Better progress, apart from this morning
My new slower approach is working well with my percentages creeping up for the 40s. Initially I scored 92% on level 10, 80% on level 20 and 62% on level 30. My level 40 score was more like 52%, but the more careful approach has brought it up to 57%. I'm also enjoying it more and I get a kick when I just nail a problem straight away.
So it is working well. Apart from this morning. I had a bad session where I just couldn't see anything, I think I was too tired. I could feel myself being lazy and not really thinking deeply enough and guessing a bit. One advantage I have found in my approach to this circle is that I have more of a feel for how deeply I should be thinking. In my first circle I went through by theme and completed all the puzzles before moving on to the next theme. I did this so that I would get a better feel for the various themes in CT Art, even though it goes against MDLM. Going through by difficulty level lets me get a much better feel for how deep I need to go. If I see a knight fork in level 10 that's it. If I see one in a level 40 problem then there is usually some complication that goes along with it - e.g. deflecting a piece. As a result I know more when I'm lazy and not bothering to think deeply enough.
Also, my confidence is growing and I am definitely seeing more deeply than I did. This is nice. I feel like I've now got a chess board in my head. One where I can move pieces around and explore different lines for four or five moves. For the first time this feels different from what I previously experienced, which was much more focused on the board in front of me. I would imagine moving pieces on the board on the screen and trying to visualise the resulting position. Now my focus is more on an internal board in my head. When it works, which is still not all the time, this process is far quicker and feels much more natural ... I just see the results and know that they are right.
So, all going well. But I have been thinking about whether I should try to complete all the difficulty levels, or should I stop after (say) the 40s? Should I start another circle with the 10s, 20s, 30s and 40s? Some knights have debated this, and also whether CT Art is too hard for the more novice player. I'm rated about 1300 on ICC (on a good day!), and I do struggle with CT Art. It takes me a long time, and some of the problems are definitely beyond me. Which led me to think about the pros and cons of trying to complete all the problems in all the circles:
- it is hard, and I might get frustrated and give up
- am I really learning something from a level 90 problem?
- it is very time consuming, and I am definitely behind the original MDLM timescales by an order of magnitude. Am I just wasting time on the more difficult ones? Time that could be spent really getting to grips with the simple themes.
- even though it is hard and takes a long time, I feel that to obtain my goal of getting my rating up to 1600 I need to be able to complete these problems. If I've got to learn them sometime, why not now? As long as I keep going and am continuing steady progress I feel I should continue
- the approach so far, 60% of the way through my 2nd circle, is working. I am definitely improving my tactical vision.
On balance I think I will continue for the time being.