My New Year's Chess Resolutions

My New Year's Chess Resolutions

Jan 2, 2010, 4:39 PM |

Hey everyone! Before the hopeful spirit of the first days of the year leaves ground for the harsh & despairing realities of life, I wanted to list my new year's resolutions. The 1st one being, actually doing my best to achieve all of them!

All right then, here comes the rest!

2) As of today, I'm enlisting for the School of Botvinnik, which has succeeded in creating world class chess players out of very young talents like Kasparov & Kramnik, and made its mark in chess history. Maybe I don't have the opportunity to attend to any of the courses, but I can try to lay it's principles firmly over my life. If you wish to get an idea of what those principles are, you may read my excerpts about Botvinnik's life I've collected & shared from various books at the right side of this blog page. It should be clear by now that I have great respect for him. Smile

3) Working effectively: Using my time well, and not wasting countless hours in chess com forums (!), or any random online activity. I think this could be one of the most important aspects of a strong chess player, or anyone who tries to accomplish somehting in any area for that matter. Let's remember some wise words from the greats:

But it is not about "Who is to blame?" It is about "What is to be done?"

How to avoid such failures in the future? I am absolutely sure Anand didn't work more than I did, because I worked a lot. But he and his team did it more effectively. And I should draw conclusions from the lesson he has taught me. Some things need to be changed. At this time, Anand is the model of preparation; he is the best in the world! And when two equally matched opponents face off, that becomes a decisive factor.

-Vladimir Kramnik, in an interview just after his loss to Anand in the latest WC match in Bonn.

For Magnus, it's a great opportunity to learn how to work, the work ethics. the young generation now, they spend too much time with computers... it's organizing the work place and making sure that his works is efficient. (...)He needed great improvement with his opening repertoire and also to organize his work to make sure that he will realize his potential.

-Garry Kasparov, conversing about his professional relationship with Magnus Carlsen. He is right on the spot, I do spend too much time just hanging around online, and my work ethics are... Well, maybe I should get some first!

If you want, you can watch the whole interview here, (although not all of it is relevant to this post) :


To replace my horribly disorganized chess-related habits with highly effective ones, I need to strictly define my playing, studying and reading & writing sessions. Otherwise they just mix together into a useless mess.


4) Let's move on to some more specific chess related stuff.

a) Become a regular top 10 at Chesstempo standard rankings: I have been No.6 there before, but I got greedy, wanted too bad to get a shot at the 5th spot, kept going on solving at the end of a very tiring session and lost a lot of points, of course got kicked out of top 10 as well. After that, I did comeback and even surpassed my highest rating, but it turned out the competition had got much tougher and I need to show a serious improvement to reach this goal. This will require a higher level of concentration and a more disciplined thinking regime for each problem. As a sub-goal, I can add getting a respectable blitz rating there too, it's almost embarrassing compared to my standard rating.

b) Reach a 2300 rating in Chess com. Of course, this sounds a little vague. In a recent forum thread about this very subject, nuclearturkey has said, "It's pointless setting a goal to break a certain rating. If I work hard and when playing rated games only think of solving the problems directly in front of me the results will take care of themselves..."

I agree with this, and will try to clarify my goal. Looking at how my current games against players of similar level are going, I tend to think that my rating at this moment should settle around somewhere between 2100 and 2200 once I get out of the provisional zone. Maybe that's just hopeful thinking, but anyway. What getting to 2300 means to me is playing what IM David Pruess has called "maximalist chess" :

The players at the top, make tons of calculations before playing moves like Nc5, they want it to be just at the right moment. They need to play maximalist chess for triumph. And that's what Carlsen, Kasparov, and well, Nakamura do.

-IM David Pruess / Chess com TV / While analyzing the game between Carlsen & Nakamura at the latest London Tournament

Well obviously I'm not going to be able to play at such level, am I? But what I can do is, to try to make the best move all the time. I must give my best not only at critical moments, not only right after the opening, not only I'm in trouble, but every single move of the game.

Of course, a more organized approach to handling game load will help. I'm sick and tired of blitzing at "time trouble" (however troubling can time be in CC chess!) and noticing I've just blundered right after I hit submit. I'm having none of that anymore!

As Botvinnik has put it perfectly: If you didn't have enough time, that means you weren't organized enough!

c) Learn my new opening repertoire and start playing live games with it:

I've been trying to adopt a completely new repertoire which feels like a totally different world, like a different game to me, and I'm really having a lot of trouble with it, especially with black. I've had horrible blitz results trying to practice what I've already learned (well my blitz is horrible anywaySmile), and I'm delaying starting playing slow real-time games online again.

I do miss the feel of them, but I'm still too vulnerable in the opening. Today I realized I didn't even know what to do after move 3 in a d4 variation, of which, by the way, I still don't know the name, eventhough I did have a game with that! (1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.dxc5 e6.)

I unfortunetely don't have time for rigorous opening study, and to achieve this aim, before looking up a game I'm playing here in my database, I am giving an effort to copy all the moves manually, trying to remember the whole game. Almost all my current games are with lines I have never faced before, so as my number of completed games increase, I'll start seeing the same lines again and again and then the real challenge will begin, I'll try to remember everything without checking my databases first. I have to try harder while memorizing the opening moves. And afterall, maybe I will have to do some separate study besides all this. Whatever it takes to feel comfortable before a serious live game.

5) Become a better chess blogger:

Well, let's continue with the Botvinnik theme here: More than anything else to reach top potential, you must master the art of analysis. To this end you should publish your analysis so that others can find the faults within it.

- Botvinnik / My 100 Selected Games 

My blog entries till now have all been detailed analysis of my own games, and although it's now a much more easier task to provide a high quality analysis compared to Botvinnik's era where you didn't have super accurate engine evaluations on your side, it still takes a lot of effort to make it show something instructive. I'll keep trying hard at doing that, and on the meanwhile, I'll try to do my best to share my various kinds of chess experiences with all readers in an entertaining manner.

So that is all, everyone. I hope I could make my personal aims a little more than boring to some Laughing. The horrible thing is, this post will (hopefully) be here next year too, and you're all free to come and laugh at me if I fail big time! Laughing

As I end this long list, I can't resist the urge to take advantage of this opportunity to post a picture of the chess queen Smile:

Just like she said:

Happy new chess year to everyone!