Mid-May Study Plan Reset (May 13)
It is now mid-way through May, and I decided that what I was doing was not entirely working. I am not making as fast as progress as I would like, and it is frustrating. I am going to renew my focus on tactics. This was my original idea back in December, but I’ve strayed a bit from that.
Here is my updated version of what I am planning for the next few weeks in May:
- I am going to play a bit more blitz, as I think this could help with my fast tactical pattern recognition. After every game I will use the Game Review feature to quickly identify any missed tactics and opportunities. This could also help me as I’m learning new openings.
- I will still play rapid games as well. Making sure that I analyze every game!
I am going to focus on a small number of ChessMood courses going forward. I noticed that the endgame course I was working on had lots of good content, but stuff that I may not need yet. I am going to put that on hold.
- Tactics: Tactics Ninja - This is going to be my main focus going forward. I am going to try to study 30 minutes per day on this course.
- Openings: BlackMood opening course - I should be able to finish this in May. After that I plan to keep studying the lines in Chessable, but not move on to the more detailed ChessMood courses yet. I want to give it some time to just let all the new openings sink in.
- Master Games: 100 Classical Masterpieces - Try for 3 per week
I want to at least double the amount of time I am spending solving tactics.
- Learn Chess the Right Way - Book 1: Must Know Checkmates - review any open puzzles every day
- Learn Chess the Right Way - Book 2: Winning Material - First, review any open puzzles every day. I want to finish this by the end of the month. I have 72 puzzles left as of the time I’m writing this, so that is only about 5 per day. I think I can do more than that.
- Everybody’s First Chess Workbook - I have the physical copy of this as well, but I will be working through the Chessable version. I am 30% of the way through this. Add a new section every day. This is pretty easy, but more puzzles are better.
- Chess.com puzzles - I am going to start grinding puzzle rush and rated puzzles. I want to do at least 5 attempts at puzzle rush (between 3 and 5 minute) every day. I also want to do at least 10 rated puzzles each day.
Along with this increase on solving, I am going to try to collect some analytics on time spent, attempts, etc. I want to see I can measure the impact of this plan on my studying.
I am keeping my original plan here for my reference. Below you can find the plan I set at the beginning of May:
My study continues to focus on ChessMood. There are some good and not so good things about it. The opening courses are great and I’m excited about them. I think the commentated master game reviews are a great way for me to study master games because they highlight why moves are important, why certain variations were not played, and I seem to do better when someone is explaining it instead of just reading it in a book. On the other hand, I’m not sure how much I’m getting out of the middle game and endgame courses. I like to think some of it is sinking in, but I worry it is too passive.
- I did a bit better in April with getting into the habit of analyzing my games again. I need to keep this up and spend even more time on it. I have been finding a good balance between starting without any engine, then using the game review feature on Chess.com.
- The goal is to play longer (30 min +) games
- If I play blitz games, limit to 3 per day, and analyze them to learn about the openings. I don’t love playing blitz, but it is a good way to get lots of practice with openings. I just need to use it as a tool with analysis and not just play Blitz when I’m bored or watching TV.
Here are the ChessMood courses I play to study this month:
- Openings (20%): BlackMood opening course - I should be able to finish this in May. After that I plan to keep studying the lines in Chessable, but not move on to the more detailed ChessMood courses yet. I want to give it some time to just let all the new openings sink in.
- Tactics (20%): Tactics Ninja - I only got through about 2 hours in April and have 10 hours left, so I’m going to keep working on this
- Master Games (10%): 100 Classical Masterpieces - I’ve gotten through 18 of the 100 games
- Middle Game (20%): I finished Happy Pieces and will start Speedboat Adventures (Rooks)
- Endgame (20%): I finished Pawn Endgames and will start Queen vs Pawns
For details on my progress through the ChessMood videos, check out this post.
Continue working on these Chessable tactics every day:
- Learn Chess the Right Way - Book 1: Must Know Checkmates - review any open lines every day
- Learn Chess the Right Way - Book 2: Winning Material - review any that need reviewing and try to add 5 more each day. If I have 50+ to review, then I do not add any more. By the end of the month I should be close to finishing this course, then it will be on to book 3.
- Everybody’s First Chess Workbook - I have the physical copy of this, but I will be working through the Chessable version. I am hoping it is pretty easy, but the additional repetition of simple patterns should help.
Previously I was setting a timer for 10 minutes and filling that up with the two Polgar courses. I found that I was not making much progress. By slowly adding a few new puzzles each day, that helps me make progress.
Longer Term Plan / What’s Next
Here is my general longer-term (rest of this year) plan:
- Finish ChessMood videos (see above)
- Chess Steps Level 2
- Time for a coach
In general, the areas of my game I think need the most work are endgames and just basic calculation/visualization skills.