The initial journey as such, which began pretty much one year ago and which was supposed to ELEVATE my chess rating within one year, has come to an end.
Per week, I spent roughly anything between 5 and 12 hours on chess --- EXCLUDING some weeks (I guesstimate about 8) without any chess at all (e.g. due to illness or the additional interim job I took during February and March). On the bottom line, in terms of my rating, hardly any movement kicked in. This fact is VERY disappointing and somewhat demotivating: I simply missed the target!
However, my time management has increased drastically and my repertoire with Black has changed - definitely for the better! I find it (much) easier these days to find a plan and my intuition has become much better: although I still might lack the right plan, I have a pretty good gut feeling when a move is "rather odd". In many (almost every!) tournament in 2016 I was able to draw against FMs or even IMs --- this might actually be the only trace indicating that my game as such did improve!
Subjectively, I would also say that my ability to analyse/comment games has become stronger.
So, broadening the perspective and not focussing on the rating only: There is improvement!
I played some 10 tournaments and in general my rating gains were never as spectacular as my rating losses; i.e. I tend to fall lower than I can jump high (one simple explanation is my fear of losing, coupled with offering/accepting draws against higher rated players too often)... I recognized that my "bad tournaments" are always "really bad" - some 50% of the games are suboptimal. So in these cases it is never about one or two games but rather 4 or even 5. I have no explanation for this other than it could be due to being "over-played" (i.e. too much chess training and too much chess tournaments in too little time; I might have simply ignored the fact that high intense training/competition phases ALWAYS have to go hand in hand with well-balanced phases of relaxation/pausing. But that is rather a "common sense" statement and nothing I can really prove...
Amazingly, working on (my) openings seems to be and stay a constant: there will never ever be a time where I can skip focussing on improving my opening repertoire!
Hence, the plan is to give it yet another year with intense training! However, this time the rating really has to get up! The target is a gain of 50 rating points (which, all in all, wouldn´t even result in an all-time high --- sad sad, but I will focus on the journey not on the reward)!
The way to get there:
- Continue with my training efforts, some 5 to 10 hours per week.
- Play somewhat less tournaments; some 5 to 7 per year.
- Sundays (if there is no league match or tournament) will be spent practising end games. Ideally with my son --- this will help both of us and perhaps makes it a bit more fun+motivating.
- Saturdays will be spent with going through my dairy! Yes - I will simply go over all relevant entries of my blog again and again: It will remind me of all the things I (once) learned and I will go through each of the puzzles that I uploaded and solve them yet again! This shall improve my pattern recognition and assure that conclusions drawn and stuff learned before doesn´t get lost but is reinforced.
- Mondays - Fridays will be spent with solving puzzles (= pattern recognition), my openings and with analysing/documenting past games/mistakes!
- Draws will not be accepted so easily if the position shows upside potential!
- During training sessions as well as played games I HAVE TO work harder on digging deeper into the lines (my calculation depth has to increase - I shall not evaluate a position/variation too soon).
Maybe, the above (revised/more strict) schedule is also an important outcome and a clear positive indication of ChessMonk´s achievements... 8-)
So, feel free to accompany (and even comment on) my journey!