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  3. How did players of the past train?

That's about 40 days worth of board visualization training that gets progressively harder with time. Do the whole shebang 3-4 times(might take you 3-4 months!). Get Fritz and do the defensive training in it daily, where it shows you positions and you have to click all pieces and pawns that are floating. You'd be amazed at how far board visualization and defensive awareness only can get you. Add some some daily tactical training, reading a book like My System with a real board and pieces every now and then for a couple of hours, and some simple endgame book, a couple of game collections books = VOILA, if you have a modicum of talent, you are EASILY 2000 rated on this site, probably more if you've taken improvement seriously.

#21 what’s a shebang?

I mean I have some ideas, but they would be inappropriate for this forum.