 )
Improving one's tactical abilities is definitely one of the best and fastest ways of improving one's playing strength. Particularly with amateurs there's still such a scope for improvement there that e.g. a lack of strategic ability can often be made up for with tactical skills.

I'm not entirely sure how helpful it is to repeat the *same* tactical excercises over and over again. I'd suspect that pattern recognition could also be achieved (maybe even be achieved in a better way?!) if one solved more and more new problems which however contain the same kind of combinations again and again.

Being already on the topic of tactical training excercises: Does anyone know a *free* source of tactical training excercises for Fritz/Chessbase programs (i.e. databases of positions in which those programs will automatically ask you to make a move)? I won a cd by Renko with such training positions at a simul and I liked the idea, but I wouldn't really want to pay a lot of money for such a cd.
mlane 56 ( +1 | -1 )
combinations Some sacrificial types of combinations are not strictly 100% sound, but unless the opponent picks exactly the right combination of replies will nonetheless give you a win. I have found this to be so in a couple of my Gameknot games. I would call these "pragmatic" or even speculative combinations. Some of the great early games of the child Bobby Fischer that ended up with a win to Bobby do not stand up to rigorous analysis. Combinations like this could be included in a teaching book simply as a help for practical over-the-board play.
mlane 56 ( +1 | -1 )
combinations Some sacrificial types of combinations are not strictly 100% sound, but unless the opponent picks exactly the right combination of replies will nonetheless give you a win. I have found this to be so in a couple of my Gameknot games. I would call these "pragmatic" or even speculative combinations. Some of the great early games of the child Bobby Fischer that ended up with a win to Bobby do not stand up to rigorous analysis. Combinations like this could be included in a teaching book simply as a help for practical over-the-board play.
brunson 12 ( +1 | -1 )
As a source for puzzles and in support of the pattern recognition thesis I'm currently working on Fred Reinholds "1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate".
nw__ 80 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess Training Crafty - I'm glad to hear you've benifited from the training regime; I completed it and found enough improvement to come second in an Open (U2200) tournament in london.
Of course we should not think that this practice alone will give your proper chess understanding - Its like being able to slot the numbers in E=mc2, if you dont know what it means then its worthless.
Once I mastered a certain level of tactics, I gained the most from deeply analysing GM games or the likes.

Heres a fantastic source for tactical exercises all in CB files, over 10,000 positions in total!
www.uni-klu.ac.at/~gossimit/c/tactic.htm>

You'll need CB or CB light which is free from www.chessbase.com

Good luck all.
More: Chess
daniele 13 ( +1 | -1 )
combinations You can use the material on this site.

dejascacchi.altervista.org/
brunson 51 ( +1 | -1 )
www.uni-klu.ac.at/~gossimit/c/tactic.htm Thanks for pointing me to a great site, I've already downloaded several of the databases.

However, I'm concerned that a lot of the material is from copyrighted works. Not to derail the thread, but I know that in the case of the Reinfeld book, the actual boards comprise about 95% of the content with the solutions being another 4% and the authors commentary being little more than icing in the chapter intros.

Would the members of this forum consider this distribution in electronic format a violation of copyright?
nw__ 28 ( +1 | -1 )
Thats tricky, The website is well known - Technically, the chess positions have been manually put into a chess program - It would be absurd to think that each and every chess position that a book holds is copyrighted.

In any case, have fun.
messiry 10 ( +1 | -1 )
if they are from real games Then no copyright problem, since we only deal with a position, not with an analysis.
mogath 62 ( +1 | -1 )
Rapid Chess Improvement I also saw the "7 Circles" study, but for me, the way I study tactics, there is no way I would be able to complete that. The way I do tactics study is to set the position up on a chess board. Then I set the clock for 5-10 minutes. Then I sit there and stare at the board working out the problem until it is either solved or time runs out. I do NOT move the pieces until I think I have the solution. This, for me, simulates tournament conditions. I also play all my long games against a computer and online on the board. It helps with my board vision and keeps me away from the screen. This seems to work very well.

Regards,
Jeff
flippy 64 ( +1 | -1 )
experience check out also following sites:

mandelamaza.blogspot.com/

discipledelamaza.blogspot.com/

sanchopawnza.blogspot.com/

orangeknight.blogspot.com/

all these guys are already doing the seven circles training from de la Maza quite a while... you can read their daily experience with the tactics training ... very interseting !
generalkaia 51 ( +1 | -1 )
De la Maza Program In addition to the 4 sites listed by flippy, there are 3 new blogs also dedicated to De la Maza training:

www.generalkaia.blogspot.com

pawnsensei.blogspot.com

megaskins.blogspot.com

I am the blogger at www.generalkaia.blogspot.com.

generalkaia 48 ( +1 | -1 )
Change of Plans Just FYI, many of the De la Mazan Bloggers are changing or tweaking Michael De la Maza's plan of training. Some have found that the software CT-Art doesn't always play the best moves, and that the times at the end of the 7-Circles Training is too difficult in too quick of a time constraint. Additionally, many of us are adding endgame, middlegame strategy, and opening study to the MDLM study plan. For more, just visit the websites listed in the above two messages.

Thanks,

generalkaia