Man de la Maza

Monday, January 31, 2005

The Nine (Ten) Circle Program

I was going to wait until I finished the program before I doled out advice on how one might improve de la Maza's program, but there are a few knights in the early lap of Circle One, so I'm gonna sound off now.

I think there are a few problems with the Seven Circle program.

1) It covers too many problems.
2) It doesn't leave enough time to digest early material before moving on to more difficult material.
3) The first Circle takes too damn long. You have to go two months before you can claim victory.
4) The workload is a bit much for people who and not young and unemployed.
5) "Seven circles" is poetically incorrect. There should be nine circles to correspond to the nine circles of Hell in Dante's Inferno. You won't write the "Eight Commandments of Chess Improvement", would you?

As such, I present
Don's Nine Circles for Tactical Chess Improvement

First, my nine circle program can be completed in the same 127 as de la Maza's. I'm adding more circles, not more time. Second, it actually has 10 circles. This is because hell has expanded since Dante wrote the Inferno. There are several new classes of sinners -- televangelists, sandbagging chess players, spammers, etc. In addition, they had a bit of an overflow problem after the Third Reich started showing up. As such, they had to build an addition. That and I need 10 to make the math work out.

Circle One -- 32 days -- level 10-30 Max time -- 10 minutes

Circle Two -- 16 days -- level 10-30. Max time -- 5 minutes

Circle Three -- 8 days -- level 10-30. Max time -- 2.5 minutes

Circle Four -- 32 days -- level 40-60. Max time -- 10 minutes

Circle Five -- 16 days -- level 40-60. Max time -- 5 minutes

Circle Six -- 8 days -- level 40-60. Max time -- 2.5 minutes

Circle Seven -- 8 days -- Level 10-60. Max time -- 1.25 minutes

Circle Eight -- 4 days -- Level 10-60. Max time -- 37.5 seconds

Circle Nine -- 2 days -- Level 10-60. Max time -- 30 seconds

Circle Ten -- 1 day -- Level 10-60. Max time -- 30 seconds

I think this approach would work better. It would give you more of a chance to master the problems at the different levels before moving on, but it keeps the same last 4 cirlces to cement the pattern recognition.

In the words of Darth Vader, "It is too late for me, my son", but I thought I'd pass this along as future de la Mazians might find it more beneficial than the program as originally outlined.

Level 60 starts tomorrow.

121 days down, 34 to go
954 problems down, 84 to go in Circle Two
Level 10: 97%
Level 20: 88%
Level 30: 76%
Level 40: 68%
Level 50: 63% (finished strong)


  • Good advice, Don. I may think about stopping where I am and go back and redo Levels 10-30. I realy do think it would be good to totally master them before moving on. Actually, I'm not feeling all that bad about Level 40 - even though my success rate is not all the good, I really do see a lot more moves than I used too and I look forward to doing the exercises much more now than when I was on Level 30 - maybe I just needed a breakthough and things will start getting better now.

    By Blogger Jim, at 9:49 PM  

  • As I flounder through level 40 and stair at five more levels of even greater difficulty, the advice you offer sounds quite reasonable. I'm still gonna go for it and complete this first circle as outlined, from there I'm going to probably adopt a strategy that focuses on levels 10-40 only.

    By Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza, at 2:34 PM  

  • Hi MDLM

    Thanks for the advice. I will definitely think about your plan. Hope all is well in your chess-life!

    By Blogger generalkaia, at 4:12 PM  

  • Hey Don,

    Awesome, awesome advice. I've been perusing the chess articles on the internet and a lot of people agree with your approach. They feel that you can make the best use of your time by solidifying the techniques of the introductory levels before moving on. At the same time you are keeping the gist of De La Maza's program, which is repeat, and repeat faster. So do we call it Don's Inferno?


    By Blogger Pawn Sensei, at 4:38 PM  

  • hey MDLM

    I just wanted to let you know that a writer from Chessville is planning on writing an article about the Errant Knight bloggers. I need your permission (along with the other Knights') for him to write it. If you would like to see my email to him, just check out the comment section underneath my 35th Day post. It is there that you can let me know whether or not it is ok with you.


    By Blogger generalkaia, at 5:59 PM  

  • lol.

    I like Don's Inferno!

    By Blogger Don Q., at 4:21 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:44 AM  

  • no matter which of the Dante's circle of the hell you put, all of then are horrible and fill of pain, the worst part is the inscription in the hell's gate according to Dante, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here".

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