I am glad to report that I have continued to stick to the undertaking I made at the end of July to not change my study plan for at least the rest of 2016.
This means that I do a bunch of tactics, record my opening repertoire, work through Yusupov’s course, watch some Tiger Chess videos and work on endgames.
For tactics, I still do mostly spaced repetition on ChessTempo, using custom sets that I have created. These sets are all low rated (in the range 900 to 1,100) and split into mates and non-mates. I also do some Mixed Mode tactics on ChessTempo and to engage with a different medium, I use the Manual of Chess Combinations.
In September I did 7,229 tactics. You read that correctly. For some reason I just found myself in a mood to do loads of tactics this month, so I did. The idea is to build up an awareness of and then internalise, as many patterns as possible. So although the volume is huge, I deliberately aim to see the underlying pattern in each problem and make connections across problems. I doubt I’ll keep up this volume, but I do want to at the very least meet my 1,500 per month target every month.
With the huge amount of tactics I did in September, I didn’t do too much on the other areas. I made some progress in recording my opening repertoire and now have 24% to go. Including the opening videos, I watched 32 Tiger Chess videos, a bit short of my target. I did only 20 pages of Pandolfini’s Endgame Course and only one lesson in Yusupov.
The Yusupov book is very time consuming, because I do it in the way he prescribes. This entails setting up every position on a real chessboard and first visualising variations and moves before playing them. For each question in the tests (there are 12 questions in each end-of-chapter test), I also set up the position on a board, then try to work it out without moving pieces, test my thoughts by physically moving the pieces and then writing down my answers. Because I am still somewhat rubbish at chess, but do want to move through the books, I’ve had to limit myself to 10 minutes of mental analysis and then 5 minutes of physical analysis, after which I write down my answers. Including the setting up and writing down time, this means around 20 minutes per question, so around 4 hours to get through 12 questions.
Finally, I planned to play in two congresses in September, but had to withdraw. Therefore I have played only 2 games, a draw against a 1615 rated player and a loss against a player rated 1705. The loss was a little disappointing, because although I was out of book after move 2 and without a plan for maybe 15 moves, I built up a really good position (Stockfish evaluation +1 for me), only to throw it away. I attempted a breakthrough when I just needed to be patient and create a second weakness. Lesson learnt.
I will be less active in October as I will be away for a couple of weeks.