I've won my first tournament!
I've not posted for a while - been getting bogged down in CT Art level 50 problems, which I have now finished. I've started going through from level 10 again. Rattled those off in about an hour, and now working my way through level 20s. I can do these fairly rapidly, but not at the quick fire pace of the 10s. It will probably take me the best part of a week to get through them.
But more importantly, I have entered - and won - my first chess tournament! I feel a bit of a fraud though really, because it wasn't exactly a challenging tournament. I discovered it while wandering around one lunchtime at work - there was a notice in a cafe window saying "amateur rapid chess tournament". I phoned up and it was being run by this guy trying to start up a local chess league between cafes and bars in the area. Almost all the people who turned up hadn't played in years, and certainly weren't involved in intensive MDLM training! So I felt like I'd been cheating by using CT Art.
Thinking about it the day after, I concluded:
1) I'd forgotten just what it is like to be a novice. You miss all sorts of stuff and there are tactical shots all over the place. I now realise how far I have come since I first learned how to play, rather than looking at how much I still have to learn.
2) Most of the time I could tactically overwhelm people. I would just throw out a few opening moves and then win a tactical combination or two.
3) The most benefit I have got from endlessly repeating CT Art problems is from levels 10 and 20, and a bit of 30. If you get this stuff right, and rarely miss an opportunity when it arises, you can significantly increase your playing strength.