Knights Errant, and the de la Mazza Method

In chess there are two styles-good, that is: leading to a win, and bad, that is: leading to a loss. In every position a possible combination is concealed and every combination arises from the position. If after the opponent’s move a so-called positional player is not capable of calculating a possible winning combination 5-6 moves ahead, then he is not a positional player but simply a patzer... Mikhail Chigorin

Anyone who has ever spent any time in the chess blogosphere is familiar with the knights errant. The Knights Errant were (are?) a group of chess players who dedicated themselves to the so-called “circles,” and followed the Michael de la Mazza method of improvement. While de la Mazza’s book is not worth buying, (Jerry Silman pans it here,) it is remarkable in that he takes the following piece of advice -study tactics- and stretches it to 126 pages. While I have read only negative things about de la Mazza’s book on the internet from respected sources, his method cannot be discounted, since it basically emphasizes the importance of tactics. The idea is to start with 1000 problems, and complete them 7 times, faster and faster each time until on the 7th time you basically have them committed to memory and can complete all 1000 problems in a single day. And so, I am undertaking this challenge, in fact I plan on doing it multiple times with different sets of problems. I have attempted this before in the past- but this time I mean it. I’m hoping that my writing a blog post about it will commit me to carrying out the process. I will occasionally give you updates on my progress, and most importantly comment on whether I think the method is worthwhile. I have to say, 7 times seems a bit absurd with a single set of problems, but if that’s what it takes then I am going to give it a shot.