In this newsletter, I will go over some of the things I’m currently working on.
I decided it was time to have some fun and play blitz again after a 45-day break. The break seemed to have helped as you can see below.
In 4 days I played 38 blitz games and gained 117 rating points. Looking at the games using aimchess.com I see the following:
Not surprisingly my time management is below the average for my rating group due to the shift from 10+0 to 5+0. However, it seems that I have improved my ability to find hidden resources in the positions and fight back from worse positions. As you can see in the diagram below I won 38% of the blitz games where I was down with a -4 evaluation at one point! The group with 2200-2400 rating “only” does that 20% of the time.
I think that looking at all those mate in two studies, and before that, endgame studies, has improved my ability to think more creatively.
Since I’m not able to attend any OTB tournaments in the near future, not because of COVID, but simply because it just isn’t possible right now with my kids sleeping patterns and family logistics. Therefore, I will continue to invest energy into publishing chess material, since I find it quite rewarding and fun to create chess books and it seems to have a positive effect on my chess.
So here comes some book news:
1. ‘100 Headachingly Hard Mate in Two Chess Puzzles Composed by Sam Loyd’ will soon be published as a paperback! The price will be 12.75 $.
2. I’m working on a ‘Chess Opening Journal’. The idea is to use it as a way to go over the openings from one’s games. You will fill out the move-list, mistakes, key moves, notes, and lines to research. There is also a diagram to fill-out with for the most important position.
The whole idea is that the journal is a desirable difficulty. A wording that was coined by Robert A. Bjork, who is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California. A desirable difficulty can be described like this:
“Many tasks give the illusion of learning because they are too easy. For example, re-reading notes or a textbook is a common learning tactic that has been proven to be less beneficial than using flashcards.
A student may feel like they are learning when re-reading, but this is partly due to the fact that the words are more familiar rather than that the material is being processed and learned. Flashcards, on the other hand, require the student to actively recall the information.
This is a desirable difficulty because it requires more effort and forces the student to do more complex processing. At first, learning with desirable difficulties may take longer and the student may not feel as confident, but over time knowledge will be retained better.”1
So while it is much quicker to just press ‘Request a computer analysis’ and skim over the mistakes. I think this task of writing and thinking about the opening phase of the game will prove as a good desirable difficulty.
The journal is not yet published, since I want to test the concept first.