September Training Recap

Oct 22, 2015, 10:30 PM |

USCF Rating: 1661

Year to date: +131

I took a nice six week break from chess tournaments after the World Open, where I had hit my all time high rating. Alas, my hockey stick rating trajectory coming out of that tournament wasn't meant to last for long.  

In the Illinois Open Championships Sept 5-7th, I decided to play in the Open section--and I was given some over the board lessons by my opponents, who ranged from an Expert, then several high 1900's, followed by a few 1800's and then down to a 1600 in the last round. Yes, unfortunately, that didn't do wonders for my rating but I did get some good learning material.

In addition to the Il Championships, I qualified for our club's end of season Knight's Cup round robin tournament. The top eight finishers in the year-long weekly ladder face off for a rated seven rounds of G/90+5. We just finished up round six tonight and I have 3 of 6 points going into the final round.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

One thing I noticed in my tournaments since the World Open is that I am struggling with psychology and thought process while at the board. I changed my thought process routine on each move to now make my move and then write it down, whereas previously I would write my move, do a blunder check, and then make the move. This little change in procedure has caused me to forget to do blunder checks in many instances. So, I am hoping that it is just a temporary issue.

Psychologically, I haven't tried my hardest in the last two tournaments. This is embarrassing to say. We're chess players and we all know we need to try our best on every single move. But, after my modest successes in the recent DC International and World Open, I seem to have lost a bit of competitive edge. For instance, at certain points in some games, I've gotten "hand-wavy" on moves and moved without thoroughly calculating and/or evaluating, IE, I was playing a form of Hope Chess (as NM Dan Heisman calls this phenomenon that affects many weak players). And when I was doing this, I was fully aware I was doing it, but still thinking it would work out okay! That disturbs me.

I'm not sure what is causing it other than maybe a bit of distraction from other aspects of life and possibly a bit of tournament burn-out--coming off the highs from DC, particularly. And, maybe, I'm just expecting every move I make to be magical and winning.

Some highlights from the month:

  • The rating is taking a temporary dip.
  • I have lots of new training material and feel in the past week that I may be getting back on the right track psychologically.