Friday, 17 January 2014

Chess Training of Tactic, End Game and Key Positions

CPT 5 uses the concept of topics to provide a very flexible solution for creating, managing and training all type of not linked positions like tactic or end game positions, chess puzzles and key positions of an opening. The concept of topics can be even used to manage model games for an opening or ideas for the middle game.

topic tabcontrol bishops

First things first. A topic is a collection of tabiyas. Think of a topic like “Rook endings” or “Dragon key motifs” or “Mate in 3”. Each tabiya of a topic represents one of these “rook endings”, “Dragon key motifs” or “mate in 3”. You could have a topic called “mate in 3” with 300 tabiyas (=exercises).

A tabiya can contain moves similar to an opening, but there are a few important differences as the goal is different as well. First of all, a tabiya can start with any position (an opening always begins with the regular start position). Then, a tabiya is considered a logical unit (exercise), which can be trained and has only one training score. The positions of the tabiya have no training score at all. That means, if you train a tabiya you are always trained in all positions it contains in one run. Only if you play the correct candidate move for all positions of a tabiya (the training goes systematically through it) it is considered learned / recalled.

Sometimes a tabiya contains only a few moves or even just one (e.g. “White to move and win: find the winning move”). However, CPT gives you the flexibility to create more complex training units. Maybe you want to include some alternatives for the opponent along the variation you want to train.

In theory you can manage openings with topics. However, as positions have no training score it is not desirable for openings. Managing some model games makes sense though.

Managing tactic or end game positions as topic

You have two options: either import a PGN file, which contains such positions or create them manually. If you use the import make sure to select the correct type on the first wizard page.

pgn import topics

 If you want to create a new topic you can do so by clicking on New and then the New Topic repertoire element command in the ribbon.

topic new 
You can also right-click on a folder or opening to add a topic.

topic repertoireexplorer newtopic rename 
Give it a meaningful name like “Rook endings”. You could also create a folder first called “End games” and then create a topic for each motif in this folder (like “Rook endings”, “Bishop vs. Knight” etc.).

topic repertoireexplorer end games

When you create a new topic you are immediately asked to edit a position. This position is the start position of the first tabiya. A topic can’t exist without at least one tabiya.

editposition rookending

The tab control shows the newly created topic and the first tabiya. You can see that it indicates the index of the currently shown tabiya next to the topic name, which is (1/2) in the screenshot as two tabiya exists.

topic tabcontrol

If you want to navigate through all tabiyas of a topic or add new ones you have to select the ribbon page Positions. In the Tabiya group you can find the tabiya navigation to go forward and backward.

topic ribbon

Furthermore you can use the Add command to add another tabiya to the current topic. You can also delete the current one or copy it. If you copied a tabiya you can easily add it to another topic. This can be done by activating another topic (either in the repertoire explorer or in the tab control) or by right-clicking on the target topic in the repertoire explorer and choosing Paste Tabiya. Continue with the process to add more tabiyas.

Creating a topic for key positions of an opening

Do you have an opening with key positions, which you would like to train separately? Sometimes an opening has similar looking positions, but you have to continue differently. For example in the Pirc you have to continue in certain positions with c6, sometimes with c5 and sometimes with a6 or even b6. Topics are a great way to collect these key moments where you are defining the overall direction of your play. Just navigate to such a key position.

There are two ways to add a position to a topic. The topic has not to exist yet. On the Positions page you can use the Add Position to Topic command of the page group Position. A dialog box let you choose the target repertoire element. If you select a topic the position will be added as new tabiya to that topic. If you choose an opening or folder a new topic will be created below that item and the current position is the first tabiya of the topic. You can decide whether you just want to add the current position, “n” moves or the complete variation.

Afterwards just navigate to the next key position of your opening and process with the same procedure.
As an alternative you can right-click on the target repertoire element and select from the context menu the command Add Position as Tabiya.

The fact that you can add topics directly to an opening makes it easy to create a compact unit, which covers all aspects. You could add one topic containing the key ideas of the opening (as an introduction). In this case you want to make sure they also have detailed position comments. You could add another topic with key positions in the opening and another one about ideas for the arising middle game.

In the training module you can then easily train the newly created topic.

Managing middle game positions of an opening as topic

It is not always easy to tell, which move is still part of the opening and which one is already part of the middle game. Sometimes you would keep moves in your openings, just because they give you ideas how to continue in the middle game. However, you don’t want to train these moves. Thus you have to use training options like Max. Length of Line to avoid them. This is not ideal though.

