My Journey To Getting Better At Chess #6

My Journey To Getting Better At Chess #6


Hi, everyone! How's it going, I hope you have had a great Easter! This will be a brief installment (edit, I now realize it was not so brief ). So, without further ado...


First thing is first, I reached a 1900 milestone on Rapid!  

A big shoutout to @EnergeticHay (who has a great blog btw, go check it out!), who mentioned in the comments section of this blog that my next goal would be 1900 rapid. At the time, I thought it was going to be very hard to achieve, and don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy, but three months later (six months since I first broke 1800 ... it's been an up-and-down journey!), and we've crossed that 1900 barrier! Dare I say, 2000 next?

Probably one thing worth noting, the games leading up to my 1900 rating were somewhat "flukey". I had several people hang pieces, and the game that got me to 1900 hung mate in a winning position (for him, losing for me). So is it possible my rating is a little inflated? Ehh, I guess so... however, I believe that ratings overtime are relative, and I'm more excited that my overall online ratings are going up rather than what the specific number is.


My next OTB tournament

Is April 9th through 11th, next weekend, somewhere in the Dallas area It's being run by Blakeman Chess, which appears to be doing a great job running big tournaments with strong players in the Dallas area. It'll be a great opportunity for me, as my section has 49 players, and I am the 6th lowest rated player in the field ... which will make for multiple great opportunities against super strong competition. The tournament is 7 rounds long, but I'm taking a bye, to only play 6 games, which I actually think will turn out to be a wise choice, as my schedule will simply be two games per day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! The time control will be 90|30. I'll have to adjust, as it's a different universe than 45;d5, which was my most recent tournament.

And speaking of that, thank you to all who supported me in the comments section. My "ugly tournament" did get 1,200 views, which is a lot! 😂 But on a serious note, it was great to hear the support from everyone, and I am glad that you enjoy reading these recaps! 

So what are my goals for this upcoming tournament? I came up with a few "creative goals" as my coach told me, goals not focused on the results, ratings, etc:

  • Focus on playing good chess games, enjoying myself, and growing as a player, rather than worrying about rating points, etc. 

  • Manage my time well ... the last time I played a 90|30 tournament, which was my first OTB of 2021, I left a lot of time on the table. Transitioning from online rapid to OTB classical is tricky! While I don't want time pressure to be an issue, I want to use the time I have as a resource, and to maximize it.

  • Maintain the tension more -- coach talked to me about this, that I need to rush less, and let the position play itself out.

  • Be more aware of my opponent's ideas -- I've had some oversights my past couple of tournaments, so I need to be more disciplined with considering my opponent's resources.

Levy Rozman's (aka, the famous Gothamchess) video on his return to OTB chess really resonated with me, a point he made in the end. He said his only goal was to play good games of chess, he didn't even mention titles, rating, norms, etc. I do believe that is the right way to approach it!

My training this week

Here is what I'll be working on this week, leading up to the tournament, and will probably be working on even after the tournament... shoutout to my coach for laying out this plan!

  • Spend 15-30 minutes per day on puzzles just to be sharp
  • Play "solitare chess" with Karpov's games (basically play "guess the move", and compare your move with the move chosen in the game), which coach recommended for working on maintaining the tension, and overall being patient.
  • Go through Shereshevsky's endgame book, chapter 5, "do not hurry", which I think is pretty self explanatory!
  • Refresh some of my openings.

So that's it! To close, I was going to annotate a Kaprov game, but I decided not to, as it's almost 1:00 AM here, and I need to get this posted. Maybe for a future post! Otherwise, feel free to leave a comment, I enjoy the discussions, and I will let you know how the tournament goes!