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Old 08-07-2018, 01:28 PM   #351
The Yugoslavian
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Finished the easy problems yesterday and have gotten into the intermediate ones.

Total stats so far: 4.5 hours - 238 problems - 486/511 (95%)

My method so far is to look at the positions in the book and write down lines (quite messily lol) which I then check later. I am not spending any session time checking the solutions or adding up points. I prefer taking my time doing this and can always do it in pieces later if necessary.

Additionally, so far each of my sessions is 30 minutes. Doing longer ones may be a good idea for a variety of reasons but shorter sessions allows me much more flexibility in actually doing them, which I think is the most important thing.

Given my pace so far it may even be possible for my total set to be all easy and intermediate problems. We will see, though, I've only done 16 intermediate problems so far - many may be quite a bit tougher.
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Old 08-30-2018, 12:32 PM   #352
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Finished the first cycle, woo!

Woodpecker - Cycle 1
Time: 40 hours (2,400 minutes)
Problems: 984 (easy + intermediate)
Accuracy: 87% (book method and simple method)

Going to just do simple scoring in the future (0 points wrong, .5 partial, 1 for correct) and spend less time writing things down and checking answers carefully.

I'm also going to take a break until Tuesday - feeling fairly worn down, although I'm also sick so that may have a lot to do with it. I don't want to get complete burnout after doing all this work. Especially since I really pushed myself to do so many problems. Overly ambitious? I dno, I guess I'll see.

Supposed to play 5th round of the monthly tournament tonight vs. 2240 player. I was scheduled to play him last week, felt like I was fighting off something and almost didn't go - but went - and ended up not playing him. I'm definitely sick now but may still go and play, not sure. It may be a game time decision.
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Old 08-30-2018, 02:02 PM   #353
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

You seem to be sick quite often. Everything alright with you in general and just bad luck, or something nasty? Feel free not to answer, ldo. Hope you're OK, is what I'm trying to say, I guess.

Either way. Great job, buddy. Keep it up.

And crush that guy tonight. I'm always performing a few notches better than I feel I "should" (if that makes sense) after having spent a good deal of time on an intensive tactics regimen ahead of a game.
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Old 08-30-2018, 03:17 PM   #354
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

I don't mind you asking at all. I've always had a history of getting lingering sinus infections when other people would just get mildish colds. However, before my kid 2.5 years ago I'd say I wasn't getting sick too often - maybe one major sickness (more than a couple/few days of feeling off) a year.

However, I was sick a ton when she was an infant - so was my wife. But she seemed to be more mildly sick and was recovering faster. I looked into it with an ENT and then allergist over a year ago and have been getting allergy shots. This last winter seemed to be *much* better but then in March, June, and now I've gotten what seem like colds that haven't been too bad and after about a week it seems they are clearing up and then I end up with bronchitis. Even throughout, my sinuses are waaaaay better than they were in the past in terms of being able to breathe through my nose at night. But this chest congestion and hacking up mucus in the morning is not something I've ever gotten this frequently before.

I don't really know if anything is actually wrong with me besides this history of being susceptible to sinus stuff.

I'm not super sick but I'm so damn tired today somehow - I've been getting 9+ hours of sleep almost every night since last Thursday night (when I got 5-6 hours or whatever). Unless I feel a strong motivation or urge later today I probably will just rest, last week took a lot out of me and I felt a lot less tired then. But if I play I will try to crush of course!
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:50 PM   #355
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

So by skipping the last round of the monthly tournament, I ended up sharing 1st place (none of the leaders actually played the 5th round lol). Tie between 4 of us, but still, I got 1st!

Just started cycle 2 today (took 2 days off and reviewed my missed problems for the other two) and did all the easy problems in 130 minutes. Faded near the end and missed a couple more than I probably should have but I feel very tired today for some reason. Still struggling with a cough at night and sick to some degree.
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:23 PM   #356
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Way to go, man!

Glad to hear you don't have anything actually nasty. Keep crushing OTB and on the Woodpecker front!
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:17 AM   #357
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Last week I agreed to a draw with the 2200 70+ year old FM early on in an endgame where if anyone had a pull I may have had a slight one. But I missed a winning tactic earlier.

Last night I feel I played well until I blundered a piece - still had 7 mins left on my clock (30 second increment) but did spend ~1 minute on the move so it doesn't seem I necessarily rushed it.

