Update: September 6, 2010
I've been thinking about my improvement plan a lot lately and when Thomas commented on it, I figured now is as good a time as any to update my plan.
I finished The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess 3rd ed. - as for Logical Chess, as I said in the comments section, I've read most of it. Now I'm just going back and transposing the games. I've got a whole separate post I'm going to write about the way one is supposed to study GM games.
Tactics - I was doing quite a bit clear up until May of this year. Then I basically stopped. I'm still wondering about the benefit of doing tactics on ChessTempo. I was trying to do 30 a day. Maybe 20 is about right.
The best update is that I'm playing much more often than before. I still need a play more games - long games. Teamleague has helped a lot with that - but I'd like like to play a bit more - perhaps twice a week. Sometimes I think 45 45 is too quick for me.
I think the general idea for my long-term plan that I've outlined below is still valid, but I doubt the dates will be accurate.
Right now, I want to intensely focus on the following:
1) Play as many long games as possible - shooting for two a week - 45 45; 60 5 or longer
2) Analyse the games and analyse the games. Let Fritz analyse them. Annotate them myself. Use the whisper feature during the game. Review the opening - see where I went out of book - learn how to stay in book longer.
3) Go over GM games - I've not been doing this - I need to let my brain absorb quality games. As a side note, I should also watch my teamleage team play games - and comment and think about those games - as time permits.
4) Tactics - I think 20 a day is about right - shouldn't take too long (10 mins or so) to do 20.
First published January 1, 2009
The biggest obstacle I face is carving out time once a week to play a slow game. I figure if I can get at least one slow game in a week, then I'd make great improvements.
Redhotpawn has been a great resource for me. I enjoy being able to take as much time as possible to evaluate a position.
I continue to work on tactics almost every day. My goal is to do 20 tactics a day at chesstempo.
The other area that is lagging is finishing books I've started and going over as many GM games as possible. I'm mostly done with Wolff's book and I've dabbled a lot with Logical Chess Move by Move, but have yet to finish it.
At this point, let me back up a bit. The premise of my goals and improvment plan is based on Dan Heisman's article entitled "An Improvement Plan." Currently, I'm trying to finish steps 1 and 2. From there, I plan to complete the remaining steps and would hope to complete the whole "plan" by January 2015.
Here are the details:
Goals Without an End Date
Play one long game a week (60 5), review, annotate
Go over several annotated GM games a week (reading books)
At least 20 tactics every day
January 2009 to June 2009
Finish The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess 3rd ed.
Finish Logical Chess Move by Move
Read Everyone's 2nd Chess Book
Read or review archived Novice Nook articles
July 2009 to December 2010
Study positional play (I'll fill in the books later)
January 2011 to January 2013
Fill in the gaps ... enlist the help of a professional instructor
February 2013 to 2016
I would hope by the time I reach this phase, I would be around 1800 (2000 FICS) and would begin to fine tune my game and eventually reach a rating of 2000 (2200 FICS). As I write this post today, I do not know how reasonable this timeline is. It may take me an entire lifetime to reach 2200 FICS. But for now, I feel I need to set some goals and dates.
FICS Standard Ratings
Date................Rat. .....RD.........W.......L.....D.....T........Best (date)
12/19/07...... 1628.....110.6.... 102... 89.. 6.... 197.....1733 (04/17/07)
01/25/09...... 1668....134.8.....128....111..7.....246.....1733 (04/07/07)
09/06/10...... 1614....97.2......142....128..9....279.......1733 (04/07/07)