Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Ignorance is Bliss

One of the common complaints for the Knights can be summed: "Yeah, so what."

What about positions, openings, reasoning. Like I am going to be playing and a giant light will come on saying "Tactic Ahead! Sac your queen NOW!"

A young scholastic player doesn't know what he doesn't know. Just has a desire to beat the crap out of his opponent, and is willing to do whatever it takes. So no self doubt, no worries, just hook him up with the juice and he is gone.

I am a big proponent of the Knights method. It is similar to the Polgar method, and with the advent of modern computer systems it isn't just less hard, it is supercharged.

This last year, I spent a good long time looking at the computer world of chess. My job was in building professional software and dealing with UI issues. Oh my god, what is it with chess players and UI. It seems to have infected the entire category, and not a single product seems to not be infected with goofball UI. Some of it dramatically at the expense of the process, lots of it just goofy crap.

Windows is where chess products live. Good or Bad, it's just the truth. I was a switcher about 3 years ago, so I had spent a lot of time with Mac based products. Sigma is almost a decent product. I am an owner. But simply, if you are going to be serious about chess, and have access to the wealth of products you need to be running windows. Now with Parallels on my mac, I have no problem. The world is my oyster.

I have tried many of the Convekta products. Including Chess school for Beginners, and CT-Art. And they could really stand to have a giddy highschooler take a look at their design choices. And ultimately it was not very satisfying.

We are now using PCT and the boy is moving along. 240 problems a day now in his latest module, and average time of 18 seconds. He now goes into chess "letting the tactics run through him", little does he know, what he doesn't know. But he sure likes kicking the crap out of the other kids.

More later...


transformation said...

welomce aboard! LOTS of sincerely fine and interesting people here (chess relearner, wormwood, loomis, mousetrapper et al, to name but a few).

while there is definitely a contingent of 'superficial' and flotsam, there are some who have and indeed do dig deep, and share at their blogs what would be, for ratings and skills of different levels, deep and uncanny things.

greetings from the pacific northwest, david

hisbestfriend said...

Thanks guy! I sincerely hope this is as interesting for those who come, as it is for I!

Blue Devil Knight said...

You are sooo right about user interface. My wife just finished getting her masters in information science, so I have gotten something of an education in design.

Chess software companies typically have a) awful documentation b) awful customer support.

That said, I'm surprised you weren't more impressed with CT-Art. I just wish CTB had the same design features (the 5x5 mini-board!). THe problem with CTArt, by my lights, is that the problems are too complicated for fruitful circles training. For beginners at chess, it is key to learn to see the most basic of tactics. The four and five move combinations in CT-Art are cool, but I need to learn the alphabet before I learn to spell.

hisbestfriend said...

Thanks for the comment BDK!

It was a race between PCT, CT-Art, Chess Tactics Server, and this program with 2 million problems that I got at the nationals.

The race was to the "one" that we were going to actually "use", as multiples was much less desireable unless we "had" to.

PCT just won the race for us.