Potomac Open Studying: Breaking The Plateau
Since I'm at CTY in Carlisle, Pennsylvania studying moral philosophy and ethics, I am not playing in the World Open. But that's not stopping me from studying chess. I have been doing tactics at a rate of about an hour a day and I have been trying to create for myself an ideal study plan, not just for CTY, but also for the two weeks between my return from CTY and the Potomac Open U1900 section.
In the last half-year, I have completely hit a wall in chess and the only way to break it is to improve my chess skill. I think I have spent too much time on chess knowledge (i.e. things like openings especially) and not enough on just getting better at chess. So I am making a list of goals for now until the Potomac Open which I need to accomplish. I have every intention to have a great tournament at the Potomac Open and break my plateau, and towards this goal, I will study and practice harder than anyone else in my section for that tournament, with the goals listed below.
When I accomplish a goal, I will make it bold and write the date. Some of the goals are for the whole month, and therefore won't be bold for a while or the end of the month.
This idea was inspired by a post that Davydov made a long time ago in his blog, and also by several articles I read on chess.com and other sites concerning the difference beteeen chess knowledge and chess ability, and how to train oneself to improve. As reflected in the list of things below, the two areas of my chess that need the most work are tactics and endgames.
Potomac Open Goals (all due by July 31, 2015)
1. Reach 2100 rating on chess.com tactics trainer (if I fall back under, that is okay- just get there) (7/19)
2. Reach 2200 rating on chess.com tactics trainer (see above)
3. Have a total of 30 hours or more logged on tactics trainer by July 31st (on July 1st, I had 3.1 hours) (note: TT has been reset since this)
4. Read through and complete all the relevant puzzles for Jeremy Silman's Complete Endgame Course in Class B (7/4), Class A (7/5), and Expert (7/7) levels.
5. Watch the following videos on chess.com and take notes which may be posted in either my personal analysis group or my endgame group with Zach.
-The ten video "Rook Endgames: Beginner to Master" series by Danny Rensch
-The three-video "Russian to the Endgame" series by Alex Yermolinsky
-"How to Win Endgames vs Weaker Opponents" and "The Five Secrets to Win Complex Endgames" by Melikset Khachiyan (7/7)
-"Opposite Color Bishop Endgames: General Knowledge" and "Opposite Color Bishop Endgames: Drawing Tendencies" by Dejan Bojkov
-The three-video "Practical Chess Endgame" series by Eugene Perelshteyen (7/4)
-The four-video "Pawn Endgames" series by Steven Zierk
6. Complete the Chess Mentor course "Rook and Other Endgames" by Jeremy Silman.
7. Complete the Chess Mentor course "The Essence of the Initiative" by Sam Shankland.
8. Play in the Arlington Action-Plus tournament on July 25th and blog all of my games using the analysis process outlined in my "In-Depth Game Analysis" blog post.
I feel that if I achieve all eight of these steps, I might just be ready to break my plateau and achieve at least 3.5/5 at the Potomac Open U1900 section, although hopefully more than that. I think that by achieveing these goals, I will have worked harder than anyone else who is likely to be in my section.
If you're interested, feel free to come back to this blog post and see my progress as I work to improve my chess.