Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Running and Chess

As many other bloggers have noted before me, there are parallels between chess and sports. I am getting very serious about training for running for Cross Country and Track for my school (I run the mile and two-mile). Right now we are focusing on ramping up our miles at a moderate pace (6:30-7:15 mile pace or so for 7-15 miles), just to build endurance. Later on we will build our anaerobic threshold, VO2 max, etc. using interval and tempo training at the right time in the season. Then of course come the meets themselves, which test the training. This is similar to chess. We train the strategy, opening, tactics, and endgame portions of the whole shebang to improve. But seeing the parallel to chess, i guess you could say that interval training is most like cts. you are just able to go faster. it is of vital importance to train every part of you game/body so that you can perform at peak level. i'm not sure what else i can say, but i also think that it is very important to get in lots of quality training, challenging yourself to improve, before proving your mettle on the chess board or at the track. Just some thoughts from generalkaia. Let me know if anything sounds vaguely correct here. :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I've hit the 2,000 mark on CTS. My rating, as it stands now, is 1554, and my success rate is 60.9%. I am just focusing on raising the percentage at this point, but my rating has pretty much stayed put, fluxtuating around 1560. I am now taking more time to get each problem right, and I was at a 80% success rate for the latest session. So, overall I think I will see improvement soon.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

CTS and Mastering Chess

Well, I haven't been doing so hot on CTS lately. Trying to get every problem right isn't helping my percentage or my rating. Something needs to change. It's frustrating that neither are improving, you would think that I would at least be able to improve the percentage, but I can't.

On another note, I think that CTS is highly beneficial to chess skill. As Tempo has theorized and experienced himself, it makes a difference. And now, a new article in the August Scientific American confirms what tempo has been saying. The article states that "much of the chess master's advantage over the novice derives from the first few seconds of thought." Thus, CTS would train you to spot things quickly in a position and to store lots of positions in your long-term memory. Again, just like tempo thought. Just thought that I would bring that up.

Also of interest to all of us amateur chess players, it has become evident (again, according to the article) that there is no such thing as innate talent, only hard work can get you to the level of chess expertise that you desire. There is a so-called 10-year rule that says that it takes "approximately a decade of heavy labor to master any field." That means that you constantly have to challenge yourself and fight the instinct to settle into a groove of moderate ability.

I thought that I would also mention that the article talks about chunking, as in groups of information. One theory is that chess masters are able to store thousands of chunks of information, like the fianchetto position in a certain opening, for example, and know intuitively about that aspect of the position. The thousands of chunks that the masters have allows them to memorize positions in under 10 seconds when presented to them for the first time. A novice, which doesn't have nearly as many "chunks," thus has a harder time with setting up the position perfectly after 10 seconds.

I thought that this would be of interest to everyone. :)

Well, I recovered from my little dip in both rating and success rate at CTS. I am back up to 1565 and have got my success rate up to 59.1% from 57%. It's getting hard to change it. :)

Another Update:
I just passed tempo on the CTS rankings! But then again, I won't be getting even close to 1600 like he did. Also just discovered the message board there. I'm liking CTS more and more! :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Change

Well, with my CTS success rating dropping from 60% to about 58%, I tried to focus on just getting the problem right, no matter how long it took. But then my rating started to fall too. So, I need to give the technique more of a try, but it's been discouraging thus far. I think I will consider 10,000 tries on CTS one circle, similar I think to what tempo has done. I may be nearing 1,000! Alright!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Base Rating

I seem to have established as a base rating on CTS of about 1560. So, I just need to see if I can actually improve on CTS and then transfer that to the chess board! According to tempo, this should eventually happen, but it may take a very long time (10's of thousands of problems if he is any indication). I think that I can make it happen, just by chipping away here and there. I think that CTS will be my 7 circles. I guess I could be considered back on the quest. I'll look at making an official plan in the next few days.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Well, I have definitely noticed that it can take a while to get used to the CTS format, but once you do, your rating improves by about 10 points at least. I'm starting to get hooked. What really helps me do better, it seems, is when I actually get into the problem solving and make it sort of a competition. I pump my fists when I get one right just to get that little surge of adrenaline. It seems to work for me, but they probably wouldn't like it if I did that at an OTB tournament or something. ("What a move! Alright!!!") But CTS can get a bit addictive. As Tempo has likely discovered. :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Well, I have come to a sort of hover at CTS at around 1550. I'm starting to see a few of the same problems over again, which is nice to have free rating points. At some point I may encounter some problems that I recognize but don't remember the move sequence. I'm not looking forward to that. But what I like about CTS is that I don't have to do it for any set amount of time. I can do as few or as many chess problems as I like, as it fits in my schedule. Unlike FICS, CTS doesn't take a whole chunk out of your day. I'll definitely be doing more problems in the upcoming days.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Well, I have been playing chess since school got out, I just haven't posted in a while. My rating has sunk due to the long break from chess. I'm slowly recovering. Based on Tempo's recent post and his results, I have resumed using CTS. I'm now generalkaia1, if anyone is interested. I think that tempo has a good point that the 3 second constraint requires that you have the pattern locked inside your brain at a different, more long-term spot than if you had to spot the tactic without ever seeing it before. Definitely an advantage at the chess board.