Reassembler had a great article a couple days ago, and covered (in depth) some of the stuff that I wanted to mention (in shallow). You may also appreciate his better manipulation of the English language.
There’s a bunch of chess bloggers calling themselves the Knights Errant who do these “Seven Circle” exercises as espoused by one Michael de la Maza (pdf). De la Maza improved from class D to Expert in a bit over a year (then wrote a book and disappeared from tournament play completely…) Apparently, the Seven Circles requires a dedication of time that for most adults would cause them to neglect kids, fail to consume basic nutrition, and/or lose their jobs. Attempts to get the government to classify de la Maza’s followers as a cult have so far proved unsuccessful.
Originally, I wanted to explore whether the Seven Circle improves people’s chess skill faster than other methods. But if there’s a way to determine that, one thing’s for sure: I’m too lazy to find out. (Hopefully it doesn’t, not because I want the Knights Errant to fail, but I want to feel better about being too lazy to take on such a rigorous routine. That way I can say to myself, “Well, look at those other guys, and this program doesn’t seem to work for them.”)
In 2008, I’d like to gain 100 rating points, so I’m slapping together a non-stringent, non-specific program that I won’t follow after a month, so will likely end up in disappointment. On the plus side, other players who’ve played me seem to think the 100 points are possible (based on statements like “If you bothered learning any openings, you might actually be decent.” Well, it was put more diplomatically, but that’s what the guy meant.). It will take some effort to get that improvement, including the actually learning openings part. *blanches*
So here is my 5-part plan:
- Tactics. Do chesstempo.com occasionally. That way, I can pretend I’m doing as much as the Knights Errant to improve my tactics.
- Play over master games. Reshevsky’s “The Art of Positional Play” will work. Dinosaur notation, w00t! (1. P-K4 P-QB4…)
- Actually play.
- Learn an opening for each color. *blanches* They* say the concepts of the King’s Indian Attack are easy to learn, so I’ll start with that one (plus I kinda started before stopping tournament play in March). But they say it’s not powerful at higher levels. *blanches* And maybe Basman’s Defense (1. … g5) for Black…
- Exercise. Gotta increase endurance for long games. And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to almost-dunk on a 9 1/2 foot rim again.