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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method (Read 6256 times)
Göran
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #51 - 11/08/18 at 11:57:05
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It is also available on Chessable with opportunity to train.
  

What kind of proof is that?
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IsaVulpes
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #50 - 11/08/18 at 11:42:36
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Yeah, I went with the Woodpecker book on Forward Chess, and have been quite happy with it so far.
  
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Konstriktor
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #49 - 11/08/18 at 09:25:16
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If you want to train on your phone I'd say Ct-Art is pretty good.

I do not have the forward chess app installed, but maybe that one could fit the bill too.
  
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Mtal
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #48 - 11/07/18 at 21:28:56
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Just wondering, what program would you recommend to woodpecker? I saw chess art was mentioned? I really like something I could use on my mobile phone.
  
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TonyRo
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #47 - 10/26/18 at 13:32:50
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IM_Serious wrote on 10/26/18 at 05:54:44:
I wonder if that will be a revised, 2nd edition which includes the replacement for exercise 11.

Don't hold me to this, but I believe it's at least fixed on Forward Chess.
  
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #46 - 10/26/18 at 12:01:02
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In Peshka CT-Art 4, the 5x5 hint diagrams exist and are fine for every problem, the program shows you why your move is bad for certain major mistakes (e.g. overlooking counterplay) just as does CT-Art 3, and the graphics are much better. The major differences from 3.0 from a practical standpoint are in the (re)testing options and the ability to play out a position. Selecting a range of exercises for retesting in 3.0 can be done in a finer-grained manner than in 4.0, partly because of the previously-mentioned batches and partly because fewer options exist; and in Peshka, you can only play the position out against an engine as the side to move [dee-wa]! If you have Aquarium, though, which I do, you can push a button in Peshka to send the exercise into a running Aquarium instance and analyze to your heart's content (and even annotate--it's like Chessbase for that).
  
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #45 - 10/26/18 at 05:54:44
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Well, this book was published 3 months ago, but it's not available from uscfsales.com, or amazon.com, or ebay.com

Apparently the book is so popular that it completely sold out.

The web page says it will be available again early in November.

I wonder if that will be a revised, 2nd edition which includes the replacement for exercise 11.
  
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Konstriktor
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #44 - 10/25/18 at 22:45:10
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Stigma wrote on 10/25/18 at 22:15:33:
- Why do you think CT-Art 3.0 is that much better than later versions? I have used both interfaces, and can't say I have anything against Peshka. (What I really don't get about Convekta/ChessOK/Chess King is why they don't add a spaced repetition system to their courses; that would make many of them indispensable).

It's a long time ago that I checked on the peshka program, especially after switching to a Mac, so bear with me.
1. If you work through difficulty there are, say around 200 level 10 (they don't call it level one). In 3.0 it is one batch of 200 in 4.0 & later for some reason they split it up in multiple batches, so say 10 x 20 problems for level 10.
2. If you make a mistake in ct-art 3.0 you get a simple pattern of the problem at hand on a 5x5 board. IIRC that wasn't in 4.0 & later or it was badly implemented
3. I think that in Ct-art 3.0, that if you made a mistake you were shown the refutation quite clearly
4. Ct-art 3.0 had quick insights into your scoringstats. I think that was more difficult to extract out of 4.0 and later due to the strange batches

Stigma wrote on 10/25/18 at 22:15:33:
From Ct-Art 5.0 on they have supposedly computer-checked all lines and added a bunch of endgame studies to increase the number of problems.

Maybe they did, I don't know. Ct-art 3.0 got all the problems from Combinational Motifs from Blokh. It had a great didactical build-up with it's problem complexity. Studies are a different batch which are more beneficial to train your calculation instead of pattern recognition training.
It looked to me like a revenue model. Release version X with slightly more content and get some extra sales.
Ct-Art 3.0 wasn't without faults, but it felt to me like a labor of love. Maybe it's just nostalgia  Roll Eyes

Stigma wrote on 10/25/18 at 22:15:33:
- I was disappointed when I heard the Woodpecker book would focus so heavily on the World champions, since this has been done before, and even tactics books that don't explicitly mention the World champions will still include many of their combinations because they are famous and easily available. Do you find this a problem with the book; too many well-known positions? [I have bought it anyway so there's no takeback now, but haven't started studying it yet.

No it wasn't really a problem. I knew some Fischer tactics and some from Tal, but not that it was a big problem, because I remembered bits of the combination but not all.
I ended up with Karpov with 765 problems total, so I really don't know about Kasparov and later.
Funny thing was that there are quite a few combinations taken from simuls, especially Alekhine, so that shows that pattern recognition is a nice thing to work on  Cool
  
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #43 - 10/25/18 at 22:15:33
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@Konstriktor:

Interesting post. Two things that immediately spring to mind:

- Why do you think CT-Art 3.0 is that much better than later versions? I have used both interfaces, and can't say I have anything against Peshka. (What I really don't get about Convekta/ChessOK/Chess King is why they don't add a spaced repetition system to their courses; that would make many of them indispensable).

