NM Pursuit #3: Reflecting on 2018

As the year 2018 comes to a close, one image has been at the forefront of my mind:

Progress #4

The following image of my rating progress this past year presents the following blunt, yet essential question: what went wrong? After all, I finished the year lower rated than when I started, dropping below the 2000 mark for the first time in quite a while. Moreover, I did work on my chess quite a bit, finishing the first book in Yusupov’s improvement series. As I reflect on my chess development this past year, two fundamental problems in my approach to improvement have suddenly become quite clear to me:

  1. I forgot about calculation. I don’t mean that I forgot how to calculate (in which case I probably wouldn’t even be a 1400 player), but rather that I forgot to work on and develop my calculation abilities. During my last few tournaments of the year, I suffered quite a few blunders and managed to lose multiple winning positions. The majority of these conversion slips were linked to sloppy calculation at critical moments.
  2. Lacking Theoretical Knowledge. This applies both to the endgame and the opening: most of the time I don’t really know what I’m doing by move five or so, with the occasional exception, and I often don’t manage to achieve the correct theoretical result (whether it be a win or a draw) in a given endgame position.

In order to address the two problems above, I will be focusing much more on tactics training with a board and pieces in 2019, as well as powering through Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual to develop my endgame knowledge. As for opening study, I will start reviewing my lines for at least thirty minutes every day rather than waiting until a tournament comes along and frantically preparing in the final minutes before each game. With consistent effort, and perhaps a bit of luck, I am confident that these changes in my training will reintroduce a positive trend to my rating graph this coming year.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

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One thought on “NM Pursuit #3: Reflecting on 2018

  1. Matthew Pratt

    Jorn good luck. If you want to talk chess over skype let me know. I am 1806 and trying to get to 2000 and face an uphill climb. One thing I noticed about your list is that you never mention “your opponent’s ideas”. Your 2 top items are about your own ideas. Something to consider. Again good luck Jorn.

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