Nearing the end of 2021..
We are nearing the end of the year, and I thought I wanted to write about the progress I have made in 2021. I have used a free feature on aimchess.com called “year recap”. It showed the following.
So far this year I have played online chess for 306 hours ~ 6-7 hours a week. In total, I have played 651 rapid games ~ 2 each day. It hasn’t been a completely conscious decision to use so much time to play the game vs. studying. I just really enjoy playing chess. I do not know how much study time I have invested in 2021, but it is not anything close to 306 hours.
Based on my own intuition I sense that to improve at chess you need to play a lot of games. A young player like GM Nihal Sarin has recorded over 30K+ games on chess.com and 25K+ games on Lichess. Mostly blitz and bullet, but still a lot! He is without doubt also doing a ton of chess training, but applying what you learn in practice must be important. I sometimes see other adult chess improvers who go all-in on chess studies, but they forget to play chess which can lead to a lot of knowledge with a low amount of practical skills.
That is definitely not a risk that I’m running, but it is all about finding the right balance between chess training and playing. To tip the balance a bit towards chess training I have agreed to join Ben Johnson in a future episode of Chess Books Recaptured
, where we will be talking about the chess classic ‘Questions of Modern Chess Theory’ by Isaac Lipnitsky.
It has been a book I have wanted to read for a long time, but I never got to it. Having a deadline to finish the book is helpful, so now is the time to read it!
The end of the year will also mark the time I set as a deadline for reaching a 2000 FIDE rating back in 2019. Back then my rating was 1750. Depending on the results of my last OTB game in 2021, next Tuesday, I will increase my rating to around 1860. I have played the tournament with a performance of 1965, so not too far from the goal.
I can list many excuses for not reaching my goal, but I’m actually just happy that I’m slowly going in the right direction. I don’t think I will set another time limit on reaching the 2000-mark, but I will keep working towards it.