Sunday, July 08, 2007


Thanks to Korsmonaut, I've been tagged. Rise and Shine, you're it. My reply is over at my main blog.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Day 10: Quest Complete

July 7, 2007: 1-500

Like I did the last two days, I worked problems 500 to 250 first. Then I whipped through problems 1-250. I actually did a lot better on the 500-250 problems today.

I took lots of breaks ... working 25-50 at a time and then taking a break to watch golf of Kung Fu movies.

I am calling my "Circles" training complete.

It really feels good to be done with this.

As to the future ... I'm not going to spend so much time on tactics now. Now that this quest is complete, I will cease posting here and continue to post my improvement plans and goals at my main blog.

I have a lot of chess books I need to get to. The first one that I want to actually finish is Logical Chess Move by Move by Chernev. Reading this book has been on my to do list for a long, long time. So I'm going to finish it.

After that, I have some other chess books I want to read. I need to start working on openings, endgames and all that other jazz. I also plan on keeping at CT-ART to keep improving at tactics. There's so much more to do. But getting these circles completed is a relief.

Thank you, Knights Errant, for the encourgement and interest!

And one last thing ... I remember starting this blog on 6/6/06 and now my last post is on 7/7/07. I planned the 6/6/06 date, but I didn't plan on ending this on 7/7/07, so it must be my lucky day.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Day 9

July 6: 1-250

These are the easiest problems in the whole set. It's like playing a video game ... just blowing through them like nothing.

Tomorrow will be an endurence test for me. I recall one day a while ago when I did 300 problems in CT-ART and 301 on CTS. That was pretty fun.

I'm down to the last day! Although I've cut this program short, I'm still a little in awe that I've kept with this thing for 10 days.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Day 8

July 5: 500-250

I decided to get the tough ones over with first and then cruise on through the rest. The good thing about going backwards was I was able to remember much more from when I covered these problems yesterday. My percentage was much higher today than yesterday's.

Two more days to go!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Day 7

July 4: 333-500

The remainder of the 300's and up to around 460 were fairly easy to somewhat tough. The last 40 or so problems were tough. I'm planning on going back (after I'm done with this quest) and pound those last 40 or so in my head.

3 days to go! They'll be the toughest.

Day 6

July 3: 200-332

I forgot to post yesterday after finishing. I had a meeting to get to and I simply forgot to post the update. I was slightly amazed to get through these fairly quickly too. Perhaps all that work before wasn't all for nothing.

I have 168 to work on today.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Day 5

July 2: 1-200

On to the 3rd circle now. I'm supposed to be working 167 a day, but since I have a meeting tomorrow night, I worked a few extra so I won't have to do as many tomorrow.

The first 200 were very easy ... blew through them this time.

5 days to go.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Day 4

July 1: 376-500

Took me quite a while today to polish off the 2nd circle, but I finally did it. Problems 376-460 were tough to remember. 461-500 were problems I've not seen in a long, long time ... so I had to take my time to figure most of them out.

Thank you for all the comments of support as I push to finish The Circles.

To answer BDK ... I'm using CT-ART 3.0 and more specifically, I'm going over the practice problems (1-500) which go into the Level 30 problems.

Circle 3 is next!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Day 3

June 30: 251-375

I took my time today ... working on the 125 problems here and there throughout the day. Since I really focused on the 300 range problems before, I was pretty accurate and quick.

125 more to go for this circle.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Day 2

June 28: 1-125
June 29: 126-250

It's been so long since I've worked consistently on tactics that I'm struggling a tiny bit. But the vast majority of the problems so far have been fairly easy to solve ... I'm just not as fast as I was a few weeks ago before vacation.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

10 Days

Circle 1: 25 per day times 20 days = 500 (I'm skipping this circle)
Circle 2: 125 per day times 4 days = 500 (June 28, 29, 30, July 1)
Circle 3: 166 per day times 3 days = 500 (July 2, 3, 4)
Circle 4: 250 per day times 2 days = 500 (July 5, 6)
Circle 5: 500 per day times 1 days = 500 (July 7)

Monday, June 04, 2007


While we're counting down the days to go on our vacation, I've just been reviewing problems in CT-ART. I've told myself that if I can ace all the problems in each level, then I won't review them ever again (so I can spend more time hammering new ones in my head).

