Prep for Midwest Class Championships

Oct 7, 2014, 9:41 AM |

My first OTB tournament in six weeks will be held this weekend, the Midwest Class Championships. (I took a recent break from playing, in order to chill out and hopefully get back into a winning mindset.)

In order to prepare for the tournament, during the week I'm completing my third pass through the 776 problems from Woolum's Chess Tactics Workbook. The tactics set consists of beginning- and intermediate-level tactics, mates-in-1's, mates-in-2's, pins, skewers, and some more advanced problems.

This is my third pass through this particular tactics set.

I completed Pass 1 on 8/13/2014 and Pass 2 on 9/9/2014. Here are my cumulative stats for each pass through the 776 problems.

  Days Hours Percent Correct
Pass 1 16 16 89.57%
Pass 2 13 13 89.95%
Pass 3 (in progress) 2 4 97.04%

You'll notice between Pass 1 and Pass 2, I trimmed three days off the time I took to complete all 776 problems but my accuracy didn't move. In fact, this is one of the reasons I decided to take my recent break: I noticed I was starting to go through the motions--not always try my hardest--while studying.

So far during Pass 3, I've completed 380 problems (about half) with a 97% pass rate. That is a solid 3-4% improvementin accuracy over the same problems during Pass 2! And, done in four hours instead of six.

In addition to going through a few hundred of these tactics each day, I'll review my opening lines on Friday, the day of the tournament. Just a quick run through, especially of some of the off-beat lines of the Caro-Kann, which can trip me up over the board.

I don't plan to explicitly review any endgames this week. But, considering the following is an engame I lost in my last OTB game, maybe I should.


Lessons Learned
  • No matter what move your opponent makes, assume there is a potential threat and find it! I had 5 minutes left on the clock and so I had time to put in the work.
  • Even easily winning positions can hide a poisonous bite.
  • Study more king and pawn endgames.