Road to 2100: Halfway (T-26) Review

Apologies for not posting a T-28 review two weeks ago as scheduled; I decided to hang on until now as it is the midpoint of my Road to 2100 year.

Ratings

FIDE standard: 1966-1973 (expected), +7 points
Other ratings: No change

I am expecting to gain 7 points this period from a win I had against an 1837-rated player in the 4NCL.  The 4NCL season continues to go well for both my team (West is Best) and me personally, and with 6 wins from as many matches the first team stands a good chance of promotion to the second division.  This would give me the chance to play some stronger players next season.  Whilst my rating is still creeping up, I have to earn a lot more points in the second half of the year than in the first if I am to have any hope of reaching my goal.  A provisional idea of where I plan to earn these points is given below (note that not all these events are confirmed yet):

13/3/16: French league, 1 game
19-20/3/16: 4NCL, 2 games
3/4/16: French league, 1 game
23-24/4/16: Hampstead Congress, 5 games
30/4-2/5/16: 4NCL, 2 games
14-15/6/16: Hampstead Congress, 5 games
27-30/5/16: Gatwick Congress, 7 games
11-12/6/16: Hampstead Congress, 5 games
2-3/7/16: Hampstead Congress, 5 games
4-8/7/16 St. Petersburg Railway Tournament, 6 games
23/7-6/8/16: British Championships, 11 games

In total that is 50 games, which, as calculated previously, would be enough for me to reach my goal if I performed at 2150 level.

Assessment: Red (cause for concern)

Study

I am pleased to report that I have once again met my study target of six hours’ deliberate, focused training per week, which now makes ten weeks in a row.  Having said that, not all of that time has been spent on the material I believe will make the most difference, as I frequently choose an easier option.  For example, ‘Calculation’ by Jacob Aagaard is a book I have been trying to work through for a long time now – it seems like an excellent book, with well selected problems, and I am sure that a careful reading of it would improve my chess – but I often do some quick tactics puzzles on ChessTempo or Chess24 rather than the more difficult problems in ‘Calculation’.  To counter this tendency I am introducing a set of ‘deliverables’, listed in a new tab on my study log spreadsheet, which I must spend at least six hours on per week.

There are currently 276 deliverables, split into three categories: calculation, opening and endgame.  My focus on calculation/thinking was explained here.  The opening and endgame items have been included because, whilst I feel I am making progress with my thought and decision-making process, it is not clear when that it going to translate into a big jump in practical play.  Given that it is now only 26 weeks until my deadline, I am taking no chances and intend to improve my openings and endgames as well (note that this is something of a throwback to an earlier plan).

Assessment: Amber (some cause for concern)

As usual, I would be interested to hear your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.

2 thoughts on “Road to 2100: Halfway (T-26) Review

  1. Nice report! You’ll just have to knock your opponents out of the park in those tournaments. prepare well, for your opponent and for being in the best state of mind (resting, food etc).

    I think you should really push yourself more towards reading the calculation book. Tactics are still very often _the_ single dominant decider up to the 2300 level. And openings aren’t really that important, if you ask me, as long as you get ok positions out of them most of the time. your opponents don’t know the complete theory either, and even then you can get ok positions. on the other hand, opening books can show you important strategical ideas in your openings. But i still think endgames, strategy and especially tactics are more important at your level.

    By the way, I found out that I perform better at just about everything including chess when i’ve drunk coffee, but that depends on the person i guess. On a caffeine high, i’ve almost beaten two FMs in a row in rapid, the first of which asked me where the hell my rating came from.

    – my 1860 ELO’s two cents

    in any case, good luck!

    1. Thanks, Simon. Agreed on the need to be well-rested etc., which didn’t really happen at the Classic.

      Also agreed on the importance of reading ‘Calculation’, but it’s not like I haven’t been studying tactics at all – I’ve been solving plenty of tactics problems from other sources, and have just finished reading ‘Chess Tactics from Scratch’ (with the exception of the puzzles at the end, which I’m still working through). I normally get reasonable positions out of the opening, but then frequently struggle to come up with a decent plan afterwards; the ‘opening’ study I intend to do is as much to address this as the memorising forced lines bit.

      I hate coffee, but do tend to drink Diet Coke (or, if I’m really tired, Red Bull) during games.

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