I have decided to appropriate an idea from my day job doing project management for Network Rail, and have a series of ‘T minus reviews’ leading up to my deadline for making 2100. T- reviews give a snapshot of your progress towards a goal at a given point in time, and help you to identify any areas which require extra attention. I propose to write the next one in three weeks (at ‘T-40’), and then every four weeks until the deadline (or until I hit my target). Feel free to suggest changes to the format if there is additional information you would like to see.
FIDE standard: 1957 – 1981 (expected), +24 points
FIDE arena rapid: 1920 – 1920, +0 points (no games)
FIDE arena blitz: ~1980 – 1936, -44 points
The main news here is that I gained (well, regained) a healthy number of points at the recent European rail industry team chess tournament in Belgium (and also picked up the board three prize). For some reason these have yet to show up on the rating list, but I expect they will do so on the next list. I am also tracking my FIDE online arena ratings, as they should align reasonably well with my over-the-board FIDE rating. I have yet to play a rapid game online, so no change there from my default starting rating of 1920. I have lost a number of blitz rating points (not sure exactly how many as I did not note my rating in the last list), but I am not overly concerned as some of these can be attributed to the poor internet connection in my last house. I have now moved house, and will be looking to use my improved internet connection to regain these points for the next report.
Assessment: Green (little cause for concern)
Though the rating gain is on track (if I gained 24 points for each review I would have crossed 2100 by T-24), the study is not. My public study log reveals that I have done 590 minutes of deliberate practice since records began on the 20th of September against a target of 1800 minutes (three times as much).
Part of this shortfall may be unfairly caused by my strict recording of only ‘deliberate practice’. Deliberate practice is a term coined by the psychologist K. Anders Ericsson to describe effortful, highly focused practice, carefully designed to bring about maximum performance improvement. It seems clear to me that problem-solving type activities fit this description, but less clear that analysis of one’s games fits. A lot of my game analysis is done on my tablet on the way back from a game, and is not particularly intense or effortful, so I have not included it, although I still think it is useful. Had I included this my study time would probably have nearly doubled.
I am going to try to establish a post- or pre-work chess study habit by the next report, either going into work early and studying there before most people arrive, or going to a coffee shop to study before returning home. I think this will be more successful than trying to do all my study at home.
Assessment: Red (cause for concern)
That’s all for this review, and I hope to have better news in the next. Let me know your thoughts and anything else you would like to see in the next review (for example, a games section) in the comments below.