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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Modification of My Chess Improvement Regimen

At the bottom of this blog is My Chess Improvement Regimen, originally implemented in Sepember, with the latest changes. The primary emphasis is on active training when I am actually involved with the activity as opposed to passive reading and studying. I believe this regimen is helping, as I just recently passed the 1500 USCF rating threshold after being on a plateau for over 3 years.

Openings are reviewed daily to keep them in current memory. Main lines are studied to a depth of 8 moves, whereas minor lines are normally only 5 moves deep. This keeps most of my games in familiar territory going into the middlegame. Several different White openings are included to keep opponents from ‘booking up’ and my Black lines contain several gambits and traps.

Tactics are done from a collection of over 12,000 tactics on chesstempo.com with a selected rating of 1000 – 1300. The selection is significantly below my rating, but is meant to enhance my quick recognition of tactics during a game, not to test my ability to solve difficult problems. I am currently solving 60% within 60 seconds with a 96% success ratio.

Endgames are also done on chesstempo.com Paid subscribers there can practice endgames with scoring decreased by longer, but still correct, solutions. The website keeps track of my current score and selects endgame problems that correspond to that score.

Attacking has just recently been added. I have been noticing several of my practice games where I had a potential attack against the King. Many of these attacks were incorrectly implemented, so this area needs this specialized study.

Games are played against Fritz 12 in Sparring mode. Even after the obligatory mistake, and sometimes no mistake is made, Fritz continues to play at the level chosen. I win most of the games, which helps my confidence, but still must play seriously and carefully to do that most difficult of chess exercises – Win a won game.

Study is an as time permits activity from a book that doesn’t need a chessboard. The time permitted is typically while I grab a mid-day meal at the neighborhood fast food place or while I am waiting in line, waiting for wife, etc.


  1. Great Stuff! I might ask you for that Pandolfini pgn-file some day!

  2. Sure thing. Just let me know where to send it.

    Its a good way to solidify your endgame knowledge. I also have Chernev's Practical Chess Endings in a pgn file.

    1. Hi Ralph,

      Have you seen Chess Master at any age?

      I am interested in a copy of Chernev's practical chess endings pgn file.


    2. In return I can offer you a pgn collection of some interesting games I've played, including a win over a grandmaster.

      My address is swneerava(at)yahoo.com.

  3. Hey Ralph!

    Nice site! Have you ever checked out The Art of The Checkmate? It is sort of an Art of the Attack lite but really really great!

    Hey Farbror you can get the Pandolfini PGN here:


    I will add that I always feel better getting the pgn when I have also purchased the book. :)

  4. Hey Tommyg,

    If y'all look at the bottom of my blog, y'all find that The Art of the Checkmate is what I am currently using for my Attacking regimen. I started with the Art of the Attack, but couldn't see the forest for the trees and put it aside for future use.

    I created the pgn for Chernev's Practical Chess Endings from the book, as I didn't find a copy on the web.

    http://glennwilson.com/chess/books/pec_errata.html has the errata for Pandolfini's book. I submitted the corrections for #199 & #211.

    Thanks for checking out my blog,

  5. Sounds like an eminently practical and well-crafted program, with good diagnosis of areas for improvement. Glad it's already paying off for you.