April 2015 Training Recap

May 11, 2015, 7:48 AM |

USCF Rating: 1624

Year to date: +94

After a successful first quarter both training-wise and competition-wise, I've decided to continue my current training regimen unchanged through the second quarter.

I am continuing to use Anki on a daily basis to review positions from some of my openings (mainly the Torre Attack, QGD Exchange as black, and Dutch as white). Anki is a spaced-repetition program, often used for learning foreign languages, that I am using to memorize positions from my openings. Now, after having used Anki to memorize an initial set of about 160 positions, I am reviewing about 8-10 per day. This decreased signficantly over the past 6 weeks. At the peak, I was reviewing about 30-40 per day. Over the next few weeks, I plan to enter positions for the QGD Tartakower as black and the Caro-Kann as black. This will nicely round out my repertoire. (I'll continue also using Perfect Chess Trainer to review openings because it works in the more traditional method of having the user just play through lines sequentially. That plus the position-based Anki gives me two different perspectives on my openings.) 

I played in one tournament in April since the Philadelphia Open ended. It was a G60+30 increment Quad held at ChessIQ in outside Chicago. In the first game, I was up a pawn and had a nice position but then dropped a rook to a queen fork in the endgame. In the next game I just left a bishop en prise and lost. The third game I got blown off the board! Going in to the tournament, I hadn't slept well for several nights and during the games I could feel my inability to focus and visualize the board well, even though I was telling myself, "Kevin, concentrate!"  

I have three big tournament coming up in the next two months. The Chicago Open, a big seven-round U.S. tournament is in a few weeks. Then, I have back-to-back the DC International and the World Open, both nine-rounders, coming up in June/July.

Some highlights from the month:

  • I'm working on memorizing the chess board, starting with the color of the squares, per IM Rensch's video. Using flash cards I can now rattle off the colors of all 64 squares in 3:28 minutes with no mistakes (my first attempts took about 5 minutes with 6-8 mistakes). My goal is 3:12 minutes, which is 3 seconds per square. Then I'll move on to memorizing the diagonals as per the video.
  • I recently realized I earned an initial FIDE rating of 1760 back in January! After my April Quad, it is currently 1733.

Some current challenges:

  • Again last week at my club I was up the exchange against an Expert (in a G90+5 game) going into the endgame. I let down my guard a bit and he was able to launch a decisive mating attack against my king. This is a reoccuring theme of mine and I am looking to address it through practicing winning won positions against a computer but I haven't started this training yet.