Tonight I did L10.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This is Really Pathetic!

I've not done any tactics in a while. Things keep popping up (kids sick or I'm sick or work-related stuff) or I end up playing on FICS rather than studying tactics.

Additionally, I feel that I will never really be satisfied with my tactical studies and that they might continue for years and years (as they should).

So I've come to a realization that I need to find a way to end this quest while at the same time save my face. I've decided to end my quest at the 500 mark rather than the 1039 mark. I am going to do 4 circles in 10 days and then call this quest complete. Some of you may remember a Knight Errant by the name of Smith-Morra who did 500 tactics in 30 days. I'm essentially going to follow his schedule from Circle 2 to Circle 5.

Another reason to do this is that my family and I will be going on a long vacation in June. I will arrive back home at the end of the month while my dear wife will stay with her parents for a few additional weeks. When I come back home, I'm going to use all that extra time on my hands to finish this quest.

More importantly, yet another reason to cut this quest short is because some major career events are on the immediate horizon which will disrupt my schedule considerably. If I don't finish now, I will perhaps never finish any sort of tactical quest.

Maybe if I complete this quest, I might find courage to work on another 500 tactics. But for now I feel I need to come to a conclusion with this tactical quest.

So look for me to post again at the end of June and then hopefully my quest will end sometime in the middle of July.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another Update

I've decided to try to cut the number of tactics I do in a day. In stead of working 150 problems at a time, I'll work 75. This will free up some time to work on other areas.

Tonight I reviewed 75 tactics in CT-ART and 24 on CTS.

CT-ART: 301-376
CTS: 24 (2218 total ... 69.7%)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Status Update

Since I last posted, life got really hectic. I laid off the tactics big time. The thing I need to realize is that I need to take a steady, consistent diet of daily tactics. I shouldn't gorge for a few stays and then starve myself for a week.

Perhaps the biggest challenge I face in completing The Circles is time constraint. There are just so many things to do in a day. Obviously work takes up most of my day and when things are slow at work, I wish I could use that time to study tactics. But since I can't install CT-ART on my PC at work, I've decided to just input chunks of 10 problems into pgn format and then study tactics from CT-ART that way (since I could install a pgn reader on my work PC).

I've also decided to dedicate more time to studying from some of the books I have as well as playing more games on FICS. So hopefully I can work a bit on tactics at work (when it's slow or on my lunch break) and then study and play on-line at night.

I'm still trying to stick to the plan I discussed last time. I'm up to #460 in CT-ART.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Finally a Plan I Can Follow

I've been having a really hard time accepting the fact that I can "memorize" a tactic. I drill it and drill it but then review it several days later and go completly blank ... no idea how to solve it. So I decided that I need to review previously covered problems. As I started to review I found that all my time was being spent on review and that I didn't have time to cover new problems ... it's like I'm an over-worked piece!

I decided to divide all 1039 problems by 7 (days a week). This came about to be 148. To make things even, I say 150. Now I'm reviewing all the problems at least once a week and I have time to study and memorize new problems.

Generally the schedule will go like this:
Sun: 1-150
Mon: 151-300
Tue: 301-396 (396 is the last "memorized" problem)
Wed: 397-410 (adding new problems)
Thu: 397-420 (review new and adding more new problems)
Fri: 397-430 (review new and adding more new problems)
Sat: 397-440 (review new and adding more new problems)

Sunday I start over with 1-110. Eventually Tuesday will be 301-450 and then I'll only have Wednesday through Saturday to add new problems. I think you get the drift.

Assuming I keep up every day with this pace, which is completly do-able, then I'll finish around the 3rd week of September.

Last night I had some time to work on tactics.

CT-ART: 397-410
CTS: 40 (2056 total) 1393 rating

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Continued Review

I finished my review of the first 396 problems. I think I'll move on now to new problems. I'm still not satisfied with my poor memory retention. I plan on continuing to review 111-396 as I add new problems.

