Tactical Blunders Lead to Valuable Insight

My tactics puzzle rating on lichess.org has plummeted into the 1400’s from a rating of over 1800, and I’m actually happy about it.

When I came back to chess, I decided to perform what I like to call a “chess reset” on myself. After taking a break from chess because of frustration, I played hundreds of bullet games in an effort to purge my mind of preconceived notions and the “stuff” I had learned incorrectly, leaving myself a clean slate to rebuild a more solid foundation for chess improvement. So, over the past few nights, I have attempted quite a few tactics problems and found that my pattern recognition when solving tactics has decreased significantly. That tells me that the “reset” of my chess knowledge is complete, and I can now abandon bullet altogether and begin focusing again on the fundamentals.

One of those fundamentals, as I mentioned in my previous post on The Scandal of Bullet and Blitz, is tactics. I reiterate that the bullet chess I played up until recently, although detrimental to a person’s chess if used in the wrong way. actually helped me more than I realized in that the fast time control helped me realize how much less I understood tactics than I thought I did. I am trying to address this issue by rereading FM Martin Weteschnik’s excellent book “Understanding Chess Tactics”. After studying it again, I plan to actually purchase the second edition of the same book, with the new title “Chess Tactics from Scratch” available from Amazon and work through the book again. Of course, I’m going to continue working on Silman’s books at the same time to keep my study and practice well-rounded and avoid burn out on one aspect of the game or another. I’ll write more about the positional side of my chess studies in a future post.

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