77 Days of Chess: Update Three

77 Days of Chess: Update Three

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After missing the last two weekly updates, I’ve finally had a chance to write about the past three weeks of my 77 Days of Chess training. For those of you just joining, you can check out the introduction and first two updates here.

Unfortunately, my blog writing is not the only thing that I’ve fallen behind on over the past few weeks. After two weeks of successfully completing everything on my chess training schedule, I started to fall behind in Week 3 when my non-chess work deadlines started piling up. Thereafter followed another two busy and tiring weeks, and as a result I fell more and more behind on my chess.

Photo of a clock
Time for chess is something that has been in short supply lately!

Nevertheless, I still managed to complete just over 60 hours of chess in three weeks, although a lot of this was devoted to playing (40%) and openings (32%). This is as a result of me playing and preparing for a number of OTB training and tournament games. An advantage of this is that I’m getting good practical experience with my openings, and I’m getting some good material to analyse to identify weaknesses in my play. In the upcoming weeks I will hopefully be able to spend less time on openings, and more time addressing these weaknesses.

Possibly the biggest challenge I’ve encountered so far in 77 Days of Chess is trying to stay motivated when tired and behind schedule. While it is a lot of fun at the end of a long day to play some blitz games, it is a lot less fun to sit down and do even an hour of serious chess study. It is even more tempting to just do blitz (or puzzle battles) when you’re already behind schedule, as it seems like you’re already so far behind that it doesn’t matter if you meet another one or two of that day’s goals!

This is something that I’m still trying to work on – realising that even if I can just do 15 minutes and tick off another daily goal, it’s one less thing to try and catch up later in the week, and far better than just doing nothing and falling further behind. That being said, I’m also trying not to be too hard on myself, in order to prevent burn-out. For this reason, I took a bit of time to myself in Week 5 to catch up on sleep, time with friends, and series!

Tortoise and hare
There’s something to be said for consistent effort, even if the going seems slow.
Credit: Matea2506 on flickr.com 

I am currently half on holiday (it’s the school holidays, but not the university holidays), so in the next week or so I hope to catch up on some of my previous weeks’ training and to analyse some of the games that I’ve played over the past few weeks. I’m currently participating in the Western Cape Closed Chess Championships, and in next week’s update I’ll be discussing some of my games from this tournament.

I’ll leave you with part of an interesting OTB game that I played, which I present below as a puzzle. After almost resigning two moves earlier (since it was a training game, my opponent pointed out that I had a defence to his mating attack), I was completely winning, but then I missed the winning continuation right at the end. See if you can do better than I did!

Thank you for reading, and I'll be back soon with another update (and some other articles that I've been working on)