Sherwood, Russell Sunday, December 10, 2017

**Where there’s a way there’s a will!**

At first glance, you may think I have got this saying the wrong way round! In typical use, you would be correct but in the world of improvement, this is a more common saying. In Chess (as in other things) we all want to improve and there is a belief among many that simply wanting to improve (so-called positive thinking) is enough to get better on its own. However, the evidence tends to suggest otherwise and that having a clear path to improvement is more important.

So how do we get a clear path to improvement In CC? Much of the advice that does float around is from high rated players who started out highly rated (i.e. their initial rating was very high and stayed there) and is so not necessarily relevant to a typical players journey.

Where do we want our advice to come from? Preferably from people who have undergone the journey we wish to undertake, i.e. who have seen their ratings improve over an extended period. Downloading a few ICCF Rating lists and some manipulation in Excel leads to the list below.

RUS | Kornev, Aleksey Nikolaevich | 12 | M | 2468 | |

USA | Risquet, Carmelo | 12 | M | 2386 | |

ENG | Stebbings, Anthony J. | 12 | M | 2352 | |

RUS | Agryskina, Nadezda Ivanovna | 13 | F | 2538 | |

RUS | Odrov, Viktor Anatolievich | 13 | M | 2432 | |

GER | Kuntze, Andreas | 13 | M | 2397 | |

ISL | ÃsbjÃ¶rnsson, Ãsgeir PÃ¡ll | 13 | M | 2391 | |

LAT | Kovalenko, Igor | 14 | M | 2429 | |

NED | Hooft, Diederic 't | 17 | M | 2390 | |

USA | Stein, Kurt W. | 19 | M | 2533 | |

IND | Sengupta, Deep | 19 | M | 2515 | |

GER | Lembeck, Karl-Heinz | 19 | M | 2512 | |

NED | CCE | Jong, Jan Willem de | 21 | M | 2503 |

GER | Schmidt, JÃ¶rg (* 1954) | 20 | M | 2376 | |

POL | Gorzkiewicz, Åukasz | 23 | M | 2473 | |

DEN | Jensen, Tommy | 23 | M | 2416 | |

SRB | CCM | PetronijeviÄ‡, Zoran | 23 | M | 2398 |

BEL | Van Assche, Jeroen | 24 | M | 2393 | |

AUT | Komaromi, Gabor | 25 | M | 2401 | |

ENG | Adair, James | 26 | M | 2463 | |

PAK | Idrees, Muhammad | 25 | M | 2368 | |

RUS | LGM | Churakova, Natalya Evgenyevna | 28 | F | 2438 |

RUS | Bukarin, Mikhail Yurievich | 29 | M | 2471 | |

INA | Margana, Adhy | 28 | M | 2359 | |

ISL | CCM | GuÃ°mundsson, Elvar | 30 | M | 2504 |

NED | Werten, Tony | 31 | M | 2392 | |

ITA | Rombaldoni, Denis | 33 | M | 2401 | |

SUI | Schmid, Pablo | 35 | M | 2525 | |

IND | Dutta, Amit | 34 | M | 2395 | |

RUS | Kudryavtsev, Dmitry Aleksandrovich | 34 | M | 2385 | |

POR | CCE | Vasconcellos, Renato | 35 | M | 2411 |

SLO | Coklin, Marko | 37 | M | 2435 | |

RUS | LGM | Matveeva, Maria Aleksandrovna | 39 | F | 2498 |

IND | Das, Arghyadip | 37 | M | 2363 | |

CUB | FernÃ¡ndez MartÃnez, Juan Carlos | 47 | M | 2393 | |

ROU | LIM | Stanila, Elena | 53 | F | 2389 |

USA | Kulick, Neil | 59 | M | 2354 | |

