We should ALL have our heads examined once in a while. What I am talking about is taking the "Chess Exam" by Igor Khmelnitsky.
First a few general comments:
I liked the flow of the exam and how it had breaks every ten puzzles with an interim report.This made it easy to pace myself. Secondly, I liked the fact that nearly ALL the puzzles required an evaluation of the position rather than finding the best move. This seemed to support the DeGroot theory that Mastery is not only in the quantities of pattern recognized, but the ability to quickly and accurately evaluate a position. I wish more books were like that.
I did find some problems that could have had alternative solutions ( like some of the other Knights have mentioned in other posts) but overall, I think taking this exam was beneficial in the fact of the 100 evaluate-the-position problems put me in the right mind set for virtual OTB play. While taking the test I had to fight the tendancy to rush through it to get my resuslts. although about 30% of the exam, I felt I did just that. But if this is a reflection of my OTB then I can walk away with this lesson as well. There are times when I am playing a game and I move quickly. I scored much better on the test when I took my time.
WTF? Tactics is LOW? I was shocked to discover this. What? ME? a Knight Victorious? After going through the seven gates of hell I scored like a class D? I must have REALLY sucked on tactics prior to the 7 circles. I wonder if this would have changed had I taken the exam in May when I was first finished. After all, I kind of stopped the regime until recently.
Openings and recognizing threats were two other areas where I was in the lower class. So like DUH, I need to learn my openings and do more tactics... something I've been doing.
I was surprised to fing out my strategic knowledge was my strength. I always felt it was a weakness and tactics was strong. Overall, my average rating seems to be right on the mark ( low 1600's) based on the exam leaving me to believe this is a fairly accurate assessment. I need to improve my opening knowlede and learn to recognize threats and tactics. ( Still)