Time to Make a Real Run at Class A
When I started playing chess again in January of this year I had a goal. That goal was to have my USCF rating up to 1600 by the end of this year (about a 50 point gain from where I started, but I was 1550ish going on 1200 since I hadn't played in almost 20 years.)
I achieved that goal. As of now my rating is 1674.
My next goal was to be rated 1800 by the end of 2012. I am now restating that goal. Myh new goal is to be rated 1800 by the end of April 2012.
I will not be playing another rated game between now and January 14th, 2012. In the interim I am studying a lot with an eye towards achieving this goal.
I am studying the following items:
The French Defense - I need to learn a handful of openings well, this is one of them. I never study openings so it's time to devote a bit of time to them.
The Queen's Gambit Declined - again, time to learn a defense against 1. d4 very well.
The open Sicilians as White - I have been a dedicated Alapin player my entire life, but lately I've been playing the open Sicilian's. I think that you can learn a lot about the game simply by studying the open Sicilians.
The Giuoco Piano - my coach has recommended that I study this opening.
Tactics - every day I am trying to do at least 25-30 tactical puzzles in the tactics trainer and/or chesstempo.com
Endgames - I am currently focusing on king & pawn endgames and will be for the next few months.
Playing over annotated master games - self explanatory. I have been focusing on the games of Botvinnik, Korchnoi, and GM Akobian lately since they are all experts on the French Defense.
I will post my progress, both with studying and with rating improvements between now and the end of April 2012.