Friday, 26 January 2018

Mission Accomplished - and Pilgrimage Completed !!!

January is finally upon us and the ECF grades have been published. To my great relief I have discovered that my new chess grade is 142 ECF or the equivalent of 1765 ELO !!!

This news means that my chess pilgrimage is now complete!  :)   I have surpassed the 1750 target that I set myself 4 years ago back in Jan 2014.  I never doubted that I would get there, but I knew it would take quite a while and mean playing quite a few club games ...

My advice for fellow chess pilgrims is to:

1)  Play plenty of blitz games online.  This is a great indicator of how good you 'really' are in my opinion.  It also conditions you to 'play faster' and 'think faster' which are useful chess skills to have.  More importantly you should accept losses as a 'way of life' in the 'chessosphere' ..

2) Keep a record of all games you play.

3) Analyse lost games (preferably with a computer).

4) Keep learning new chess concepts.

5) Play openings you are uncomfortable with.

6) Create a 'to-do' list in the middle game - these lists are effectively your plans.

7) Study the endgame, it's more important than you think ...

8) Study the games of the masters.

9) Don't quit when you are on a losing streak, you will win eventually.


Monday, 31 July 2017

2017 - 2018 Season Ahead!

The goal of reaching 1750 ELO now looks very achievable ... The July 2017 grades have just been published and I have moved up one grading point to 137 BCF. This is the equivalent of 1746 ELO. So what do I have to do to get those four, vital ELO grading points? I think that there are one or two things I definitely shouldn't being doing too much of and other disciplines I ought to be doing much more of ....

 1 .... Chess Blitz has not really helped?! (or has it?) When you fail at something, there is a natural tendency to want to dismiss the whole idea of it and erradicate it from memory ... I often fear losing at online Blitz and reckon it's a drain on my morale. But does it actually have some value? Perhaps the losses are surreptitiously programming me to avoid making the same mistakes, or am I a repeat offender who is destined to keep making the wrong choices? Can I continue to teach myself or do I need lessons from a master to get that extra improvement? Maybe time will tell ...

 2 .... Chess Tactics problems will help! I need to keep the emphasis on these ... The ability to capitalise on tactical positions during a game is always of high value ... Taking advantage of simple opportunities won me a couple of games last season, one notably against a player ranked 167 BCF (knight fork won queen).

 3 .... Chess lessons will be of some benefit. How much more improvement can I make at chess without the lessons? Most of the information in my head thus far has originated from opening books and tactics books. I have also spent time on basic endings (from books) but could improve decidedly in this area... ! So my aim for 2017 - 2018 will be to take 5 - 10 lessons from a master and ask them to assess my true ability ... Only then will I get to know what I need to work on, and what I should be capable of.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Training Charts

Since 19th January I have been concentrating on Standard Tactics, Endgame Tactics and limited Blitz.  I have also been looking at Chess Mentor on and the 5 daily Blitz tactics (this is by far my weakest discipline).

Here is the table of progress.

19th January 2015
1414 1600.7 1415 1050

12th February 2015

As can be seen from the above table, standard tactical skill has increased dramatically as I reacquaint myself with the patterns.  All results have increased in < 1 month apart from Blitz tactics which have essentially remained the same.  I will be embarking on a course of timed tactical online puzzles to remedy this. Tactically, I feel that I am well on my way to reaching my 1750 grade for standard tactics.  Endgame tactics have also been improving dramatically, but I still have a lot of work to do in this area.  As for Chess Mentor (not listed above - I have managed to clock 1804 in my first evening ... )

Sunday, 11 January 2015

New training regime for 2015

Well, my grade is sure to go down again this January.  I have not been practising quite as much lately and will turn over a new leaf this year!!  My chess tempo tactics rating is currently just over 1600, but I am looking to improve this by doing at least 25 chess tactics problems per day.  I will lay off the blitz  for a while .... and get some earlier nights.  Have been playing blitz until 3am but this is damaging my chess ...  For improved strategy I intend to go through Chess Strategy for Club Players - Herman Grooten.  I must furthermore, concentrate on my notes from the International Chessmasters School.

Monday, 29 September 2014

1648 ELO achieved

It's been over 6 months since my last post ... so here is a update. According to July 2014 ECF chess grades my new chess grade is 131 ECF or converted = 1648 ELO. That is over 50 points higher than what it was in January, so I am on the right track but I still have a lot of work to do ... I lost my first game of this season to a simple bishop fork, gifting my opponent with a vital extra pawn, and after that he crushed me! Undeterred, I will take on my next opponent this week !! Overall I need 102 more ELO points before December 2014 :)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

2014 - A new start !

According to the January 2014 English Chess Federation (ECF) listings my new grade is 124 BCF or 1595 ELO.  I need to attain about 150 rating point to achieve my goal of 1750 before the year's out.  If I don't manage this by December 2014 - I'll give myself another 6 months :) after that.

My study regime in December 2013 and January 2014 was:  

20-30 intermediate tactical problems per night from Sharpen Your Tactics - Lein and Archangelsky.
or 9 problems from back issues of Schaak Magazine from Holland.

1 x problem from John Nunn's Chess Endings book.

4 x games of blitz chess on (current grade 1514 ELO)

I had a holiday at half-term and now I intend to resume this study regime!!  Let's see what happens in the next few weeks ... 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Welcome ...

Welcome to "The Chess Monk's Pilgrimage to 1750 ELO". I intend to use this Blog to record my progress to 1750 ELO by dedicating my spare time to perpetual chess study ... I'm not a fantastically gifted chess player - rather more an obsessive chess fanatic who will try and prove that hard work and devotion to chess can overtake raw talent ... I have to believe I can nurture myself to become a greater player than those more talented than me!