CRO | CCM | Feletar, Darko | 79 | M | 2391 |

RUS | Matvienko, Vladimir Petrovich | 18 | M | 2404 | |

ENG | Rallabandi, Praveen Kumar | 112 | M | 2398 | |

ESP | Moreto Quintana, Alex | 120 | M | 2437 | |

UKR | Khanas, Valeriy | 125 | M | 2357 | |

SLO | CCM | ZajÅ¡ek, Franc | 147 | M | 2372 |

WLS | CCM | Yeo, Gareth | 153 | M | 2378 |

UKR | Mashchenko, Vladimir | 30 | M | 2481 | |

SLO | PokrivaÄ, Izidor | 32 | M | 2405 | |

RUS | Rybin, Anton Sergeevich | 24 | M | 2480 | |

SWE | Qwarfort, Fredrik | 26 | M | 2448 | |

INA | CCE | Sitorus, Yosua | 238 | M | 2403 |

CUB | PÃ©rez RodrÃguez, RubÃ©n | 38 | M | 2392 | |

RUS | Mannanov, Rinat Rafikovich | 56 | M | 2396 | |

GER | Marwitz, Ullrich | 78 | M | 2370 | |

ITA | IM | Piccirilli, Fabrizio | 74 | M | 2390 |

RUS | Enin, Anatoly Nikolaevich | 107 | M | 2353 | |

CAN | CCE | MacTilstra, Ian | 160 | M | 2354 |

ENG | IM | Soh, Edmund | 240 | M | 2403 |

WLS | IM | Claridge, John B. | 255 | M | 2399 |

CAN | Czerniawski, Andrew | 79 | M | 2436 | |

GER | Ulbig, Stefan | 107 | M | 2392 | |

GER | CCM | Hartl, Hermann | 124 | M | 2385 |

PER | QuiÃ±ones Borda, Jorge Victor | 141 | M | 2406 | |

USA | CCM | Koo, Oliver | 150 | M | 2388 |

GER | CCE | MeiÃŸen, Frank | 85 | M | 2401 |

CZE | CCM | HrubÄÃk, Martin | 234 | M | 2412 |

GER | IM | Anderskewitz, Ralf | 341 | M | 2401 |

UKR | IM | Koshmak, Iurii | 109 | M | 2451 |

NOR | Johansen, Anders Sten | 467 | M | 2386 | |

USA | CCM | Hernandez, Angel | 177 | M | 2401 |

AUS | CCM | Roebuck, Derek | 110 | M | 2378 |

ITA | Galliano, Giovanni | 113 | M | 2428 | |

SWE | CCM | StrÃ¶mberg, HÃ¥kan | 121 | M | 2392 |

ENG | CCM | Carr, Trevor | 229 | M | 2391 |

RUS | SIM | Panitevsky, Ivan Anatolevich | 180 | M | 2504 |

HKG | IM | Tsang, Hon-ki | 168 | M | 2419 |

SLO | CCM | PirÅ¡, Jernej | 185 | M | 2411 |

ESP | IM | SÃ¡nchez Huerga, Aser | 193 | M | 2445 |

CZE | CCM | Binas, JindÅ™ich (*1954) | 237 | M | 2421 |

GER | CCM | BÃ¤r, Lutz | 150 | M | 2400 |

GER | CCM | Lukas, Norbert | 280 | M | 2355 |

BUL | CCM | Petkov, Stamat | 126 | M | 2407 |

GER | IM | Wenzel, Stefan | 177 | M | 2461 |

GER | Hesse, Olaf | 293 | M | 2447 | |

ARG | FernÃ¡ndez, Javier Horacio | 329 | M | 2416 | |

AUT | CCM | Hengl, Christian | 236 | M | 2420 |

GER | Keskowski, Thilo | 201 | M | 2406 | |

GER | LGM | Achatz, Kirstin | 223 | F | 2377 |

USA | CCE | Biedermann, Kyle | 312 | M | 2384 |

GER | CCM | Tiemann, Christoph | 162 | M | 2412 |

GER | CCM | Homont, RenÃ© de | 276 | M | 2353 |

WLS | LGM | Sherwood, Helen | 452 | F | 2386 |

RUS | Razumikhin, Andrey Mikhailovich | 364 | M | 2391 | |

RUS | CCM | Novikov, Sergey Vasilievich | 249 | M | 2400 |

RUS | CCM | Prozorovsky, Vyacheslav Grigorievich | 208 | M | 2404 |

USA | CCM | Landes, Eric | 222 | M | 2397 |

GER | CCE | Boos, Markus | 193 | M | 2400 |

