Friday, April 22, 2016

2 year anniversary

I've been meaning to make some blog posts since my last one, but I kept finding a good reason to wait.  Now I've found a good reason to finally post.

April 13th, 2014 I made a 2-hour drive to play my first games of chess after a 17-year layoff.  I didn't play or study chess in that interval except for the few months leading up to that first tournament.  I finally knew how to study chess properly though (I thought). I had 20 online games between ICC and under my belt.  2 weeks and 9 games later, I was the new owner of a shiny 1400 rating and had gained 400 points over my old scholastic rating.  6 months later I broke 1600 (class B) for the first time and 1700 pretty much a week later.

Around that time, I was really becoming aware of just how much tactical training I was doing and the mental toll it was taking.  I had read over 1000 annotated master games and done about 20,000 tactics repetitions.  I wanted to take a break, but I kept forcing myself to keep at it.  So many near misses against 1900 and 2000 players meant another big jump had to be coming.  Thankfully, a job change forced me to end my first year of "real"chess.   I stopped training entirely, but made the bad decision twice to try to sneak in some tournaments despite my hectic work schedule.  It didn't end well and my rating dipped down to 1640.  Not terrible, but frustrating.  We all like to see the arrow pointing up, not down.

Finally my work situation improved and I was able to make the chess comeback I had been hoping for.  I started training and blogging again in October.  My emphasis was on mainly doing what I had done before, but in much smaller amounts and on harder subject material.  I didn't want to feel burned out and unmotivated to play chess.   I tried to limit it to no more than 1 hour a day. No more driving straight to the club after work, followed by getting home at 10:30 and doing 2 hours of tactics.  No more driving 2 hours to play in a quad chasing rating points because I was *so close* to getting a new rating high.  No, I am going to let chess come to me.

I started playing OTB chess again in December.  I had some very good results, but I didn't feel they were worth blogging about.  I pretty much stopped all chess training in the middle of January.  I felt I was playing very good chess and I didn't want to spoil it.

So now, just about on my 2-year anniversary I've hit a new all-time ratings high of 1869.  +850 over my rating when I first started.  I haven't played a lot of chess in this time.  Only 23 rated games since December.   8 of those games are against class A/expert players and I have a +5 -3 =0 record, with 2 of those losses being in rapid games (+1 -2 =0 against class A/expert in rapid games).

I don't intend to "chase the dragon" trying to get those next 30 then 100 rating points.  I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing at the pace I've been doing it.  I'm hoping to have some more good news in about 4 weeks time, when my next club championship wraps up.


  1. Good job finding your personal balance !

  2. Hi! I just noticed your blog in Temposchlucker's blog sidebar. I'm enjoying reading your writing. I think you may be on the edge of a breakthrough. Keep at it! I just got back into chess myself after (a much shorter) 18 month lay-off.

  3. Great job! What you've described is an excellent example of what can be done with focused training, sustained effort and discipline. Although I envy you having "only" (heh) an hour/day of training, since usually I have less. Keep on rolling!