The last 8 days have been hell and fun at the same time. I managed to complete the first set of circles on the first 400 problems within CT-ART with a success rate of 98% over 4 circles. My progression of success was pretty steady, as you can see from the image below:
All this means for me is that the next 8 days will be even more hell as I'll be doing problems 401-800. I suspect I will have to repeat this set of circles twice as I do not expect to reach my goal of 96% when all is said and done. Would be nice though!
Now lets get on to the how I'm studying chess aside from tactics with CT-ART. I will give a rundown of my normal day to day training schedule:
- 1-2 hours(depending on which circle I'm on) - Tactics with CT-ART
- 5-15 minutes - Break
- 1-2 hours - Studying openings from the ICS Course
This is actually a two step process:
1) I study the opening and it's variations on a real board to get the natural feel for the opening. I pay close attention to the middle game plans and ingrain them in my mind for future reference.
2) Input the opening into Chess Position Trainer and train the the openings without having the demo line, then I move on to blind fold mode.
By doing this method, I have memorized all the openings from Month 1 of the ICS course with a recall rate of 100%. I will be moving on to the Month 2 openings tonight.
NOTE: I do not feel that opening knowledge like this is crucial at my level of play. That being said, it's more of a personal goal of mine to memorize these openings and their typical middle game plans.
- 5-15 minutes - Break
- 1 hour - Strategy problems via GM Igor Smirnov's course tasks.
These are golden imo. I have learned quite a bit from his courses. The material is nothing new and is covered in a lot of chess books and articles, however his systematic approach to teaching really clicked with me.
Within the next week I plan to incorporate training games into my schedule as well as analyzing games. I tried playing training games against Fritz 11 however I find it discouraging. I don't want to feel like cheating myself by setting the computer's playing level to a lower rating so my plan is to join an online slow chess league and get some games in with real people. I know this will suit my needs well and will help prepare me for my OTB encounters at the Denver Open.
Let's move on to another topic that is quite touchy within the adult chess playing community; the topic of improving your chess skill as an adult.
Last night I came across the following Chess.com forum post: Inspirational Adult Improvers
Seeing the amount of negativity some of the posters are throwing at these guys is really appalling to me. Like most adult players, my goal is to improve my skills and I know that jumping from 1100 USCF to 1500 USCF isn't that hard of a task I still like to think that it's quite a great accomplishment. As you all know, my goal is to reach 2000 USCF by the time I'm 30 but according to these guys that's impossible. Here's to not feeding into the negativity and going after my goal regardless of what the general public thinks!
Till next time,
- Sir Nemo