The new year is a good time to lay out a new training plan. Other knights seem to be doing this as well. So I will make an attempt to list my goals.
Ongoing: Daily Tactical training using CT-ART 3.0 ( 10-20/day)
Since I've done the seven circles I find I still need to do daily training. I am on my way to doing another 7 circles but modified from my previous "concentric maze". Instead, I am doing "mini" cirlces of levels 10-40 ( I am completing my second circle as I just finished the 30's and am moving to the 40's) Also, I am forcing myself to avoid the "need for speed". Rather than going " OK problem 339, let's see sac the queen (click) ...NO! I forgot what I did last time." I am taking each problem like a fresh position to be analyzed. " Hmm, Black's King is weak, but I see a possible knight fork with his queen...if it weren't for that Bishop" In other words, I am trying to approach it like OTB position. IN real life, during the games, there is no "White to move and win" So I want to learn to recognize "The Seeds of Tactical Destruction". My problem I had during the first set of circles, I thought I saw Tactics in everything and took WAY too many risks in 2006... which hurt my rating. It was to the point where even when I saw no clear win, I took the cheap shot because it looked so "cool". Aside from getting " that was the most interesting game I ever played" from my opponent, it really didn't benefit me.
One of the "yet-to-be-under-the-tree" gifts that's due to arrive, is the Book called GM-RAM. I have read controversial comments about it but decided I liked controversy. After reading Zebra's and Tigers, I've concluded the best way for me to improve is to develop positional evaluation skills. Since GM RAM doesn't have solutions, it encourages the reader to work through and annotate on their own ...in thier own language to better instill the concepts of the 300 ( or 250) key positions essential to be a better player. I want to make this my center work for training this year. By the end of the year I hope to be comfortable with the positions in the book that I will develop more confidence in my own game positional analysis.
I am going to continue down the path of 1.e4 for white. I plan on continuing down the path of Skotch 4 knights and smith Morra as my new arsenal. ( I am already prepared for the French and Caro-Kann as I have played those as Black over the years) I will continue to use the Book-up utility and use the 3D view. My training consists of using Book-up in training mode reviewing the lines the day before a rated event. Then after the game, see where I screwed up. This has been effective for me in transitioning from 1.d4 to my new opening system. I plan to keep 1.d4 refreshed once a month and plan to pull it out about that often or 1 out of four times I play white. ( Depending on the opponent). I want to be ambidexterous so to speak with both openings.
I want to develop more depth in the Skotch and S-M. So I will also build my database of games. I want to investigate and be familiar with tactical themes for each of these. To do this, I will filter out all the short games ( >=25) and group them according to Black wins and White wins. I will also study drawn games as they reveal "correct" play on both sides and attempt to annotate at least 5 games for each. Part of what I run into, is what to do when a player goes beyond the theme of the opening. Beyond the tactical traps that can occur in the opening, correct positional analysis is required. This is a weak area for me.
Its getting to point I need more structure in my endgame studies. I have Studies 2.0 from Convetika. I've started circles training on this as well. But I need to be more consistent like Tactics. I would like to get to the point where the first couple of levels are at my finger tips and not in my head. To get there I need to do 10 endgame puzzles a day on top of the tactical training.
Some will be jealous, but I did get the Degroot Book for Christmas from my son! I am taking my time with this book. It's very insightful ( and not a very light read) from the psychological perspective of amateur versus master.
Well that's my plan for '07. I'll try to keep you all posted. Note, this time I didn't set lofty "rating" goals for myself like I did in the past. I'm avoiding this as it seems to be too much a destination thing and not a journey thing. The road to mastery is a continuous journey. I want to continue to have fun.