I’m taking a little vacation to the City of Brotherly Love. On July 4th, with any luck, I’ll be celebrating my independence from the worst run of chess I’ve ever played. In the spirit of a wonderful holiday, I declare these truths to be self-evident:
1) I need to set aside time to look over tactical puzzles. One hundred per day at Chesstempo.com should be sufficient. I will step up my physical exercise routine as well. Mens sana in corpore sano.
2) I must learn my openings a little deeper. I will refresh my repertoire, plugging holes as needed. I will play top-level openings, leaving pet lines for skittles and blitz.
3) I must study the masters to think like them. Once a week I will dedicate two hours to studying the greats, particularly the middle games in which I will find myself.
4) I will not settle for merely a good move. I will make the best move that I can. The first move that I generate is right only about thirty percent of the time. I don’t like those odds.
5) I will assume that my move is incorrect, and play the devil’s advocate.
6) I will play for initiative when it is appropriate. I will look for an attack when the position calls for it. I will not simply castle or develop a piece when there’s a real possibility of a winning tactic.
7) I will not balk at complications, but welcome the opportunity to gain an advantage in a dynamic position.
8 ) If my opponent has two bishops, and I choose to open the game, I will be darned sure that my initiative is an enduring one.
9) I am playing in a lower section but I will not give anyone the gift of my overconfidence. I play against pieces not people.
10) I will have fun and not play for results. There is no way to determine the future except to prepare successfully. When opportunity knocks be ready with your hat and coat.