I think I'm blundering way too often for my rating strength.

I went through my 32 rated games this year and found that:

Out of my 7 losses and 7 draws it seems 8/14 times I blundered material/mate/pawn. When I say blunder I mean it was something relatively simple I missed. Something that really should be "easy" for me to see, like only 2-4 ply deep.

Of my 15 wins, 3 were due to blunders from my opponents. They are of course making mistakes but I really can't find other blunders (well, a couple more after I was already clearly winning, perhaps).

I don't think I realized until now what a disparity there is - it seems I'm blundering *much* more than even my weaker opponents.

I'm not really sure what to do about this that I'm not already doing - tactics training and playing. I even took a caffeine pill before the game last night to try and reduce fatigue if the game went the distance.

Perhaps this could be variance. Or perhaps I'm playing a highly complex style that leads to blunders for myself but only smaller mistakes for my opponents - but that seems like a bad style to have to set yourself up for blunders but opponents for small mistakes.
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:30 AM   #358
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Dude,

I'm going to assume that, just like most of the rest of us, you're an ex poker player.

8/14 and 3/15 means just about nothing at all.

Keep woodpecking away, and keep trying to make good decisions at the chess board, and don't sweat the "stats" too much. You're doing fine!
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:17 PM   #359
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Hmm, I couldn't resist turning on the engine. While I did blunder something simple, it seems White was actually winning anyway - although he would have to make further strong moves - losing (or in this case, drawing) in that manner I'm much more okay with.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:21 PM   #360
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugar Nut View Post
Dude,

I'm going to assume that, just like most of the rest of us, you're an ex poker player.

8/14 and 3/15 means just about nothing at all.

Keep woodpecking away, and keep trying to make good decisions at the chess board, and don't sweat the "stats" too much. You're doing fine!
Well...kind of, except chess != poker. Although I guess I may simply be thinking of it wrong.

I guess what I should think is that, let's say ~10% is a normal blunder rate. Well, 25% over 32 games seems quite reasonable and ~10% or so for my opponents (even if we say they are overall weaker and should be at 15 or 20%) is also reasonable.

Is that how an objective person like yourself is thinking of this?
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Old 09-14-2018, 04:10 PM   #361
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

I guess I think that it's just generally the wrong way to think about your chess as an amateur. I'm not 100% subscribing to the "style doesn't exist at the amateur level" school of thought, but I do think it's a waste of time being too concerned with how your style might affect your results.

In a world in which both Tigran Petrosian as well as Mikhail Tal were once World Champions, having one or the other style of play should never be anywhere near the focus of your thoughts about how you could improve your results at the amateur level. You're clearly tactically very strong already, and you're obviously not getting any weaker doing the woodpecker. So there should be very little to worry about on that front.

Do your wins have a slight tendency to be more on the grindy side of things, and your losses more on the horrible blunder side? Maybe, maybe not. The sample size is too low, imo. But even if they are, that's fine. It's fine for as long as your like the way you're playing. If you don't like that style, you're going to have to change it, but not for better results, but because you like another style better. Chess must be fun, after all.

I for one tend to play a very solid style which is (bordering on the paranoid) more concerned with trying to avoid blunders than with going for the all out attack. I love playing like that. It's the way I like thinking about the game. I love watching Karpov gain a small advantage and then just suffocating all counter play, and it's what I'm trying to do in my games. I obviously suck at that, but that's because I suck at chess in general, but it's still my "chess nature" as it were.

So yeah, the two losses I've had in my short OTB career (again, I've played against way too weak opposition in my first year, resulting in overwhelmingly positive results), came from MASSIVE, HORRIBLE blunders on my part. In fact, one of the two games I lost, I resigned in a completely (and not difficult to see) drawn endgame, which is a blunder that is still super painful to think about to this day. My wins (unless they came against actual beginner level players) were more on the grindy side. That's not saying that I don't attack when I see an opportunity, but I'll routinely spend 20+ minutes paranoidly (is that a word?) checking for the soundness of my attack, and I'll only play it if I'm absolutely convinced. And while that has numerous times lead to hallucinating refutations of potential attacks that objectively don't exist, I still don't plan on changing my general approach to the game. I'm an amateur. Chess must be fun. Trying to play solid first and foremost is fun for me.
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:51 PM   #362
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

I'm not necessarily thinking about changing my "style" or whatever. I kind of did 3.5 years ago on the advice of my first chess coach (YKW). Although he didn't really say I had to do anything but mentioned my games from 10+ years ago had me playing very static, dry, and safe positions. That for me to get better and possibly enjoy chess more I could try playing more dynamic positions and even, *gasp*, intentionally go into unclear positions.

