I was inspired by Blunderprone’s recent post to mention something about tactical progress. In fact, this is how we used to do do it, our web-ring of chess; Blunderprone would post something and others would respond on their own blogs (rather than on Nigel Davies’ blog. hehe).
My ratings graph on ChessTempo is very interesting. I’ve at one time shot from 1300’s to near 2000 in an almost vertical line of ascent. Naturally, this reflected a time right after I had been studying tactics like crazy, a brief period of time.
Later, my tactical level regressed all the way down to 1600 in a very broad bell-curve like fashion, and then back up again as this feedback forced me to improve.
Stage 3 looks more like a plateau on the graph, with a very mini bell-curve within the plateau, more like a puddle in depth.
My rating on ChessTempo is currently 1781 and still improving, but it is a solid rating with a value that is dependable.
A problem the 7 circles, and Blunderprone mentions forgetting, but that’s just it, it’s meant for short-term results! MDLM was obviously interested in the “big money” tournaments from the start. He chose doing lots of tactics problems, which weren’t overly difficult in toughness. Clearly, this was designed for “peak performance” above “just being d*mned good” at solving all positions on the board which can be solved tactically.
As far as practice goes, I would discount using “emotions” when solving tactics over searching for the “move of most consequence” in a position. In a game, however, emotions come up big-time because chess is real, in the trenches, “are you feeling me?” kind of situations. Sometimes we are distracted by non-chess forces and must compensate OTB in a way which reflects the struggle going on in our lives, at that moment, as well.
The interesting thing about a 1780 rating on ChessTempo is that it sounds very “Bourgeoisie” in terms of strength, but it actually puts one in the top 15% in terms of chess-results ranking on the site. Still, a solid 1780 is better than a spiky-rating which bounces around a lot in predictability, IMHO, and incidentally that applies to any rating on that site. You don’t want your strength bouncing all over the place in real chess games or from round to round!