Good morning. The English Chess Federation 2008 Grading List has this morning just been published.
I realise that English readers are now more likely to type in their own name and find out their own grade than, with rapt anticipation, to type in C-h-i-v-e-r-s. But were they to do so, they'd see that the present writer has jumped 23 points - from 163 to 186. (This, for our foreign readers, is approximately the same as a 115 point FIDE Elo increase, from roughly 2065 to around 2180.) They might also see that this is the first time he's been anywhere above the 160s, where previously he was rather stuck. Readers who especially wanted to make the present writer's day might then check the Most Improved list and note that his name just sneaks in at the bottom of it - in fact with the highest grade on the list, and one of only a few adult players there who've played thirty or more games this season (that is, has an 'A' in the Category column.)
In other words: I've had a lot of luck this season!
. . . but - I like to think - luck is not the whole story. Last season and a little before I started taking active steps in an attempt to improve my game. Some of them worked, some of them didn't, some of them lasted, some of them barely started. Over the next few days I plan to blog what I did, how it turned out, why I think what worked or what didn't. I hope that these posts might prove helpful for other adults looking to improve their game who've not been finding it easy to do so. I also hope they will be of interest to chess improvement bloggers, whose extensive writings about these things I have for the most part unfortunately been unable to keep up with. Perhaps they could let me know in the comments. Indeed, any ideas further to my own will of course be gratefully received, and not just by myself I am sure.
But for now, that's it. I hope that for those readers typing in their own name now, their new chess grade also makes for a happy Monday.