Review – May 2016

I somehow missed out giving an update at the end of April, so this will be a double.

I mentioned in February and March that I had simplified my study plan. In April and May I made further refinements and that the plan now looks like this:

study plan

I feel this gives me balance between the various phases of the games and different media. In terms of activity and results, here is a recap of April and May.

PLAYING OTB rated games

  • April 10 and May 3 for a total 27 YTD (target 50 for the year).
  • Some indifferent results; not my best two months.


  • I’ve started tracking how much I do, so I can be more accurate now.
  • April: ~1,300 tactics, mainly on ChessTempo.
  • May: ~2,200 tactics, again mainly ChessTempo.
  • My Tactics Trainer rating remains over 1600, but only just at the moment. I had peaked in the 1670s.


  • Spaced repetition training on (I have just completed a 100-day streak!).
  • Working with Chessbase, a few books and the Tiger course to consolidate my opening repertoire. Focus now is on documenting and understanding the pawn structures the lines normally lead to and the plans which flow from those. Once I have that in place (it will take a while) I will reduce opening study to say every other day.



  • A lesson with my GM coach around once a month.
  • Memorise relevant games: I have now memorised 4 games relevant to my opening repertoire, so I am behind my target of 12 for the year.
  • Book study: I have worked through Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna, skimmed through Kotov’s Think Like a Grandmaster (to learn about his training method, not for the analysis tree) and am working through the hefty Chess Strategy for Club Players by Grooten.

I have signed up for a few tournaments over the summer, but am hoping to put in the hours on study to help get me off my current ratings plateau over the next twelve months.


About becomingachessmaster

I am a 46-year old chess player with a goal to be as good a chess player as I can possibly be. I hope you find some value from following my experiences.
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6 Responses to Review – May 2016

  1. AoxomoxoA says:

    You make a lot of different things. I would guess that it might be better do focus an a few things for a while and then change like : endgames + high speed tactics for 2 months, then say slow tactics + strategy for 2 months and then say 2 months openings + game memorisation. Usually we need high intenisty for a longer period of time to improve a skill.
    I would skip the Tactics trainer or replace it by the chess tactics server ( no limits )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thanks for the comment.
      I have thought about that approach, and still do. My thinking for staying with the ‘wide’ rather than ‘deep’ approach for now is that I know so little about chess, that wider exposure is required to get to a better base point. At some stage (maybe ECF 140 / 1750) I agree there would be real benefit from focusing on an area at a time.
      Re TT, I may take your suggestion. I don’t think TT does anything ChessTempo’s mixed mode (or the chess tactics server) does not do.
      Thanks again for taking the time to write.


  2. David says:

    I can’t argue with anyone who suggests the Chess Tactics Server over Tactics Trainer.

    What is the blindfold test you have in mind, or is that a generic indicator for tasks. Also, “MOCC” in Tactics/Calculation with MOCC.

    I don’t know if you’ve read NM JD’s remarks in the group, but it is kind of interesting to here that a 2300 has always had confidence issues. I think we are going to learn a great deal from him.



  3. Pingback: Review – June and July 2016 | Becoming a Chess Master

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