01 October 2013

Training Log: September 2013

My training regimen was back on track in September. Nonetheless, I still fell short in some areas. I set four New Year's resolutions at the end of December 2012. I made reasonable progress in September on three.

1. In 2013, I will solve correctly 300 tactics problems each month.

After my hard drive crashed in July, it has taken time to recover and rebuild my data. Part of what was lost was my spreadsheet for tracking the monthly totals with each of of tactics training resources. This blog had accurate data through the end of May, so I started there.

It must have been during times of exhaustion of distraction that I kept opening Chess Quest on my iPad because I know that I looked at one problem at least half a dozen times, but when I looked at it three days ago, I was able to solve the problem that had me stuck in less than one minute. Meanwhile, a new app on my phone and two online resources account for the largest number of problems. The iChess app scorecard says that I have solved 138 problems, but some problems have been solved more than once as I learn how to use the app to always start with a new problem. Most of the 103 problems that I have solved are simple one-move checkmates. Regular readers will remember that I discount such easy problems in Chessimo, only counting those that I have solved six times. None of the 80 problems that I solved in Chessimo in September appear on the speadsheet, although a batch of them may appear in October.

With the Chess.com Tactics Trainer, I sometimes torpedo my rating trying to calculate because I exceed the allotted time. In the morning, when I use this resource, I typically fail the first three problems before the mind starts working. My pass rate is less than 50%. Research concerned with expert performance and deliberate practice reveals that practice at the point of failure is necessary. That low percentage should motivate me to use this resource more extensively. My solving percentage is slightly higher on Chess Tempo, and I am working at improving that. I solve in standard mode where time used does not affect rating, and where I can hone my calculation skills. My percentage in September was close to 60%, a little higher than my overall average. Combining these two online resources, focusing on rating with one and accuracy with the other may be my best bet for strengthening my tactical skill.

2. In 2013, I will study whole games and whole books.

My study of whole games and whole books has come to characterize the time that I spend on chess!

I am closer to finishing Logical Chess: Move by Move, but continue to neglect the study plan with respect to this book that I set out in my resolutions. On the other hand, in late August, I began working systematically through Chess Informant 113. I have completed 59 whole games, plus 44 game fragments.

3. In 2013, I will finish my Pawn Endgame Flash Card project.

Progress studying Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual did not go forward in September.

4. In 2013, I will lose fifteen pounds.

My efforts to walk the entire length of the Spokane River Centennial Trail with each of my dogs continues. Walks in the park, too, are regular and Amy is able to overcome her distractions enough to make four half-mile laps before insisting on the return home. My weight loss is a meagre two pounds from January.

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