I'm writing to introduce myself. I'm doubledouble, newly minted chess.com staff and expert / candidate master hopeful.
I've played chess since I was about 8 years old, giving me 27 years of casual experience in the game. I've studied some books and played online over the years, but never played any serious OTB chess. About 18 months ago, I decided to find out how good I could be.
Goals. I want to break the 2000 barrier to officially become an expert. I would also like to acquire the 5 norms needed to earn the candidate master title. I have set a completely arbitrary deadline of accomplishing this by Jan 1st, 2014.
Here is my general plan:
Phase 1. Opening prep! Build an opening repertoire! I have adopted plans around fianchettoing my king bishop, so I'm playing 1.c4 with g3 as white, and 1...g6 as black. I'm a programmer, so at the moment I'm building software to help me expand and master these early positions.
Phase 2. Middlegame analysis. In addition to choosing the lines I want to play, I need to find a way to get experience playing the resulting middlegames against tough opposition. I think playing against a computer may be good for this, as well as analyzing middlegames with you here on chess.com!
I study endgames from time to time, and consider myself fairly solid there. Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual is my personal bible, I have been reading it slowly and steadily for the past year.
Current status. I'm currently rated 1945. I figure I need to get about 100 points stronger to become a CM. It sounds easy enough but consider that this means that "future me" needs to be able to beat "present day me" 2 games out of 3! This is a significant leap step up in strength.
Daily practice. I study each day by watching that day's chess.com video. Starting today (phase 1) I will spend another half hour each day going over opening lines I plan to play. Hopefully I can reach a point where I can blitz through the opening, leaving myself in a comfortable position, holding a time advantage.
The journey begins... wish me luck!