Saturday, October 6, 2007

Biting The Bullet

After much thought, I finally acquired Convekta's Total Chess Training 2.

The software on the CD came with the following 5 separate applications:

Encyclopedia of Middlegame II
Chess Tactics for intermediate players
Mate Studies
Theory and Practice of Chess Endings
Chess Endgame Training

I've already started working my way through the Theory and Practice of Chess Endings and there is a huge amount of material to digest.

Last Wednesday, out of the 3 rapid games I played, I lost 2. The 2nd game I fell into a blunder of enormous proportions by allowing my young opponent a mate in 4 (oops! LOL). My third game was with Mick Waters. Mick is a fine gentleman and he's a very active and steady player here in Sydney. I see him playing on Mondays at Manly, again at North Sydney on Tuesdays and Ryde Eastwood on Wednesdays.

Mick is a dangerous opponent to face (his rating is about 1500) for me as I've lost to him before. In our game, Mick opened with the French Defence. After 5 moves, I deliberately took Mick out of book and played an unusual line in the Tarrasch variation of the French Defence. We ended up in the position shown in the diagram after some 20 odd moves.

While thinking over this position, I suddenly realised that I have a winning endgame! I didn't like my dark-squared Bishop earlier on and deliberately swapped it off with one of his Knights as my central pawns were on the dark squares. I am exerting a huge amount of pressure on Black's 2 main pieces holding the position. The Knight on c6 and the Bishop on e6. My plan here is fairly simple, use my Knights to attack the Queenside, exchange off another one of his piece and Black will be in trouble. So my first course is to rip his center to shreds with Bxe4 (exploiting the pin on the Queen again). As expected, shortly after, a flurry of exchanges occur. My Knights continue to gobble up his remaining Queenside pawns and I managed to get 2 connected passed pawns on the Queenside in a winning R+4P+K v R+2P+K endgame.

I am indeed thankful to have won this game and 2 months back, I would not have known what to do in this position.


  1. eager to hear how the CD goes. i elected to get CT-Art 3.0 alone, figuring i already had lots of stuff for the other parts, but respect your effort.

    i know that you thought about this carefully, as i read you before.

    but did you look into PCT? i felt the same about that too--that is to say, that my Dvoretsky CD, my GM game collection in chessbase (1666 games, carefully selected from the major classics, ive viewed 60%= of them), CT-Art, CTS, Euwe-Kramers book on the middlegame (after reading Kotov, Aashagard, Nimzovitch, Silman, Pachman, Tisdahl already) etc, were already more than enough.

    sometimes we can pick any good meaty, beefy software or set of carefully selected books, and they alone are enough, and it is OUR COMMITMENT THAT MATTERS not the selection.

    warmly, david k seattle

  2. hello dk!

    Thanks for your encouragement and your thoughts and I'll definitely bear them in mind!

    Yes, I did had a look at CT-Art and while it was a lot cheaper, one of my friends was raving about Convekta so I decided to give it a shot.

    I love studying endgames because I can immediately see the effects it has on my game a whole.

    So far, it's been tough going. Some of the Convekta's endgames tests, I had to calculate and I mean, really really calculate to ensure I get the winning endgame. Some of the techniques involve a myriad of combinations like distant opposition, triangulation, body check all in one. The beauty of this series of tests was that if I ever made the wrong move, the program instantly tells me the refutation and where I had gone wrong.

    I am thus very satisfied with Convekta's product at the moment.

    I am currently looking to get a book to supplement my endgame training and am leaning either towards Dvoretsky's manual (might be over my head at the moment) or Muller's encyclopedic Fundamental Chess Endings as well.

    I fully agree with you that it's our commitment that really matters. I am hoping to put in more further work into endgames this week as I've another week off my studies before the new school term and my resit exam begins.

    Take care.


  3. a. i was thinking Conveka had a cd set that all your CD's AND ct-art, together, in one big package, but to put it another way, seemed like too much noise (for me) (im at #830 or so of 1208 problems is it, at CT-Art after 17 months, if you follow).

    mueller? dvoretsky? just buy both. some overlap? of course. dvoretsky for compression. fundamental chess endings for expansion and enlargement.

    warmest, dk

  4. hello dk,

    wow. well done on your preseverance and i am happy to hear that you're making good progress on your end. :)

    thanks for your recommendations too. i will get both then. i will probably get Muller's first as a reference and Dvoretsky's (I probably get the CD version) to work through on my own pace.

    i reworked again on Convekta's Endgames 1st training test last night and honestly, i'm still struggling to see endgame winning/drawing lines.

    the problem i am currently having is not so much one of memorising endgame techniques but understanding the concepts of why the technique came to be.

    anyway, i'm sure i'll get better the more i work on it.

    thanks again! cheers

  5. good decisions.

    the very last thing--as you know as well as i, is to keep moving, not fast, not too slow, but keep going. whatever supports that works:

    likeForest put it best in his comment at Level-40-rep-4-done-at-90 link and says it better than i can.

    take care and glad to make a new friend here, dk

  6. BTW, go to your dashboard, then template, then settings, then for example, make you it shows '20' posts on the main page and experiment.

    the way you have it, it makes your blog look newer and smaller than it is (not an 'advantage'!); i finally adjusted mine today.

    warmest, dk