Man de la Maza

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quest for the (somewhat) Holy Luncheon Butter Dish

So I'm doing the blindfold and endgame thing. It's coming not so bad. I have a plus score on my 11 year old in the last few weeks (though last night she beat me like she was MY daddy), and endgame study is coming along nicely. I could now describe the correct procedure for winning a Lucena or drawing a Philador or Vancura.

A week ago I decided I'd like to do some tactics again. Nothing too extreme like the 7 circles, but something more than "Maybe I'll do some tactics problems every once in a while". I wanted to have a regimen but not something that would exclude all other chess study. Something that was a quest but not as significant the Holy Grail. More like a quest for the butter dish that was used for lunch on the Wednesday before the Last Supper.

And so it began.

My goal is to do half an hour of chess tactics problems for 100 consecutive days. I have now completed 5 days. I'm using Renko's Intensive Chess Tactics 2 CD. So far, I've been doing the Intermediate Checkmates. I'm thinking I'll switch over to material section when I get about halfway through the checkmates. In a pinch, I may do probs from Halls "Combination Challenge" or the mythic CT ART.

5 Days down, 95 to go


  • Glad to see the father of all quests chess back on another quest.

    I've always enjoyed your humor!

    By Blogger Rocky, at 10:25 AM  

  • I would be interested in hearing the process as to how you learned to play blindfold and your experiences .

    By Blogger takchess, at 12:55 AM  

  • I would describe the process of learning to play blindfold much like the proecss of learning to juggle. Really you just have to try it and not get upset that you are dropping the balls a lot. It gets easier.

    Playng my daughter is just about the perfect situation. She knows chess notation so she can make the moves, and we are just about even when I am blidfolded. (To even up the game usually, I give her Queen and Knight odds). One reason it works is that I play much slower blindfolded. Usually she is the one who is taking all the time thinking. She likes it that now I have to ponder her moves.

    I can't entirely visualize things, so I have to work things out "mathematically". For example, I can't "see" where a bishop on d2 would move to if it moved to the h file. I have to mentally tally the squares e3... f4 ... g5 ... h6! Paradoxically, this makes knight moves easier than bishop for me. Also, I know an unmoved white Queen can check a king on the h file if the pawn on e2 is moved and there is nothing on f7 or g6. Therefore I can kind of see that without working it out.

    Note: I write the moves down and refer back to the notation. Since I can't (yet?) keep a clear picture of the board in my head, it just makes it too hard to do it without writing it down. Also interesting, it makes it much easier if I have a blank chessboard to look at since it provides an reference for questions like "what diagonal connect the d2 square to the h file?". For this reason, I don't use the blank board.

    By Blogger Don Q., at 5:41 AM  

  • Note to earlier comment, I give my daughter queen and knight odds when we play regularly. When we play blinfolded, we play at no odds (though I'd happily give up the bishops so I could stop calculating the friggin' diagonals). She is currently USCF rated 500.

    By Blogger Don Q., at 5:44 AM  

  • One thing that helps me play a full game of blindfold is to not calculate and instead force myself to see the board. I'm not sure how it works, but its a lot easier to just know the board. I'm not trying to sound high and mighty by saying I can, but thats one tip I hope you find helpful.

    By Blogger classplayer, at 5:15 PM  

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