Path To Chess Prosperity #18: Shaking Off Rust

Path To Chess Prosperity #18: Shaking Off Rust


What's up, guys and gals?

There are many things you can overdo. You can overtrain tactics. You can overread chess books, and as fellow top blogger @MiddlegamerUmesh points out, many people overstudy the opening.

There is, however, one thing I believe you can't do too much of as long as you use that time and opportunity wisely, and I believe that is playing slow games (15 minutes or more) and analyzing them. The analysis is crucial, as you will learn a lot more looking over them and finding your flaws rather than continuously playing games nonstop. 

I'm on spring break this coming week and with lots of time to burn, I will be playing quite a bit of games online before I play in the Texas State Scholastic Chess Championships next weekend (more on that later).  

I also wanted to point out that in my last article, I posted a game I played against @FangBo, and even if a game with two 1500s in it seems somewhat irrelevant, I was super impressed by the loads of suggestions and tips given to me in the comments section about the game! Thank you all for the notes! And a BIG thank you for 1,000 reads my last post!!!

OK, enough with the word wall. Let's take a peek at my weekly tactics log:


MONDAY --- 2128 to 2143 (+15 points) --- 3/4 (75% accuracy)

TUESDAY --- 2143 to 2157 (+14 points) --- 7/10 (70% accuracy)

WEDNESDAY --- 2157 to 2156 (-1 point) --- 7/10 (70% accuracy)

THURSDAY --- 2156 to 2140 (-16 points) --- 1/3 (33% accuracy)

FRIDAY --- 2140 to 2167 (+22 points) --- 6/10 (60% accuracy)

OVERALL --- 2128 to 2167 (+49 points) --- 24/37 (65% accuracy)

Not a bad week overall. I did obviously have a couple of busy days. I ran my first track meet on Thursday! (And if anyone cares, I came 6th in the JV Boys 200-meter dash! ). Oh, wait... this is a chess blog, not a running blog! Ever since I reset my tactics rating back in December, I reached my all-time high. I don't think I am there at the moment, though I was as high as 2170 earlier. I never like to put too much pressure on myself when it comes to rating goals, though it would be nice to reach 2200 over spring break during the tournament!


Were making that push in tactics rating!


I, unfortunately, due to the business of the week, did not get a chance to study my concrete endgames (De La Villa's 100 Endgames). I did immerse myself in the first chapter of my practical endgames book (Shereshevsky's book) and the following position was displayed. Capablanca played White.

White is up a pawn, though Black has a solid light-squared Bishop on an open board, and to many amateurs (including myself when I first saw this), it would be very difficult to win from scratch, right? Jose Raul Capablanca makes life seem so simple. In his words (paraphrased), "White wants to prevent the advance of the c-pawn, and control the board up to the fifth rank. That would include a Knight on d4, Rook on c3, King on e3, and pawns on b4 and f4, in which now, White can advance his Queenside pawns". 
It took effort, though Capa was able to win the position. I tried looking for a feature to set up the position and play it against the computer, but I couldn't seem to find a way. Any suggestions will be helpful! Either way, I will take a crack at this against an engine of some sort, and try to bear fruit!
I was able to get in three full games this week... though one of them was last Sunday, and two of them were today!  My first one, an apparent reader of my blog asked me to a game. Him having a rating of 1840, I was looking forward to a good fight, and indeed it was! I blundered a piece in the middlegame, though I held my ground (for the most part) from there:
Obviously, a disappointing result, though a lot to learn from such a strong player! It had been awhile since I analyzed the game, so feel free to let me know on some possible improvements I may have missed!
I have more games to show, however, I want to get this published, so I will add more games later.
This week, for spring break, my family and I are going to the beach. We will leave on Friday for Houston to kick off the 2018 Texas Scholastic Chess Championships. I am in the High School Championship section. Last year, I scored 4/7 (4 wins 3 losses). The year before, I scored 3.5/7 (2 wins 3 draws 2 losses). I hope this year to improve my score. It's hard to make a score goal, though my primary goal is to win as many games as I can and learn from them. There will be many experts (and a couple of masters) in my section, so hopefully, I can get a shot at some of them. Last year, I nearly beat a Fide Master in round 1!
Also, over spring break, on top of my regular training, I will also be playing a lot of slow games on I believe that is the vital ingredient I need for success this coming weekend since I have not played tournaments in a while. 
I think that's it for now! I apologize for the lack of quality content. Hopefully next time! 
Until then...