August 25, 2013

What is Your Plan? (PART 3)

In a few previous lessons we’ve been talking about a PLAN for your chess progress.
Having such a plan ensures your step-by-step advancement. Random study, on the other hand, is rather a numbers game, where you can only hope for luck.
Before we move forward, you may like to recollect the previous parts of this lesson quickly: PART-1PART-2
Now we come to the most intriguing moment. You are about to create a PLAN that will bring you a serious chess progress in 2013.
There will be 3 steps here.
STEP-1: Set up your chess GOAL for 2013.
Even if you are not a professional player, and don’t take part in official tournaments – you should still have a GOAL.
It is this goal that motivates you. It helps you to check if you are on the right track or not and allows you to evaluate your progress towards this goal. Having a goal also challenges you and makes it more exciting.
How do you set up a proper goal? It should be realistic, but ambitious. For example:
-         Get +100 FIDE rating, or +300 Internet rating (on any game zone).
-         Calculate how much you raised your rating in 2012. Set a goal to DOUBLE this increase in 2013. (e.g. if you got +50 rating in 2012, you should get +100 rating in 2013).
-         Get your next title: FM/IM/GM
Now, set up YOUR chess goal for 2013, and write it down.
STEP-2: Define WHAT you need to obtain for reaching your goal.
Make a list of knowledge, skills, resources etc that you need to learn during 2013.
The self-analysis that we did in the previous lesson (LINK) will help you here.
 Analyze statistics of your results in different openings.
If a certain opening brings you bad results, it obviously means you should allot some time to learn it better, or replace it by another opening line.
Also you need to learn NEW opening lines from time-to-time. This will favor your overall chess development.
 Make a database of your losing games and look through it.
Notice what your main weaknesses are. Do you have troubles in endgames? Maybe you suffer from blunders? Detect your weaknesses and write them down.
 Look at the players whose rating is 100-200 points higher than yours. What is it that separates them from you? What do you need to learn in order to play on the same level?
At the end of this 2nd step of planning, you should make a list of WHAT you need to study in 2013.
STEP-3: Create a PROGRAM for your chess development.
Take the list that you created in the 2nd step, and place the items in a logical sequence.
Remember how you studied math at school? First you studied numerals. Then you studied simple operations with them (addition, subtraction). Later you studied a bit more complex operations (multiplication, division).
All in all there was a strict logic of learning. You started from simple things, and later on the level of difficulty was raised gradually. The whole process ensured that your knowledge was thorough and complete.
How do chess players study chess? Many just go from one book (lesson/video) to another, using no system at all. Such random study can only bring random results.
That’s why it’s so vital for you to create a PROGRAM for your chess progress and training in 2013.
To sum up, here’s how you can create a PLAN for your massive chess progress in 2013:
1)    Set up your GOAL for 2013.
2)    Define exactly WHAT you need to obtain for reaching your goal.
3)    Create a sequence of simple and logical steps (PROGRAM) for your chess development.
If you have the course “Self-taught Grandmaster” (LINK), then you already have a ready-made plan.
Do you know what the hardest thing here is? Yes, it’s to continuously FOLLOW this plan. Print out your plan and keep it somewhere near to you. Review this document from time to time during your trainings.
In closing, let me remind you of 2 key ideas:
–> If you want to achieve a certain distant goal, you need to have a map that will show you the right way.
–> It’s better to have a bad plan than not to have any plan at all.

To conclude this lesson, let me show you 1 very interesting game that was played a few days ago:
Iturrizaga – Le Quang
White's turn
In this tense position, both players have some attacking chances. Now it’s White’s turn and you need to choose the best option. Of course, you should calculate the resulting variations as well.
After you find the best move, download the solution and check your answer: LINK
Note: if you don’t know how to open chess games in *.pgn format – please, read this FAQ: LINK