Big D's Training Log: Day 1

Jan 23, 2013, 10:30 AM |

This is the first entry in my Chess Study and Training log. This blog is primarily for my own use to document what I am working on, reading and miscellaneous notes. It is not really written for a public audience so there won't be a big effort to make this entertaining.

Just had my first lesson with Attila Turzo this morning at 6am. It worked out great and was able to make it though the lesson without waking the wife and kids (6 mth old Sofia and 4 yr old Giancarlo). Used the old MacBook whose battery went from full charge to nearly dead after only an hour for the lesson.

The lesson itself went well. Sort of an orientation of sorts, then setting up of the "game plan" for study and a brief analysis of a game. First off I must say that I am happy that Turzo emailed me with the advert of his 50% first lesson deal. I had always thought of taking lessons but wasn't sure how it'd work and if it'd be beneficial. I've taken many piano lessons and other music lessons but wasn't sure about chess.

As I just started getting back into chess, the email came at the perfect time and after reading some comments from his students, I decided to go for the offer. You never know who you are getting as a teacher. I've had several music lessons from jazz masters where the teacher wasn't really into it, resented the fact that he had to give lessons to earn a living, and basically just mailed it in. The 50% deal gave me a chance to check out Turzo without a big commitment.

I have to say that Turzo was great, very friendly, encouraging, interested in my history and was really positive. I will definitely start up lessons with him and plan on biweekly lessons.

Turzo's Game Plan Outline: 1) Play at least one slow game per week, 2) Self annotate one slow game per week, 3) Play through at least one annoted master game per week, thinking deeply about the diagrammed positions (spend at least a hour on the game), 4) Solve chess puzzles 10-15 minutes per day, 5) Study and work on end game material 10-15 minutes per day, 6) Document all work described above in this blog.

For future lessons Turzo says to email him one of my self-annotated games as the first half of the lesson will be review of homework and new material and the second half will consist of reviewing the self-annoted game.

My USCF rating is currently near 1400. I seem to play in rated tournaments about once every five years. My goal is to get to 1800+ strength. Turzo mentioned that it takes about a year to improve your rating about 100 points if you are only playing a game per week. I just want to gain real strength and not care too much about ratings points. Although I plan to play in some USCF OTB games it probably won't be anywhere near fifty games per year. Maybe a dozen. I plan to play most of my games online here at Game in 30min or longer. Turzo says I need to have at least ten games under my belt to establish a realistic baseline number. So far I've only played two games. I plan to play eight games before the next lesson. Online games are easier to play than OTB when you've got little kids in the house.

One thing that I failed to mention to Turzo was favorite player. When he asked, I was inexplicably stumped. Paul Morphy is my main man, a fellow New Orleanian. Plus his games are fun to play over.

Here is the material that I will be working on:

Master game review from Tartakower and DuMont's 500 Master Games of Chess, puzzles from Ivanshchenko's Manual of Chess Combinations (Chess School 1a) and Polgar's Chess: 5334 Problems, and finally endgame material from Mueller's Endgame 1 Fritztrainer DVD.