Man de la Maza

Monday, November 20, 2006

Week 1 : Early Moment of Decision

I've started a bunch of quests in my life. Most wind up pretty quickly with a loss of interest, but the early going is usually pretty easy. When you charge forth with new enthusiasm, it doesn't take much effort to will yourself to do whatever you have choosen. Last week I embarked on a 25 year quest, so I figured I was good for a few weeks before my resolve would be put to the test.

Not so.

It was just one of those weeks. Though I was pleased to do my study, I just had a hard time working it in. My moment of decision came at 9:45 PM on Saturday night. The day had been occupied with a school holiday bazaar and the evening with my daughter's 12th birthday party. I was dog-tired and 2 hours and 15 minutes away from the end of the chess week. Left on my To-Do was 1 hour of study of "Survival Guide to Rook Endings".

Don't get my wrong. I like studying endgames. It's one of those strange character quirks like a taste for brussels sprouts or preferring plaid for formal occasions. Each bit of endgame trivia I pack in my brain feels like another nut saved for winter -- a nut I will someday use to smash in the head of some unsuspecting squirrel ... But, I digress.

At 10 PM on Saturday night, I came to view endgames as I think most people do -- a type of caissic root canal. The temptation to make it up Sunday was pretty strong. There was a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a movie downstairs to complete the picture. I knew though that it was too soon to make exceptions. Though cheating on the schedule is a necessary part of one'e routine, if I did it in week one, it was all over for the long haul.

So I sucked it up. Wasn't too bad. I am happy to report ...

1 week down, 36 to go in Year one, 1289 to go overall

PS I also ate the ice cream

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Quest for Holy Grail: Plan for Year One

25 years is a long time, so I don't want to head into a full sprint right at the start. On the other hand, it looks like years 2-4 could be kinda skimpy due to a planned career change. That said, I want to make a modestly agressive plan. My plan calls for 6 hours of quality chess work/week. That's not a huge commitment for a Knight Errant ( I was logging a whole lot more than that during the 7 circles), but it is probably more than I plan to do every week for the next 24 years after this one.

Year One Plan
1) 1.5 hours of tactical training/week

Somewhat modest. More intended to keep the tactical muscles in shape than to improve. I think I might start working in the Polgar book just because it would be really cool to say I made it all the way through this monster.

2) 2.0 hours of study of "Survival Guide to Rook Endings"

I listed all the chess books on my book shelf that I thought I'd really like to study. I came up with 18. My guideline is that I'd like to thoroughly study one/year. This again seems modest, but not when I consider that I've been reading chess books for 20+ years and have only finished one . 25 books in 25 years would be huge.

I think I should be able to go through this one a couple of times in the remaining 37 weeks. It's only 142 pages of material.

3) 2 hours of chess games

This would include rated OTB games, solitaire chess or blindfold chess. This also pushed numbers up a bit. I never have counted my playing time before. Note this does not count Internet games since I always play schlocky time controls.

4) Make 2 flahscards (approx 30 minutes)

Got this idea from "Chessmaster at Any Age". The idea is to pick 2 key postions/ideas that I come across during the week and make a flashcard about it.

Hmmmm. I'll need to work in some time to review the flashcards. Hadn't thought of that. I'll get back to you on that one.

Today is day 1 of week 1. The first year plan ends on July 29, 2007 when I turn 41.

0 weeks down, 37 to go in Year 1
0 weeks down, 1290 to go overall