"Things can only get better." - Howard Jones
July began with a three step plan. Step one was to work on opening prep (sound familiar?), step two was to work on analytical ability, and step three was to work on calculation ability.
So...how did I do?
Well, for once I feel that I completely nailed it!!!
Let's take the steps one by one:
For anyone who has been following along with this blog, you know that opening prep is the bane of my existence. Well, I finally decided that I didn't need to fix everything at once. So now I'm not. Instead, I took one opening, the Slav, and I worked on it in more depth than I normally would.
I found some interesting, but rarely played, lines that I think I can steer some of my games into. I'm going to continue to work on this opening until I feel like I have it (more or less) down. Then I will move on to the next one.
It might take another month or it might take six. But one thing is for certain, and that's that I won't be moving on until I "get it" with this.
Still a long way to go on this one, but I've made some progress. I now want to analyze every game after I play it. I still am taking baby steps in the land of deep analysis, but it's a lot better than it was.
I long for the day in which I spend 10-15 hours analyzing each of my games after playing them. I'm nowhere near that yet, but I can see it coming if I just stick with it.
Again, tons of room to grow here. Yet I work on tactics regularly now, which I lump in as part of calculation ability.
Some day I will also start working on pure calculation exercises and doing the 20 minute exercises that Dan Heisman recommends.
But for now it's enough to know that my tactical work is paying off.
When I played through the first chapter in the Shirov DVD I reviewed I was able to solve all but one of the examples, and most I solved within three to five seconds.
So to sum it all up...I'm getting there.