Path To Chess Prosperity #12 PART 1: Starting Off The New Year Right
What's up, guys and gals?
I will clarify that I have never been much of a resolution personality. I think it is a good idea to set good goals as to give you motivation, though I've never really sparked up resolutions (no pun intended! ) such as to lose 20 pounds, run a mile a day, etc. I don't even recall formally generating chess related resolutions (well, I guess if I did, I failed miserably! ).
Well, I know you're anxious to hear about my resolutions, though I feel the need to make a speech about my 2017 before continuing on to the future!
Rating-wise, you can think of it two ways. I pretty much started the year off at 1600 and ended at 1700 (one hundred point gain). However, let's think about it logically: My lowest rating this year was 1567, and I am currently at my all-time high at 1721! (over 150 points gained! ). At this time next year, I will be a senior in high school (hard to believe!), so in my opinion, this year, the difference between gaining 100 points and 150 points could be very notable. More on my rating later.
As far as my chess play goes, I definitely don't think it was a bad year. However, I can't fail to mention that this year, I got the opportunity to play five experts (2000+ USCF) including one master. My record was one draw and four losses. However, during all four losses, I had winning chances at some point in the game. And it's frustrating looking back, what if I had beaten all of those experts??? (or even if I had beaten like half of them...).
I think one thing I need to seriously improve on is the will and ability to actually finish games! I have two off-the-board problems: rating/opponent psychology and poor time management. I never mention this in my blog, though I do indeed have problems when I know who my opponents are and their ratings. Especially how tournaments are structured, it's practically impossible to not know your opponent's rating, though if I would have forgotten about that during critical moments in 2017, my rating might be much higher. Any suggestions on a cure (if any exists!) would be appreciated!
As far as time trouble goes, I guess there are a few solutions. I should know my openings better (and not necessarily be paranoid about playing the absolute best moves in the beginning game... my openings are simple enough already!). I guess tactics keep the flow going, and I should also know my endgames (more on that later). If I know my endgames, time trouble should not be a big issue.
I could certainly relate to a few of those, though this is about chess goals!
Here are my grand resolutions you all have been waiting for!
- Break 1850 USCF (and get to approximately 1900 skill). My current rating is 1721, though it is kind of hard for me to tell my true skill. I feel like I could be at least 1800 skill in some situations, though once again, psychology and time management could and will play a big factor. If I get those problems cleaned up, I feel like my rating could be much higher. Though, I will not demand too much of myself, so, therefore, I will be a happy man if I am 1850 in 12 month's time.
- Beat at least one expert (2000+ USCF) in a tournament. I can do it, I know I can outplay an expert in a tournament game... I just have to deliver... and I believe I can do it, especially if I have at least five tries again this year.
- Join FIDE and play in at least one FIDE rated tournament this year. This will be a tall task, considering that generally, FIDE events are time-consuming (2-3 days at a minimum), and require a large entry fee compared to smaller local tournaments. However, Lord willing, I will be driving by the end of the year (I am a late-bloomer in the driving area. ), and once I can do that, traveling to tournaments will be easier to me.
- Break 2100 on Chesstempo. It's embarrassing... over the weekend, I dipped to bare 1900 Chesstempo (they have been robbing me of many rating points since I was at some point somewhat inactive on standard tactics. ). And I was so close to 2000 at one point! I believe I can make a bounceback, and climb that mountain.
- Know by heart all of the endgames in De La Villa's 100 Endgames You Must Know. OK... if I know at least 90% of them... I might make an exception. However, as I stated earlier, it will be important for me to know my endgames if I continue to get into time trouble, and I hope this book will help me.
I hoped you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing! Part 2 will be notably more boring, as it will simply be my study plan for the coming weeks (as usual). It may or may not be coming out before midnight.
Until then, have a Happy New Year!