When my opponent left book early, I was on my own, trying to anticipate threats and positional moves. The game was even until my 17th move, which is quite good against an opponent of this caliber. This blunder was caused by failure to evaluate a response to the depth necessary. I played on, hoping for a return blunder until the game reached a position that I felt I could win if we switched sides.
The last few days have been spent re-evaluating my training schedule, taking into account the feedback from the previous blog entry and looking at how the material studied would be most beneficial. The schedule is designed to hit the most important areas with enough emphasis to make a meaningful gain. The morning and evening sessions are each divided into 3: 15 minutes of review or light study as a warm-up, 30 of book study and 30 of exercises.
- Endgame Practice - 15 minutes with Pandolfini’s Endgame Course by Bruce Pandolfini. The problems are in a database and played against the Houdini chess engine.
- Strategy Study – 30 minutes with I.A. Horowitz’ Point Count Chess. This book will probably take 2 or more readings before I can continue with a more challenging book like Nimzowitsch’s My System.
- Tactic Problems – 30 minutes (average time) each morning to solve 10 problems on chesstempo.com with a difficulty level of 1300-1500, trying to see the entire solution before making the first move.
Evenings on game days:
- Games – Twice a week playing a long game, either at my local chess club (G90) or against a Chessmaster10 opponent (G45). I also intend to participate in 6 Saturday tournaments this year (3 G65 games each tournament).
Evenings on non-game days:
- Analysis – 15 minutes reviewing either my games or games from Neil McDonald’s Art of Logical Thinking. McDonald’s game collection replaced my previous choice to get move-by-move commentary.
- Strategy Study – 30 minutes with I.A. Horowitz’ Point Count Chess (i.e. continuing morning’s B study).
- Tactic Problems – 30 minutes with Dan Heisman’s Looking for Trouble.
How does this address the weaknesses shown by the Chess Exam results?
- Counterattack, addressed by C&G
- Calculation, addressed by A,C&G
- Middlegame, addressed by B,C,F&G
- Sacrifice, not directly addressed
- Tactics, addressed by A,C&G