My Training Diary

Jan 29, 2010, 9:45 PM |

{This post is not static. It will continuously be updated to track my activities in}

My objective is to become a GM-level chess player. When the exact date to achieve that is not yet clear, and is not important to me. As long as I'm progressing, I will simply continue to make further progress. Real life data and opinions are saying that I'm too old to become one, but I'm not afraid to prove at least to myself that I can make my own record.

Usually I can learn new things very fast. But chess made me frustrated. As if I don't have the talent for this game. I'm not new to chess but it seems I cannot make meaningful improvements. But seeing how others set a loooong timeline for their improvement objective, I feel relaxed. To find out if I'm making progress, it is enough for me to track who has been better than me in the past. Trust me, it always feels good to beat people who used to beat you.

My short term objective (set for the next 6 to 12 months, i.e before 2011) is to become a non-master champion, which means I have to be better than the average master! Sounds impossible, but stretching the objective has been the solution in many fields.

[Sep 2011: turn-based 1945 ChessTempo (Standard) 2070]

[Aug 2011: turn-based 1919 ChessTempo (Standard) 2010]

[Jul 2011: turn-based 1819 ChessTempo (Standard) 1869]

I started playing turn-based with the objective to practice: (1) Calculation skill (2) position evaluation.

I will look at the position and quickly pick up around 3 candidate moves (later on I will see if the candidate moves that I took are reliable or not, or there is a better move that I missed). Then I will start calculating each candidate moves and compare the resulting positions. Before and while doing this I will try to evaluate the position to find out what chracteristic of the position that I should underline to justify the plan and pick the best continuation.

In line with practicing calculation and playing long games, I will go back to CT solving standard puzzles. I have been 2100, now starting again from 1869.

[May 2011: bullet (1/0) 1700+ final, blitz (3/0 or 5/0) 1600+ on progress]

I have been quitted playing chess for a year and just back at it again. I heard that chess break will give you positive effect. And it surprised me that when I played again, I felt it was easier to beat other players of the same rating.

I think I need playing lots and lots of games. So I will still play quick chess (5/0), may be till I break 1800+. I think I need to see and understand patterns as much as possible (May be I need to glance trough GM games at least once a week).

Winning quick chess almost has nothing to do with chess understanding, what a pity, but that is the first hill to climb to be able to benefit from better chess understanding. For now I better forget 15/0 and longer time control.

Objectives: 1) Time control/management 2) Instinct or pattern recognition 3) Continuous thinking 4) Smart way to pick candidate moves

[Apr 2010: blitz (15/0) 1600+]

I play blitz 15/0 and bullet 1/1 exclusively. The bullet 1/1 helps me a lot to condition an active thinking during the game. The blitz 15/0 is the time control mostly used in local non-master tournaments. I don't want to ruin my calculation skill with shorter than 15/0 blitz, except for the bullet 1/1.

[Mar 2010: blitz 1300-1500]

I stopped improving skills related to playing classic chess. I have been focusing on improving my blitz. Blitz rating objective is 1900 by the end of this year.

[Jan 2010: blitz 1430, CT standard 2100, CT blitz 1730, CT endgame 1810]

I play 10-minute blitz to improve my tactical skill and to test new openings. I wish there is no connection issue with the Live Chess so I can use the rating to track my progress. Right now I just use the playing experience to try out gambit play. The opening is not important, I can achieve any gambit position from any stupid openings. But I'm also preparing gambit repertoire for OTB.

My standard-mode CT rating is 2100 and I don't think it is difficult to improve to 2200 in a week or two. My theory-mode endgame rating is 1810 and I will not be surprised if soon I can put myself in the top 10. But my blitz-mode rating is only 1730 and I'm not sure if I can make a significant progress. I'm very weak at fast games but most of the tournaments here are 15 to 25 minutes, so I'm in deep sheet!