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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide (Read 5393 times)
ErictheRed
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #37 - 05/17/18 at 17:21:48
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 05/17/18 at 16:52:18:
IsaVulpes wrote on 05/17/18 at 04:59:33:
I certainly do feel like my raw "knowledge base" is above my current rating and I am just really bad at *actually playing* ...

This is a very common perception. I hear this claim all the time at tournaments, but I have never heard anybody claim the opposite. If everybody's knowledge is above their current rating, it is the same as if nobody's knowledge is above their current rating.


Ehh this is a common claim, but that doesn't mean that it's untrue.  While I might not hear a lot of people complaining that they are great practical players and if they only studied more or got that classical chess education... I do know quite a bit of those players.  Many tournament players in the U.S. know almost no theory and don't play endings or strategic positions well, but they are quite savvy and tricky tactically and can achieve a pretty high rating (2100-2300) because of it. 
  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #36 - 05/17/18 at 17:18:06
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@EricTheRed Well, Khmelnitsky himself lists all these considerations and more in his cautionary text. Even USCF ratings mean different things in different contexts--underrated kids, sandbagging World Open players, players in small rural pools improving or aging and declining as a whole, etc., etc. And of course, what we play are games and tournaments, and as Kramnik says, "in the end there is the result." Rating is just another kind of result, but it inspires a kind of fatalism because we understandably use it as a placeholder for strength.

One thing I like about this book is that, paradoxically, its effect opposes the general effect of ratings. It tells you more than one number could tell you and enlists the numbers it uses into the service of self-improvement and qualitative sensitivity.

@knowledge vs. performance--in math, everyone's understanding (=knowledge here, let's say) is above his performance, because everyone drops negative signs and so on by accident sometimes, and these occurrences are not attributed to lack of understanding or knowledge. What would the reverse mean? That you were to get problems right by accident? But that would just be a compounding of careless mistakes; no one would attribute accidental right answers to understanding...so everyone's understanding is superior to his performance, but to varying degrees. In chess, we say that players have not performed as well as they could have, but though someone may win a match or tournament unexpectedly, we never say that over the long term players perform beyond their understanding (of, let's say, tactics). This is not a statistical mistake or lame excuse, but an aspect of the meaning of the concepts of understanding and performance.

Maybe Khmelnitsky's test doesn't measure knowledge or understanding or potential, etc., but just different kinds of performance (in the study, without an opponent in front of you, etc.). But I think we can trust him to have  mathematically eliminated systematic overestimation of rating within his large sample of reader-respondents--doing that is how he got these numbers! Now maybe his sample of respondents wasn't representative, but ours is much less so--a mere four or five data points from chess-book junkies.
« Last Edit: 05/17/18 at 18:44:29 by ReneDescartes »  
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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #35 - 05/17/18 at 16:52:18
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IsaVulpes wrote on 05/17/18 at 04:59:33:
I certainly do feel like my raw "knowledge base" is above my current rating and I am just really bad at *actually playing* ...

This is a very common perception. I hear this claim all the time at tournaments, but I have never heard anybody claim the opposite. If everybody's knowledge is above their current rating, it is the same as if nobody's knowledge is above their current rating.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #34 - 05/17/18 at 15:26:59
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Remember too that some are comparing FIDE to USCF, and that people's testing conditions probably vary widely.  For instance Monocle seems to have zoomed through half of the test in just a few days, whereas I solved only two positions a day when I took it.  I'm sure that there are many other variables in play as well.

I don't think that it's all that useful in estimating absolute playing strength, but for relative areas of strength and weakness I think that it's very good.
  
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IsaVulpes
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #33 - 05/17/18 at 04:59:33
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This was my result when I did the test a second time some 6? years after a first try (where I landed at ~1500):

Overall - 2106
Attack - 1987
Counterattack - 2185
Defense - 2178
Opening - 2324
Middlegame - 2127
Endgame - 2047
Tactics - 2055
Strategy - 2198
Calculation - 1824
Standard Positions* - 2149
Recognizing Threats - 2039
Sacrifice - 1969

* Refers to Common Theoretical Endgames

I wonder to what extend being "overrated" in this test (it gives me 2100+, when in actuality I am ~1900 rated) is down to the test just not exactly being accurate raw-number wise, and to what extend this is telling me that I am awful at practical play (eg crumbling under pressure, panicking when attacked, getting into time trouble, etc).
I certainly do feel like my raw "knowledge base" is above my current rating and I am just really bad at *actually playing*, but I am not sure whether I can use this test as 'proof' or it just happens to show that for everyone.

Of the other people who were wildly overrated, do/did you feel like your practical playing ability is lower than what you know about the game, or is this a rather "random" occurence?

Beyond that, I guess I should drill some calculation exercises.. and ever learn how to attack beyond "push all pawns forward and hopefully something happens"  Embarrassed
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #32 - 05/17/18 at 04:09:46
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The book overestimated my rating by a little over a hundred points, but since it said that Tactics were my weakest area, I think that's probably fair. I've lost many games over the years from positions that I should have won by missing a tactical shot.

I think that the relative breakdown of my strengths and weaknesses was dead on, and I gained about 200 rating points in the years after tailoring my study plan around the results, so I can't complain. No test like this is perfect, but I can't think of a better one (or even a very comparable one).
  
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Stigma
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #31 - 05/17/18 at 03:36:20
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an ordinary chessplayer wrote on 05/17/18 at 03:27:11:
Only six questions on openings... Is this test rigged to make everyone de-emphasize opening study? What (in general) would you have to miss in order to do poorly on the opening test?

Good point, I wonder if the opening score is statistically valid. Objective opening skill is very hard to measure with a general test anyway, since so much depends on how well you know and understand the specific openings you play.

