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Normal Topic Three Move Solitaire (Read 480 times)
MaxJudd
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Re: Three Move Solitaire
Reply #5 - 04/06/21 at 01:26:40
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That's a good idea.  I might give it a try at some point although CQL at first blush looks like that there is a learning curve.  I'm keen to give CA a try anyway given the dubious Fat Fritz 2 situation and this is just one more excuse.
  
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an ordinary chessplayer
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Re: Three Move Solitaire
Reply #4 - 04/05/21 at 20:59:39
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MaxJudd wrote on 04/05/21 at 17:32:00:
finding those games might be a little harder

Have you looked at CQL ? It can find those games for you.
CQL: The Chess Query Language (version 6.0.5) http://gadycosteff.com/cql/

Also Chess Assistant can run CQL queries, you may find that more convenient. I rather like Chess Assistant. Version 20 (not the latest) is only €37.99, definitely worth the money even if you use ChessBase.
CQL Queries in Chess Assistant 22 December 2008 https://chessok.com/?p=21989
  
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MaxJudd
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Re: Three Move Solitaire
Reply #3 - 04/05/21 at 17:32:00
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This is just great.  Thanks for taking the time to lay out your interpretation of his article.  I can't wait to try this out. 

In my case, I have a weakness for my level in handling pawn breaks that don't show up in my core opening repertoire.  Of course reviewing a pawn structure book or two (e.g., Marovic, Soltis, or Kmoch) is a start but I need more.  My plan based on your method is to find a selection of games with stronger players (perhaps by focusing on two or three opening lines outside my repertoire where pawn break timing is key).
Then I will play solitaire through with these games (playing both sides alternately).  As you say, if you keep improving your score (and use a clock to be consistent), you know you are making progress.   I'll try to revert with some data on how this goes. 

The next step will be to find games with pawn breaks later in the middlegame to complement this . . . finding those games might be a little harder.
  
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Re: Three Move Solitaire
Reply #2 - 04/04/21 at 11:48:19
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Right or Wrong is generally a poor scoring method. But I wouldn't necessarily apply the three move idea to puzzles. Once the forcing moves start, it's highly likely there won't be three candidates, at least in many positions of the solution. Also in puzzles the evaluation is often simply winning/not winning (or drawing/not drawing), so it's harder to rank the candidates beyond the first one. For a better partial credit idea, read on.

For hard puzzles I do them this way:
  • Set aside a fixed block of time for solving hard puzzles, usually one hour per week. It's good to practice solving in a setting that approximates a club or tournament environment, so actually a coffee shop or restaurant might be appropriate.
  • Solve in my head from the diagram, without any time limit per puzzle.
  • Immediately write down on paper *all* the variations I calculated, with move numbers.
  • Compare my solution with the book, and circle the first incorrect and/or missing move in my solution. For this purpose, the first mistake is the one with the smallest move number.
  • For score, I record the ply number from the previous step. So if my first move was wrong, the score is 1. If my opponent's first move was missed, the score is 2. If my second move was wrong, the score is 3. And so on. If completely correct, the score is one more than the number of plies in the longest variation of the book solution.
  • If there is time left in the session, start another puzzle. If session time runs out in the middle of a puzzle, just start over again at the same puzzle the following week.
  • Track score as a moving average of the last 10 solved.

For easy puzzles there are various ways, here is one that I really enjoyed, and as a bonus it's effective at training visualization:
  • Back in the day I would record the position on an index card. I had (still have in a storage box) a diagram stamp, and used my own piece symbols with a felt pen. It's not so good for looking at and visualizing, but it's good enough for my purpose here. These days a smartphone works much better.
  • Put the diagram/phone in my pocket and go for my daily walk.
  • Try to remember the position. If I can't quite, then take the diagram out and look at it again. Keep doing that until I *can* remember the position.
  • Solve the position blindfold while on my walk. Usually I only do one per walk. Sometimes it won't be a puzzle per se, maybe just a position that is bothering me.
  • And these I do score right/wrong. Smiley

I do some puzzles every day, not too many, of widely varying difficulty, about 10 minutes. If I miss a day I am very annoyed with myself.
  
