At the bottom of this blog is My Chess Improvement Regimen, originally implemented in Sepember, with the latest changes. The primary emphasis is on active training when I am actually involved with the activity as opposed to passive reading and studying. I believe this regimen is helping, as I just recently passed the 1500 USCF rating threshold after being on a plateau for over 3 years.
Openings are reviewed daily to keep them in current memory. Main lines are studied to a depth of 8 moves, whereas minor lines are normally only 5 moves deep. This keeps most of my games in familiar territory going into the middlegame. Several different White openings are included to keep opponents from ‘booking up’ and my Black lines contain several gambits and traps.
Tactics are done from a collection of over 12,000 tactics on chesstempo.com with a selected rating of 1000 – 1300. The selection is significantly below my rating, but is meant to enhance my quick recognition of tactics during a game, not to test my ability to solve difficult problems. I am currently solving 60% within 60 seconds with a 96% success ratio.
Endgames are also done on chesstempo.com Paid subscribers there can practice endgames with scoring decreased by longer, but still correct, solutions. The website keeps track of my current score and selects endgame problems that correspond to that score.
Attacking has just recently been added. I have been noticing several of my practice games where I had a potential attack against the King. Many of these attacks were incorrectly implemented, so this area needs this specialized study.
Games are played against Fritz 12 in Sparring mode. Even after the obligatory mistake, and sometimes no mistake is made, Fritz continues to play at the level chosen. I win most of the games, which helps my confidence, but still must play seriously and carefully to do that most difficult of chess exercises – Win a won game.
Study is an as time permits activity from a book that doesn’t need a chessboard. The time permitted is typically while I grab a mid-day meal at the neighborhood fast food place or while I am waiting in line, waiting for wife, etc.