CT-ART: 201-396

I'm also trying not to get burned out (as I've read how some Knights have burned out). My view is to steadily study tactics every day and try to avoid burn-out. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Backwards and then Forwards

I've been slumping with my tactics the last few days. Tonight I got back into it. A couple of nights ago I did 111-200. Tonight I worked on 201-300 again. I'll probably go over 111-396 again this week before moving on to 397 and beyond.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Barrier Broken

Here is some more proof that the tactical studies are at least helping. I broke the 1700 barrier on FICS for the first time. Granted, the players accepting my seeks are usually lower than me (although I've beaten a fair share of those rated higher). Even still, a few years ago I was dropping games right and left to these same rated players. That's not the case these days.

Here is the winning tactic that took me over the edge:

White to play and win.

Before logging on to FICS tonight, I worked some more on CT-ART and CTS. In CT-ART, I feel like I really need to go back and solidify problems 1-396 ... so I'm doing a hard review of all those tactics and trying to get them down pat ... speed and accuracy.

CT-ART: 1-110 with a multi-review of those I struggled with
75 (1966 total)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

L10 and L20

Today and yesterday I worked on problems 1 to 396. I did OK for L10, but for L20, I forgot a lot of the problems.

CT-ART: 1-396

I'm thinking about switching up the next 604 problems a bit ... I'm thinking maybe I should do some form of mini-circles ... such as this:

I'd continue to memorize chunks of 20 and then work my way up to a chunk of 100 problems. Once I get to the 100th problem, I'd review that set 6 more times. So I'd do 7 mini-circles for each 100 problem set until I finish the 1000th problem. Also I wouldn't go back to review as often, if at all. I'd just focus on the 100 problem chunk and then move on to the next 100 problems without going back to review previous chunks.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

CT-ART #379

I've heard it before that CT-ART has its flaws. To be honest, I haven't noticed that many. For the most part I am satisfied with the explanation given. But I came across #379 tonight and I'm not sure I agree with the explanation.

Number 379 is from an actual game (Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov vs Vladimir D Sergievsky, 1966). The game ends with 20. Rxf6 gxf6 1-0 (see below).

CT-ART has the position continue with 21. Ne4 Qa7 22. Nf6#. What threw me off was I was expected 21 ... Qe7, not Qa7. Even if Qe7, white will still go on to win, but it's better than letting the game go with Qa7.

For what it's worth, I've seen lots of problems in CT-ART where mate could have at least been avoided, but it is not. It's not big deal, but since I put a little research time into this one, I decided to blog it. Go read the kibitzes on for this game ... they proved to analyze better than CT-ART.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just Keep Moving

I felt much better tonight after sleeping in this morning. Now if I could just get my exercise in each day ... there are just not enough free hours in a day to do everything!

CT-ART: 301-370
CTS: 156 (1800 total)

My rating dropped dramatically on CTS tonight. I think I just got tired head and couldn't calculate accuratly and quickly enough.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Slowly, But Surely

I'm still here ... I'm slowly going through the tactics.

Currently I've been working my way through 301-400 in CT-ART. I'm up to 350. I've been so tired at night that I can't push beyond 350 and so I've just been reviewing problems 301-350. I'm going to bed early tonight in hopes that I'll feel better tomorrow and can tackle new problems.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Chug, Chug, Chug

I'm upping the ante.

CT-ART: 301-320 memorization
CTS: 63 (1644 total)

I've decided to start working on chunks of 20 rather than 10. IF (and that's a big IF) I can keep up this pace, I may finish some form of the Circles by the end of May. We'll see how it goes.

I won my OCL game on Saturday. I'll post on that later. Nothing spectacular, but I was impressed with a potential tactic that I saw in the game that eventually helped me win it. Although later analysis showed that it wasn't a slam dunk, it did give me a pretty good advantage.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Today I decided to do tactics 1 to 300 in CT-ART and then do 300 tactics on CTS.

CT-ART: 1-300 (90%)
CTS: 301 (1581)

I did it!

