Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Time to Find the Next Gear

A little over two years ago I went over 1700 for the first time.  However, I clearly wasn't ready for it as I almost immediately fell back below.

I then crashed all the way down to 1560 in August of last year due to a crisis of confidence.  However, I have gained 220 points since that time and feel poised to continue to gain.

At this point I have played two games, both in the final rounds of tournaments, in which a win would have put me over 1800.  I didn't succeed in either game, but I don't believe it's due to a mental block, I just think that you're not going to win every game, and both of them happened to fall into that category.

However, I am also a pretty serious student of human nature, and if there's one thing that human nature tells us it's that if you give something enough of a chance to become a hurdle it will.

Therefore I need to find the next gear.  I need to fight hard with every ounce of my being to have a solid result that will propel me past 1800 so that I can get that monkey off my back.  Once I do so I will be able to stop worrying about it and hopefully I will be able to just focus on improving...meaning that the rating will improve on it's own as a natural result of my actions.

To that end I have been studying like made.  Tons of tactics.  Tons of Alekhine's games.  Tons of annotated games in general.

I should also take heed from the games in Chennai and switch some focus to endgames.  Look at game four earlier today...Vishy was able to save the game because he knew that R+P vs R+2P was a draw with pawns on the same side of the board.  Magnus was able to keep the game going longer because he knew that by keeping a pair of rooks on the board he increased his winning chances.

Just knowing those things told those guys what to play for in the late middle game and as they transitioned into the endgame.

So it's time for me to find that next gear and get this show on the road...



  2. I'd certainly back the recommendation of Silman's Complete Endgame Course. I believe it's the kind of book that all club players should read cover-to-cover, but section by section. It's aimed at grading groups and provides exercises. If all the exercises aren't answered correctly, go back and study the section again. At present I'm about 40% of the way through. I've still not reached the section that includes my published grade but have definitely learnt a lot.

  3. Ironically I have all three of those books. I have read the Silman through Class B, but not in a couple of years. I own but haven't read much of, the Dvoretsky book, and my club library (which is at my house) contains a copy of Fundamental Chess Endings.

    I just need to make it more of a focus.

    laramonet, I take it you are English? I know the ECF uses grades but am unsure if other federations use that term so am guessing...

  4. Chris, I'll forgive you the guess ! Not English but Welsh. In the U.K. the terms grades, grading and rating are used pretty much interchangeably.