It has been more that a year since I started blogging about my quest to improve through slow chess. The blog started with my new found interest in postal correspondence chess and all my postal games are still active. Last night I made 6 postal moves and the postcards are being sent today. I still believe that when I take time to consider moves deeply it improves my chess. Later in my year of blogging I started taking part in occasional chess competitions – I usually attend a fairly informal monthly competition at Box Hill Chess Club (15min/side) and I took part in two longer format competitions which I enjoyed. Again I believe that competing focuses the mind and is a good way of improving. It is also a great way to enjoy chess, playing against people in front of you is the best form of chess. On the downside I intended to become algebraically literate by practicing blindfold chess and undertaking the full board nirvana exercises I posted about. I haven’t and until that happens it is very hard to use chess books in a meaningful way, closing off a great potential way of learning. I also haven’t been attempting puzzles as much as I should and tactics are the grammar of chess – without tactics your strategic story can’t be told so there is an area of improvement. Computer chess has taken a big back seat and unfortunately my rating on chess.com has dropped to my opening level – this continues to be a dismal outcome and does suggest that a good way to get good is to play lots of quick computer chess. I still want to avoid this because to me it’s the most soulless way of improving.
So what can I do this year to improve? Well learning algebraic notation so well that I can read books and visualise what is happening would be great. I will make a concession to computers by using tactics trainers at chess.com and chesstempo.com since this is the fastest way to get through a number of puzzles and sharpen my play, I will also play a few more 10 minute games than I did this year. I will attempt to study a few opening that I already know to a deeper level and learn a few more openings to a playable level. Finally I will continue to play in tournaments and socially. Hopefully I can measure this through various rating outcomes.
Finally thank you to the 2500 visitors I’ve had!