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Advanced Chess School 06 September 2007
Overall, the main emphasis in Advanced Chess School is on tactics and basic endgame play, as is appropriate for players at this level. In fact, if you are looking for a tactics program, but are afraid that CT-ART might be too tricky, Advanced Chess School might be a good choice.
Like other ChessOK programs, Advanced Chess School is based on training material prepared by an experienced coach. The author, Nikolay Zhuravlev, is a chess master from Latvia; besides being a highly respected trainer, he has authored many books for beginners and intermediate players.
It’s important that you enter a realistic rating, as it is updated after each exercise to reflect your progress. If you are unsure about your rating it’s better to start too low than too high. Your rating will increase to the appropriate level once you have solved a sufficient number of exercises. After that the rating changes will tell you how fast you are improving.
If you enter a rating that is too high, say above 2000, you may be surprised if it doesn’t increase when you solve the exercises correctly. The reason is the same as when one player beats a much lower rated player in a tournament. He doesn’t gain any rating points. But in case he loses, his rating decreases. Almost ninety percent of the exercises in Advanced Chess School have a difficulty rating below 1600.
Finally, don’t expect the rating level to be directly comparable to other rating systems; of course you can compare your rating to others who are also using Advanced Chess School.
Theory and Practice
Advanced Chess School uses the same basic approach as most ChessOK tutorial programs. It divides the training into two main sections:
The theoretical part uses three different approaches to teach and reinforce the material:
The course navigator (above) is displayed when you launch the program, but it can also be accessed from the leftmost button on the toolbar (“Navigator”), as shown in the image. The other buttons allow you to browse the exercises (“Browse”), enter study mode (“Study”), practice or take a test. The “Study” button on the toolbar is highlighted, indicating that the program is currently in study mode. The course navigator is shown in the screenshot below:
The highlighted text at the top of the dialog shows that “Theory – Essential Chess Knowledge” is selected. If you wanted to select “Playing Instructive Examples” instead, just click on the text. Below that, in the window with the white background, the table of contents for this mode is displayed. It consists of five sections, and each one is broken down into several subsections. The user has highlighted “The Rule of the Square” in the section “Basic Pawn Endings.” Highlighting a section name is equivalent to selecting the first subsection.
The “Study” and “Practice” buttons take you directly to the study material or exercises for the selected subsection. “Test” is slightly different, as it offers its own selection of a theme and other parameters.
The “User” drop-down box allows you to select any of the registered users and the “List of users” button presents a screen for managing users. You can select, create, remove or rename users. This function is primarily intended for trainers who need to keep track of multiple students.
Those readers who recall my two columns about CT-ART will notice the similarity between that program and Advanced Chess School.
So if you know how to use one of the programs, you already know how to use the other. Because of this I recommend that you have a look at the CT-ART columns, as I will not describe in detail some of the features that are already covered there.
Here you are given a choice of solving exercises based on the current lesson by clicking “Practice” or starting the next lesson by clicking “Study.” We’ll have a look at the practice mode next.
The main difference between practice and test mode is the order of the exercises. In practice mode they are always presented in the same order, but in test mode it varies.
The test mode in Advanced Chess School is almost identical to that in CT-ART, so I will not go into detail here but refer you to my earlier column. The main difference is that there is no 5×5 board in Advanced Chess School.
Playing Instructive Examples
Instead of taking advantage of the opposition, the user has played into a draw by repetition. However, the program didn’t announce the mistake until the third repetition. The correct solution can now be displayed by clicking the Answer button.
Like most other ChessOK training programs, Advanced Chess School keeps track of the rating changes of each user based on his performance. Overviews of their results in practice mode and in tests are also provided. This feature was also described in more detail in my earlier column on CT-ART.
Advanced Chess School is an interactive tutorial suitable for players who have already learned the rules of chess and want to take the next step towards intermediate strength. As such it is a good follow up to Dinosaur Chess or Chess School for Beginners.
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