In my last article of 2017, I set my goals for this year (screen-capped below). When considering what goals to set, I used a specific framework I borrowed from developmental psychology (I posted this article back in December on Chess^Summit.) I decided to make specific, attainable goals which some believe are a bit modest and some think are lofty. Either way I am the one who will be accomplishing them and know I have no excuses, it's time to step up!
I have been studying twice a week with my wonderful FIDE coach for 6 months and am starting to acquire my "chess vision". I'm beginning to see tactics, threats, and opportunities where once I saw nothing. Our regular analysis of many games, both good and bad, as well as going over tactics and strategy have been invaluable in my growth. I have also gained the support and sponsorship of Elevate Labs to improve my mental muscle and improve calculation, retention, recall, and improve my reaction times. As if that were not enough, I have the continual support of the incredible team at chess.com and many of my friends in the community. I also have many "battle buddies" (Mike, Freddy, Taylor, Eduardo, Andrew, Jon, and if I missed anyone I apologize and you can chastise me below) who I play on a regular basis that analyze the games with me either during or after the action. All are rated well above me but are patient and want to help me succeed.
I guess an important and obvious question would be "am I improving?" I can honestly say YES! My rating is steadily increasing, not dramatically, but steadily both in my games and tactics. My quality of play is improving and now that I am playing higher rated players I am beginning to "feel" where pressure is on the board and no longer have to dig through my memory to visualize basic principles. I recently played this game and although I made a few errors, I scanned the board and found a strategy that I knew would lead to a win. After being in a similar position in an earlier game, my recall kicked in and I saw the light at the end of the tunnel...or rank in this case.
So my training continues. Any free time that presents itself I am working on chess, whether it's preparing and writing my regular articles on Chess^Summit
or playing on here, I am completely embedded in the game and the culture. Although my schedule can vary vastly from day to day depending on mine and my wife's busy schedules or my 2 year old wanting to play (always priority #1), I always make sure to include tactics, going over important games, working through one book at a time, going over my coaches notes, and playing at least 4 or 5 games on chess.com a must.
I need to follow up on a few things from my previous article:
I mentioned I would be donating four chess sets this year and I am proud to announce that I will giving away some beautiful Amritsar Chess
sets! I will have some photos to come when they arrive in the states. As you may know I am a great admirer of Indian chess history and culture and am very honored and fortunate to study under a fantastic coach in Chennai (I'm also a big Vishy Anand fan.) That being said, it will be my honor to give four different, beautiful, and unique sets from India good homes around the world. I will also be receiving a fifth set to keep on my desk, admire, and enjoy for a lifetime (thank you to Mr. Saravpreet Singh and your team.)
I had also mentioned one of my goals is to teach four new players the game. I can say I now have the honor of teaching one student the basic fundamentals and principles of the game. I believe teaching helps imbue the content in the teacher and makes them stronger. The more I share the more I find I retain and recall these skills quickly and effectively. More importantly, I want to grow this game and if I can help one person understand the basics and feel confident I know they will pass it along.
I had a great conversation with a reader earlier today and was very moved by the power this game has! I deeply thank everyone who reads this blog or any of my other writings and articles and anyone who promotes this game. Your comments, love of the game, stories, and true willingness to help one another is inspiring and is my endless fuel. I'll be sure to blog more often this year and will be making a chess tour of NYC this summer and writing all about it. Be sure to check out my biweekly Chess^Summit
articles for updates, exclusive interviews, and educational content.
In the meantime, who's up for a friendly daily game?