700 hours with chess!

Nov 18, 2011, 7:26 PM |

Eureka! I'm now more than 2/3 of the way to my first 1,000 hours. With a little luck, I will pass the 1,000 hour mark before the end of the year. Well, let's see. 700 hours! It's hard to believe. It's been 13 days since the 600 hour mark, and about 3 months since I began this adventure of mine. It other words, I'm putting down more than 2,000 hours yearly, more than a fulltime job. 

Lately - as advised by my coach - I've started to play longer games. First, I played 30-minute games here on Chess.com, then I started playing 45/45-minute games on ICC. I wish I had done this much earlier. If all the hours I've spend playing shorter games and correspondence games, had been spend playing 45/45-minute games on the ICC, I think I would have been a much better player by now. 

Had I known what I know now, about how to improve at chess, I could probably have reached my current level after less than 500 hours, rather than 700. Mostly, it's the time I've spend on correspondence games - which is a lot - I think could have been spend much, much better. But, this is how it is. I can't rewind. It's fast forward. However, what I can do, is let other people know what I have learned, so they don't make the same mistakes. And of course, I can change my own study routine from now on, in accordance with what experience have now taught me. 

I short, I think playing games shorter than 30 minutes is an utter waste of time. I used to think it was a good idea to play these short games for two reasons: 1) to experiment with openings, and 2) to expose myself to many positions, and train my tactical skills. Now I think this is not true. I don't think short games are good for any of these reasons. 

To experiment with openings I now think it's better to play a 10-30-minute "partial game", lasting only 10-15 moves, the "winner" being the one with the best position at move 10 or 15. Maybe a chess engine can be the judge. 

To train tactical skills, I think it's better simply to work with the Tactics Trainer, and solve chess problems taken from real games

Enough about that for now. Finally, let me say that I've played 16 45/45-minute games so far on ICC, since I started doing so, just four days ago. That's 4 45/45-minute games daily on average. Pretty good, I think. Of these 16 games, I've won 8, lost 7 and drawn 1. My current rating in the 45/45-minute pool is 1702. My best win was against an opponent rated 1652, and I played Black. The draw was against someone rated 1794. 

Oh, and I've played against two GMs in simuls! Smile In both games I played Black, and got into the Latvian Gambit. In the first game I got crushed rather quickly. In the second I faired better. 

All-in-all, I'm happy with my progress.