February 2015 Training Recap
USCF Rating: 1658
Year to date: +128
I continued my beginning of the year training momentum into February, following my revised study plan that I put together for the first quarter of the year.
In my tracking chart, pictured below, everything above the center green line is a "must-do" activity each week. Anything below the green line is optional, based on my available time and interests. You'll notice that I had lots of green bars for my must-do's. This makes me happy. And, it tells me that I've found a good balance between pushing myself and being realistic about what I have the time and energy to do.
Some highlights from the month:
- I had my single biggest one month rating change (137 points),
- I beat an 1800 and an expert in the same tournament, both of these being firsts for me.
- I, finally, completed A First Book of Morphy. It took me well over a year to get through the 60+ games.
- I started two new books, the first being Masters of the Chessboard by Reti, my next annotated master game collection. The second being Training for the Tournament Player by Dvoretsky and Yusupov, which my coach is using as part of my lessons.
Some current challenges:
- I'm way overcommited on my half-read "talky" books pile. I'd like to complete How to Reassess Your Chess by Silman by the end of the first quarter. I'm about half way through it already, but haven't picked it up for several weeks as now I'm responsible for reading chapters out of Training for the Tournament Player (for my lessons). I am also half way through Winning Chess Combinations by Seirawan and haven't touched that baby in two months.
- I am registered to play in the Philadelphia Open in early April and would like to go into it with much better prepared openings vs last year, where I only scored 3.5 out of 7 points despite being one of the top seeds in the Class C section. This year I'll be one of the bottom seeds in the Class B section (Yay!) and would like to be really prepped. But, I've never really diligently prepped openings. I've always taken the slow approach of adding a new line here and there as they show up in games and to mostly focus on ideas. I have the ideas in my openings--now I want LINES!
- I've played over 100 blitz games in the past month--which is a record for me. I got my rating up to 1282 and then it plummeted back into the 1100's. It is no big deal--I really don't care about blitz--but it was a little disappointing to make a bit of progress over 100 games and then lose it all in a nearly 10 game losing streak!