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cathexis
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Re: Three Move Solitaire
Reply #1 - 04/04/21 at 10:12:17
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Re: "Tactics Problems are Harmful" certainly is the title of that thread, but not really the conclusions reached by it. I would suggest for the sticky title, "Tactics Problems come with Problems of Their Own."  Wink

I've hit a plateau with Blokh lately and I've already had the idea to slow down and devote more analysis to those I got wrong, rather than ticking off Right or Wrong. I often have them "half-right" (the most important moves, but not the full solution) or that first exclam-marked move but miss the full solution. And Blokh is a demanding instructor. I think I will work on incorporating your "three-move" idea; it awards partial credit and may help (with analysis) to search for things I may be consistently missing as it now brings trackable data points. The "engine" is Blokh's solution of course. Maybe not as you intended this post, but I got something from it. Anyway, that's my take-away!

Thx!
Cathexis
  
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Three Move Solitaire
04/04/21 at 09:19:25
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Solitaire chess is a tried-and-true method of training. I have used it before but not so much these days because I have issues with how solitaire books deal with "points", and relatedly how they deal with second-best moves. Now I came across this blog post "A New Training Game" by Dietrich Kappe and realized this is (almost) exactly what I wanted: http://chesstraining.sourceforge.net/wordpress/2011/01/05/a-new-training-game/

For me Kappe's key part is here:
5. Think about the three moves you think are the best candidates. ...
6. Rank your three choices from highest to lowest, so choice #1, choice #2 and choice #3. ...

It's a bit of an improvement over finding the single best move. For one thing there's an extra emphasis on evaluation, because I have to explicitly rank the candidates. My plan is to embrace and extend the author's method slightly.
  • Pick a player to follow on The Week in Chess, could be any GM basically. I haven't decided which one yet. Or pick an opening. Or pick long games, short games, etc.
  • Each week play through one or more games solitaire style.
  • For each move, pick three candidates and rank them 1,2,3; call these my choices. Only if there are not three legal moves would I have fewer than three candidates.
  • After my guess-the-move(s) on the whole game is complete, go through the game again (backwards) with an engine. This might be a good idea anyway.
  • For each move, with the engine set to some arbitrary search depth, list the engine's top three candidates a,b,c; call these the engine's slots.
  • For scoring, my choices 1,2,3 are worth 3,2,1 points respectively, the engine's slots a,b,c ditto, and my score is the product of my choice and the engine's slot. For example if my 1,2,3 are ranked by the engine as a,c,e, then my score is 3*3 + 2*1 + 1*0 = 11. See below for what to do with this score, and what to do when there are not three legal moves.

In general scores can range from 0-14, so for most moves I will just use a raw score of 14. If there are only three legal moves, scores can range from 10-14, so I will simply subtract 10 and make them worth 4. If there are only two legal moves, scores can range from 12-14, so subtract 12 and make them worth 2. If there is only one legal move, it's worth zero. I'm planning to just eyeball the opening and skip over any moves where I already "know" the book. And I'm planning to report just a percentage score for each game, total points earned divided by total points possible.

A couple things I like about using an engine. First, there's suddenly a limitless supply of solitaire games, without any need for some GM to select them and assign points to the moves. Second, while the scoring method is a little abstract and arbitrary, it's also repeatable, which means over time I should be able to know if I am getting better at it. Maybe the scoring is a little crude, but averaged over many moves in a game that shouldn't matter at all. In particular I don't think it's necessary to use a great depth and get a super-accurate ranking by the engine.

If you would rather be old-school and use a book there is this nice thread:
Which Books to Study Solitaire-Style https://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1417756121

And if you want to know about training methods in general I found this thread to be very good. Probably it should be marked sticky/important:
Tactics problems are harmful https://www.chesspub.com/cgi-bin/chess/YaBB.pl?num=1462142688

Below is a chart of possible scores, where the Hexadecimal values are 10=a  11=b  12=c  13=d  14=e  15=f. It's a little unfortunate that the engine's slots a,b,c collide with the hex representations of 10,11,12, but I'm going to leave that imperfection.

N>=4
1:aaaaaaabbbbbbbcccccccxxxxxxxxxxxxx
2:bbccxxxaaccxxxaabbxxxaaabbbcccxxxx
3:cxbxbcxcxaxacxbxaxabxbcxacxabxabcx
------------------------------------
1:9999999666666633333330000000000000
2:4422000662200066440006664442220000
3:1020210103031020303202103103203210
------------------------------------
S:eddbba9dcb8976b9a76538767545423210

N=3
1:aabbcc
2:bcacab
3:cbcaba
--------
1:996633
2:426264
3:121323
--------
S:eddbba

N=2
1:ab
2:ba
----
1:96
2:46
----
S:ec

N=1
1:a
---
1:9
---
S:9
  
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