Aug 18, 2016, 11:09 AM |

Well, I Just passed my two year 'Chessiversary' (making it two years since I decided to seriously study), and Frankly I'm a little disappointed where I am at...

  • I seem absolutely glued to 1500 rapid, despite working hard on this time control- I have not made serious progress for over year
  • I feel still vague on my repertoire, and don't have major and obvious traps and good moves in my mind- though I have been quite persistent in playing the same black and white repertoire
  • I have a lowly and unhappy blitz and though I have raised it at one point to above 1200, it has fallen down in casual play back in the 1000's
  • when confronted with longer time controls, I do abysmally and often make basic unwise mistakes that I should Not have made with all the time to think about my move.   Instead of falsifying moves and generating candidates- I think in long play too often I calculate inaccurately in the future or simply go over the same variations-repeatably.  this is why- longer time controls seem a little boring. 
  • I have extensive proof that I am spending buckets of time, both in the day and in the evening at chess- but I feel like I am missing many important positional ideas in my play, and stumbling into lines where it is easy to blunder.  too often, I think, I blame the blundering on all my loses where  it is either sketchy risky or aimless play to blame.

so, I really need to make some changes and some of them will be felt by my friends here at


Like a boat setting a course correction and a hiker needing to look at his map to get back to where he wants to be- there must be changes based upon what I think is wrong.   and I see two things that I blame (at least a little) for my current situation:

  1.  I think I am spending Far too much time online, with too much banter and engagement in a trollish and uninstructive forum community.   With all credit to the idea of a chess forum- I think it has now long outlasted its usefulness.  the idea oc was a place where people can ask questions and get feedback.  they've ASKED all the reasonable questions- and now have devolved into horrible repetition.  I mean What more can be said (generally) about chess improvement than has been said in the last 30(40?50?) threads- espacially when each and every thread is so generic, or filled with details that don't Really make a difference.  People on the forum, then just troll anything that seperates your thread from similar threads- for example "if you ask how to improve in callculation of variations?"  the answer could be "LEARN how to spell!- and ask again! lol"  & if that seems mean you have no idea how brutal the forum can get...
  2. I AM SPENDING too much time (proportionally) PLAYING chess and not enough studying.  I think this is again because TOO often I blame blunders for my loses; I SEE the blunders as the loss  & I become convinced with determination I can be stronger.   I've seen people become very Determined to win at chess, frankly I'm unimpressed.  in my own experience- pushy chess is risky and blitzish.   Meaning that a guy who is ON TILT 'determined' to blow another out of the water, often introduces serious thought errors to his game, such as seeing only the sharpest of possible variations, becoming reckless with material, and playing far too fast.   instead,  players must carefully consider the future, perhaps engaging sharp play but being very careful not to get stranded in the attack or the tactic...  understanding complication is critical for further evolution of one's chess and so is an understanding of a long term plan- particularly in an endgame.  neither complication nor meaning can easily come on a "I'm going to win!" Tilt.  Playing A lot just reinforces the idea that the sketchy play will work next time- or that the next game won't be immersed in the complication/aimless play that sunk the last game.
  3. so Lastly, if I'm playing too much for the "hope" that my scary attacks works!  I'm Not spending enough time figuring out what really wins games.  at one time I spent a lot of time on tactics- and those days need to happen again.    But the core, I think  of the problem, is often a lack of positional skill.   i have the generalities down yes- but I'm not playing with enough awareness of what can happen.  too often do I gain some material and then lose the game, and I think this is strongly because I have not mastered the idea of game planning, particularly in the endgame.  there are great number of excellent books in my collection- but they have been too lightly looked at.   books Like silmans "the amateur's mind",  alburt's "300 positions to know" and a little known free ebook gem "phase 2"- would round out a reinvigorated tactics training.  there is a huge library now of games full of personal mistakes- and a subset of this that has been dutifully analyzed by my chess coach.... (and this is to not even mention chess mentor) the bookcase is full of material that could help me get the bigger picture.

Training is about balance, and rapid games with a few easy tactics is NOT balanced.   Often games and chess programs offer similar lessons and I think both are saying the same thing:

my take on chess is far too shallow, with poker like (I'll blunder less next time) thinking and careless piece pushing.  Even in the game of attrition- the consequences of a careless move can make the game with a solid opponent... so the point is to quite with the lazy habits and strive to understand how to be more "solid".

I vow to not entirely give up on the online ideas I have started; the CLC "experiment by participation",  engagement with two other groups and the sometimes time consuming online games  but I need limits on how much time I waste on here.