Since today is June 1, I thought I’d share some of my summer goals to help me reach my dream goal, breaking 2000 and becoming Candidate Master by this time next year.
If you are a high school student and a competitive chess player, I’m sure you know how hard it can be to sit down and study chess during the school year. Usually after January, a lot of players (myself most notably included) don’t see drastic changes in their ratings, leaving the summer as the one big opportunity to learn new openings and work on technique for the upcoming season.
Last summer, as I was trying to break 1800, I got the opportunity to play in the All–Japan Junior Championships and the Japan League tournament, finishing 4th and 18th respectively. While those tournaments were not USCF rated, my JCA (Japan Chess Association) rating boosted to about 1830, and helped me prepare for tournament play upon my return.
This time around, I want to force myself to be truly competitive at the next level.
Goal #1: Win the U2000 Section of the World Open in July.
Why not? I’m rated 1932 USCF, and I have had success at tournaments like the Continental Class Championships in the same section. While this might not seem like a practical goal (believe me, I know), its a lot more fun to say I’m playing for #1 rather than top 10 or 15. Winning the section would probably mean breaking 2000, but I’ll still need more strong performances throughout Fall of 2014 to string together 4–5 CM norms.
Goal #2: Upset a Titled Player (win or draw)
In order to be competitive at the next level, I need to be able to get results. This summer, if given the opportunity, I want to beat or draw a National Master or FIDE Master, that means getting business done against opponents 2200+.
Goal #3: Finish 3.0/6 or better at the Virginia Closed Championships
I’ve played in the open section of the Virginia Closed twice, both times scoring 2.5/6 with the help of early byes. While that may sound good for a 1700 rated player, I’m going to need to perform much better than that to say I’ve learned anything this summer. Also, with college coming the following year, this may be my last opportunity to play in this event for a while.
I have to admit, some of these goals are tough, but who said it was easy!