From CT-Art 5.0 on they have supposedly computer-checked all lines and added a bunch of endgame studies to increase the number of problems. At least the former should outweigh any GUI issues.

- I was disappointed when I heard the Woodpecker book would focus so heavily on the World champions, since this has been done before, and even tactics books that don't explicitly mention the World champions will still include many of their combinations because they are famous and easily available. Do you find this a problem with the book; too many well-known positions? [I have bought it anyway so there's no takeback now, but haven't started studying it yet.]
  

Improvement begins at the edge of your comfort zone. -Jonathan Rowson
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Konstriktor
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #42 - 10/25/18 at 21:12:39
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IsaVulpes wrote on 09/19/18 at 22:21:14:
Does anyone who has worked with the book for a bit have a concrete opinion as to how it stacks ups to "simply" doing ChessTempo or CT-Art?
I am not very concerned about the repetition vs new puzzles debate; if I believed the method to work, I could after all just do the same with a different book / custom problem set in CT / etc (naturally neither of the authors did their run of the system with the book..) , so this would mostly be a question about quality of the puzzles, clarity of the solutions, and I guess entertainment value of the book as a whole - when compared to the other tactics sources out there.
Did anything about the book 'grip' you in particular fashion, or did you indeed feel there was little difference compared to other tomes (such as eg Palliser's "The complete chess workout")?

In October I will have some amount of time, but little access to the internet. Would you recommend me to get the CT-Art mobile version, or the book on Forward Chess, or perhaps something entirely else?
I am currently tending towards the book, as it seems 'more different' to my usual Chesstempo puzzles than CT-Art does, but while skimming through places, I eg found a 2014 review by ReneDescartes, who called CT-Art smth like the by far best tactics.. thing, something. I know very little about it, so I cant judge, and of course I also don't know if something changed in the last 4 years.
Or indeed, perhaps someone has a great different idea as to what would be an optimal way of practicing tactics, on mobile, without internet?


Ct-Art 3.0 is still the best tactics training program you can find, especially for woodpeckering. I actually bought Crossover for my Mac only to run this old program which does not run under windows 10 anymore. Don't bother with the Peshka (Ct-art 4.0 and later) versions, they totally messed up a brilliant program. Send me a PM if you've got trouble finding the good ol' CT-art 3.0.
I got the mobile Ct-art version too. It is fine, but it can't compare with 3.0.

I think the benefits of the Woodpecker Method are besides pattern recognition the training of your decision making under severe time constraint. I consider this as more important than pattern recognition.
If I study chess most of the times I go deep and there isn't a time limit which I set for myself. I could spend any amount of time on a problem and most of the times I just want to get it right.
The difference with the woodpecker method is that it isn't about getting it right, but it's primary goal is to increase the speed of your problem solving. You do have to make a serious effort of course and choose a move for which you take responsibility.
With the woodpeckermethod you first start solving for 4 weeks (the first cycle), the amount of problems you solve there is your set. So that could be 200 for a beginner or 1000 for an advanced player. You can see this as a baseline measurement.
The next cycle you need to solve your set it in 2 weeks, (taking advantage of pattern recognition), then the next cycle in 1 week etc. Right now I am only in my second cycle, and it is already quite tough.

I write all my solutions and time used down.
I averaged 5 minutes per problem in the first cycle and it is now down to 4 minutes in the second cycle.
Smith and Tikkanen say that speed is your nr.1 focus with the training. The ticks really help in that regard. If you see that your tactics work good enough, write it down and go the next problem, there is no need to flesh out the entire variation.
In a way this really is the best experience I have with training which simulates OTB decision making with a clock running.
In the second cycle I actually got some problems wrong which I got the first cycle right. That is intensely frustrating, but also quite revealing, that not all patterns stay in the memory banks. Overall my solving percentage is slightly higher.

It is quite hard to train solo with limited time, because it is hard to say how much time you need. The baseline which you set in the 4 weeks works great in that regard.
I think it was Sadler who said that when he trained with Dvoretsky, the most grueling part was that he had to solve a tremendous amount of hard problems in a set amount of time.
https://matthewsadler.me.uk/news/memoriam-mark-dvoretsky/
I think the spaced repetition is different from the Woodpecker in that there is no increased time strain, which makes Woodpeckering so tough, and therefore a great practice tool.
Also I think it is good to focus on all the problems and not necessarily the ones you got wrong as you forget a lot sadly.

