Wills Chess Blog
Adventures in chess in Cambridgeshire

The how and what

Category: By Will
A question and challenge must be answered. So the how and what I study should be explained in order to fully meet DK's request for information.

I started playing in summer 2007 in a local club and started to read (an re-read) several books trying to find the essence of the path to improvement. I played alot of 5-15 minute games back then and this gave me a good feeling for tactics but not much else. This tactics centric outlook gave some pretty games, if imperfect, and some crushing loses.

After going through Winning chess tactics 6 times and reaching 98% correct, I looked again at what and where I felt I needed to improve. The better opponents crushed me in every phase of the game and the medium ones in one area or another though not so much tactically.

After this analysis and the learning points from the games it was clear a very balanced approach was necessary. So I decided to continue with tactics using CT-ART at the weekends and Blokh's The Art of Combination during tea breaks at work.

Also I have been going through Alburt's pocket training book which I feel has been very beneficial. I have always found reading about an idea harder to learn than doing an exercise to learn a key point, so working out why certain endgames are lost is interesting and has given me new confidence in the endgame. Also the other middlegame maxims in there are also particularly good.

And then I found GM ram and the articles on the net by the author. The pure embodiment of my preferred method of learning in one book about chess, here is the idea; learn it and find out the why and how yourself. Perfect. I have spent my lunchtimes memorising the games in the book as advocated which has had some very interesting effects on my play more recently. I have committed some 17 to memory so far and manage to add a new one every two weeks. The biggest problem now is going through them all enough to continue to re-enforce the knowledge.

This is how I spend tea breaks and lunchtime, sad but true. In the evening I have made a deal with my wife not to study more than an hour a night, since we have a five year old son this is not a bad deal as far as I am concerned. One evening on each of the following;

Silman's Endgame course, Pachman's Middlegame book, A game anthology, a long game and analysing a position (a la Kotov).

The weekend is tactics free to allow me to play another long game on the net and analyse the games of the week. I also try to analyse one of the positions from GM ram for an hour each day.

More like a part time job than a hobby but I am determined to progress and so far it is working for me, this year my grade reached 105 from 85. In FIDE terms my rating has gone from 1750 FIDE from 1550, not quite 400 points in 400 days but still more than acceptable to me.

The question is now what can I achieve in the next season when I will be playing another level up? I have calculated my win percentage for these two season and both were about 60% even though my opponents this year were 15 points higher than last. Next year the target average opponent should be 110 in old money and 135 in the new grade, to continue the upward trend. Also interesting will be the playchess.com rating which is now around 1700, will this mirror the improvement OTB.

I hope this fills some of the blanks about the how and what, my hopes and fears will be next.

0 comments so far.

Something to say?