The First Step to GM

Oct 25, 2010, 10:21 PM |

Recently my chess regiment has not been working. I'm putting in a good 25 hours a week but haven't been getting any better, but possibly even worse? At my last tournament, I went 0 for 3 all because of blunders although playing in a short time control (G/60) didn't help either.  My last game was the most reasonable, although I was always a little worse after 16. d5?! and was eventaully outplayed during mutual time trouble.


I'm now going to try out something a little more formal and take you along with me.  I'll be blogging at least twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays), and hope to start uploading a few video lessons as well. Before I start making a new daily/weekly plan I need to decide what weaknesses to focus on. I luckily have a strong coach (IM Shankland) who's been able to help me pinpoint weaknesses.  It's often helpful to have a friend of equal or greater strength to find these weaknesses.

One of my biggest weaknesses is opening theory.  I'm out of preparation very quickly, and sometimes confuse the move order and lose to simple tactics.  I've only been playing competitively for 2 years and I've just started to play stable openings (instead of my favorite trick - The Polish 1. b4!).  Rather than trying to be competent in all these new openings at the same time, I'm going to focus on them one by one and spend a couple weeks (maybe months?) mastering a single opening.

My other large weakness is calculation.  I tend to rely too much on my positional understanding and completely miss tactical combinations.  But not all weaknesses have to be this generic.  Problems could include an over-appreciation of the bishop pair or aversion to closed positions.   Many of these can be controlled once you recognize them and are consciously aware of them. 

Now that I've chosen a couple things to focus on, the next step is to set up and implement the plan.  Let me know if you have any ideas!  Next: Planning towards GM.