At the end of every year, I look back at my progress and how that year went. 2012 was definitely not the kind of roaring success for me that 2011 was, but when I actually looked back at it, I don't think it was so bad. I started the year with a FIDE rating of 2565, and I finished with 2595(+7), so I gained 37 points. Not quite as good as the 67 I gained in 2011, but still a healthy gain that many a strong player would be satisfied with. I think part of the reason I was so disappointed is that I felt 2012 had started after my streak had ended. Indeed, just a week into the year, I had already gained 15 points from winning the Northern California International- this felt like it was just another one of my string of good results that came in 2011. If that result did count as 2011, then I would have gained 88 points in 2011 (an insane amount) and only 22 in 2012 (much more down to earth). But, this is more or less what happened. My session of analyzing my play from 2012 led me to believe that choosing every 12 months as a period of chess as opposed to how results are going is a pretty frivolous way of going about things. The assessment I came to ended up something like this:
January 2011-January 2012: Road to 2900
February 2012-June 2012: This is what happens when you get cocky
July 2012-August 2012: EUROPE!! 1 GAME PER DAY!! DOMINANT SHANKY!
September-October 2012: zzzzzzzzzzzz
November 2012: Darn it, back in America! So long 26, was nice having you while it lasted
December 2012: Hammertime! 26 again!
The picture painted here is much more realistic. While on the whole I enjoyed some very good results in 2012 and gained myself some rating, my biggest problem was my lack of consistency. I think I see the reason why, and this is something I will do a lot to change. In the more serious events, I scored very well. By more serious I mean longer, and if possible, one game per day. In events that were 9 rounds and more, I gained rating in every single event, made a GM norm in every single event, and netted a total of +57 FIDE points- certainly a substantial amount. However, the shorter, less serious events were very troublesome. I played very poorly, losing points in every single one. The lesson I have learned from this is to limit my short events, play them much less often, and in the rare circumstance that I do play them, make sure to try even harder to overcompensate. I'll be keeping this in mind very soon: in 2 days I leave for Brazil to make my debut for Team America in the Pan-American Team Championship. This tournament is a hybrid of the two types I have been describing: It is a very serious event, one game per day, and I am sure I will be playing some very good players, but it is also only 6 rounds. Hopefully I can use the lessons I learned from going over my 2012 results to make sure I don't embarass myself and my country. To conclude, I'll leave the readers with some of my best and most interesting games of the year to enjoy without comments.