CPT offers you a smart way to manage middle game ideas and model games for an opening separately from the opening moves.

The procedure is very simple. Go to the last position of the opening, which you also want to train. 

topic lastpositionbefore middlegame

Use the Add position to Topic command. 

topic ribbon addpositiontotopic

In the dialog-box check All and as target choose your opening. If you confirm the action the program will copy the current position and all candidate moves of the current position including all variations reached from this starting position into the newly created topic.

topic addposition

A new topic is added just below the Pirc opening in this example. The default name of a new topic is always “*new topic*”. You can rename the topic to for example “Pirc Middle Game” by right-clicking on the newly created topic and choosing Edit.

topic repertoireexplorer newtopic rename

Now, go back to your opening. You are at the last position, which you want to train. In the Candidate Move List you can see in this example the move Nbd7 for the opening “Pirc” and “Pirc Middle Games”. The latter is shown in a darker color, because it no longer belongs to the opening, but to the topic.

topic candidatemoveslist

Delete the candidate move for the opening. Left is only the candidate move for “Pirc Middle Games”. As you can see CPT shows transpositions even between openings and topics, which give you great freedom to organize your repertoire. Just clicking on the candidate move of the topic will let you load the topic and corresponding tabiya.

topic tabiya pirc middle games

That means you can keep your openings tight and just put all middle game ideas into a specific topic. You could also create a topic to keep model games.

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Comments (8)

  • Kostas Oreopoulos
    18 January 2014 at 09:08 |
    Kostas Oreopoulos

    As i told you when opening a ticket, many options are grayed and cannot be used.

    One of them IS New Topic (and Yes i Do have a pro 5.0 license.)

    • Kostas Oreopoulos
      18 January 2014 at 09:12 |
      Kostas Oreopoulos

      Actually to be exact, you can add topic to a folder but NOT to OPENING or Variation(new topic is grayed)

      p.s sorry for double posting, but no way to edit previous comment to clarify

      • Stefan Renzewitz
        19 January 2014 at 14:47 |
        Stefan Renzewitz

        I've changed this with version 5.04. You can now directly create a new topic under an opening. Prior it was only possible from the "Position" page in the ribbon ("Add position to topic") or PGN import.
        Variations can't have any topics assigned. Variations don't contain any positions either as they work just like bookmarks.

        • Kostas Oreopoulos
          19 January 2014 at 15:13 |
          Kostas Oreopoulos

          I see. Indeed it works in 5.04. Thx a lot

        • Kostas Oreopoulos
          19 January 2014 at 15:16 |
          Kostas Oreopoulos

          The Add Repertoire Item and Add moves which are always grayed (and still are in 5.04) in which context are they enabled. I have right clicked almost everywhere but those entries are always disabled.

          • Stefan Renzewitz
            19 January 2014 at 15:41 |
            Stefan Renzewitz

            These are only available if you copied a repertoire item or a tabiya. If you copy a repertoire item (ribbon group page: Repertoire Items) you can either add the moves to another opening or add the complete opening to another folder. Depending on the target item either one is available. Check the CPT 4 manual for details about this.
            On the ribbon page "Positions" you can copy a tabiya. Afterwards you can paste it into another topic.

  • Signalman
    18 January 2014 at 13:02 |

    I have a couple of questions on this...

    First, the option to import an EPD file into a topic is always greyed out for me. I tried at various levels ( Repertoire, colour, folder/topic and topic ) same result. I can import EPD files in an opening folder, but NOT a topic one. Note on the add tabiya, there is also no option to import a tabiya

    Second, if I import a PGN file into a topic, I end with just one tabiya in the topic, but its the entire game. I imported one game with the intention that I would have each move as a position, which I could then filter manually to end up with the positions I wanted.

    Is this the way it is supposed to work ? or are you supposed to import an EPD into an opening folder, and then go through and add the imported positions manually to the topic you desire ?

    • Stefan Renzewitz
      19 January 2014 at 14:51 |
      Stefan Renzewitz

      Topics can only be filled though a PGN import or manually. The PGN file should contain one game per tabiya / start position. That's also how eBooks do it and common practice. In this case the FEN tag of the game is used in the PGN file to define the start position.

      EPD is more or less obsolete now since you can analyse your leaf nodes with CPT (and only a few programs support analysis of an EPD file anyway). I don't plan to support EPD import for topics.

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