Following a fairly dismal second half of 2015 (especially the last quarter) I was downgraded on the ECF’s December ratings update to 103 (1473 Elo), a drop of around 37 Elo points. Not a disaster, but a hiccup in my progress to date.
In response to this, I have simplified my goals and study plan for 2016. January was a month of bedding in the practicalities of the new goals and I made some adjustments to what I do and how much of it, during the month. Here is a round-up of how I got on.
TACTICS: My goal is simply to get better at tactics.
- I do 15-25 problems on Chessimo (I’ve done units 1-7);
- 27 problems on Chessity (weird number due to sets of 9);
- 5 problems on chess.com’s Tactics Trainer.
This takes about 30 minutes a day. I was active on 96% of available days. My Chessity rating went from around 1500 at the turn of the year to 1640 today; on Tactics Trainer my rating improved from 1459 to 1518.
OPENINGS: My goal is to know my repertoire (from Tiger Chess’s Build and Opening Repertoire course) inside out.
I was active (30 minutes study or more) for 64% of available days.
- 10 minutes reviewing ‘flashcards’; I made cards of the main lines (picture of key position; main line and key variations);
- 10 minutes memorising lines using ChessPositionTrainer.
- Then I use my detailed ChessBase notes to learn the ideas and plans on my real board.
ENDGAME: My goal is to have the endgame knowledge of an 1800-rated player.
- I start with 5 Chessimo problems (I’ve done units 1 and 2);
- Then I do a position or two from the Tiger Chess course on Fritz;
- A couple of times a week I watch a Tiger Chess video or two, making notes if required.
- I will add using ChessTempo Practice mode this month, as this is more difficult than the current level of Chessimo and provides good practical examples.
I only hit 58% of my target, doing 280 minutes in the month against a target of 480 (2 hours/week). That has to improve.
PLAYING: I want to play 50 OTB games in 2016.
- I played 8 this month, mainly due to 5 during a congress.
- I did not review all of them in detail, instead focusing on a few and then using those for my 1 lesson with my coach (another monthly target).
- For this month’s lesson, I reviewed the games again before sending them to my coach, then asked a couple of specific questions on each. After the lesson I made comprehensive notes of the key lessons. I have about 5 or 6 key positions for each of the 3 games we reviewed, with the key lesson against each position. I plan to review these from time to time, hopefully weekly.
OTHER: I want to memorise 12 games this year.
I have have chosen the 12 games; they all come from openings that fit my repertoire. The first one (Colle-Delvaux Gand-Terneuzen 1929) is in the bank.
OVERALL: I did not spend as much time studying as I wanted to, mainly due to work commitments, but some just laziness. I need to fix that. My year over the board has kicked off fairly well. I’m at 5/8 against opponents with an average rating of 1495 (or 4/7 against average 1570 if you exclude a win against a player rated 947), with a best win against a 1623.
Onwards and upwards.