Tl;dr: See the bold and underlined paragraph for how you can help me. Everything else is context. Also added a video.
I know, this is about three weeks late, but that’s okay. I’ve spent most of those weeks relaxing and enjoying the New Year, and along the way I’ve gotten fired up for some more chess.
I mean that both in terms of analyzing and posting here on my blog and playing in general. I have the gift (and curse) of going all-in on everything I do. Trying to get in shape? Workout five days a week with a set, systematic schedule to hit every body-part. Starting my new job? Go the extra mile, work overtime and study on the weekends to improve skills. Striving to get better at chess? Study an hour every day, review master games, keep a chessboard by my bed, etc.
On the whole, this is probably a good thing, but it can lead to burnout. For the last three months or so, I was burned out from chess. I still liked chess, and I wanted to play and improve and all that, but I had no natural energy. Every day was a struggle, and the more I forced it the harder it became. We can see the results: I posted less, I made fewer videos, and my play dropped noticeably, to the point I couldn’t beat players 400-points lower than me.
Sometimes the best strategy is to just hunker down and keep going, but that wasn’t an option. Instead, I’ve largely ignored chess, not forcing myself to do anything since the Christmas break. The break worked, and I’m now thinking about chess again naturally and spontaneously throughout the day. That’s the surest sign that things are getting back to normal.
So, going forward, what does normal mean? There’s a short-term and long-term answer.
Short-term, I will be finishing Calculate Till Mate. I started this last year, got 80% complete … and then stalled out. I’m on the final few tasks, and I want to push through them quickly, consolidate the knowledge and then grade the result. I can then (finally) write a review, which has been long requested. Goal will be February-ish.
Long-term, I am open to some suggestions. I want to improve, obviously, and I have some clear weaknesses. I also have interests: I want to learn more about hypermodern openings like the KID; I want to study more chess history; I want to analyze more of the classics; I want to know how to win a Queen vs Rook endgame; I want to face my fear of time pressure and actually play some blitz. There is so much to do.
At the same time, I want to add content to my blog. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my best chess improvement occurred when I started this blog and deeply analyzed most of my games. I want to keep doing that, but as I will be focusing on Calculate Till Mate, I won’t have any games of my own until at least March.
So, here’s the deal. I’m completely open to suggestions. What would you like me to do? Want me to analyze a game of yours? Post it. Preferably a losing game, but I’m not picky. Want me to cover a particular topic, such as weaknesses, attacking, planning, whatever? Name it. If there’s any topic in chess you want me to discuss, anything at all, name it and I’ll do my thing. I have my own ideas, but answer other people’s questions is easier for me to create and likely more beneficial for you.
Goal is weekly content. Not sure if that’s feasible, or even logical, long-term, but I’ll try my best. Again, I feel refreshed, I’m excited and I want to dive deeper into the mysterious of chess. If you want to join me, I’d love it.
That’s the plan. Here’s to a quality 2018!
Edit: Here’s a video saying essentially the same thing: