As is probably obvious from the scattershot posts on this blog, I'm not a terribly disciplined person. This is particularly obvious in comparison to some of the other chess improvement bloggers.
At least since my last post I have been doing more studying. I have been working through two books. Susan Polgar's "Chess Tactics For Champions". And Walter Browne's "The Stress of Chess".
The S. Polgar book is a bit on the easy side, but there are usually one or two stumpers in each chapter. This is a book I picked up at the public library at the end of 2011 when I first started getting interested in chess again. I thought it was pretty good so I got a copy. I've tried a couple of times, but for some reason the first chapter on double attacks seemed to give me problems, despite some of them being pretty easy. So I've not really worked on it. Recently I picked it up and started on a later chapter and have been cruising with it.
It's on the model of presenting a tactical motif, pins, skewers, double attacks, trapped pieces, etc. And then giving some problems on that topic. To a certain extent I have avoided this kind of model. My thinking was just that it is already a big hint that the problem tells you there's a tactic. If you know the kind of tactic you are looking for that seems to make the problems very artificial and more divorced from actual practice. However, I have revised this idea a bit. Probably it's good to do the tactics where you don't know what to expect (and I would like to give the new "mixed mode" at chess tempo a real try), but that doesn't mean that practicing the specific ideas is a bad thing either. This more directed kind of practice can just familiarize me with a certain kind of idea, and then I am more likely to give that kind of idea a try when I am looking for something.
As far as the Browne book goes, I am enjoying it a lot. It's kind of over my head, in that a fair bit of it isn't really clear to me why certain moves were made. On the other hand, he provides a lot of explanation and a lot of variations. The interesting thing is that many of these variation will provide some sort of tactics puzzles. Basically you come to some move that seems quite counter-intuitive, particularly situations where it seems one side could win some material or something but doesn't, then you have to search for the reason that move wasn't made. A lot of times I am able to do this and so the process, even if I don't 100% understand the game still ends up being an active educational experience.
Resolutions going forward: Try to finish things more. I want to work through these two books and to the end. Also, to finish some of the other things I've started and gone through particularly the Zurich '53 books.
There are many things I would like to study. But of course we all only have limited time as well as our personal issues of character.
I would also like to get back to doing some more blogging. I would like to focus on posting game analysis. I have a game right now that I played a couple weeks ago. First I ran through it by hand on my own to see what improvements I could find. Then I ran it through a regular blunder check computer analysis. I'm doing another run with the IDeA setup in Aquarium. Basically, I will try to combine them and then post it.