One of the opening positions where I lost points was a theoretical position where Khmelnitsky thought White was slightly better, while the theory books i had read thought Black was fully OK, so of course that's what I answered... I mentioned to the author in an e-mail that this was a strange question to include, and as far as I recall he didn't insist his evaluation had been right.

Apart from that one position, I only have good things to say about the book (as I have done in earlier threads on it).
  

Improvement begins at the edge of your comfort zone. -Jonathan Rowson
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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #30 - 05/17/18 at 03:27:11
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Only six questions on openings... Is this test rigged to make everyone de-emphasize opening study? What (in general) would you have to miss in order to do poorly on the opening test?
  
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Monocle
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #29 - 05/16/18 at 23:19:41
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Overall - 2216
Attack - 2028
Counterattack - 2273
Defence - 2327
Opening - 2350 (only based on 6 questions)
Middlegame - 2038
Endgame - 2304
Tactics - 2077
Strategy - 2301
Calculation - 1983
Standard Positions - 2429 (only based on 13 questions)
Recognising Threats - 2342
Sacrifice - 2135

Well, it's definitely right that my rubbish calculating is the weak point of my game, although a few of these numbers look a bit high.  I also expected to be strongest in endgames. 

I don't have an active rating to compare to, as I don't play often enough.  I expected an overall result somewhere around 2000-2050. 



  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #28 - 05/16/18 at 20:28:51
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And how did the book break down your areas of strengths and weaknesses?
  
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Monocle
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #27 - 05/16/18 at 19:20:49
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ReneDescartes wrote on 05/14/18 at 17:49:52:
I just checked the book, and that is not the case at all.


Having now completed all 100 positions, I'll concede that point.
  
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ReneDescartes
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #26 - 05/14/18 at 17:49:52
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Monocle wrote on 05/12/18 at 19:13:41:
Frequently, you're asked to evaluate a position with, say, white to move, and you get some options like:

A: White is winning
B: White is better
C: Black is better
D: Black is winning

It looks like you're being asked for a positional evaluation, but you're not.  The evaluation of the position invariably hinges on some tactical trick that secures a winning advantage for the side to move, so the answer is ALWAYS "White is winning"


I just checked the book, and that is not the case at all. On the contrary: if you look at the whole book, Khmelnitsky, professional actuary that he is, seems to have properly rendered the responses unpredictable from context. In many problems, despite temptations, there is no tactic that really works, and the proper evaluation is merely "White is better" or "Black is slightly better," etc. There are also answers to the effect that even though such-and-such works, White cannot be winning here, etc.--i.e., real end-node evaluation skill is tested in addition to finding moves (where else in chess literature is this crucial skill tested?)

Ubiquitous calculation? Yes--Khmelnitsky's books strike me as comparable to Yusupov's, where even in the strategic chapters you have to blend calculation and finding moves with strategic sense and goal-setting. Chess is like that. But if one does call it all calculation, then one should distinguish between strategic calculation, endgame calculation, attacking calculation, defensive calculation, etc.; for the questions do not all vary together perfectly, and Khmelnitsky effectively categorizes their emphases.

The Fischer book is a general one, like the first test book, not like the tactics book. Some of the positions are from simuls, etc., while others are from relatively famous games (but not necessarily from the most famous moments of those games).

I didn't feel the occasional problems in the scoring guidelines to be very pervasive. As an examination of the comments on ChessTempo will show, it really is hard to anticipate what various readers will miss; considering the difficulty of the task, I think Khmelnitsky did pretty well.

I did the original Exam book maybe 13 years ago and the tactics book about a decade ago, and they were very helpful in confirming what to work on at the time. I studied the recommended areas and improved. These books are gems if you want to verify what to study!
« Last Edit: 05/14/18 at 20:26:29 by ReneDescartes »  
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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #25 - 05/13/18 at 05:55:58
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I didn't say anything about how effective his method is. I don't even own the book. I just reacted to Monocle's post. It's possible for the book to meet its goals and for the point scoring to be STUPID. Both can be true. If the examples are well selected, the analysis is correct, and there are enough exercises for each test, even a binary pass/fail scoring system could identify relative weaknesses in the student's game.

Bloss actually had a sophisticated method. He timed each player on the position, and then did a best fit curve of rating vs time to solve. Then the reader also times themselves for solving and looks up their rating based on the time for that position. Unsolved would get a maximum time / minimum rating. They do the same for each position and then average all the positions to get a rating. IIRC, there were 50 positions in the book, so certainly a big enough sample, assuming the method has any validity.
  
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ErictheRed
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #24 - 05/13/18 at 04:42:19
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So, once every few decades someone does some statistical analysis on this sort of thing?  I haven't looked rigorously at Khmelnitsky's methods, but in this online era it's much easier to compile data, and he's still the only modern author that I'm aware of to have made an attempt at this kind of thing.  And given the anecdotal accounts I've heard firsthand (and experienced myself), I'd give his work some benefit of the doubt before being too critical.
  
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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Your results in Chess Exam and Training Guide
Reply #23 - 05/13/18 at 00:51:43
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ErictheRed wrote on 05/12/18 at 19:56:17:
You need to look at the book as a whole, and realize that the scoring has been normalized with a fair amount of actual data from people who took the test.  As far as I'm aware, it's the only "test your chess" type of book that's done that.

F. Donald Bloss (1972) Rate Your Own Chess. In the back of the book he named all the players he tested the positions on. One of them was a clubmate of mine, William N. Aulson, Sr., who I thought was probably a curve-buster for this type of test. E.g., Bill's last regular rating was 1642, his last quick rating was 1839(!). At blitz chess he was stronger than that.

I would not be surprised if this "normalization", as you call it, has been done before and since.
  
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