Monday, 14 October 2013

Progress Report: 96.7% percentile

I'm very close to my goal of 99th percentile. My biggest problem is managing to move without thinking a move through. This happens every now and again... and again. Basically, if I've thought of a sequence of moves, I will nearly pre-move my pieces when actually I have 5-10 minutes on the clock, with time to check myself again. Obviously, GM's recommend to always double check your moves so I am failing this basic premise and it is costing me a lot of points.

It is especially painful because there seems to be few people rated 1,550+, so every time I lose against someone rated 1,450-1,500 I end up losing 10 to 12 points. Whereas when I win, I am only getting 5 points.

I've had a few games against people rated 1,575-1,600 and I've won them, so I am quite confident of reaching 1,650 to 1,700 in the coming two weeks or so. I hope, that translates to 99% so I can set a new goal.

Studying has been slow this week. I've wanted to spend a lot of time with people I care about so that left less time for studying. Then I got ill. Ugh! I am hoping to pick up the studying after this Wednesday. This will mark nearly a month without studying, aside from reading a couple of chapters of a book and doing a couple of hours of Tactics Trainer.

Moreover, if anyone cares, I attribute my incredible rating climb in the last study-less month to actually getting some games in, getting some real practice done vs real players. I got this premise from the book "Chess for Zebras", where the author argues that all the knowledge in the world is useless if you can't put it into skill. Skill comes from playing games. I haven't finished reading the book yet (as I said, I've hardly studied!), but so far I really like it. It's unconventional and I really makes sense so far.

The other thing I can definitely attribute my rating hike to is Tactics Trainer. While in the last month I hardly did any problems, the month before this I did a lot! I notice in my latest games, that I am unforgiving if my opponent blunders, whereas before, I may have missed a lot of those opportunities. As an example, I had about 10-30 seconds on my clock left, vs 5-7 minutes. My opponent played a not so obvious blunder but in under a second I had spotted it and played the right move to punish him. Game below:

White just played 39. Kf3 ?? - I have 10 seconds or so on the clock. He has over 5 minutes. It looks like the pawn on f4 is in trouble and I have to go on the defensive. However, thanks to TT I spotted the winning combination in a split second. Yay!

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