CUB | CCE | Marrero RodrÃguez, Alexis | 167 | M | 2416 |

ITA | IM | Mauro, Lucio | 735 | M | 2407 |

AUS | CCM | Mulligan, Barrie | 276 | M | 2414 |

CUB | CCM | PÃ©rez LÃ³pez, Alberto | 536 | M | 2407 |

ENG | CCM | Weldon, David J. | 227 | M | 2410 |

POL | Mostowik, Daniel | 773 | M | 2366 | |

ITA | CCE | Bellegotti, Giorgio | 243 | M | 2453 |

LTU | Voveris, Saulius | 271 | M | 2388 | |

ENG | CCM | Brasier, John | 352 | M | 2428 |

USA | Zaas, Peter S. | 224 | M | 2369 | |

DEN | CCE | Konstantinov, Maxim | 207 | M | 2421 |

ROU | CCE | Taras, Iulian | 546 | M | 2390 |

RUS | CCM | Kozlov, Aleksandr Anatolievich | 237 | M | 2382 |

POL | IM | Broniek, Mariusz Maciej | 523 | M | 2439 |

USA | IM | Schakel, Corky | 782 | M | 2416 |

ROU | CCE | Stanescu, Teodor-Adrian | 146 | M | 2406 |

GER | CCM | Scheiba, Manfred | 218 | M | 2403 |

CZE | CCE | DÄ›dina, Miroslav | 578 | M | 2354 |

GER | LGM | Bolz, Barbara | 293 | F | 2402 |

GER | CCM | Zielasko, Andreas | 284 | M | 2390 |

LTU | Voveris, Gediminas | 660 | M | 2352 | |

ESP | IM | De Carlos Arregui, Inigo | 804 | M | 2433 |

ENG | CCM | Thompson, Brian | 953 | M | 2413 |

ESP | CCM | Conde Poderoso, Antonio | 597 | M | 2373 |

GER | IM | LÃ¶ffler, Werner | 802 | M | 2394 |

GER | IM | Langer, Raimund | 443 | M | 2406 |

SUI | IM | Janisch, Manfred | 658 | M | 2441 |

CZE | SIM | SÃ½kora, Josef | 1477 | M | 2416 |

POL | IM | Mirkowski, Piotr | 457 | M | 2412 |

GER | SIM | Gromotka, Harry | 1456 | M | 2389 |

CZE | CCM | Cvak, Rudolf | 1585 | M | 2363 |

ENG | SIM | Rawlings, Alan J. C. | 1775 | M | 2393 |

Close examination of the players on the list will bear dividends for the ambitious player. What do these players have in common? All have come through the system and raised their ratings up to 2350/2400+. This group is of more interest to us, than, for example, players rated 2450+ , who often only play against their rating peers and draw,draw,draw!

Practically these players make up around 1% of the total CC player pool. To put into context their performance - over the last 4 years they are scoring around 70% with White and beter than 50% with Black.

There are a number of different strategies in play.

Now I could give a summary of the learning examination of these players but that would take all the fun out of it for you! Some pointers to help in your analysis…..

- How many games are they playing/completing?
- What level are they competing at?
- What Openings and they playing/not playing?
- What is their win –loss –draw ratios with black and white?
- Are there any commonalities in their playing style?
- Do they take draws? Short or Long?
- Do you know any of them?

Putting some effort in here will allow you to reap rich rewards as it will give you an idea of “the way”, and Where’s there’s a way, there’s a will!

*Updated Sunday, December 10, 2017 by Russell Sherwood*