This morning while in a boring conference call, I plowed through problems 1-300 in CT-ART. I seem to struggle the most with problems 111-200. I had a lot of mouse slips, so that affected my percentage a bit.

Tonight I mowed through 301 tactics on CTS. My rating dropped a bit, but I am so impressed that I stuck with it.

I'm 1/3 done with the circles!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Getting Up

I get the feed for Indexed and I thought this one was applicable for me today.

I haven't done tactics for almost a week now (4 days) and so getting back at them felt good tonight ... I missed doing tactics.

I didn't do a whole lot ... I just felt I needed to do something.

CT-ART: 201-300

Tomorrow I'm hoping to go through 1-300 to get a solid review before proceeding to 301.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tactical Training Works

Suprise, suprise ... the tactical training seems to be helping. The evidence isn't hard, but I have a premonition it's working. Of course if I don't have a solid thought process and manage my time properly, I'll still lose games. Anyway ... here's the update.

CT-ART: 201-290 review and memorization
CTS: 57 (1280) hit a new high rating of 1417, but currently at 1409

As you may guess, I'm not reporting every single day as I often forget, but I am providing a quick update as to where I'm at. To see detailed progress, click on "New Approach" link to the right ... that spreadsheet tracks all the gory details. I try to upload the current file once a week.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chipping Away

Bit by bit I'm chipping away at the 1000 tactical chunk.

After going back to problems 1-110 and from 111-200, I've found that I need to review these problems regularly. So I've incorporated a review in each session. This chews into my CTS time, but CT-ART is the primary focus, so I'm not too concerned about missing out on CTS problems.

CT-ART: 1-110, 142-172, 201-280
CTS: 23 (1223)

For CT-ART, I'm taking 10 to 15 minutes to review 1-110. Next I take a chunk of 30 from the 111-200 range. Lastly I work on 201 up to the point of memorization ... so tonight I went up to 280. The whole cycle takes about an hour. It's amazing how I just do the problems without much thought. Tonight I went into "new" territory without knowing and I just hummed right along without missing a beat. It must be working.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


I had a really good session tonight.

CT-ART: memorized 241-260, reviewed 201-260
CTS: 53 (1174)

I didn't work on tactics last night, so this morning before going to work, I memorized 241-250 and then tonight I memorized 251-260 and then did a review of 201-260 and then 251-260 again.

Then I logged on to CTS and whipped through a bunch of problems, getting most of them correct and thus boosting my rating up to 1397.

Tonight I listened to The Verve (Urban Hymns). I really like that album! I've noticed that I do pretty well on my tactics when I listen to Urban Hymns.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tired Head

I went through a major slump on CTS tonight.

CT-ART: 201-240 review and memorization
CTS: 64 (1121)

I missed dozens of tactics on CTS tonight making my rating plunge dramatically. Thankfully I was able to recover a bit.

Back on the Tactics

I took 4 days off for no good reason ... other things were going and I an simply didn't take the time to work on tactics.

Last night I fired up CT-ART again.

CT-ART: 201-230 ... reviewed and memorized
CTS: 57 (1057 total)

I actually hit 1400 for a couple of tactics on CTS, but then I blundered several problems and I'm at 1368 currently with a 70.2% success rate.

More problems to work on tonight ...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

1000 Complete on CTS

I'm moving along nicely.

CR-ART: 201-220 memorization & review
CTS: 75 (1000) ... 70.7% correct 1386 rating

CT-ART was pretty easy tonight and I've finally hit 1000 problems in CTS. My percentage isn't that great, but I think CTS is helping me. The biggest thing I think that CTS helps me with is the practice of scanning the board and knowing where my pieces are. I've been burned so many times by not seeing a pawn or knight that would deliver the final punch. So I've been practicing scanning the board quickly and getting a feel for where my pieces are.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fried Brain

My head was tired tonight.

CT-ART: 111-200 (94%)
CTS: 82 (881)

I missed a bunch in a row on CTS and then I started getting them. But it took me longer to solve the tactics ... my head is operating at half speed right now.

200 Down

I keep forgetting to post after I work on tactics. I worked on more memorization last night.

