OK, so after Johan Verduyckt challenged me things kind of took off for the Quality Chess Challenge.
As it stands now Johan and I will be battling it out to see who has the largest rating gain from 2/13/2017-2/13/2018.
We will adjust the rules as needed to keep it fair since there may be some unexpected complications of doing a straight up ratings comparison between the USA and Belgium.
The rules as it stands now are that I will use only books from QC except where no book exists (this shouldn’t be too much since there’s only one or two things that I need that QC doesn’t have yet) and Johan will primarily use books from New in Chess, although he also has a couple of exceptions as well.
Stay tuned for details of involvement from Quality Chess as well.
Mostly my plan to improve is as follows:
First and foremost I plan on changing a lot about my overall physical health. It’s time to turn health and nutrition into an advantage rather than a hindrance. I have been exercising more as of late, and I plan to continue that. I will also make sure that I am being very conscientious of what I eat at a tournament.
I recall a lecture given at my chess club by my friend FM Alex Betaneli who said that the reason he was still able to beat all of the up and coming strong juniors more often than not is that he was having a breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt while they were eating McDonalds and donuts.
Secondly, I will analyze my own games as deeply as I ever have. My goal is to spend 2-3 hours analyzing each game without an engine. After that I’ll blunder check with an engine, but nothing more.
I’ve always felt that class players do themselves a huge disservice with statements like “Why would I analyze my games by myself when I can have my 3000 rated coach do it?” The answer to that is that just the very act of analyzing the games will teach you how to calculate better and to find more creative ideas in your own games.
It’s time to fine tune my openings so that I can better understand the tactics and structures that flow from them. I’ve been working on this here and there, but not in a focused way. It’s time to take a more professional approach to this, although I still plan on no more than an hour or so per week at this.
That brings us to my main focus. The thing that I will be doing more than anything else – working with Artur Yusupov’s nine volume (now nine volumes plus a workbook) series. I have ordered the first book and will begin working on it as soon as it arrives.
So my average day should look like this:
10-15 minutes of warming up with some simple puzzles. “Priming the pump” as Vladimir Djorjevic used to put it at tournaments in Chicago.
Then an hour of serious intense work on whatever I am focusing on that day.
After that I’ll take a 10-15 minute break and then resume work until I get tired.
My main disadvantage is that most days I won’t be able to start this routine until 10pm at night. However, since I’m typically awake until midnight or so that shouldn’t pose a huge problem.
What I am really hoping to gain from all this is just a renewed focus that I haven’t had in a while. Sure, I’ve been working on chess, but I haven’t been WORKING on chess.
It’s devolved in to going through the motions rather than deliberate practice.
So let’s get this thing going!
Til Next Time,