Recently I wrote about the concept of deliberate practice and the fact that I was essentially doing anything but. Sure, I’d get a lot of time in, but that didn’t necessarily translate to useful study in every instance.
So over the past several days I’ve buckled down. The main thing that I have worked on is building up a solving-heavy study routine.
I have worked through several chapters of Yusupov, which really should be my main focus anyhow. Along with that I have solved some of Glenn Flear’s puzzles in Tactimania. On the days where I don’t do Yusupov chapters I have found myself working on other Quality Chess books such as Positional Decision Making in Chess by Gelfand, or Playing 1.e4 e5 by Ntirlis.
As a quick side note, Nikos proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that one does not need to be a GM to write a good opening book, although I doubt that there are too many more out there like Nikos who put in the time and dedication needed to truly understand what they are doing in spite of not having a title. Nikos is a strong player and it shows.
The main focus, however, is solving.
Solving is as close to a person can get to recreating OTB conditions, and that’s the key. It’s also really important to take the time to understand why “move X” doesn’t work when you chose it for your solution. Doing this will help your board vision, and in my case that is what I have been desperately lacking.
Not too long ago if I was working through a tactics book (which was really the only kind of solving I did much of) I’d either assume my solution was correct without having written it down and checked it, or if I checked the answer and saw that my guess was just that – a guess, and not correct I wouldn’t try to understand why if it wasn’t immediately apparent.
Now I’m doing my best to completely deconstruct the puzzles that I don’t find the correct answers for. I’m trying to understand where the blind spots are. My hope is that in doing so they will begin to be corrected as I improve the other aspects of my game.
From a practical sense it’s hard to tell if what I am doing is having much of an impact right now. The reason for that is because I’m still only playing the one game a week with no weekend tournaments. That will change next month as I have the Arpad Elo Open (yes, THAT Elo) coming up.
So my goal right now is to focus intently on preparing for that event. It will take place on May 20th & 21st. Five rounds over two long days. For my foreign readers I should explain that three long rounds on a Saturday is sadly common here in the USA. So my day will begin at 10am and could run easily until 12:30 am the next morning.
I assume that if I could go to Europe and play in a bunch of one round a day events my results would improve dramatically 🙂
To prepare I will mostly just keep doing more of the same. I’d like to finish the first Yusupov volume (I am exactly halfway done) and all of the critical stuff in Nikos’s book as well.
Assuming I can get myself into reasonable playing shape this should get me heading down the road to real improvement. So far in two months I’ve managed only half of Volume One of Yusupov because I’ve allowed myself to get too distracted with other books. No longer.
Til Next Time,