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Newbie
 
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 9:24 pm
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 Post subject: Isn't a game of chess nothing but a series of tactical and
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 9:31 pm 
strategic decisions? Strategic meaning long range tactics...

Maza had an incredible rate of improvement of 600 points in 2 years. If anyone is dead serious in improving their chess they must study hard.

I would suggest cutting the drill time to be more manageable..


John


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Pawn
 
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 9:31 pm
Posts: 17
 Post subject: Tactics! or games...
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 2:31 pm 
I read that book too. I even had my chess teacher recomend the Ct-Art to me after I told him about the laMaza book.
I played the software for a few weeks, and read the Lou Hays Combination Challange 2x, and quit, because I was hunting for tactics in every game, where there werent tactics to be had. :?
I think a concentration of tactics puzzles, diagrams, etc is good when you dont have enough sense of tactics to begin with.
Maybe do this for a good 6 months or so, but also study a lot of master games and endgame theory.
I think LaMaza could be a master if he did this, and if he had good teacher as well. :)


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Pawn
 
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2005 4:21 am
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:19 pm 
I recently purchased this book, so I'll add my comments to the above.

While I agree with many of the criticisms of the book above, and at the Silman website, they don't change the fact that I got alot out of the book, and here's why.

First a couple of points about my background that are relevant.

This is one of the first chess books I've looked at in decades. The last time I was semi-serious about chess was before computerized training methods, and before algebraic notation was the norm.

I've read alot of self-improvement and how-to books, and have found that I typically have to modify the methods to adapt them to my individual needs and situation (even in the cases where the book says not to). Nonetheless, they are a good source of concepts and techniques. Sometimes the benefit comes from disagreeing with the book and arguing with it. (BTW, I should also mention that I've written a how-to book: Learn Boogie Woogie Piano http://www.ColinDavey.com/BoogieWoogie.)

Here's What I got out of the book:

-- The idea that chess can be studied in a systematic fashion, with measurable progress (ratings, evaluation profiles, as well as Fritz' ratings and handicaps), and very specific techniques for diagnosing and strengthening weaknesses.
-- Chess software allows you to do the above in an efficient and self reliant fashion.
-- The notion of using Fritz to analyze games, and focusing on the big jumps in the evaluation profile. It would be nice to analyze the whole game, but coming from not being in the habit of analyzing my games at all, and from having limited time, this was big.
-- The importance of tactics. This isn't news to anyone who reads much about chess. But for me, I hadn't seen it emphasized quite this way.
-- The idea of having a checklist of steps to do at each move (How to Think). It seems to me that thinking about how to think is important to chess improvement. His method is good food for thought, and he does point to Kotov and Silman for alternative views.

So, one thing led to another, and now I am participating in this forum.

In my case, I don't have the time or ambition of de la Maza. Also, whereas he found that the squiggly lines in his evaluation profile were due to tactical weakness, I found that mine are due to being confused by openings that are off the tracks of my limited repertoire. So, that points me in a certain direction...

Finally, I'd like to add to the discussion on drills and roboticness. For difficult skills, the performer needs certain elements to be automatic so that she can focus on higher level things.

For example, a jazz pianist doesn't want to have to think about what notes go into a chord, or her wrist postion during an arpeggio. If those things are automated, then the musician can focus on the musical conversation she is having with the other musicians, and the audience.

The key to skill learning is the ability to identify which building block elements need to be automatic, and identifying drills and exercises for efficiently making those elements automatic.


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Pawn
 
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:40 am
Posts: 12
Location: Serbia
 Post subject: Improve 400 points fast
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 9:44 pm 
My Chess Club bought M. de la Maza's book for the kids to read. The book was rated from 0-10 on an average of "1" by around ten "guinee pig" students. All ten refused to finish reading the book. Kids were aged 10-12.


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Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:50 pm
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Location: Sudbury, Massachusetts
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:00 am 
Hello,

I live in an area where MDLM had actually gone to our club, Metrowest Chess Club in Natick Massachusetts. His name reverberates quite a bit in our neck of the woods. As for his "rapid" plan... I've seen several scholastic kids in our area shoot through the class ratings in a short period while doing the MDLM method of the 7 cycles.

As for myself, an older dog learning new tricks, I modified the MDLM method a bit. Doing the problems until my eyes bled and doing them faster and faster and faster.... Uggh... I also have a life, a wife and kids. Also, at my class level, I found that after levels 20 and 30 I was not solving ...I was guessing.

