A year ago, I gave myself an ultimatum: reach 2100 strength by September 2016 or give up this project. Here is what I wrote:
If I have not reached at least 2100 strength by the 1st of September 2016, I will set aside my goal to become a GM and discontinue this blog. (A small disclaimer: by 2100 strength, I mean that ideally I would have passed 2100 ELO, but if it is abundantly clear that I have reached that level (e.g. I have performed well above it in my last few tournaments) but I haven’t been able to play enough games to gain the points, I may continue.)
For most of the year I have struggled to make significant rating gains, and to an objective observer it must have seemed unlikely that I would be able to continue in September. Whilst I felt I was becoming stronger, most of my games were not FIDE-rated, and in those that were I was frustratingly inconsistent.
That all changed over summer. I played in three FIDE-rated tournaments: the British Weekender Open, where I placed equal second with 4/5; a strong Open in Figueres, where I defeated an International Master for the first time in classical chess; and finally the 10-round Open Internacional d’escacs de Sants, where I drew with a FIDE Master and achieved some other good results. As a result, my September rating has shot up to 2054, and the last tournament has not yet been included; by my calculations I should be 2076 when it is. Whilst this is still short of 2100, I have performed at 2160 level over my last 24 games, which I feel adequately meets the disclaimer quoted above. (Regular readers will also be aware of my missing 24 rating points from Belgium, which would have taken me to 2100 exactly.)
In light of the above, I am delighted to be able to say that I will be continuing my chess improvement journey, and continuing to blog about it here. For now there is no new goal or study plan; I will be completing my ‘Road to 2100′ study, and hope to achieve a published rating of 2100+ soon.
A longer post will follow in due course about lessons learned from the past year. As always, please share your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.