2016 Training Plan
2015 was an amazing chess year for me. My rating goal for the end of the year was 1800 and I came close--hitting a high water mark of 1753 after the World Open!
There was a time, just a few years ago, when I could never imagine that I would be a 1700+ player. I was so bad, playing for years under 1300 USCF.
This year my rating goal seems equally audacious--1900 USCF. But, if I gain the same number of points this year as I did in 2015, I can just hit it.
In order to do this, I'm taking my training to a new level. I'm working with a new coach, FM Carl Boor, for 2 hours each week. In the past I've worked a bit with coaches, an hour every few weeks or few months. But I'm seeing that the intensity of a 2 hour per week schedule will allow us to cover a lot of territory and really hone in on my weaknesses.
As some of you know, I'm a big fan of resolutions and goals. Here is my list of "big picture" goals for this year:
You'll notice that all of these goals are process goals. In other words, they are things that I have absolute power to do or not do.
Last year, the biggest weaknesses that I wanted to address were:
- Lazy/Impatient Thinking: I made definite progress in this, become more careful throughout the game. Addressing this one weakness certainly added the most to my rating in 2015. There is still room to improve this, as just in the past few months I can easily think of a handful of games that I could have won or drawn if I had not carelessly slipped up in winning positions.
- Misunderstanding the Position's Needs: In order to address this I reviewed many master games and completed my first pass of How to Reassess Your Chess. I'll continue working on this by reading Pawn Power in Chess.
- Fumbling Endgames or Other Won Games: This is another weakness that I made progress on but I have a long way to go. I'll continue working on this by reading 100 Endgames You Must Know and working extensively on ChessTempo's Endgame Practice Trainer.
- I also worked hard on increasing my understanding of "dynamic" play and I believe this paid direct dividends.
In order to make the above goals more attainable, I've broken them down into weekly actions that I can track, along with other training activities such as tactics, reviewing master games, etc.