Sunday 25 February 2018

February 2018 Improvement Update

It's been three months since my last progress update, so it's time for a new one. Progress? There is no progress! At least in rating. However, I feel that I am slowly identifying the weaknesses in my game better and coming up with stronger study plans. It may just be that one day everything will click together and all my hard work will have paid off with a meteoric rise? Who knows? Typically, I don't have enough time to work even harder (although I'd like to), so I really got to make sure my one or two hours a day count.
I have almost completed my entire black opening repertoire. I have some 200 out of 800 variations to go. I feel like I have to learn these last variations, at least the mainlines missing, (100 or so). However, I am taking a break from learning new lines for at least ten days to prep for the Bristol Spring Congress with a different kind of training as much as possible. I want to study more tactics because both tactics books on Chessable are awesome. I've begun with Improve Your Chess Tactics by GM Neishtadt. I felt like I was missing out. I have been dropping too many blitz, rapid and classical games in time trouble missing simple one move blunders! Always in time trouble, but this is no excuse. I even lost one completely won game in time trouble last weekend vs a 1915 player. Ahh! I have to work on my time management and will adopt GM Colovic's ideas of a game plan. Where you limit the time, you give yourself per move, purposefully. Let's see how that works!
I've also been playing a bit more blitz and being massively frustrated that my rating hovers around 1,800. It seems that I have forgotten what I said in my last post, that I need to slow down my Blitz controls and play 5+5... at least once and for all I know that my ELO is 100 points lower if I play 3+2 as opposed to 5+5. After a week of study, preparing for the Bristol Chess Congress, I will treat myself and allow myself to play a few more 5+5 games and see how that goes. Maybe I'll finally break and settle above 1,900.
I played the Hampstead Chess Congress a week ago, and I found the time control really hard, 60 min + 30 sec per move. I blundered in time trouble (pawn move in a K+P endgame), vs a young kid rated 1,500. That was tough! I am very much looking forward to getting back to 90 min + 30 sec. Alright, I will keep working hard and smart, and hopefully, in the next update I can show something for my hard work :) After all, it's now a year where I took two 2,100 ELO scalps in a single tournament. It's about time I start showing that strength regularly and my ELO should follow!