The concept is: if you took a long break from tournament chess and then came back with a $200 improvement budget, how would you spend it?
Like most respondents thus far, I wouldn’t spend anything on chess software or website memberships. For computer-related chess training I’d make do with
- the free chess tactics server mentioned by Denys : chess.emrald.net – I have attempted ~7600 problems there thus far
- chessgames.com as my pseudo-openings-database
- and FICS for blindfold play and new opening tests. I do find it interesting that hardly anyone said they’d cough up for the Internet Chess Club
I didn’t word the challenge very well I guess — we all agree OTB tourneys are critical, but that is non-informative. I was wondering about how people would prioritize other improvement allocations.
So for me:
- $60 memberships (Metrowest Chess Club and MACA)
- $20 Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manual (used)
- $20 another book hopefully on Complex Endings (used)
- $30 King’s Indian: A Complete Repertoire by Bologan
- $17 Flexible French by Moskalenko
- $25 Starting Out: Slav and Semi-Slav
- $28 Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors IV: Fischer (used)
A little explanation:
First of all, I’m rated around 2150 and have a relatively set ambition: 2200. So my plan is focused on that goal.
The MACA (Mass state) membership is mostly for its excellent publication Chess Horizons.
The two endgame books are obvious. Used to be a weak area and one of willful neglect. Now that I have worked through Aagard and Shereshevsky and tinkered in other books on minor piece endings, I see progress in my results. More hardcore study here is going to translate directly into wins.
The opening books may surprise as choosing them runs completely counter to everyone else’s plans. My defense is this: While class games are mostly not decided in the opening, at the 2200 level, the opening is pretty important. Or to look at it another way, I’m not talented enough to screw around and then hack my way out of bad positions game after game.
Also, if you’re one of those players who was always fascinated with openings to the detriment of your overall middlegame knowledge, congratulations – I am not. I started serious opening study 4-5 years ago; before that, I knew essentially nada. The middlegame was always my strength; this budget plan applies improvement money to shoring up the other two phases.
With one exception: the GK book, which I have never read, and think I’d not only learn from but also greatly enjoy.
So whaddya think?
Note: In addition to the many interesting comments on my earlier post, see Robert Pearson’s sneaky plan on his blog. Anybody else blog on this?