Review – November 2016

From a chess point of view, October was a non-event. I was away on holiday for two weeks, had visitors for a few days and spent a lot of time on work (a few big tasks all delivering at the same time) and on home administration.

I worked through 18 endgame book pages (Pandolfini’s Endgame Course), watched 16 Tiger Chess videos, did ‘only’ 821 tactics problems and played 3 games. Those were a draw against an 1863 and wins against a 1248 and a 1488. Come to think of it, it is a good sign of intention when that level of activity came from me thinking I spent no time on chess.

November was somewhat better, although still with some reds on the dashboard. Part of the reason was a continuation of work and home commitments, but part was that I rebalanced chess with other interests. I have read barely any books this year, which is not a good thing. I have been reading more and will continue to do so.

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The key metrics for November were 20 endgame pages, 3 Yusupov chapters (Build Up Your Chess 1: The Fundamentals (Yusupov’s Chess School; taking by far the most chess time), 29 Tiger Chess videos (many of them opening repertoire videos; getting there on that long process), 1,035 tactics problems and 4 games. Those were three wins (versus players rated 1248, 1450 and 1518) and a draw against a 1533. That has left my provisional rating at around 1570, up from the mid-year official ECF rating of 1533.

In the continuing effort to make the most of the time that I spend on chess (focus, deliberate practice, deep work, growth mindset and all that), I have been thinking about whether to continue with this blog. On the one hand, it provides an opportunity to reflect, something I suspect played a role in this year’s culling of my training plan. It also makes me think about summarising lessons from books on mastery (few and far between, but see paragraph three above). On the other hand, it takes up time that could be spent studying. Does it really add value to anyone? I don’t know that it does, because bar a few posts, it is not an instructional blog; it just exists to tell my tale of agonisingly slow progress. It would be good to hear what you think, especially those of you who also write blogs, or used to.

9 thoughts on “Review – November 2016

  • 7th December 2016 at 3:55 pm

    Hi, I’ve been following your blog for about a year now and though this is the first time I’m commenting I suspect there are many avid chess lovers that stop by here and get a lot of motivation from your work without necessarily commenting. From a practical standpoint you’re probably right in that the blog does take up time which could be put toward learning the game. On the other end of the spectrum, this blog is a wonderful experiment that outlays for those avid followers and beyond how powerful discipline can be in mastering anything. So I guess what I’m saying is your post are probably more of a gift to the community of chess than a benefit to yourself but if that is important aspect for you than I think you should definately continue providing us wonderful motivating blogs. Cheers!

  • 7th December 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Chess is something I play for fun but I haven’t made any progress in last 15 years because there was no direction to it but recently I thought I should make an effort to build on what I already know rather than just playing games and not learning anything new. I stumbled across your blog when I was searching for something and I subscribed to it. I only check your blog when I receive your email and it reminds me to do some “work”. If you wrote it too often I probably would have unsubscribed to it. I don’t have any lofty goals except to use my chess time effectively and I am noticing unintended benefits lately.

    • 7th December 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Sridhar, thanks for subscribing. I have noticed the same this year; if you spend some time thinking about and planning your chess study, then you get more out of the time you do study.

  • 7th December 2016 at 4:39 pm

    It would be a shame if you discontinued updating the blog altogether, but I wouldn’t blame you if you kept it to a monthly/bi-monthly schedule. I think the practice of reflecting on your progress and analyzing what’s working and what isn’t is a valuable discipline.

    • 7th December 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks for the comment. A monthly update, maybe two a month, is probably the right balance between spending time on it and using it as a tool to reflect and learn.

  • 7th December 2016 at 6:36 pm

    love reading most of the blogs from friends instructional too.Yours is particular interesting as im doing yusopov books too along side smirnov courses. Also wondered yusopovs new book revision are you using it as supplement to course or revision.

    • 7th December 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Hi Stephen, thank you for the comments. At the moment I have only completed up to chapter 10 of book 1 of Yusupov (Fundamentals – Build up your chess). Once I get through the Fundamentals set of three books, I plan to use the “Revision and Exam” book for revision before I move onto the Beyond the Basics set of books. This may take a long time, but I think it is the right thing to do.

  • 11th December 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Your blog has inspired many chess players young and old. It certainly inspired me to want to improve and to believe that even in my mid 40s it is possible to make progress.

    Anyone reading your blog can locate, study and develop in every aspect of the game. Your narrative about your ups and downs are both honest and helpful. Chess development is not always linear as time is always a factor.

    I agree with the comment about submitting fewer updates. There is such a wealth of information here that it is not necessary to update too regularly.

    In my opinion this is one of the best sites for anyone aspiring to improve.


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