Monday, May 02, 2005

Rapid Chess Improvement - My Summary

Ed Gaillard mentioned to me that even if I go thro' Maza's articles, I need not buy his book - Rapid Chess Improvement, by Michael de la Maza (Everyman Chess, 2002), 126 pp. Okay, last night I did go thro' the two articles and here is the jist of the same.

Maza mentions that Chess Players who spend their time on openings, middle-game strategy, and endgames are doing an excellent job of increasing their chess knowledge, but they are not increasing their chess ability. A Class player's chess ability is limited first and foremost by a lack of tactical ability. Based on his experience, Maza says that a Class D player can become a Class B player in one year without knowing the Sicilian or the Gruenfeld or the Ruy Lopez.

He argues that, there are many positional concepts in vogue today. For example, "Castle early". If you know the tactics of mating a King in 10 different ways, then you would be able to take advantage in a situation where the opponent does not mate early. Positional understanding requires tactical understanding.

Having understood the importance of studying tactics, Maza suggests a three-step plan for improving your tactical ability.

Step 1. Do repeatitive exercises that pound very simple tactical notions into the brain. This will improve one's Chess Vision. The exercises last 28 days. During the first 14 days one practices simple forks and skewers using the 'Concentric Square' exercise. The next 14 days, one focuses on the Knight and how it moves using the 'Knight Sight' and 'Minimal Path' exercises. At the end of the 28 day period, one's ability to spot combinations and to calculate Knight moves will have greatly improved.

Step 2. 'Seven Circles' - To go thro' a set of about 1000 tactical problems seven times over the course of 127 days. He suggests, to buy the CT-Art 3.0 software from Convekta for this. At the end of this period, there would be a vast improvement in one's calculation and pattern recognition ability. This Step requires you to spend a lot of time on your part and Maza suggests a shortcut but insists on sticking to the overall structure of the Seven Circles.

Step 3. Learn how to think and integrate one's new found tactical ability into your chess play, using the suggested eight-step procedure.

All three steps require dedication. One should study everyday, even if one is sick, travelling or playing in a tournament. Also, one should keep in mind that in a Chess game if one has the material, one rule and this can happen if one goes thro' Maza's advise as formulated in this book.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anybody tried Chess Tactics Server at

It seems these exercises are more true to life that the ones in CT ARTS, which are mostly mates and lots and lots of queen sacs which hardly ever happen. CTS is free and keeps track of your progress and tries. As i said, the examples are more typical of what youd see in a real game.

12:22 AM  

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