Year in Review
2016 was a rough year that dropped my USCF standard rating to 2009 levels. In 2007, my rating climbed over 1700 for the first time, albeit briefly. In 2008, it appeared that I would keep it over 1700, but then in the first event of 2009, it fell again to 1698. Then, five months later, I hit 1800! My rating continued to rise, reaching a peak of 1982 in mid-2012. After that height, it was up and down, but mostly slowly dropping. I fell under 1900 a couple of times, but then brought it back up through 2014. In 2015, it fell to 1847, but then I won a weekend Swiss and it popped back up to 1902 (see "Winning an Open"). The last event in 2015 end every event in 2016, except the last, dropped my rating further. In October, I fell to a six year low of 1750.
Later in October, my play seemed better. I won a quick event at the Spokane Chess Club four days after winning an online USCF rated tournament (see "Winning"). Then, in November, I placed second in the Spokane Game 10 and won my section of the Turkey Quads 3-0, lifting my rating to 1791. I have become a B Class player, but the year seems to end on a positive note.
In late December, I managed to lift my Chess.com tactics trainer rating over 2000 for the first time since the early years of the site when such ratings seemed grossly inflated (I have a peak of 2400).
Chess Skills has documented many New Year's Resolutions aimed at chess improvement. None were kept all year, although several lasted into the summer. 2013 was a particularly ambitions year (see "A Time for Reflection"). My goal was to make expert (USCF 2000+), but the resolutions were training oriented. Well into the summer, I posted monthly spread sheets showing my tactics training progress with the accompanying narrative assessing the other goals--whole games, pawn endings, and weight loss. I admitted failure in November.
My resolutions each year since then have been less ambitious, and yet remained unfulfilled (see "Year in Review 2015").
A Fool's Errand
With such a fabulous track record, my resolution for 2017 should be to avoid setting any goals. Stubbornness gets in the way, however. I want to set a goal.
My attitude changed a bit after my abysmal performance in the Eastern Washington Open. I started making time for study again. The main behavioral change was that I started using Chess Mentor and the videos on Chess.com with some regularity. These resources are the reason that I pay for Diamond level membership. It would make sense to set some goal regarding regular use of these resources. For example, I might set out to complete a certain number of lessons each week, or watch a particular series of videos each month.
I need to focus on thinking. I need to look at the position in front of me when I am playing, slow down, and calculate. Tactics training can help. So, can chess mentor.
But, I need a resolution that I can keep.
In 2017, I will set up a chess board on my dining room table and play through games from a printed book. I will perform this task at least once each week.
I make no promises to myself to complete any particular book, but I do plan to make use of several in a manner that balances classic games with contemporary. Hence, I will read portions of Tartakower and DuMont, 500 Master Games of Chess (1952) as well as the latest issue of Chess Informant.
2017 CARIFTA Championships (Kingston, Jamaica)
11 hours ago