Monthly Archives: February 2011

Weekly Progress Report #19

I managed the 12 hour target comfortably again this week, doing about 20 hours and 50 minutes.  The majority of this time was spent playing and analysing at a 4NCL weekend, as described here.  Here’s the breakdown:

Monday: 10 minutes CT-Art

Tuesday: 15 minutes playing a 15-minute pool game at ICC, 45 minutes playing and analysing 15-minute games on PlayChess

Wednesday: 2 hour group lesson with FM David Eggleston, ~1 hour solving problems at the city chess club, ~1 hour playing strong opposition at the club

Thursday: 10 minutes preparing for and 2 hours 5 minutes playing a Team 45 45 league game (quite a nice game – rather better than my recent 4NCL efforts!), 40 minutes post-mortem analysis with opponent, 20 minutes analysing the game on my own afterwards, 30 minutes opening work

Friday: 20 minutes CT-Art

Saturday: 2 hours 30 minutes playing a 4NCL game, 20 minutes post-mortem analysis, at least 2 hours 45 minutes preparation for the next day’s game

Sunday: 20 minutes preparation for and 4 hours 50 minutes playing a 4NCL game, 50 minutes analysing the game

Overall, a good week’s work and I hope to be able to keep it up this week.

4NCL Harrogate

This weekend I participated in rounds 5 and 6 of the Northern 4NCL in Harrogate.  The weekend didn’t start well, as when I arrived at Durham station on Saturday morning no trains were running in either direction due to signalling problems.  I’d planned to get into Harrogate at 12:43 pm, which I thought would be a comfortable cushion as the games started at 2 pm, but I was proven wrong and eventually arrived at the board flustered and out-of-breath at 2:50 pm.  If the following game isn’t my finest effort, then the conditions at least partially explain why:

The next game was very nearly a disaster, but turned into one of the most miraculous escapes I’ve ever had in a long time control game. My team, Cheddleton 2, were paired with the very strong Bradford DCA Knights A, and I felt that I needed to win for our team to have any chance of winning or drawing the match. I was pretty sure I’d be playing David Patrick, and I’d managed to find a few games of his in my database so I spent some time preparing. I had white, and having seen that he played the French Defence I went on to look briefly at his other games. I saw that he played the Exchange Ruy Lopez, the Exchange Caro-Kann and closed c3 or Nc3 Sicilians as white, and combined with his preference for the French this painted a picture of a player who likes to play solid lines and avoid tactical complications at all costs. Consequently I started searching for plausible ways to get tactical complications in the French, and after quickly ruling out the Wing Gambit I started looking into the line 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ne2 cxd4 8. cxd4 f6 9. Nf4?! I stayed up quite late investigating this, whilst also looking at some games in the mainline Tarrasch variation which I normally play. I was in such an agony of indecision about what to play in the morning that I woke up several times during the night with moves after 9. Nf4 running through my head, but unfortunately I didn’t dream up any brilliant ideas! At breakfast the next morning I decided that I would be just as uncomfortable as my opponent in the ensuing positions, and that if he knew what he was doing I was likely to be worse, so I resolved to play the usual 9. exf6 instead.

All in all, a disappointing weekend’s chess, but somehow I am still unbeaten in 4NCL games. My team continues to do quite well overall, and managed to win 3.5-2.5 on Saturday before losing to the leaders on Sunday. My next tournaments will be the BUCA Championship this weekend, followed by the Blackpool Chess Conference two weeks after that.

Weekly Progress Report #18

I easily exceeded the 12 hour target this week, doing 16 hours 55 minutes.  I’ve done some good opening, middlegame and endgame study, the last aided by getting Müller’s rook endgames DVD, and have managed to steer clear of online blitz.  The only thing to improve on for next week is the tactics problems, which I’ve let slip a bit.  Here’s the breakdown:

Monday: 10 minutes CT-Art 4.0, 20 minutes ICC TrainingBot, 65 minutes watching ‘The Secret To Chess’

Tuesday: 60 minutes opening preparation for Wednesday’s local league game, 30 minutes Chess Tempo problems

Wednesday: 15 minutes preparation for the evening’s league game, 2 hours group lesson with FM David Eggleston, 2 hours 40 minutes playing a local league game (against a different person from expected, so the preparation missed its target this time)

Thursday: ~30 minutes analysing Wednesday’s game, ~20 minutes opening work

Friday: 35 minutes studying Müller’s endgame DVD, 65 minutes studying Ashley’s ‘The Secret To Chess’

Saturday: ~2 hours playing and analysing with players of similar strength at and after the uni chess society, 35 minutes analysing Wednesday’s game, ~15 minutes opening work

Sunday: ~40 minutes opening preparation for a Team 45 45 league game, 90 minutes playing that game, 110 minutes endgame work (based on the Müller DVD), 25 minutes analysing a game from Saturday, 15 minutes analysing another game from Saturday

The target is 12 hours again next week, which I expect to manage fairly comfortably as I’ll be playing in the 4NCL Northern Division at the weekend.

Weekly Progress Reports #16 & #17

Apologies for the lack of report last week; you’re getting a double installment now.  The bad news is that last week I didn’t make the target, managing 6 hours and 25 minutes.  The good news is that this week I did, with 10 hours 10 minutes.  Here’s the breakdown:

1st week

Monday: 3 hours playing a local league game

Tuesday: 30 minutes CT-Art

Wednesday: 15 minutes CT-Art

Thursday: 30 minutes Chess Tempo, 15 minutes CT-Art

Friday: 25 minutes playing a 15 0 game

Saturday: 90 minutes opening preparation (on the bus to Tough Guy, so I was limited to the one book I had with me)

Sunday: No chess, but lots of pain, which I’ll write about shortly

2nd week

Monday & Tuesday: Little chess (lots of chemistry and physics practicals)

Wednesday: 60 minutes opening preparation for the evening’s game (some of which hit the mark), 2 hours 40 minutes playing a club championship game + 30 minutes post-mortem analysis

Thursday: 50 minutes analysing Wednesday’s game, 45 minutes analysing last Monday’s game, 10 minutes Chess Tempo

Friday: 15 minutes analysing Wednesday’s game, 30 minutes CT-Art

Saturday: 10 minutes CT-Art, 2 hours playing decent opposition at Durham University Chess Society

Sunday: 10 minutes analysing Wednesday’s game, 20 minutes CT-Art, 50 minutes middlegame study (‘The Secret To Chess’)

From this week until the end of term the target will be 12 hours a week.  Upcoming events I’ll be playing in include the next 4NCL weekend, the British Universities’ Chess Association Team Championships, and the Blackpool Chess Conference.