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Training Program Two

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# 19.)  Cool Training Tip, Number Nineteen:  Learn to play blindfold chess!! 
             (Dec, 2002.)  

That's right! You heard me correctly, blindfold chess. I have written a very long and detailed article on this subject. (It has been printed in several different state chess magazines over the years.)  

And if you stay tuned to this page ... ... ... I will tell you  HOW  you can teach yourself to play blindfold chess.  So ... keep that radio dial right here!! 


December 15th, 2003:  George Koltanowski, probably the best blindfold player ever, gives the following hints to playing blindfold chess:  

  1.  Cut up a (paper) chess board into four parts ... and memorize the squares. 
     (Pay special attention to the color of each squares and diagonals.) 

  2.  Take an empty board and try to play over very short games of chess. 

  3.  Set up positions ... and work very hard at VISUALIZING the next 2-3 moves. |
      (DON'T move the pieces!) 

  4. Practice your new craft whenever you get the chance!  (Three times a week.) 

  5. Don't be afraid to lose. 

(Stay tuned, more hints to come.)  Click here to see a blindfold game that I played.  

  # 20.)  Cool Training Tip, Number Twenty:  Helping you through those plateau's. 

December 16th, 2003:  The first plateau comes somewhere around 1400-1500. No matter how hard you study or train, your rating stays the same. This is obviously VERY frustrating ... dozens of students have reported this problem!!! 

Other plateau's? 1700-1800, and just before making master. (Around 2100.) 

     Stay tuned for my hints to help you through these difficult periods.      

The 1500 plateau is best broken by intensive hard-work, analysis ... and lots of chess. 

I highly recommend getting a chess coach in your local area here. 

  # 21.)  Cool Training Tip, Number Twenty-one, (# 21):  Annotate  master-level games.  
                   (Monday;  July 12th, 2004.)  

  •  Take a recent master-level game ... the best source is TWIC ... and annotate it thoroughly. 

  •  -  WRITE DOWN  -  all your ideas, generate your own variations, try to find the traps. 
         Preferably, record your thoughts in a notebook, or on your computer.  

  •  -  Check your own work - and be sure to use a good program to do this!! 

  •  -  Do this on a very regular basis. Show your work to your chess coach.  

This is one of my ... BEST-KEPT secrets! I am sure it helped me to attain the Master's Title. 

 # 22.)  Cool Training Tip, Number Twenty Two, (# 22):  OVERHAUL  your opening repertoire. 
                  (Friday;  July 23rd, 2004.)  

I am not talking about tracking your progress or learning a new line, I am talking about some radical changes. By now you should track your progress, you should be familiar with what is working for you and what isn't really panning out. (If you cannot, then haven't been reading and IMPLEMENTING the tips I have given earlier!!)  

What I am talking is some radical changes ... especially for those players who are stuck in a rut. (Consult your local chess teacher first! This tip ONLY applies to someone who has been playing tournament chess for at least 2-3 YEARS!!) 


Let me give you a few examples: 

  •  -  One player I knew had learned the Colle System. It was easy to learn and he studied it hard. He shot up from near zero to almost 1700 in about three or four years. Then his results stalled. Why? It was obvious! EVERYONE around knew what he played, and prepared their own special line for him. Time to start learning some NEW OPENING SYSTEMS! 

  •  -  Another student played the Stonewall Attack. This - again - worked fine ... for about two years, but suddenly his progress stalled horribly. He played several different sharp opening systems with the Black pieces. He even began to notice that his results with the Black pieces ... WERE MUCH BETTER THAN HIS RESULTS WITH THE WHITE PIECES! Yet when I suggested he change his opening, he nearly died. "Hey, I won the National <Class D> Title with that opening! Its a great opening!! I know it VERY well. Why would I ever change?"  
    (Maybe because you are not winning with it anymore?) 

  •  -  Another {former} student came to Pensacola as a Navy Pilot (candidate student). He was initially rated somewhere between 1500 and 1600. AGAINST my advice, he took up a fairly sharp line of the Sicilian. (He was NOT a tactical wizard, nor did he attack much in his games. He wasn't very aggressive, and I felt the opening was a definite mis-match.) He shot up to 1700, but then stalled. Then he came to me for advice. I told him to dump the line of the Sicilian completely. (Maybe save it for a game where you are Black and need to win at all costs.) 

           I made him take up - and COMPLETELY learn - the Caro-Kann Defense. 
           (He achieved the desired result. He stopped losing a high percentage of games with the 
           Black pieces, and he began drawing - and winning - more games against higher-rated 
           players. This was what he was looking to do.) 


Are we getting the idea here? 

# 23.)  Cool Training Tip, Number Twenty Three, (# 23):  
                  (Saturday;  February 19th, 2005.) 

This is more basic ... but I GUARANTEE it will help ANY player below 1800!!! 

I have already discussed, in an earlier training tip, how important it is to study tactics - and problems - on a DAILY basis! You should do a minimum of three-to-five per day, setting up the positions on the chess board, trying to analyze WITHOUT moving the pieces, (at least at first); and then be sure to write down or record your answers in a notebook. 

Now - thanks to  Dan Thomasson  - you can study all the  BASIC MATES.  

You should memorize these! Note them whenever you can. You should even write it down with your answers when you do problems that end in mates. If possible, NAME THE MATES! (This will allow you to remember them ... they will 'stick in your head' better if you do this.) 

More on this later. 

# 24.)  Cool Training Tip, Number Twenty-Four:  
                  (Saturday; August 20th, 2005.)  

This is a question that I get asked on an almost daily basis, especially via e-mail ... ... ... 
 "How do I improve my openings?"  

I have touched on this topic before, but it bears going over again. 

  1. Do you have a regular {systematic} study schedule?  

  2. Is the openings a part of your regular study schedule? (It should be!) 

  3. Do you have a good chess teacher ... who helps you study the openings? 

  4. Do you have a study partner? Do you actually study openings with this person? 
    (Most people would rather have a root canal than study the openings!!!) 

  5. Do you have lots of good books? Do you have at least one general reference work on the opening? (Like ECO or MCO.) Do you have a good book on the opening you are trying to learn? (This is VERY important!!) 

  6. Are you using all of your tools correctly ... and maximizing the results that you get? 

    --->  You should regularly set up KEY POSITIONS, (from your favorite opening); on your computer, and PLAY IT AT FULL POWER! (You should also record the results and analyze them later ... maybe with your teacher.) Try to simulate - as much as humanly possible - tournament conditions. Play WITH A CLOCK and a SET TIME LIMIT. Write down your moves. (Play "touch move," with NO take-backs!)  

    Remember the words of the immortal Kotov  ...  "How you train ... is how you will play!" 

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(stay tuned for more tips) 


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