Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Road Continues

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.

Road to 2100: T-3 Review

I have played in two tournaments since the last update, both of which have gone well.  The first was an international team event in St. Petersburg, open to teams comprising people who work in the rail industry.  I scored three wins and two draws, which would have netted me 20 ELO points, but sadly despite the official nature of the event (Kirsan turned up for the closing ceremony) it was not rated.  One of my wins is given below:



Although some of my team did not fare as well (we ended 11th out of 14), the event was hugely enjoyable, and St. Petersburg is highly recommended to anyone looking for an interesting holiday.

The second of my tournaments was the British Championships Weekend Open, where I got off to a storming start with 4/4.  Facing the top seed (2226) with black in the final round, I needed only a draw to win the tournament, but despite getting an excellent position out of the opening he was able to outfox me.  Losing in the final round pushed me down to shared second with two others.


FIDE standard: 1983-2020 (expected), +27 points

All of these points came from the British Weekender.  As previously stated, the railway event was unrated, and I may come to rue these lost points (together with the last railway tournament, that’s 44 extra points I could have).  Still, this is the first time I have pushed significantly above the 2000 mark this year, and it may still be just in time to make 2100 by September if the next two tournaments go as well as my last two.

I will be playing in Figueres and Sants back-to-back over the next few weeks.  Both are strong events in the Barcelona area.  If I am able to maintain my energy and play well in both it is certainly possible to gain the required number of points.

Assessment: Red (cause for concern)


I have not (yet) returned to using my study log, and will not be doing so over the next few weeks either.  Still, I have been reasonably productive and have managed to patch up a couple of critical holes in my opening repertoire.  Naturally I will not be studying as normal during the upcoming tournaments, and will just be doing opponent-specific opening preparation and looking to go into each game well-rested and energetic.

Assessment: Amber (some cause for concern)

As always, I encourage you to post any questions or comments you have below, but I may not respond until after my tournaments.  This will likely be the last ‘Road to 2100’ review – for better or worse, see you in September!