CT-ART: 181-200 ... memorized & reviewed several times
CTS: 64 (799 total)

Tonight I will review 181-200 and then do 111-200 before I move on to new problems.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Can't Count

I played my first Winter OCL game tonight and I lost because I moved too quickly and didn't count correctly.

My punishment was to stay up late and work on tactics.

CT-ART: 111-190, then 181-190 memorization
CTS: 63 (735 total)

I will keep pounding until it is in my head. These mistakes must stop.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Last night wasn't good.

CT-ART: worked on 171-180 six times
CTS: 0 (627 total)

I worked on new problems in CT-ART and then tried to log on to CTS only to find that it was either down or the connection was very slow. I tried 3 or 4 times and then gave up.

I played one game on FICS and blundered big time early in the game. I knew I was in no mental condition to play chess. It had been a long day. To top all that off, our two younger kids were sick in the stomach all night and into today.

Sometimes life gets in the way of chess.

Maybe tonight I can get back on track.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Report

Another day is in the bucket.

CT-ART: 111-170 ... I reviewed 151-160, then memorized 161-170, then did 111-170
CTS: 57 (672 total)

I had a great streak in CTS at the beginning of the session and almost hit 1400. Then I slid back down to 1386.

The CT-ART problems tonight were very easy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

February 13th Report

Another good night of tactical training.

CT-ART: 111-160
CTS: 53 (615 total)

In CT-ART, I reviewed 141-150 first and then I went on to memorize 151-160. Then I did 111-160. I'm starting to retain new problems much quicker and the recall on the problems I've already covered is getting better.

I hit a new high in CTS tonight too. I was up over 1380 for a bit.

February 12th Report

I worked on tactics last night, but forgot to post the report.

CT-ART: 111-150 then 140-150 a few times for review
CTS: 51 (562 total)

I think I finally worked out the kinks to my revised plan. You can click on the link to the right to see what the plan is. What will actually happen remains to be seen. The spreadsheet has two tabs. The first one tracks my plan and progress in CT-ART and CTS. The 2nd tab will track my rating stats. I'm using February 9, 2007 as my baseline. I'll try to post updates to this tab every week.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another Punch

I celebrated my birthday this weekend, so I missed couple of days. I made up for some of it tonight. I'm hoping this week will be a good week to burn in the habit.

CT-ART:131-140 (memorize), 1-140 (test)
CTS: 54 (511 total)

One of my birthday presents that my dear wife gave me was the original soundtrack to the original Rocky movie. It is by far the best of all the Rocky soundtracks. I worked on my tactics tonight listening to Rocky ... very inspiring!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Daily Report

I was dead tired tonight, but I plowed through CT-ART and a bunch of CTS tactics.

CT-ART: 1-130
CTS: 44 (457 total)

I'm off to get some sleep now.

I Finally Have Some Time

We're finally in our new home, so now I have the time to do tactics again.

Until I get into the daily habit, I'm setting aside at least 30 minutes every evening to work on tactics. I've got this timer on my computer that helps me keep on task for those 30 minutes. Some days I'll have more time, but most days will allow me only 30 minutes. I'll update my progress every day.

CT-ART: Problems 111-130 (memorization)
CTS:43 problems (413 total)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Now that another major event my life is about over (buying a new home), I've been able to focus my attention on tactics.

I've read that a number of knights have been using the tactics on CTS. I've read mixed reviews. I registered at CTS back in March, but I havn't used it much since then. The last couple of days I've been logging on and doing a 100 tactics at a time. I must say that I like it.

It took me a bit to get used to the format and the 3 second delay. But now that I'm used to it, I'm steadily improving. I like the delay it gives by showing what the previous move is.

I'm still trying to focus on CT-ART 3.0 (memorization). After I work on my chunk in CT-ART, I "relax" and do a 100 tactics on CTS. So far, I'm liking this routine. I'm getting the drilling and the variety and practice.

The Spring OCL tourney is coming up. I've signed up for it. I hope that I'll do better (shouldn't be too hard) than I did in the Winter OCL.