So I knew my weakness was basic tactical motiffs. I needed to understand and see the basic 1 and 2 move combinations on a regular basis before attempting suicide with the higher levels. I decided to do each level 7 times before moving on to the next ( I try to at get to a point of scoring around 80-90%). I made it through the first 3 levels and my rating did improve a modest ( in comparison) 243 points in 6 months ( 180 days?). ( seen here: http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlRtgSupp.php?12471987)

Since then I have kept at it and kept track of the number of problems I've solved. I am now on my 6th round of level 50 problems and logged in over 6000 problems.

Tactics was the weak link for me when I started out on the trek. However, I soon realized I was going overboard looking for tactics in EVERY position. What I needed was to figure out what to do when NO TACTICS were in a position. Strategy is what happens on your way to creating tactical possibilities. So for the new weakness ( actually a weak positional evaluation was there all along) I needed to temper that with positional knowledge and strategy training.

So in addition to doing 20-30/ tactical problems a day religiously ( not going for speed yet... just accuracy in calculations and recognizing the "pattern") I now also include solitaire play, Silman's Reassess your chess WB, and another convetika program called Strategy 2.0. I haven't found the right rythm yet on that one but will work it into my routine this year.

I look at the collective time I can use for chess study for a week out. I'll do 10 reps of the CT-ART at a time and/or 5 reps of the Strategy 2.0 on the weekdays here and there when I have 15-30 minutes free and right before bed. On the weekends I'll add a solitaire study over an annotated game and something out of Silman's work book.

So far this is working, I'll make adjustments along the way.


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King
 
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:20 pm
Posts: 169
Location: PNW USA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 3:10 pm 
gduval wrote:
I made it through the first 3 levels and my rating did improve a modest ( in comparison) 243 points in 6 months ( 180 days?). ( seen here: http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlRtgSupp.php?12471987)


Thanks for the insightful testimonial. Even some of MDLM's most strident critics have agreed that tactics are important. Tempering MDLM's method by building strategic skills cuts out some of his more outlandish and controversial assertions in the book.

I checked your link, and saw a modest 100 point gain. The 243 that you cite is inflated by a precipitious drop in your rating before the six month climb. Earlier in this thread, I made a similar point about MDLM's claims: his initial rating was not well established, and was not a fair indication of his initial chess strength. His much higher provisional quick chess rating suggests a bit more initial skill than he admits.

Michael de la Maza recommends that a player sweat blood studying tactics. No player will fail to improve with this method. However, he has failed to make a compelling case for an adult study method that will work for folks with jobs, families, and bad habits. Jeremy Silman, The Amateur's Mind, on the other hand, takes on these bad habits directly.


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Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:50 pm
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Location: Sudbury, Massachusetts
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:56 pm 
Thanks for keeping me "honest"

OK, I've played chess off and on over the years. at one point prior to 1991 when they recorded ratings my rating did once peak at 1632. I was an average Class C player back int eh 1980s But with life events etc I came back breifly in the 1990's and my rating continued to drop below 1500. I took another furlow and had my rating bottom out in the 1300's. That was humiliating... and I decided to attempt to improve that.

What I was finding was also another anomoly that the 1500's of today are MUCH STRONGER than that of the 1500's of 15-20 years ago (IMHO...I'd like to hear from other "old timer" class-level players becauseI think at the top level that's not the case... but then again I can't speak on that) So I think my rating was leveling off and normalizing in the 2003-mid 2005 timeframe. I was also finishing a post graduate degree ( evening classes) in 2005 and not devoting much "brain time" on my game.

So when I gradated in 2005... I hit the books with a planned schedule ...my rating DID bottom out at 1359 as of June last year. Since then I managed to climb back up to 1602 as of the February posting. But a couple of recent tournaments I dipped back down to 1592.

I do see an upward trend... I thought and felt like I am playing at least 200 points stronger than a year ago... hoping to move forward a little more this year... we'll see.

Maybe I am fooling myself... not intended to fool anyone on this message board.. so appoloies. Continue on with your scrutiny!


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Bishop
 
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:52 pm
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:18 pm 
Here is a 1600 player who's absence from chess resulted in a drop of his rating by about 200 points. He then gains about 200 points after he rededicates himself to chess. This was done AT ABOUT THE SAME RATE that De La Maza gained 400 points.

So it is easy to imagine that De La Maza started out as an 1800-ish amateur player who left chess and came back to it. I can see clearly that De La Maza's results parallel these effects and that he is a fraud.

:idea: There is only one way to get better at chess, study your recorded games with a better player, then fix your weaknesses.

gduval wrote:
Thanks for keeping me "honest"


OK, I've played chess off and on over the years. at one point prior to 1991 when they recorded ratings my rating did once peak at 1632. I took another furlow and had my rating bottom out in the 1300's. That was humiliating... and I decided to attempt to improve that.


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