The Monthly Chess Resolutions Check-In! (January ed.)

Well, I said I was going to do it - here, if you're interested - so here goes.  One twelfth of the way in to 2010, it's high time to reflect on my resolutions, take a hard & objective look at my performance to date, and finally... to start making excuses.

So, it hasn't been the best month for chess training, but I shouldn't be too hard on myself, especially after December, where I had two full weeks of unstructured time to feed the beast.  Conversely, January brought a surfeit of bedlam at work, and to-do lists to make a mockery of a mere weekend.  (Ok, so I thought I'd start with the excuses instead of leaving them to the last...)

Ok, let's get specific...  Here are my goals & promises from the original 'resolutions' post, complete with evaluator's notes and a meaningless letter-grade:

Goal 1:  By 2011 be able to articulate my plan at any point in any game I play (Focus areas = strategy, endgames)


I guess there was some small progress here.  I did study Silman's Complete Endgame Course, which is sort of relevant, but there were no activities specifically devoted to strategy or planning, as such.  I'm going to get back into How to Reassess Your Chess and a couple of other books on strategy right after I review my last chapter of the Endgame Course one more time.

Having said that, I can't say enough good things about the Endgame Course.  I wish I had studied this thing ages ago...  I think this should be one of the first three chess books a person ever owns.  It's certainly giving me a lot more confidence in an area that has troubled me for as long as I've played chess.  Sure, there's probably going to be some 'review' in the early chapters, but give it a while... You'll be learning how to turn utter defeat into an amusing draw in no time.  Etc.

I learned quite a lot working my way up through Part IV: Endgames for Class “C” (1400-1599), and it is at Part IV that I shall stop.  From here on in my goal is to cycle through the examples and exercises from sections 1-4 again (recursively) till I can call these positions in my sleep.  Then (and only then) I'll tackle V.

Goal 2 (secondary):  Complete basic repertoire blueprint for Black  (Focus area = openings)

F (or maybe N/A)

I have done nothing related to opening study this month.  I'm actually eagerly anticipating version 4 of Chess Position Trainer - mostly because the earlier version seems broken in Windows 7 - before I get back into any serious repertoire work.  So in a way, I meant to get that "F."  I'll probably get another in February.  (Since it wasn't really a January goal, perhaps I'll just discount the whole thing for now.)

Now on to the 'promises' section...

Chess Promise 1:  Weekly Chess Training (6+ hours) and Keeping a Weekly Training Log


Wow, I'm actually relieved because up till just now, I thought I'd committed to eight or more hours a week, and man, did I ever not achieve that last month.  In fact, I only got above six hours per week twice, and there were a couple of stretches where I went days chess-free..  The HORROR!  Serves me right for going to see Avatar, I guess.

...But there is an up-side.  My tweaked training log now does a much better job helping me visualize how my training investment reflects (or doesn't reflect) my training priorities.  I blogged earlier about avoiding aimless chess training, and by applying some of my own advice in the log (i.e. tracking time against specific focus areas and using a chart to make my time visible), I really do feel a stronger connection between goal and practice.

Looking at the pie chart, I can see that January was all Tactics with a side-order of Endgames.  That's actually not too far off of what I wanted to concentrate on this month, so although I didn't devote enough time to chess, at least I apportioned the time I spent appropriately.

Next month, I'm going to shoot for 40%+ tactics, 25%+ endgames and 20%+ strategy (books & master games).  We'll see (really!).

Chess Promise 2:  Participate in an official, rated event in 2010

I'm not going to grade myself for this, but I do deserve some brownie points at least, because I think I've picked the event!

...because, hey, you only lose your chess innocence once, right?  :)

That about does it.  So... looking ahead to the present (i.e. February), here's the plan I'll be making excuses about next time around:

- Continue working through I-IV of the Endgame Course, focusing on the examples and exercises
- Focused study of How to Reassess Your Chess or My System
- Lots & lots of tactics and endgame problems.  And then more tactics problems.

Wish me luck - as I do you in your chess-improvement endeavours.



  • 4 years ago


    this was extremely entertaining the old forums have alot good things in them.

  • 5 years ago


    Try some Kotov.

  • 7 years ago


    @Estragon - Thanks!  I'll do my best to relax & I'm sure it will be a blast, if a bit stress-filled by times.  :)

    @setanator - I'm just measuring by my own stated standards though.  :)  Actually, I think getting into an actual club is HUGE.  I'm trying to be more about timed OTB games these days, which is one the reasons I've pretty much quit on e-chess.

  • 7 years ago


    um if i did it i would get like d-    f    due to i dont do very much chess wise but trying to get in the school chess club

  • 7 years ago


    Good luck in your first tournament!  Remember, these large events are quite different from most local tournaments, so don't be overwhelmed.  Just keep in mind you are there to have fun, and try to relax and enjoy it (in Vegas, the "relax and enjoy" part is pretty easy).

  • 7 years ago


    @Manack - It's great, isn't it?  One of the most unbelievable pieces of freeware ever!  I'm really excited about version 4, based on some of the stuff I've seen on the site.  And thanks, I'll have to try that trick...  I'm not very literate in Windows 7 - mostly because I just run Windows apps in a Parallels VM on a Mac.

    @kco - Yes, I always review/analyze my own games - most of them anyway - with a little help from Fritz or Hiarcs.  What I need to spend more time doing is going over games by Ms and GMs.  I have both Chernev's The Most Instructive Games of Chess Ever Played and the new edition of Fischer's My 60 Memorable Games on stand-by, but I think I'm going to tackle My System next up.

  • 7 years ago


    Chess Position Trainer needs to be run in administrator mode to work in Windows 7.  I find it an excellent tool for designing and learning an opening repertoire.

  • 7 years ago


    Great read DeepGreene, question: have you ever thought of study/going over your own or master games ? 

  • 7 years ago


    Thanks to you both.

    Erik, I have your videos from last year to thank for the choice of venue.  To be sure, I'll be using my black cap to ensure that the bad guys can't see where I'm looking.  Cool

  • 7 years ago


    good luck!!

  • 7 years ago


    Great blog, fun read, good luck! Smile

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