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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Philidor Defense (13), & daily study regimen

Today’s game is from the third round of the initial Lowry Grand Prix series. I was paired against a young man from our sister chess club in Augusta, GA. In the early middlegame, I overlooked a tactic that left me with doubled, isolated center pawns. Later, a series of exchanges ended with a royal Knight fork, which precipitated my resignation.

To summarize, a list of what I need to improve:

Tactics – The Knight movements seem to confuse as I tend to look only on where a Knight can reach with its initial jump, and overlook what threats exist after that jump is made.

Blunders – In both of the tactical mistakes, I am not analyzing far enough during either the move-choosing
phrase or in the blunder-checking phrase.


Current daily study regimen (2-3 hours is a typical day):

Tactics – 10 puzzles per day from chesstempo.com using a non-timed set of problems. The difficulty level spans both sides of my current USCF rating. My goal is to solve a majority of the problems with an average time of under 3 minutes. If/when that occurs I will raise the difficulty level.

Study – 20 minutes per day studying Modern Chess Strategy by Ludek Pachman. In that time, I can usually cover 5 pages. The first pass of the book should take 2 months. The examples are in a Shredder pgn file. 

Endgames – 15 minutes per day working through the problems from Practical Chess Endings by Irving Chernev. The book contains 300 problems and a normal morning covers 2-3 problems. The problems are loaded into ‘Scid vs PC’ with Houdini defending at full strength and 6 seconds/move.

Twice-a-week game days – either a chess club tournament or against a suitable opponent from Chessmaster 10. CM10 is set for G45/3. If the games are quickly over, I will annotate them the same day

On non-game days – 45 minutes per day playing through master games or annotating my games. For master games, I am using a free program called Guess The Move from https://sites.google.com/site/fredm/ which provides instant feedback on the quality of my move attempts. The master games are from A First Book of Morphy by Frisco Del Rosario This is a new program for me with the goal of practicing my thought process on every move. In addition, 15 minutes per day reviewing, updating and practicing my opening repertoire using the free Chess Positional Trainer.

Extra – I am solving or attempting to solve 2 problems each day from Chess Exam and Training Guide by Igor Khmelnitsky. I am currently in the second half of the book and should complete it this month. The result will rate my level of play in 12 separate chess areas in USCF equivalence.


  1. Hello, just wanted to share a couple of human thoughts about your game :

    - I wondered about 11...Bc5, with the idea to trade the bad bishop - should white accept Nc5/Re8/Be6 is a very harmonious set-up for you, when you don't have any bad piece
    - you don't mention 13...Nxe4 in your analysis - wonder if you considered it during the game and why you refrained from it
    - 14...a5?! anchoring the Knight 15.c4 is an interesting pattern
    - about your final blunder - was it because you overlooked the fork or didn't really look for his threats ?

    If you want to traing simple defensive methods, or simply your defense thought process, chessok.com has a good product ("Simple defence")

  2. Hi,
    This is Glenn Wilson, the creator of ChessFlash. Your blog is great! Thanks for using ChessFlash.

    I noticed that your ChessFlash background color does not match your page background color. Your post background color is ede5cf but ChessFlash is using a white background color.

    The next time your publish a game with ChessFlash if you enter ede5cf for the Background Color Override I think you will like the effect -- it will blend in better. See http://chessflash.com/pgnviewerfaq.html for more information.

  3. Thanks Glenn, I will give it a try.

    And thanks also for maintaining the errata for Pandolfini's Endgame Course (one of my favorite and recommended books) at http://www.glennwilson.com/chess/books/pec_errata.html.

  4. I love the concept and idea of the Pandolfini book. It's nice to know you appreciate it and the errata. Thanks!