Archive for June, 2009

Tactics Training on the Web

June 23rd, 2009

If you are a player of less than, say, 1800 FIDE, nothing will improve your game faster than studying tactics. There’s no point in trying to carry out a long range plan when you miss the knight fork that scotches your plans.

There are quite a number of good books on the subject. If I had to recommend one, it’s the same one I cut my teeth on back in the 10th grade and took me from 5th board to 1st on the Vestal Senior High chess team. Woohoo! That book is the gentle and readable (and, sadly, out of print) Winning Chess: How to See Three Moves Ahead by Chernev and Reinfeld.

There’s the software programs, such as CT-ART 3.0 which take you through a large collection of puzzles and provide hints along the way.

But the largest collections are to be found at web based tactics training applications. There are two that I know of:

There. Now you have no excuses. Do a half a dozen problems over your lunch break and you’ll be kicking ass over the chess board in no time.


Two Different Chicago Chess Venues, Two Different Experiences

June 12th, 2009

Ever since my mental meltdown at the 2009 Chicago Open due to nerves, I’ve been trying to figure out ways of getting more face-to-face OTB chess in. Playing online at ICC is fine, but having a living, breathing, talking person over the board against you is something else entirely.

One way to get that OTB fix was to play more tournaments, so I’ve registered for the 2009 Chicago Class Championships. Another was to try out some of the local chess clubs and events. This past Wednesday I made my second appearance at the Wicker Park Chess Club, which meets on Wednesday’s at 7PM at Myopic Books on 1564 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago.
Read more…


Released Version 1.4

June 12th, 2009

I’ve released version 1.4. It adds the aforementioned blindfold test where you can enter a PGN file and step through it being quizzed on the current position.

The download is here.


New version 1.3.1

June 4th, 2009

Two announcements: first, I’ve added a blindfold game quiz to the trainer. You cut and paste a PGN game and the trainer steps you through the moves and asks you questions about which pieces are on what square, what the checking moves are, etc. It’s not quite fully baked, but you can check out the new version in the “Launch…” item in the right sidebar of this blog.

Second, I’ve updated the Java Web Start file to reflect that this app needs Java 6 to run (it’s compiled with Java 6, thus all those annoying class file format errors). If anyone is still having issues with the app on using Java 6, please respond with a comment to this post.

I’ll have a windows installer and a Mac/Linux installer available for download at sourceforge and will update the freshmeat page at that time. As always, enjoy.