Improving While Not Experiencing a Rating Peak

Improving While Not Experiencing a Rating Peak

Aug 2, 2017, 11:01 AM |

After having all-time highs while not playing in the Boston player pool (again), I'm readjusting to the lull of playing in that pool.  When floating in the upper 1700's (USCF), I enjoyed a one-tournament jump to 1850 at the Liberty Bell in Philly, and then again up to 1922 after holding steady in the lower 1800's in Boston/Cambridge.  The readjustment adds to the mental challenge of continuing to push on the chess training front.  With a sharp downward turn in rating, I was looking forward to the U.S. Open and Washington International, but I pulled out of both, due to some minor life things. The only real difference between playing at those and continuing to play Boston is the kind of result I can expect.  Between the U.S. Open and Washington International, there would a be a reasonable chance of hitting 2000, whereas I would continue to sit around the lower to mid-upper 1800's in Boston.  Not a huge deal.  In the mean time, there are a few updates.


I became the reigning!...



Waltham Chess Club U1800 Blitz Champion.

12.5/24 certainly doesn't sound all the great.  It sounds a little better once you find out that 6 of my games were against 2400+ opposition, and I had a good enough first night out of the two to get the extra half point to earn clear first.

Other than that, the chess grind has been rough.  The youths are out of school for the summer, so they seem to be improving even faster, thanks to the help of the local GMs, IMs, FMs, and NMs; and so there have been a tremendous number of 600+-point upsets lately.  For me, playing the youths is particularly rough, because I can't really play boring/scientific chess, and so they are very interested in the games I play with them, and exceedingly well suited for my style of play.  (It's worth noting that the 1940-rated adult sitting right next to me was also upset in the first round, so the issue is endemic for us, in the area.)  That's what happened in my first round game at the Boylston Summer Action Tournament.  Playing the same way as I do against the kids, I cut down 1900's in well under 20 moves, but the kids keep me in these very sharp, very tactical fire fights for 40 moves, and I occasionally miss something, despite the fact that they are rated, such as in this case, 1550!  The minor moral victory was placing third in a tournament that has always been my worst time control, i.e., G/15 up through G/60 --G/30, in this specific case.

It's a good thing that I'm a hustle junkie, a grind slave.  The few minor moral victories really don't boost confidence to spur on with one's training.  Instead, as an adult improver, you need to allow yourself to be shaped by the common, ordinary, unspectacular flow of everday life... and continue to grind on with the training and practice.