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Road to 2000 Week 0!

Chess
An adult improvers quest to get 2000 blitz/rapid/classical on lichess!

Introduction

Hey everyone (or well anyone) welcome to my blog. For 2022 I've decided to set out on a quest to improve my chess. Disclaimer I started to do this in 2021, like a lot of people due to the pandemic reigniting my passion with online chess. I have been casually playing chess since college and remember when I first joined lichess I said if I ever 1800 blitz that would be amazing. Then I hit it last year and well here I am still grinding. I've decided to give a stronger push in 2022 and document my progress as a method of holding myself accountable and sharing with anyone interested!

Goals!

Before I discuss my goals, I want to quickly capture my current last year start and end for each format and the peaks. The end for last year will be the start for this year.

FormatStartEndPeak
Blitz151417451806
Rapid168518401880
Classical170018201855

Honestly I'm quite happy with my improvements last year, I had maybe a few dedicated weeks of study last year, but it was inconsistent. A good portion of my improvement came through playing, Winning Chess Strategies (Chessable) and the occasional tactics. I will say I noticed my largest improvements in windows where I wasn't spamming blitz games and actually focusing on improving.

That being said, let's discuss my goals. While the title is "road to 2000", There is a decent chance I won't hit 2000 in any of them. I can't predict my personal and work life this year and stuff might impact. That being said my real goal is to get better at chess, and more consistent with playing to improve. While ironic I don't want to "chase rating points" but actual improve and have my rating show it. So instead of sitting down to spam 10 games to try to crack 1800, I'm going to focus on playing less, analyzing my games, and being more focused and enjoying of chess while I play.

So I mentioned improving, but what exactly do I need to improve? I've thought about this a lot the past two months and it's a few things:

  • Patience & Calculation - My number one thing is patience in a game. A good first step for me will be better enforcing the common concept of a blunder check, but just in general better time management. I recently played a classical game where I was in a hugely advantageous position, but got frustrated with my opponent blitzing moves ,and started matching their pace as I was falling behind in the clock. This led to me making an absurd amount of blunders and miss an absurd amount of tactics that I would notice right after I made the move. This is by no means an excuse. Patience is a part of chess, just because I can calculate the correct move, choosing not to do so, or more importantly, knowing when to do so is valuable. For me I find myself always leaning towards rushing, so practicing slowing down and following chess, captures, threats with a blunder check approach will be helpful.
  • Tactical Awareness - I'll admit, I think I'm tactically weak for my rating. While some of it might be covered by the patience issue, I think I miss some really obvious patterns pretty often. Looking through a lot of my games, I think that is one of my major issues. I have occasional blindness towards simple forks, double attacks, mating patterns, pins etc. I even find that when I do blunder in opening or endgames it also comes down to not noticing a tactic, or not noticing an opponents threat.
  • Mental - I for lack of a better word tilt, if I lose a game or two I feel down. If I make mistake in the middle of the game I also find myself being desperate to make comebacks and further dig a hole. So I'm going to work a bit on some none chess related things to help me cope with stress a bit better.
  • Improve! 2000 is a fun thing to get to, but I just want to feel better at chess, knowing that my game is improving and finding more enjoyment through it. Also starting a good routine of doing more than just spamming blitz.

Current Study Plan

Right now I'm going to mostly focus on improving my tactical and positional chess understanding. I have some opening courses that I will probably do sparingly but frankly my openings while obviously not the best are fine at my level. So here's what I'm going to be working through, my goal is to a chapter in each of these a week:

  • Chess Tactics for Champions by Susan Polgar
    • This is a great tactics book that covers all the themes. I've been recommended it for a few places at my level. I'm going to focus on doing these tactics while calculating all possible moves and being good with blunder checks etc. I'll also try to create a repository of puzzles to repeat that I make mistakes or find more difficult.
  • How To Reassess Your Chess
    • I've long put this off, but I'm going to do it. Winning Chess Strategies was a pretty good course and Silman helped Yasser with it. I think this will be super valuable for me in better understanding how to evaluate positions, identifying strategic plans and spotting weaknesses in my opponent's position.
  • Survive and Thrive
    • I am terrible at making the bad move and blundering out of instinct. I've done a bit of this course (mostly the warmup) and it's incredible. The puzzles are designed to have tons of potential options but only one really saving move. I need to improve at defense calculation and blunder checking which is a big focus on this course.

In terms of play wise I'm going to focus on the following:

  • 1-2 classical games a week (my league game for lichess lonewolf and a 30+0)
    • Detailed game reviews
  • 2-3 rapid games (15+10 time control)
    • Detailed game reviews
  • Max 7 blitz games
    • Small game reviews
  • Collect blunders and mistakes from games, categorize (opening, tactical, positional, endgame) and review the positions.

My goal is to get around 10-15 hours of studying a week hopefully with about 8 in the study, 4 in playing and 3 in game review and this post. We'll see how it goes but that's the plan right now!

Conclusion

Alright that's it for now, I'm gonna try to post every week so see everyone soon!