Man de la Maza

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Read the Book

I have over 50 books in my library devoted to chess improvement. I am proud to announce that I have now completed reading ... one. It's been a 20 year process, but I knew if I stuck with it I would eventually complete one. I was very close to completing Silman's Essential Endgames Explained Move by Move several times, but I could never finish off the chapter on bishop and knight endgames. To make myself feel better, I bought a new book about bishop and knight endgames (still mint).

The book is very results oriented. The title should be Rapid Ratings Increase which De la Maza, not unreasonably, equates with improvement. It is a bit embarassing to hear someone talk so frankly about the desire to improve one's rating. Yes, we all feel this way to greater or lesser degrees, but couldn't you have the decency to pretend that you play for the enjoyment of the game?

I think perhaps he did not. It is particularly telling that Mr. De La Maza has not played tournament chess is 4 years. Either he got so burned out that he no longer wants to, or he has gotten "out of tactical shape" and does not wish to bleed rating points by playing now. It seems he may have become a prisoner of his own success.

Early in the book, De la Maza gives an example game from when he was a class D player in 1999. His opponent was R. Oresick whom I looked up on the USCF website. His rating is about 100 points higher than what it was in 1999. Not very impressive compared with De la Maza 700 point increase, but Oresick is still playing.

The book fleshes out De la Maza points a bit. His simple thesis I think is right on the mark -- chess knowledge is not too useful without chess ability. Until you can calculate with the best of them, your chess knowledge is of very limited value. His program is also on the mark IMHO. The chess vision drills to lay the foundations of pattern recognition and the SEVEN CIRCLES to cement it. Seven times through the same 1000 problems; each cirlce completed in half the time of the prior until you complete the last circle in one day. Very cool.

Did the concentric square exercise with the captures only tonight. (My wife informed me that it was this or continuing my chess scholarship in the garage).Did rook, bishop, knight and queen twice.

CT-Art 3.0 CD arrived today. Not the prettiest interface, but whatever.

5 down, 150 to go.


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