Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away

Each month I write a plan for the month on this blog.  It's interesting how two things seem to be tied to that process.  The first is that I generally feel like I am making up the plan on the fly, and the second is that I never seem to find time to do all of the things I claim I will in the plan.
For example, for this month I claim that I want to learn the Taimanov Sicilian, which is a true statement.  But do I need to learn it now?  After all, I play the Scheveningen decently and I also know the French fairly well if I don't feel like playing a Sicilian.

But what about my other openings?  Well, as Black I have been starting to play the Slav after years of playing the King's Indian.  So wouldn't it make more sense to focus on learning the Slav rather than the Taimanov?  Of course it would.  But since I just make my "plans" up on the fly rather than by putting some thought into them this is the kind of result I get.

So is that a reason to disparage?  Not necessarily.  After all, one of the truisms of chess is that studying one area of the game tends to lift your skill levels in other areas of the game.  Meaning that a thorough study of endings will still lift your level of strategic play, etc.  So studying the "wrong" thing is still studying and will still produce results.

Having said all that, I think that if I start to take time to truly focus on making a plan for what is most needed that I will progress more rapidly than my current rate.

Food for thought.


  1. One idea I've seen elsewhere and use myself is to plan based on the materials you will use e.g. books, dvds etc. Stick to one finish it and then move to another in a different area of the game. You could start on tactics, read a book on endings, study strategy, one on anopening and then start agin on tactics. All the while analysis of your own games acts to pul together the improvemenst from the different phases of study.

  2. I kind of like that idea, although one of the problems that I have is that I tend to flit from thing to thing.

    Like many chess players I don't read a book all the way through before I go on to something else.

    However, unlike many I do actually read through my books. Or at least sections of them.

  3. While maintaining the analysis of your own games, I think the drive to complete a book or dvd on one subject is the crux of the idea. it picks up on your point that studying in one area benefits others. It's just pushing the discipline to do it when there are so many temptations.

  4. That's an interesting point of view which I guess I never really considered. I can't exactly stick to that 100% because I write so many product reviews so I do need to flit from item to item at times.

    However, I also spend a lot of time studying on my own. Far more than I do going through books to write reviews for them, and THAT time I could dedicate to working on a singular item.

    I'll give it a shot.

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