Starting to see some improvement!

NM geordie_derraugh
Mar 29, 2012, 12:29 PM |

For the first time in several years, I'm finally noticing some changes in my play. More importantly, I've been having some decent results lately which means I might not be completely delusional in thinking my chess is improving. Since I started studying seriously in January, my CFC rating increased by 50 points, I hit a new peak on tactics trainer (2823!) and I played quite well in a recent blitz tournament beating an IM & FM in consecutive rounds (I finished with 12/20 which was enough for the U2200 prize of $50. Kinda sketchy considering I organized the tournament and one of my co-organizers [the IM that I beat:] won first overall. Not rigged, I swear :P).

My positional chess still needs some work, but I'm slowly grasping the main concepts. I've started studying some openings books, mostly because I'm so behind in my opening knowledge compared to other players of similar rating. However, in general, I think nobody has any business studying openings until they have a solid grasp of positional chess. Openings books cover a lot of variations, and more often than not, the authors don't go into detail in explaining why one move is superior to another. In a sense, this is helpful in that the reader must look deeper into the positions themselves to understand the theory, but I think most players trying book up on certain openings are more concerned with the moves and evaluations of grandmasters. It's much more beneficial to focus on understanding postional concepts, so you can analyze more critically the author's assertions instead of rote memorization & dogmatic thinking.

I've decided to change my approach to studying. Rather than focus on each aspect of chess in turn for several weeks (positional, openings, tactics, endings), which turned out to result in extreme boredom, I'll be working on all phases simultaneously.

The books I'm currently working on are:

Winning Pawn Structures - Baburin
My Great Predecessors 1 - Kasparov
Endgame Strategy - Shereshevsky

That's all for now. I'll update again when something interesting happens.