Tactics--Some Wise Advice
So, a week ago I had my first EVER chess lesson, with IM John Bartholomew. The lesson as a whole was very useful for me--it gave me an idea for several ways to approach weaknesses in my play. For example, I am now focusing on endgames, and working backwards to understand the middle game a little better: what positions are useful, what imbalances are useful, how can I take advantages of my opponents' weaknesses, and how can I turn my weaknesses into strengths?
I have enjoyed using the tactics trainer since I joined this site. Well, one of my weaknesses, which I think is a tendancy of many people who study tactics, is the idea that tactics rating will prove your ability in chess; my focus has been on attempting to get the most points from a given problem, which has led to me failing problems I may have figured out. Often, the clock will persuade me to drag the first move I see, which, while it may be necessary in blitz, will not build the mindset of evaluating positions, nor will it help me to evaluate positions more quickly.
I URGE you: take the time to evaluate positions, until you see it. From a movie about Bobby Fischer that I have never seen "Don't move until you see it." The idea is that you will improve more if you stop to evaluate each position thoroughly, through the end. You may not always be right, but it will help with your thought process.
John's advice was subtler, and more persuant to my "gamer" attitude (must. . . gain. . . points. . .); he gave me a goal of attaining a pass rating of 60% (thank you, John! I'm working on it). Since slowing down, I am certainly taking longer on each problem, but I am passing more, and slowly, I am starting to see things I would have otherwise missed (and, like many others before me, banged my head against my desk in defeat).
You may be training for blitz, but training is not a race against the clock.