New Training Plan
About once a quarter I like to review my training plan and make sure that:
- My training objectives are addressing my highest priority weaknesses (the reason I am currently losing games);
- My training activities will lead to progress on longer-term priorities, such as enhancing opening lines, learning theoretical endgames, etc. Addressing priorities in this category won't usually be reflected in overnight ratings gains but will accumulate points over years of effort;
- My training activities are achievable on a weekly basis, given my schedule constraints.
If you follow this blog at all, you know I am a fanatic about tracking my activities. I track both the number of times I do an activity each week and also how much time I spent doing each. This has given me useful data going back 3 1/2 years on how I have spent my chess time and what the results have been.
It is often hard to correlate doing x activity here led to achieving y rating gain there. But, it does indicate some general correlations. For instance, earlier in the year, I had nearly completely dropped doing my "Analyze 3 positions for 20 minutes each" activity for about 4 months. My rating dropped during this period (reaching a 1 year low). Thereafter I resumed the activity and added another one, "Visualization exercises." My rating went up to close to a 1 year high a few months later.
For the upcoming quarter, I've drastically updated my training plan. I've reduced my total planned hours from 20/week to 14/week, cutting out several of the periphery activities in order to really focus on fundamentals. Below are the things I think I must do every week to continue to improve. Everything else can be done whenever I have extra chess time available.
By reducing and focusing, I hope to have solid green squares on all my required activities (those above the horizontal green line) instead of a smattering of green, yellow and red. Christmas light results turn out to have little motivational value but having solid green week after week really motivates me to keep the trend alive.