Mid-Year Training Update

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Now that we’re at the halfway point of 2022 it’s time for an update on how the training has been going.

At the beginning of the year I made the following “resolutions” in a blog post:

So here are my resolutions for 2022, which just so happens to be one calendar year.

  1. Annotate and publish those annotations to every classical game I play. This will include me taking a few minutes immediately after every game to jot down a few notes about what I was feeling/thinking, as well as trying to capture the lines I calculated at the board. Yes, I will engine check this analysis, but I will do it by hand prior and will note when there was something critical that I missed that the engine found.
  2. Continue my streak on Chessable. Currently that stands at 626 days, and my intention is to not stop – ever. I don’t use the freeze protect anything. Those are 626 actual days. Some where I might have done all of 1-2 lines just to keep the streak going, and some where I did hundreds to really work.
  3. Work on openings. For real. For 2022 I give myself the goal of being able to competently play the Caro-Kann and the Slav by the time we get out of the year. I really want to get in tune with the Caro-Slav pawn structure and understand those …e5 and …c5 breaks.
  4. Read four books cover to cover, not counting the ones that I read for revies or the ones I pick up and play through a game of two from. The four books are 300 Most Important Chess Positions by Enqvist; Chess Strategy for Club Players by Grooten; What it Takes to Become a Chess Master by Soltis; The Science of Strategy by Kotov. As you can see, strategic/positional play will be the theme of these books.
  5. Get in much better physical shape. I used to enjoy working out and lifting weights in my youth. I need to get back to that. Some of you witnessed me wrestle a former NFL player when I was 44 or 45 🙂 So I’m not afraid of physicality, I just need to get back to wanting to do the hard work/heavy lifting.
  6. Enjoy myself and trust in the process.

So now let’s take those one by one and break them down.

  1. Annotate and publish the annotations. I am going to give myself a C on this. I haven’t published much in the way of annotated games. That doesn’t, however, mean that I haven’t been doing the work. I have gone over almost every game I have played this year in reasonable detail. I need to publish them on the blog though. I’ve been giving this some thought, and I might start publishing an entire tournament worth at a time like I did with the Perelman Memorial games.
  2. Continue my streak on Chessable. Here I have to give myself an F. I managed to miss a day after 676 days. The good news is that my current streak is back to 113 days. Again, I don’t use the restore or freeze protect or anything like that. Yes, it sucks to lose that streak, but it’s not the end of the world. Besides, in around a year and a half I can be right back there!
  3. Work on openings. Here I will give myself a B. The goal was to get the Slav and the Caro up to relatively high levels. I am making progress in that regard. I have played some nice games in both openings, but more importantly I have learned a lot. My understanding is coming along, and the hope is that if I continue to grow at the same pace, I’ll have a decent level of understanding with both of these.
  4. Read four books cover to cover. I’ll give myself a C- on this one. I have been reading a bit, but not enough. The four books I am reading total 1,151 pages. I have read 138 of those pages. This leaves 1,103 pages to go. With 184 days left in the year I need to average 5.5 pages a day in order to finish all four. I think that this is doable, but I need to embrace the idea of reading something like 15-20 pages on weekend days and maybe another 5-10 if I get time during a weekday. That’s doable.
  5. Get in much better physical shape. I’m going to give myself a qualified C- here as well. For the last few weeks, I have worked diligently at this and am showing results. But it took me until now to start. Having said that, I’m on the longest streak of my adult life where I have had no sweets by choice. As I am type 2 better control of my blood sugar does lead to much better calculating ability due to less brain fog.
  6. Enjoy myself and trust in the process. Here I am going to give myself an A. I have most certainly maintained trust in the process and am enjoying myself.

So overall I am happy with how the year is going, though I understand I have a lot of work to do. I have gained over 100 rating points this year and am close to surpassing 1800 again. I’ll take it.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott