We hope you are well and enjoying playing chess!
Shahil is fighting hard and on equal terms with 2600s in the Asian Continental, but falling over against a lower rated. Aradhya is fighting hard too. Andy Woodward is doing well in Hollywood and might make his first GM norm. Lots of members are in action and I (Jacob) would tell you all about it if I did not have to run to play a league game myself. Yesterday I had a big position against Jørn Sloth, who won the Correspondence World Championship over 40 years ago. When things went wrong, I offered a draw, which he would have taken, if it was not for his poor hearing… Another blunder and I had to rely on the team to take home the two points. Hopefully, today is a better day!
If you have not signed up for Julen’s camp next weekend, Bishops vs Knights in the middlegame, consider this a friendly nudge.
More and more titled players are joining the academy, just as some of you are getting titled. After a discussion with Renier, we have decided to move Killer Homework to Wednesdays from the week after this. Essentially, starting from Wednesday 9th of November, the Killer Homework will be at 4pm UK time. Our core promise is to give you one class every day. But this is not a sneaky way to reduce classes, by avoiding having double classes on Tuesdays. Our intention is to increase classes, to have more classes fitting for live viewing in the US.
Thoughts about training – and when to evaluate yourself
A few weeks ago, we reached Homework Club 100 under the new divided setup. We previously did homework as one stop for all, where the first exercises were accessible, and the latter was as difficult as they come. We did 39 under the previous system.
With the new system came the statistics. We have kept the scores of all members, which has made it possible to track progress, participation, and scores. Importantly, it has given us a chance to track how difficult the homework is each week, based on the rating of those participating and the rating performance related to each score.
There were a few reasons we introduced the stats. People were asking how others were doing. And we believed that knowing how well Sam did, for example, is something that can motivate people. The top score is important. It is not important to know who did worst. The person who got it would feel dispirited. Everything is constructed in a way to motivate.
And this is the point. This is TRAINING. Too often people ask: “I missed 3 simple positions this week, what is wrong with me?” Nothing. It is training. It does not matter. Being good at training does not guarantee good results. Some players do badly in training but will get the GM title down the road. Others are great in training, but struggle to convert it into points in tournaments. This is not because training does not work. Both groups benefit from the training. But there are also other elements that we cannot train with the homework, although we try.
This answers the question you have about homework, no matter what it is. “It’s training. It is good for you.” Chess is a decision-making game and you need to train to make decisions to improve (there are other ways to improve, of course, but you get the point). Use the stats in a way that makes you do the homework. Use the deadline to keep yourself accountable.
What is important about training is to understand that it is training. If the stats motivate you. If it makes a fun game out of it, for example, to see if you outperform your rating, or if you can compete against the GMs for the top score, it’s good. If it makes you doubt yourself, it’s not. The test is playing tournaments. The training is not competitive. Actually, the training should be used to target things you did not understand when doing it, but which you understand afterward. Whether this is technical (say in your calculation), or understanding (abstract stuff, positional play).
We will do surveys and graphs and stats over the winter and we will share our findings with you guys.
Your friends at Killer Chess Training,
Jacob (and Kallia and Sam)