A Wrap-Up of 2019, and a Plan for 2020
Photo: MicroStockHub/iStock

A Wrap-Up of 2019, and a Plan for 2020

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My blog was left mostly unfinished towards the end of this year. I was already behind on my blogging and training, and a minor injury prior to my Trek departure threw me off even more as I scrambled last-minute to get supplies to manage my injury while out in the wilderness. In this post, I will give a brief update on my 77 Days of Chess series and an idea of some of the blog posts you can expect from me in the first couple of months of 2020.

Despite a busted toe, I was all smiles as I set off with my Trek group. Photo: Somerset College.

The aim of 77 Days of Chess was to prepare for the 2019 South African Closed Chess Championships; 11 weeks of intensive chess training, followed by 4 weeks of hiking/cycling/paddling (during which I would do little or no chess), after which I would be playing for the title of 'national champion' and a spot in the 2020 Olympiad team.

I didn't complete all the goals I set out to achieve during the 77 days, but despite this I count the training as a “win”, as I accomplished far more chess study than I would have done otherwise; over the 11 weeks I did 145 hours of focused chess training and study, despite a busy work schedule and limited free time in the weeks leading up to Trek.

After an inconsistent performance over 11 long rounds, I placed third in the Women's A section.
Photo: Jenny February.

I did not get the results I was hoping for in the SA Closed, but all things considered, I am happy with my third-place finish. In the next few weeks, I will write a series of blog posts on my tournament experience, which will include my annotated games.

2020 is an Olympiad year, and although I missed automatic qualification at the Closed (top 2 finishers), I’m standing well on the rating and Grand Prix (top 5 tournament performances) lists, and should hopefully still qualify for the South African team, which will be announced (provisionally) in January. I’ll therefore be doing a number of Olympiad-related blog posts in 2020, with a specific focus on the South African team.

One of the most relaxing tournaments I've played was the 2017 Silver Lake Open in Serbia.

In 2019 I played only South African tournaments, but I hope to play a couple of international events in 2020. Many chess players that I know haven’t even considered travelling internationally for a chess tournament, as they don’t know this can be done relatively inexpensively, and without being selected for a national team. In 2020, I’ll write some blog posts about the international events I’ve participated in where I haven’t been representing a national team, such as the Silver Lake Open, pictured above.

Finally, I aim to catch up on some of my blogging from 2019: some of the instructive games I played during 77 Days of Chess, some of the events I played, and reviews of the training material I went through. I’ll also be playing in Chess.com’s 2020 Daily Championships and I will be analysing my games as they finish.

These are just some of the things I’ll be writing about in 2020. If you’re interested, make sure you follow my blog to get updates when I’ve posted something new. If you have any questions, or suggestions for future posts or series, feel free to message me or comment below.

Wishing you all the best for 2020!