Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Summer of Mastery

Our goal this summer is to jam pack our knowledge. Just like any good stage dad. However, the only thing I am signed up for here, and the only thing he signed up for, is one summer. This summer. Hopefully he gains enough chess mastery in this one summer, that with little other work, except exposure, he can choose to play chess competively for the rest of his scholastic career. Without feeling embarrassed and most importantly having fun.

It will take a lot of work to get there, but not nearly as much work as it will take to be "That Guy". But he is too young yet to make that decision, and while he is enjoying chess, I don't think he is prepared to make the exclusionary demands to be that one guy. So... Our Summer of Mastery.

I will post about our plan as we go on. A few of things of note. He is not entirely a beginner. He has some chess vision and mastery of the board. But he is clearly a beginner, in that even with ability and vision, he lacks wisdom and experience. He has had very little positional training or opening training other than the standard maxims. There are interesting phases in the beginners life. I don't think we are through them all, but in many ways we are at the very level that many knights start at. I think it is worth examining what the differences are, so that we can all grow.

Focus Points

We are going to use PCT 3.0 for tactics training. He is currently on Tactics Module 1 unit 20. And we generally do about 5 a week. The goal is to do one unit a day, but homework, soccer, and other things come up. But I see us ramping up rather than ramping down through the summer. We have CT-Art, but currently I do not see the need to add anything extra in. We have made a bet here.

We are using Fritz with Rybka 2.3.1 to follow our own games and to go through master games that we discover. This gives us a world class kibitzer to look over our shoulder when we examine games. At this level, there is nearly nothing to be learned by the wins (almost universally poor opponents), but there is a lot to be learned from playing better players. We can help determine plans and methodologies to come up with better things to do in the future. I have tried many other UI's, and I am on a Mac so it would be better if something like Sigma 6 worked better. But the always working cut and paste features, infinite analysis, and adding kibitzers is better than anything else to date. It just works very well.

We have used "Searching for Bobby Fischer" to create discussion points, and help understand the needs of the beginners up front. This movie has been very good for this, and has helped provide a vocabulary around the adventure.

For attempting not to lose, and bring structure to the game, we use the Principles of Dan Heisman's "Real Chess". This has also created a structure around talking about not losing, and the difficulties that you can have over the chess board. And how those difficulties lead to reactions that make it even more likely to lose. Playing "Real Chess" helps keep you from looking stupid. Both in reality, and in your own mind.

For strategy, we have Yasser's books, Kasparov's book for children "CheckMate", and now we are seriously looking at Andrew Martins stuff for the Chess Media System in Fritz. I am actually amazed by this. This by far has helped me find understandings that I used to hope came from books. It dramatically lowers the access requirements to certain types of knowledge, and the speed is better in trying to keep things together. I have 2 CD's coming in the mail, the ABC's of openings and The Scandanavian made easy.

More details about all this stuff as we go along.


transformation said...

welcome aboard from Leschi, between 'the CD and 'the UW', just above the lake here!

i know of many bloggers here, but none from cross town.

fyi, last time Yasser was in towne, whom you mention below, he and his wife took me to lunch... long story, see post(s). a close friend of mine...

of course, i am not a master, but do love my chess training!

warmly, dk

seattle washington, usa

hisbestfriend said...

Wow! Howdy Homie! I have friends that live in Leschi.

Were do you play in Seattle? Are you going to the Washington Open over Memorial Day?

Hope you continue to read!

transformation said...

thank you. no. i work retail with its inflexable schedule emphasizing weekends, and, until i get in a groove for live chess outside the internet, resumming tournements and re-establishing my old uscf is the project of another day.

but good luck!

warmly, david

hisbestfriend said...

Well, then, actually here's a goal. To bring someone back to Over The Board play!

I hope you get your groove back!