Training Update – Finished Kotov

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As mentioned in previous posts, one of my main training goals this year is to finish four books, one of which was The Science of Strategy by Kotov.

I am happy to report that I finished it. With the material I have remaining in Chess Strategy for Club Players by Grooten, What it Takes to Become a Chess Master by Soltis, and 300 Most Important Chess Positions by Enqvist I need to average a bit over five pages a day for the remainder of 2022.

One thing I did which helped with Kotov is I broke it down near the beginning of July to determine what I would need to get through in order to finish the book by the end of the month. The plan is now to do that with the rest of the books.

For instance, in order to finish Grooten by the end of September I need to finish a bit over five pages per day. This is doable but will take the same type of sustained effort I just put into Kotov.

So that’s the plan. Grooten by the end of September, then Enqvist by the end of November, then Soltis by the end of the year.

So what effects have I seen? I feel that I can 100% tell a difference in my positional understanding of the game. I see themes much better than I ever have, and it manifests itself in a position like this one from one of my recent games.

Here I play 24…Rh3. Sure, there are some tactical ideas with this move, but really the idea is to keep White from playing h4, along with making it hard for White to get his pieces and king unbound.

I do not give sole credit for this to reading books. Just as important is the fact that I’ve been working with GM Elshan Moradiabadi, and those lessons are helping me interpret other material better than I have in the past.

Something I have learned along the way this year is that training is no one thing. You don’t sit down, make some grand plan, and then that’s “THE” thing that will move you along. Instead, you make plans, but you remain flexible. Most of all, you just trust the process.

I see a lot of talk on Chess Twitter from those who are frustrated that they are not seeing more immediate results from their training, and I get it. I’ve been there. That’s been me. Now, however, I keep reminding myself that this is a marathon, not a sprint. That nothing worthwhile comes easy, even if it looks that way to others.

So where do we go from here? Well, my rating is 1799 right now. Depending on what happens in my upcoming game on Thursday I’ll either stay around this rating, or drop somewhere between 15-30 Elo. That’s OK. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. The fact will remain that I’ve had some great rating gains in the past year.

The goal for this year is to finish over 1800. Then next year we will work on surpassing the all-time peak of 1896.

I can do this as long as I continue to remind myself to trust in the process and to stay focused.

Til Next Time,

Chris Wainscott