Friday, April 27, 2007

New Circle..New Plan

Well I've decided I need a new approach to my regimen. From now on, I'll be on a 5 day schedule.

Check it out:

HEAVY DAYS --> Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday

Knight Concentric Square Drill (as described in Rapid Chess Improvement)

15 min of Chess Eye

2 hours of Seven Circles

LIGHT DAYS --> Thursday and Saturday

15 min of Chess Eye

1 hour of Seven Circles

15 min of Knight Visualization

1 hour of free study

The 2 hours of free study each week will help me to develop other important aspects of my game such as an opening repertoire to force open games (I'm looking at the Center Game for White, and Center Counter and Benoni for Black), an understanding of some strategic concepts (I've decided to do seven circles of Weapons of Chess before moving on to Simple Chess), and to learn endgame principles (Silman's Endgame Course).

On the light days, I'll be doing 15 min of Knight Visualization. Knight Visualization is a blindfold chess drill taken from the site which seems to have been wiped off the face of the internet. Here is the exercise I'll be starting out with:

Exercise 1:

The first technique that I found useful was to picture and empty board with a knight on the a1-square. The objective is to eventually move the knight to each square on the entire board. Start by figuring out in your mind how to get the knight from the a1-square to the b1-square, then to the c1-square, etc. until you reach the h1-square. After you've completed the first rank, and have the knight on the h1-square, then figure out how to get it up to the h2-square, then over to the g2-square, the f2-square etc. until you get the second rank completed and the knight is on the a2-square. You'll then concentrate on moving the knight up to and along the third rank, fourth rank, fifth rank, etc. until you picture the knight ultimately ending up on
the a8-square. At this point, you will have transferred that knight to every single square on the board.

However, the trick to the above exercise is not only move the knight from square to square, but in doing so, to simultaneously visualize the color of each square that the knight touches as it moves. [As you will see, knowing a square's color becomes very helpful for later exercises]

Picture the knight on the a1 square (visualize the a1-square as black). To get it to the b1-square, one route is to move the knight in your mind first to the c2-square (picture the knight landing on the white c2-square), then to the black a3-square, and then to the b1-square (which is white). Concentrate on both the color and the name of each square the knight touches.

When I first started doing this, it took me several hours to get the knight to each square on the entire board. Now, it takes between 10 to 15 minutes provided I make sure to visualize each square's color that the knight touches along the route.

courtesy of

In other news, I'm up to the last exercise in Chess Eye which is a lot of fun :) The program spits out positions of pieces for both sides and then asks you what the best move is. If you saw the position on a board it wouldn't be hard to figure out, but when you have to keep track of all the pieces interacting with each other in your head, it becomes difficult.

Lastly, if anybody is looking for drills to add to their study plan, the Exeter Chess Club has a great collection of drills they call Mini Games:

I especially like the idea of cut-down chess games :D

Play with K+8p each and...
  • just the rooks
  • just the bishops
  • just the knights
  • just the queens
  • just the minor pieces (knights and bishops)
  • just the major pieces (queen and rooks)

I'm interested in hearing from my fellow knights about your study plans. I figure most people don't have as much time to devote to chess as I do (I have a great job in that respect), so I figure a lot of people just do what they can, when they can. But I'd love to hear about the different goals you've set for yourself, and the different schedules you're on to achieve those goals. No matter how large or small your commitment, I'd love to hear from you :)


The Common Man said...

"a lot of people just do what they can, when they can"

Yes, it has been a real effort to make the little time I've spent on chess this week. My morning 15 minutes happened by getting up a little earlier, 5:30 a.m., and I'm not going to regularly get up any earlier than that! The late evening time happened by giving up reading (I have a great literature appetite) and I don't know how long I'm willing to do that.

I dreamt of chess on the nights when I played through a game before bed. But I think that doesn't count as study time!

Blue Devil Knight said...

I compiled a rather exhaustive list of modifications to the circles that various knights have made. Almost to a person, these modifications were done to make life and chess coexist.

Don't forgot to play and check over your games! I have found that when I don't play, no matter how many tactical problems I'm doing, I just don't get a lot better. An active coevolution of tactical prowess and general playing skills is pretty important (MDLM found this after his circles, as he wasn't any better! he added his thinking process for that reason).

BlunderProne said...

I shoot for 30 minutes a day ( at least) of tactical training. Weekends I tend to double up.

The main thing was getting into a routine and sticking with it.

My goal when I first started was to get to 1600 USCF. I did that last year prior to completing the circles. Last summer I peaked 1700 after finishing.

Sustaining 1700 was difficult as I stopped tactical training for a period of time. I changed openings and dropped 100 points.

Lately, I still do the 30 minutes a day regimine and add to it game analysis on weekends. Right before a tournament I review my openings and review it again right after the game to see where I went wrong.

I gained back 50 this past month of the 100 lost. I am focusing on consistency of my thought processes this year.

The Rise and Shine Good Knight said...

*Common Man* - You're quite the early riser :)

*Blue Devil Knight* - That's a sweet little list right there, yeah you're right about that, playing real games is very important in order to properly absorb what you've studied. I've been playing on my training weekends but that's not really enough, I should play/analyze one game each day.

*Blunderprone* - I'm glad you've made it back, I wish I was at 1700 right now..

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