Since my last entry, a lot has changed. First of all, I've decided I just really don't like How to Reassess Your Chess. I cannot get through it. The more I tried, the more I remembered I just really don't like it. I could get into the reasons for this, but that is probably better for a different blog entry or article. I have spent some time looking for other things and settled on a course I had forgotten I even owned. Igor Smirnov's Your Winning Plan, which was suggested to me by a very strong player a few years ago. While sampling all the resources I had trying to find something to replace How to Reassess Your Chess, I found myself riveted by this one. So, that is my new tome. Hopefully, I won't be getting into the rut of starting book after book without finishing. I will try not to do that. So far, I like this one so much I'm committing to finishing it without even alternating weeks with the endgame book! I've also got pages of notes I've taken on this course alone. Those are definitely good signs.
I have been plugging away with tactics and openings, also. In my last post I mentioned that I would be trying to find a way to detail my progress with the basic tactics that I drill for speed and recognition. I use Anki flashcard software for that purpose. I have a set of 1001 tactics from a popular tactics book called "Tactics Time" that I am converting into flashcards. So far, I have 250 of them converted and I'm drilling those using spaced repetition in Anki. If you are familiar with Anki, these stats may make sense. If not, it may be gibberish, but here they are so far, current as of today:
The other side of my tactics training has to do with Chess Tempo. I solve problems there daily, but I don't have a set routine of how many or anything. Basically, I just go do some problems whenever I feel like it. I should improve this by making some sort of schedule or quota, but so far, I haven't. It's somewhat easier to track my progress with that, because the rating graph will make more sense to more people. The thing to remember with these is that I do not focus on speed here. I focus only on accuracy--calculation/visualization, etc. The pattern recognition I build up with past Chess Tempo problems and the Anki flashcards should help as well, but I do not use Chess Tempo to assist in building patterns primarily, it's just a side-effect.
I have been playing long games as often as I can, both online and over-the-board. I have committed to analyzing at least one game per week as fully as I can. Sticking to this one isn't hard because it's something I like doing, anyway. Some examples of the analysis I've been doing:
Just snippets of the full analysis. I'm still working out how I want to format the analyses for actual publication. The latter example is a pdf created with Open Office. It looks very nice, but it is very time-consuming to make. Analyzing in Scid vs. PC is fine, but it doesn't look as nice and there's no way to publish it without just pasting a PGN file somewhere (not ideal if you want people to actually read it). Still working on this problem.
As always, comments and encouragement are appreciated!