Joking aside...certainly the biggest lesson I've found so far in this game is that of making sure to be alert and rested before I play. Caffine in moderation is a plus :) Since cutting the late night "doh" sessions ("dohhhh...why'd I do that?", "dohhhh...I never saw that coming!", "Dohhhh...I fell for that AGAIN!") , and playing when I'm alert, I've clearly made gains -- in a very big way. In many ways this has very little to do with actual chess skill though.
My goals have been to gain at a pace of ~25 points a month. I figured this based on the fact that I'm starting very low to begin with...I have "regression to the mean" on my side!! I'm sure this will not be so easy to do if/as I improve. My goal for January was to average (between ICC and Chessbase/playchess) 975, February 1000, March 1025... all of which would lead me to 1400 by the end of June 2008 (my 40th b-day). But I've been playing very well this week...very well. These are ratings from blitz games but I can only recall one game below 5/12 or 10 minutes (it was against one of the 'bots' on ICC). But...officially for January:
ICC Rating: 952
Dissertation Progress: Desperately needed!
Basically I really did well...gaining over 110 points in two weeks. I know reality will set in sometime as if I had continued success at this rate I'd be at 1400 by the middle of March!! LOL. I'm sure there will be times when I regress but it has been fun to be on the winning side more often. Furthermore, I have played a lot of games and, as noted above, I will need to tone down and get more finished on my dissertation. Next week my plan is:
- Continue playing (toned down) on ICC and Chessbase/playchess.
- Continue working through "303 Tricky Chess Tactics"
- Play challenging games with "Chess Genius" on my PDA and study moves w/ blundercheck.
- Next Thursday (Feb.8) I have penciled in a trip to a chess club in Marietta.
- Paying less attention to ratings...especially when seeking opponents!
- Purchase a chess clock for my classroom (I use chess as a "center activity" and a 5 or 6-min blitz would work well in a class that often has 15 minute centers).
- Optional: Begin replacing "Blitz" with "Standard" (based on numerous posts on other blogs...clearly seems like sage advice!)