Part 4: Putting it all together

Dec 2, 2009, 6:16 PM |

Positive Reinforcement:

So I have to report that since I made my 440 positions, I’ve played several games this month. Seven of these games were against Class A players. In the last week, I’ve managed to defeat 3 class A players in a row. I’ve been playing once a week at the chess club and on Sunday, November 29th, I played at one of my favorite events, The Harry Nelson Pillsbury Memorial. I finished with 3 wins out of 4 games earning the U1750 cash prize, but my wife needn’t worry about me quitting my day job…just yet.

The Jury is still out on whether my new training regimen had a great deal to do with it or am I just rebounding from my really bad slump and this is just the laws of averages working here. Nonetheless, it’s the most positive reinforcement I’ve had to date on this process of improvement. Earlier in the month, my USCF rating was at an abysmal ( for me) 1618. After Sunday and after picking up some points at the close of the Club’s monthly event, I jumped up to 1723. My all time highest is 1755 I had earlier in the year. So this is where my cautious optimism comes from. Earlier in the year, I had a goal of breaking 1800 by the end of the year. I just might have a chance of doing that depending on how I end December with at the club. I’ll be happy meeting my 1755 high.

Putting it in motion

Of the 440 positions, I had a set of 55 positions form my most recent games I went over daily. At first it took me over an hour. By the event, I had this down under a half hour and hitting them at 100%. I also took the 50 positions created from my repertoire database out lined in part 3 and reviewed them 3 times ( every other day before the event). One day, I did all 105 and plowed through another 20 positions of the games studies. In particular, I couldn’t resist going over the games of Hastings 1895 in preparation of the Harry Nelson Pillsbury Memorial. It just seemed like the thing to do.

I am now in the process of weeding out my “daily dose” and moving the easier ones into the “once a week” review group. I am adding the recent games and pulling in some positional studies from the Zurich 1953. This is a work in progress as I fine tune this.

I will do some opening maintenance and pull some new positions to study as I broaden my scope. These will be reviewed 2 or 3 times a week. I am shooting for a complete Brain Burner once a month with the entire set but this will take time. As I add new positions to the “daily dose” I have to build up my experience and keep the time to under an hour.

So my formula is to have 50-ish daily, 50-ish opening rep training every other day on top of the daily dose. Once a week add 20 or more of the positional studies from the master game collections and eventually build of a rep of 50 of these to do once a week. The goal is to get the easier ones moved to the monthly brain burner.

In the near future, I will be posting a couple of the recent games as some were pretty spectacular with inglorious blunders on both sides. For instance, I almost lost one game against a lower rated player because I got cocky and played a variation of a defense I never played before! Next thing I knew I was subjected to a Greek gift and almost mated.

In general, where I won my games was all in tactics. Tactics I recognized over the board because I was comfortable enough knowing the positions.

One last tip I will throw out there is that I use my training database in 3D format so I can visualize the moves better. That was one thing I learned back when I was a Knight Errant. CT-ART was all 2D and I had the hardest time transposing to OTB.