I am a 729 rated scholastic player. I recently went to the National Junior High Chess Championship in Dallas, Texas. These were my results:
1st round - Miscalculation in a pawn run, ended in a draw.
2nd round - Win
3rd round - Win
4th round - lost in 45 minutes (4 hour time control, I rushed)
5th round - Win
6th round - Win
7th round - Loss (I Chased his pawn instead of running mine. I was up three pawns.)
I scored 4.5/7
I should've scored at least 6/7
I could've scored 7/7 in this tournament. At the very least I could've gotten 5.5.
Which is why I'll get better.
Next year I plan to be much better at tactics, MUCH better.
Here's my plan.
1st: I'll develop a basic system
2nd: I'll go through "Solitaire Chess" by Bruce Bandolfini
3rd: I'll go through "My System" and "Chess Praxis" by Nimzovich
4th: I'll use a 32 - 16 - 8 - 4 - 2 - 1 circle system for tactic problems (6000 problems)
5th: I'll Study Endgames
6th: I'll do 34,000 Tactic problems (long term goal) (totaling 40,000 problems)
If I can get through this, considering i'm still scholastic, I expect to get to 1000, I'd be happy to hit 1100, I'd thoroughly enjoy hitting 1200, I'd love to hit 1300, and I'd be surprised to get to 1400. My primary focus is to hit 1000.
More on the circles:
The Seven Circles, a tactical training system invented by Michael de la Maza, is what I will try to endure to increase my tactical ability. The first step in the cycle is to do 1000 problems in 32 days. Which translates into a solid 31-32 per day. I should spend around one minute per problem, and if i cannot find the solution, I'll read through the solution and then move on. At the end of the first circle, I'll go through 1000 more problems, however, i'll need to double the amount of problems. This time i'll have 16 days to go through 1000 problems. Then i'll have to do it again in 8 days. During the 8 day cycle I should be able to pass through the problems in 30 seconds. By the 4-day cycle i'll be doing 250 problems a day. Then the 2-day cycle at 500 per day, then all 1000 in one day. At 30 seconds each, this would take me 8 hours and 20 minutes. (Ouch). If I can indure that, i'll be unstoppable.
I have a book of 50 solitaire chess games. I'll go through those first. The coach of my club recommended this book to me, and it seems to be helping. I also recently recieved "My System" and "Chess Praxis". My coach has referred to these as "the bibles" of chess, and that this will get me to 1000 in "The snap of a hat".
Wish me Luck!