My Journey To Getting Better At Chess #3

My Journey To Getting Better At Chess #3


Hi, everyone! Here it is. It has been a drowsy Sunday night for me, so I will try to get this written as quickly as possible... but that generally means this turns into a long detailed post. So enjoy!

I went through the first set of twelve problems in Aagard's book on calculation. Out of the twelve, I got the right move/idea in eight of them. However, my accuracy would probably be lower given some problems I may not have every single idea. I don't really believe that accuracy is all that important, I think what matters is sitting down, and pushing myself to do the calculation. Here is my favorite problem! It does have multiple correct solutions

My goal is to complete two "calculation" problems per day. If my coach sends me positions, I'll do one from Aagard, and another from coach. If I don't have any from coach (if he hasn't sent any yet, or I completed them all), I'll do two from Aagard. I sort of doubt it will be retainable especially once school starts, but it's a good motivational goal


As far as online games go, I've mentioned trying to get in longer games (30+ minutes per side) with increment. It's a little challenging because the default time controls for slow play are 15|10 and 30|0. That's a different topic!  Nonetheless, I did a little overview of how I've been performing since I started with my coach (our first lesson was December 4th, a month ago!). Here is a screenshot!

Now I do promise not to be "Mr. Only Brag When I Do Well"  However, the numbers do not lie! My rating went from 1747 --> 1799 (+52), I did before that have a SEVENTEEN game rapid stretch when I only won one game (wow, looking back, only one win out of seventeen tries is super frustrating but glad that's over!). Also, since seeing my coach, my overall rapid record is 13 wins, 4 losses, 3 draws. NOW that I think about it, only losing 4 rapid games in the span of a month is encouraging! 

I'll give myself a motivational goal for this month. My goal for this month to make and/or pass my peak rapid rating, which is 1830. However, even though I did gain 52 in a month, there's no guarantee that this time around will go well. This could be a bad month! But no matter how good or bad it goes, I will let you know my first post of February how it's going. 

I did make a post about my instructive loss vs. a 2179. Playing much stronger players and trying your best is a great learning opportunity. I did get my best ever rapid win, against a 1999! Although he did tell me he was not completely focused, which I do understand, but here is the game regardless:

So for other notes, I thought my coach's recent calculation advice to me was very helpful. When you begin calculating, first look at the move that you WANT to play. It's important because if the most natural move works, then there is no point in calculating other possibilities. He's also been giving me a good amount of puzzles that have to do with seizing the initiative. Against an open King, we want to blow open the middle of the board.

Lastly, I do have tournament news, I will be playing my first OTB tournament of 2021 later this month!  It's the Dallas FIDE Open, January 16th through 17th. I'll for sure make a post on that tournament once it concludes. Before that, I will be working hard on my calculation, and my openings. Can't wait! 

I'll leave you with a puzzle. White to play. One of the exercises my coach gave me! Feel free to discuss the answer in the comments. I will see you soon!