Mounting Mastery #21: Will I Succeed?

Mounting Mastery #21: Will I Succeed?

Jun 1, 2018, 8:41 PM |

Hello, everyone.

As I have stressed in the past, I believe the real question is, "will I make progress?" In my opinion, it's of higher importance to make obvious progress rather than achieve your goals to perfection.

Anyway, welcome back! I feel like I do this all the time, but again, it's been three months since I've laid out a detailed study plan as I am about to do! For some of you who may wonder, I truly believe constructing these blog posts have helped me improve rapidly, rather than studying alone, and keeping everything to myself. Without further ado, here is how I am going to divide the sections to study:





Master Games

Practice Games


Here's a little story: I've been over 2200 easy on's tactics trainer, though once I started dropping points below 2000, I got frustrated, reset my rating, and decided to go with a "fresh" start (bad example, Daniel!). The problem is that it's a pain in the rear to start at a 400 rating, and have to solve those "easy" tactics! Once I got to 1800 or so, I started to catch the "tactics virus": you play a move quickly, hoping it's the right one for the rating, so as a result, you're not concentrating during your session, and thus, you don't really end up learning anything. My rating never really went down, though I wasn't going up either. Finally, yesterday and today, I disciplined myself to not play the move unless I knew it was winning, and strive for accuracy... and I got over 2000 a few hours ago! 


I'm not always going to be very keen on getting these many tactics in per day, though this is the type of accuracy I will strive for this week.

I understand at 1800 OTB, my tactics rating is probably a bit low, though outside of showing obvious progression with my rating, my primary goal is accuracy, as well as learning from these problems. 

Strategy/Positional Play:

I had been periodically reading Siman's book on How To Reassess Your Chess (highly reccomended if you haven't picked it up already). To be honest, it's been a couple of months since I deeply studied it, and I even lost the bookmark for where I left off! So I'm going to start on Part Five: Target Consciousness. There are three sections (and one section has several mini-sections), which I might as well list right here:

  • Weak Pawns/The Sound of Ripe Fruit Falling

The Isolated Pawn

The Backward Pawn

Doubled Pawns

The Irish Pawn Center

  • Weak Squares
  • Dragging Down The Central Enemy King!

I've likely been through this part of the book before, though I thought it would be a good place to pick up. I don't know when my next post will be (I'll address that further later), though I'd be happy to get through half of the first section this week. I'll probably shoot for finishing the part by the end of the month. My next post, I'll try and send a summary of what I learned. 


Many people don't realize this, though there are two versions of the endgame to study: concrete and practical. What are the differences?

  • Concrete endgames are positions where one side has a set series of moves which (pretty much by force) win or draw the position, depending on which you strive for.
  • Practical endgames are positions where the player playing the game has to formulate his own plan to increase his advantage for a win.

For concrete endgames, I am using Jesus De La Villa's 100 Endgames You Must Know book, and learning through the positions. I'm in the middle of ending #36, which concludes the Bishop+Pawn versus Bishop (same color) section. I pretty much have a good idea how to win a Bishop+Pawn versus Bishop position if the position is winnable. I'll start on the next section, which is Bishop versus Knight+pawn, though I plan to spend most of my week reviewing the endgames I have trouble remembering, which I will try to report next edition.


The book I plan to use for practical endgames, which many of you have suggested, is Shereshevsky's book, Endgame Strategy. I hate to confess, I have not really sat down and studied that book yet, which will hopefully change this week! I will likely spend the week on the second chapter (skipping the first) on King Centralization. I look forward to studying those positions! 

As far as openings go, it's probably something I'm not going to share because it involves another chess website, which might not appreciate me bringing up. 

For master games, I always have trouble finding my way around a solidified plan, so I've been keeping it simple with watching videos, reading articles/books, etc. I also plan to skim through some of the interesting positions that the Norway Chess players get into. I tunned into a little bit of the live broadcast, and there was something interesting said:


Sergey Karjakin, White, got this position against Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Black). Grandmaster Yasser Seirewan told a story about some GM back in the day working out this position, claiming that the move h4 (Karjakin castled) wins by force! Obviously, in this computer era, such early moves are not going to decide the result, though the commentators (Yaz and Aman Hambleton) did say that an unprepared Black opponent could get crushed very quickly. So watch out, future opponents!

And the title of this article says it all. I've been needing help against the Grunfeld (1. d4, Nf6 2. c4, g6 3. Nc3, d5), so hopefully, Aronian and Karjakin can help me!

Lastly, I'm hoping to get in between three and five 15|10 games on this website, and I'll hopefully get to analyze them for the most part!

Whew! I think that's it! I hope you enjoyed this edition of "Mounting Mastery" as much as I did! Let me know if you have questions!

Also, if you would like to assist me in my chess studies, feel free to hit me up, as I believe study can only get more productive in the art of teamwork!

I don't know when #22 will come out. I would typically do these once every two weeks, so I may not do next week, and I have a tournament the weekend after that... and that next week, I will be completely gone for a week-long church camp... so... I don't know... I guess we'll see!

This is Daniel Guel signing off... peace out!