My repertoire is a bit odd as it can lead to many dry and boring positions but then also very dynamic ones - which I think works very well.

One thing my current coach mentioned later today was that part of it could be that I don't give my opponents a chance to blunder. I assume what is essentially meant is rather than finding ways to keep pressure (or perhaps the "squeeze") and build up tension, I tend to be on the lookout to either force concrete lines or make moves to find concrete lines. I do think there is some of this going on. Especially when I have an advantage I do not think I'm very good or comfortable yet with simply letting the advantage "sit" for many, many, moves - which is a much safer way for me to potentially play if I can do it well and I imagine lead to these elusive blunders from my opponents.

Or just go into very crazy positions. But while I have won some nice attacking games, I don't tend to go for material sacrifice unless I can clearly see a way to get it back or am very sure it will be winning. For instance, in the game last night I spent a ton of time trying to figure out if a particular sacrifice would work - but my opponent didn't have to even allow it, he had other responses to the move I was thinking about playing. All that wasted energy could have just been used to win a pawn, make a few normal moves, and then having more time later in case things got complex (which they always do again).

But, okay, I agree that this kind of focus/thinking is a bit silly. The Gelfand books I have may help in this regard - or at least his first book. I may want to read it a few times as it's kind of an ode to Rubenstein and squeezing one's opponent - there are some very, very complex lines in some of the games, it's not that they aren't dynamic, but Gelfand finds ways to parry counterplay and just slowly squeeze his opponent, never seeming to worry too much about exactly how he will win or if he will win until his position becomes clearly winning to himself.
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Old 09-15-2018, 02:12 AM   #363
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Giving your opponent chances to blunder is a very good point, and obviously something a style that's mostly concerned with not blundering yourself is prone to be not too good at. That's certainly someone like myself could work towards, too. Obviously you can't go full "hope chess", but you can acknowledge the fact that your opponent is a human who will not respond perfectly (plus, you're human too and don't even see the perfect responses yourself to begin with).
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:01 AM   #364
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

I think I spend quite a bit of time trying to find ways to convert positions into something else but I probably should be more willing to keep things more complex if I don't see any sort of clear material or positional gain.

I finished cycle 2 for The Woodpecker Method a day early so I'll try to go through the problems I missed today, take tomorrow off fully, and start cycle 3 on Wednesday.

Cycle 1 results: 40 hours, 87%
Cycle 2 results: 18 hours, 92%

I had several bad sessions near the end in terms of both accuracy and time - was hoping to finish in 16-17 hours. Anyway, I finished a day early anyway so probably shouldn't worry too much about the 3rd cycle. It certainly seems like it will be very difficult to do all problems in 7 days, but my time will likely get faster even though it doesn't feel assured.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:35 AM   #365
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Just started my 3rd cycle on chessable as part of a Beta testing team. Wow, I had no idea seeing the Black positions reversed (or, not reversed) would throw me for such a loop. I tried to speed up on the White positions to make up for the time I felt I was spending and missed a bunch.

Then I calmed down and now I'm not so sure having the Black positions reversed is hurting my time too much - we'll see though, I think it would have been a lot better if I had done every cycle on chessable (or in the book) instead.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:59 PM   #366
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Was slated to play 2251 tonight. Now most likely playing a 1750. lol. It's my own fault from the last two weeks - need to score more points to avoid playing weaker and weaker players!

Btw, my speed has increased way more than I thought it would for cycle 3 - we'll see if it holds but I'm starting to actually be hopeful I can do all 984 problems in 1 day for either the 6th or 7th cycle! I may take a PTO day and just do several 2 hour sessions for most of the day or something if it seems possible.
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Old 09-21-2018, 12:02 PM   #367
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Beat the 1771 player. Blundered a pawn on move 9 although it may just be a good sacrifice, especially since it's good to do something to unbalance the game against a lower rated player. After that, though, I think I saw quite a bit and played well. Pretty proud of the game but perhaps it's easy to be when your opponent keeps making significant mistakes.

Here is a link if anyone is interested in checking it out: https://lichess.org/study/nt84oSxV/z9RORter#0.