Of course this is from a sample size of one, but still Wink


As for the book. In a way it is YATB, you can use any tactics book for woodpeckering.
But I still recommend it if you own other tactics books.
The timeline for the tactics from all the word champions from Steinitz to Carlsen is a nice feature and outlines a nice path in the book.
The ticks are a good feature to make more intuitive decisions where you see far enough. Sometimes you can disagree with the placements, but than you can use common sense.
The quality of the book, paper and bindingwise is of the usual top stuff from Quality Chess.



  
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Stigma
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #41 - 09/25/18 at 10:29:31
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Just a heads-up that The Woodpecker Method is now available on the Chessable platform. Very much relevant for the discussion we had in this thread.

I'm not going to post a link here, but you can find it easily enough. It's still on an introductory offer as I write this.
  

Improvement begins at the edge of your comfort zone. -Jonathan Rowson
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #40 - 09/19/18 at 22:21:14
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Does anyone who has worked with the book for a bit have a concrete opinion as to how it stacks ups to "simply" doing ChessTempo or CT-Art?
I am not very concerned about the repetition vs new puzzles debate; if I believed the method to work, I could after all just do the same with a different book / custom problem set in CT / etc (naturally neither of the authors did their run of the system with the book..) , so this would mostly be a question about quality of the puzzles, clarity of the solutions, and I guess entertainment value of the book as a whole - when compared to the other tactics sources out there.
Did anything about the book 'grip' you in particular fashion, or did you indeed feel there was little difference compared to other tomes (such as eg Palliser's "The complete chess workout")?

In October I will have some amount of time, but little access to the internet. Would you recommend me to get the CT-Art mobile version, or the book on Forward Chess, or perhaps something entirely else?
I am currently tending towards the book, as it seems 'more different' to my usual Chesstempo puzzles than CT-Art does, but while skimming through places, I eg found a 2014 review by ReneDescartes, who called CT-Art smth like the by far best tactics.. thing, something. I know very little about it, so I cant judge, and of course I also don't know if something changed in the last 4 years.
Or indeed, perhaps someone has a great different idea as to what would be an optimal way of practicing tactics, on mobile, without internet?
  
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Paul Brondal
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #39 - 08/20/18 at 12:38:42
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It was a lot of fun and very interesting to have Axel Smith come and present the woodpecker method. There was not very much emphasis on the theoretical part but we were given some exercises from some of his games from his latest tournament and later on some exercises from the Woodpecker book. The presentation didn't touch the discussion of advantages/disadvantages using the Woodpecker method compared to solving a lot of new exercises.
  
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #38 - 08/15/18 at 09:28:45
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I'm a ways behind Paul, but I've done about 450 of the exercises so far. I'm enjoying it. I've never gone through a tactics book in this way before and it's a weakness of my game. I'm probably a prime candidate for improvement via the Woodpecker method! That said I think the book could have been better...

I like most of the puzzles but do find the red herrings a bit strange. They are so infrequent - maybe 1% of the total. Honestly, I think it would be better if either 1) they weren't there, when I could focus on drilling the patterns or 2) there were more of them, say c.5-10%. Then I think they'd do a better job of keeping me on my toes.

I like the idea of the ticks in the solutions, however I don't think it's executed as well as it could be - in my opinion the Yusupov series is much better in this regard. My understanding is that the ticks represent what you should see before executing the first move, but I find myself disagreeing a lot. A common scenario is that the initial position looks hopeless until you spot the tactical idea. It's not clear at first if it simply gets you out of trouble or wins material, but the ticks continue right until the situation is clarified. To play the move in a game did you need to see everything? I don't think so. I'd follow Leko's rule - play the forced move and then think again on the next turn. Sometimes it goes the other way as well i.e. I feel it's necessary to calculate a couple of moves deeper to 'make sure', while the authors feel it wasn't necessary. As someone said earlier, that's probably down to playing strength and style, which makes it more understandable.
  

FIDE: ~2100
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Paul Brondal
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Re: Smith and Tikkanen's Woodpecker Method
Reply #37 - 08/14/18 at 14:38:16
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I have absolutely no idea if using the woodpecker method will have any significant impact on your chess strength. However, I find the book very entertaining and I'm trying the method (after 17 days I'm through 700 exercises). The aim is to finish the easy and intermediate exercises within 4 weeks. In the second cycle, I will try and do the exercises in 2 weeks. With a full-time job and a family it is unrealistic to do all of the exercises in one day in the 7th cycle.

On Saturday, Axel Smith will hold a lecture in Copenhagen for members of a chess club focusing on the woodpecker method. I'm looking forward to attending it.
  
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