Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chess Study Plan for 2013

Now that I ( finally! ) have my rating over 2000 I'm planning on playing in the open sections of major tournaments. I want to work on my openings enough that I will not end up in a passive or worse position out of the opening vs titled (FM, IM, GM ) opposition. Opening play has presented a particular challenge for me. I have difficulty rote memorizing lines. I need to get better at doing this if I'm ever to get to a master rating.

I'm going to make a concerted effort to use the opening study features of Chess Assistant to get better at it. The first challenge is to figure out how to use this feature! I've tried it a few times now and Chess Assistant already considers me something of an expert in the Pirc-Robatsch. That is not even remotely true yet. It seems the software is a bit lacking in some respects and yet this is a definite improvement to how I've been trying to learn openings thus far. I will post again on this topic in 6 months. Hopefully I will have positive feedback on this then.

Tactical play has been an especial weakness of mine. This is not to say I don't see tactics. I've actually pulled off some nice combinations in tournament games just in the last 12 months. This is more about being a level more proficient than I am now.
Focus on combinations I miss. I will work towards keeping track of the exercises I have trouble with in the numerous tactics study resources I have. I hope to build a tactics puzzle set specifically tailored to rooting out my tactical weak spots.

My minor piece endgame play needs a bit of polishing. ( My minor piece endgame play is probably a rating class lower than my general endgame ability as demonstrated quite clearly in my ICC games. Time to change that. )
Study Capablanca's Best Chess Endings ( Irving Chernev ) related to this topic and perhaps try some positions vs a computer. My goal there is just to be able to hold the position. The computer is likely much stiffer competition than any of Capablanca's opponents.

I probably need more discipline in my study than I have previously exhibited. To this end I plan to devise a study schedule. I've heard good things about this approach from a friend of mine that got good results from doing this. He is now probably a solid 2300 player although his rating is conveniently lower by a hundred points or so.
Build a study chart and ensure consistent rotation of study topics. I am lucky I have time during my commute to work on some tactical puzzles. That's about 10 hours+ per week I have potentially to study tactics. Unfortunately commute time is not the best time for other types of study. I will try my best to get other types of chess study incorporated into my travel time. Besides that 10 hours of travel, I probably have another 10 hours per week for study + play. I tend to waste a lot of that time on ICC. I will cut back a bit on play and dedicate more time to working on openings etc.

I think I can measure my progress by playing in tournaments. I will play in a few single day events between now and mid-summer. I hope to play in atleast 2 full weekend events during the second half of the year.

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