Links to my last two games:
https://lichess.org/study/nt84oSxV/aJ4BYFvg#0
https://lichess.org/study/nt84oSxV/rBGqJde5#0
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Old 09-24-2018, 03:52 PM   #368
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Scottish IM Andrew Greet (2441) has won his first game at the Olympiad today. Against 1848 from Togo.

Why am I posting this in here? He's finished a full Woodpecker a week ago, and he blogged about it at qualitychess. Link here.

It's safe to assume he would have won his game without Woodpeckering beforehand, but it should be interesting to keep following his results and performance.
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Old 09-24-2018, 04:55 PM   #369
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

The Woodpecker Method is now available on Chessable. Gogogo, buybuybuy!

Sugar nut - Yup, I've been following along and interacting with ("Peter") Andrew in that blog and of course am keeping an eye out on his performance in the Olympiad.

I finished cycle 3 today! Either the end of the intermediate problems gets harder or I'm getting more and more fatigued throughout each cycle b/c my time takes a dive in the last 100-200 problems. I really want to push through and not take more than 1 day off in between cycles but perhaps a rest of a few days is in order. I took a few days after the 1st cycle and the 2nd certainly went well, so maybe more rest is better...I'm not sure yet.

I do think I should be able to do cycle 7 (or 6) fairly reasonably in 1 day.

Results so far:

Cycle 1 results: 40 hours, 87% (time didn't include checking solutions or scoring)
Cycle 2 results: 18 hours, 92%
Cycle 3 results: 10.5 hours, 92% (done on chessable)
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:46 AM   #370
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

He's playing Giri right now. Upset time!
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Old 09-25-2018, 02:55 PM   #371
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Yeah, I saw that. Seems his biggest mistake was tactical to some degree but he also was kind of just getting outplayed and losing. As top board he may get some other upset opportunities if they can win vs. teams with a similar strength.
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:58 AM   #372
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

So, apparently that first win against Togo was by default because the Togoan team hadn't yet arrived at Batumi (wtf). After that, Greet is 1 out of 5 against avg rating of 2451. His only win coming against untitled player James McTigue from the US Virgin Islands.

Woodpecker Method confirmed useless.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:27 PM   #373
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Yeah, not been going so well for him :/.

Not for me either (yet). Lost last week even though I had a mate in 2 at one point and was +3 or +4 for many moves. Lost the thread, my queen, then wasn't able to hold a tricky endgame playing on increment. But, ok, we move on.

For how many sort of big issues I had last month I only lost 2 rating points.

Finished cycle 4: 7 hours (92% accuracy)

I really want to try to push my accuracy up in cycle 5, but I also want to speed up which is tough if I'm double and/or triple checking things to not make careless mistakes. Either way I'm already within potentially doing it all in 1 day but may end up doing 7 cycles anyway. We'll see how cycle 5 goes tomorrow and Wednesday.
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Old 10-01-2018, 02:13 PM   #374
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

Quote:
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Not for me either (yet).
I've been slacking a lot with my training, and the season has already started. I'm feeling super rusty, and the first two games of the season I lost in 22 moves and 26 moves respectively. I did play more competent players than last year, mind you, and even in form wouldn't be a favourite against them. But I definitely have it in me not to get demolished like that against those calibre of players.

I've decided to take drastic measures and go full basics-mode. I'm doing the Polgar mates!

So, naturally this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Yugoslavian View Post
Lost last week even though I had a mate in 2.
... caught my eye:

I've just been staring at this position (white to move, mate in 2) for the better part of ten minutes and couldn't figure it out.



Spoiler:
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Old 10-04-2018, 11:15 AM   #375
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Re: Yugo's log of will he or won't he

That is a nice one! I've found that when looking at mate in 2 studies they becoming significantly easier after doing them for a while. You start to look at very weird moves (e.g. putting the Q on a square the pawn controls) faster and it helps a lot.

I finished cycle 5 and my accuracy finally increased, as did my speed. Very happy with this cycle.

Cycle 5: 4:51, 96% accuracy

I plan to take Monday off and finish all problems in 1 day. However, I'm not sure if I should just do that as my 6th cycle or do a 6th cycle tomorrow and Saturday. I should be able to do a lot tomorrow but no clue how much time I'll have to spend on Saturday.

I guess I could always start early tomorrow and see how far I can get. If I get very far maybe I can just finish them all.
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