Thursday, June 07, 2007

Knight Errant HardDaysKnight Begins Quest

I started playing tournament chess about three or four years ago. I'm currently rated around USCF 1550, with my highest rating just over 1600. My goal is 2000.
I used to study tactics with CT-Art (an excellent program). Within the last month or so I've switched to PCT. You can see my most recent history.

What I like about PCT is that it includes an endgame component. By studying the endgames with PCT, I feel more knowledgeable and confident with that phase of the game. I feel it's also changing my game. I no longer feel that I have to blast my way through the middlegame with some amazing tactical shot, but can move into the endgame (or at least some endgames) with a good chance of holding my own.

Regarding middlegame tactics, since using PCT, I feel like I'm seeing more in blitz games on ICC, but the real test is OTB tournament.

I just started a quad yesterday at the club (drew a 1780). I'm the lowest rated in the group, with the highest rated having an 1800 floor. So, I've got a great opportunity this month.

One of the things I've concluded about chess is that it's less about winning, or may be I should say, less about forcing a win by brute chess strength, and more about not losing, more about waiting for your opponent to blunder. "Waiting" sounds passive, and that's not what I mean. You can't just wait, you must test your opponent, and you wait for a wrong answer.

If you can get the initiative, and set problems for your opponent, even if they're not difficult, then you have a far greater chance of winning.

It's like there's a conversation going on between the two of you:

White: One plus one equals... ?

Black: Two!

White: Tweleve squared equals?

Black: Uhh, 143?

White: Close, but no, I'm sorry. Now, Estne Roma in Italia?

Black: Huh?

White: Checkmate!

So, you definitely want to be the one setting the agenda, by having the initiative and asking the questions. If you're the one being asked, then you'll have to come up with the correct answer and that's always tougher.

I guess beginners play chess like babies:

White: Agie mee ta gee doh?

Black: Og me oh beee bboo

By studying tactics and patterns, you are learning the questions and the answers that will be the conversation of your game.
Anyway, I like the language analogy.


The retired pawn said...

I like your blog! You're great with the language humor, but it is true. You have to learn the language of chess. I just started to play in chess tournament last November and after 11 rated games have P1293 rating for standard play and P1297 Quick rated. My goal is expert. I am told that I don't play enough tournaments to get there. I disagree. By using the methods endorsed by BDK, Chess of blood, and yourself, I find that it is possible to defeat higher rated players. I have yet to purchase PCT. Patrick endorsed it and I thought about it. I don't like giving out my credit card number and that I don't have a disc to reload the program if needed. However, since you're the third person to highly recommend it...I think I will break down and buy it. Thanks for your wonderful blog.

The Rise and Shine Good Knight said...

"Anyway, I like the language analogy."

Me too :D

Great post.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Welcome to tactical crazi-world!

HardDaysKnight said...

>the retired pawn: I do not think you'll be disappointed with PCT; as far as using a credit card, I've never had any problems; of course, I use only reputable businesses; also, be sure that you always use a secure link when sending credit information (the URL should show "https" (note the "s"); thank you for commenting.

>rise and shine goog knight and blue devil knight: thanks for stopping by

The retired pawn said...

HDK, I broke down and purchased the PCT. Now my question is: when do I get to down load it? Do they send me something first? Maybe I jacked it up. This is why I hate doing business this way, as I feel as if I was cheated...even if I haven't been (yet). Hopefully, I did this right. Let me know!