Over The Board Mouse Slip?!


Levy Rozman is fond of saying that if you make this move then he will call you an idiot.  But if Magnus Carlsen makes this move then it is brilliant.

The Woodpecker Method


Before Michael De La Maza published his book "Rapid Chess Improvement", he wrote an article by the same name.  Before he published this article, he sent it to me to get my suggestions, because I had a website since around 1996 that advocated the same idea.  I believed in doing a large number of tactical problems repeatedly to build pattern recognition.  When I did this myself, I saw my rating go from 1800 to 2000.

I can't guarantee that this is the best way to improve one's chess tactics.  For myself, my goal was to be able to see the vast majority of 1, 2, and even 3-move combinations instantly.  However, doing new puzzles might also be good.

My website hasn't changed much since I first published it.  It is dated.  At that time, the Internet (World Wide Web) was relatively new, and most people didn't have access to it.  Chess Life gave me an "award" for the website, but there weren't many chess websites at the time.

Chess Game against Novag Super Constellation level 1.

This game is interesting because I don't normally beat level 1.  Here I blew the endgame, but so did the computer.   The 39-year-old chess computer can't see deep enough to play the endgame correctly.

[Event "CB-Emu"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2023.01.05"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Coffey, John"]
[Black "Novag Super-Constellation lv1"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2016"]
[PlyCount "117"]
[EventDate "2023.01.05"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b5 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. O-O e6 5. d3 d5 6. c4 dxc4 7. dxc4 Qxd1 8.
Rxd1 bxc4 9. Ne5 Bxg2 10. Kxg2 Nbd7 11. Nxc4 Bc5 12. Nc3 O-O 13. Bf4 Nb6 14.
Na5 Nbd5 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Rac1 Nxf4+ 17. gxf4 Bd6 18. e3 g6 19. Nc4 Rfb8 20.
b3 Rd8 21. Nxd6 Rxd6 22. Rxd6 cxd6 23. e4 f5 24. f3 Rf8 25. Kg3 Kg7 26. Rc7+
Rf7 27. Rxf7+ Kxf7 28. Kf2 Kg7 29. Ke3 Kf7 30. Kd4 Kf6 31. e5+ Ke7 32. exd6+
Kxd6 33. b4 h6 34. a4 g5 35. fxg5 hxg5 36. b5 e5+ 37. Kc4 g4 38. fxg4 fxg4 39.
a5 e4 40. Kd4 e3 41. Kxe3 Kc5 42. b6 {??} axb6 43. axb6 Kxb6 44. Kf4 Kc5 45.
Kxg4 Kd4 {???} 46. h4 Ke5 47. Kg5 Ke6 48. Kg6 Ke7 49. Kg7 Ke6 50. h5 Ke7 51. h6
Kd6 52. h7 Ke7 53. h8=Q Ke6 54. Qd8 Kf5 55. Qd4 Ke6 56. Kg6 Ke7 57. Qd5 Ke8 58.
Kf6 Kf8 59. Qd8# 1-0

Novag Super Constellation Level 1

[Event "CB-Emu"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2022.02.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Coffey, John"]
[Black "Novag Super-Constellation Level 1"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E21"]
[WhiteElo "2016"]
[BlackElo "2018 (on level 7)"]
[PlyCount "124"]
[EventType "rapid"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 b6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Qxf6 7. e3 O-O 8. Be2
d5 9. O-O c5 10. cxd5 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bxc3 12. bxc3 exd5 13. Bf3 Rd8 14. c4 Bb7
15. Rc1 Na6 16. cxd5 Bxd5 17. Bxd5 Rxd5 18. Qb3 Rdd8 19. Qb5 Nc5 20. Nb3 Nxb3
21. axb3 a6 22. Qc6 Qxc6 23. Rxc6 b5 24. Rfc1 Rd2 25. Kf1 a5 26. Rb6 a4 27.
bxa4 Rxa4?! {This barely favors White, whereas 27... bxa4 barely favors Black.  Even the infinite level makes the wrong move here.} 28. Rxb5 Raa2 29. Rf5 g6 30. Rf4 Kg7 31. g3 g5 32. Rf3 g4 33. Rf4 {Diagram.} Kg6?? {The game was technically a draw up to this point.  At first, it is hard to understand how the computer could drop a pawn when it is looking 4 plies ahead.  The computer is afraid of 33... h5 34. Rc7, but Black draws by playing both rooks to the first rank with a mate threat.   Then White has to go for a perpetual check with Rcxf7+.  Even the infinite level takes 12 hours to see the draw with a 10 ply search after 33... h5 34. Rc7.  To see that 33... h5 draws takes around 80 hours where the computer only reaches an 11 ply search depth!} 34. Rxg4+ Kh7 35. Rf4 Ra7 36. Rc6 Rb7 37. Rh4 Kg7 38. Rhxh6 Rbb2 39. Rhf6 Re2 40. Rf4 Rec2 41. Rxc2 Rxc2 42. h4 Kg6 43. g4 Kg7 44. Kg2 Kf8 45. g5 Kg7 46. Kg3 Rc1 47. Kg4 Rg1+ 48. Kf5 Rh1 49. e4 Rh3 50. e5 Rd3 51. h5 Rh3 52. h6+ Kf8 53. e6 Rh1 54. g6 {I thought that this was me trying to get too fancy, but Stockfish doesn't have a problem with it.} fxg6+ 55. Kxg6+ Ke7 56. Rf5 Kxe6 57. Rh5 Rg1+ 58. Rg5 Rd1 59. h7 Rd8 60. Kg7 Rd7+ 61. Kh6 Rxh7+ 62. Kxh7 Kf7 1-0

The Super Constellation fails at deep calculation.  It sees shallow tactics very well, which is where its strength comes from, so it appears to be pretty strong at speed chess.  It is not clear if the computer can calculate three-fold repetition or any repetition on a deep search because the 8-bit hardware limitations would make this check very inefficient.  This might be the reason the computer fails in the above position.  The computer would not normally search deep enough to see a three-fold repetition anyway.

Other than missing the draw, the Super Constellation played a very solid game.  According to Stockfish, I made no mistakes in this game.  This is what it takes because the computer will punish small errors.