A year to improve my chess (February)


The second posting about my goal to improve my online play to 1900 by the end of 2015. For last month's post see here.

Wow, the year is going by quickly, chesswise. Already another month of study gone and it's hard to say whether I'm really improving. I certainly feel I understand a lot of concepts better already, but my play (and rating) don't seem to be suggesting much improvement. Hopefully (and it does feel a bit like this) it is because I'm playing a lot of new ideas that I'm not really familiar with but which, over time, will mean I'm playing better moves.

Still, a quick recap of where I am with the various areas of the game:

  • Tactics - I'm through the first 900 positions in Polgar's giant collection of 5,334 tactical exercises. I'm constantly surprised by just how hard some mate-in-2's can be and the study went quite slowly at first - often taking 10 minutes to solve a single position. Now, I do seem to be getting faster again which, hopefully, means I'm picking up the patterns.
  • Strategy - I've finished Chernev's Logical Chess book and am onto his Most Instructive Games book now. I'm also through the first three chapters of Silman's Amateur's Mind book. The plan is to study this book for the first half of the year and then move onto the Reassess Your Chess books in the second half.
  • Endgames - Still mostly reviewing the basic ideas before stepping up to the more complex stuff.

On a positive note, I've picked up a couple of bronze medals and a silver for my chess.com trophy cabinet from 15|10 live chess tournaments. I used to really struggle not to lose on time at these sort of controls so it's a hopeful sign that I am achieving some real improvement.

If only it was possible to absorb chess knowledge simply by being near all these books, eh?