Doing some chess search, I came to Dan Heisman’s web site to the page with his guidelines. There were quite a few of them, very useful stuff. I chose ten I liked the most, so here they are:

1. “You would not give up the Bishop Pair for nothing any more than you would give up a Queen for nothing.”

I have a correspondence game now where I am pawn down, my only hope is a pair of bishops. I’ll see how it will develop.

2. “You improve (and your rating goes up) when you

a) learn a new pattern or principle or

b) when you identify a mistake and are able to avoid repeating it – not when you win a bunch of games.”

I will trace it.

3. “Play as much as you can, especially slow chess – it helps you develop board vision.”

I switched from online blitz to online correspondence chess, will see the effect.

4. “*Don’t be afraid of losing. Be afraid of playing a game and not learning something.  Losing can be a great motivator if it helps you identify and correct things you are doing that cause the loss”.

This is very right.

5. “*Time management is an important skill in chess; having 15 minutes left when our opponent has 5 (in a sudden death time control without time delay) is worth about 200 ratings points!”

The opposite (5/15) happened to me twice lately and the result was disastrous.

6. “A bishop is good behind its own pawns if they are mobile. If those pawns are fixed, then it may be a bad bishop.” (but remember Suba’s ‘Bad Bishops guard good pawns!”).

I am playing 4 bishops correspondence endgame right now, will use it.

7. “In the Ruy Lopez, the play is rich enough that the better player almost always wins.”

I love Ruy Lopez exactly for that.

8. “Botvinnik’s rule: In slow games, use about 20% of your time for the first 15 moves.  In fast games, use LESS than 20% of your time for the first 15 moves”

I will try to make it a golden rule for me.

9. “When looking for tactics – for either player – look for Checks, Captures, and Threats, in that order – for both players.”

I miss threats when they come not on the current move, but on the next one.

10. *”Never push a passed pawn passed its zone of protection (unless it promotes by force!).

I was punished twice for that in the last dozen OTB games.

Interesting how many out of this ten somebody else reading this post will select as helping him/her.

There is an expression in Russian – “Tishe edesh’ – dal’she budesh’ “,  literally – “going slower will get you further”, or similar expression in English – “slow and steady wins the race”. I am restructuring my chess training lately. It involves not playing online “real-time” games after midnight ( it automatically decreases their number quite essentually), studying endgames, etc. The new element I introduced is online correspondence chess. I never played before any correspondence games and always was sceptical about it. But realization that I need to play more slow games forced me to find some solution. I can’t play more OTB games than I play now, so I decided to try online correspondence on one free server. You can play several games at once, time limit is 1, 3, … days per move and you can use opening databases, game explorers, books, but not chess engines or somebody’s help. The first unexpected thing  was that initial rating is very low and unlike in usual online chess you can’t quickly raise it, so you have to play with low rated opponents. The good thing is that as I found, people do more than one move per day. I already won one game and plan to win more to get to the more appropriate rating and opponents! soon enough. It’s funny, I do not remember blitz games I played yesterday, but I do remember most of the game I won, even there was nothing special at all. I remember most of the 4 games going on right now – 2 Spanish ( Ruy Lopez ) as black and Scandinavian and Alekhine as white. I can even think during the day about the next moves (  very roughly, though ). I hope my openings and my endgame technique will get a boost, as I look for the best moves in opening and for similar endgames as well, having one day per move. Probably I can increase twice the number of the games, not sure if I want that,  definitely no more than that. I’ll see how it will go, hopefully I am not setting my expectations too high.

My rating got stuck at a plateau for the last 5 months and it worries me.

Yes, I need to study endgames, improve my calculation skills,
get better in positional play ( openings look OK ) – I know all that, but it’s a long story.
I need a quick fix right now to boost my confidence, let’s say 50 points increase.
It’s not a matter of points, just can I play better?
So,  is there any kind of a magic pill?

I look at the last 2 tournaments I played, 9 games.  What I see is 3 missing opponent’s combinations in 2-3 moves, 2 of them decisive.
By the way, I know these combinations, can do it myself too, but …

For some reason from here I get an idea that if I memorize a few sharp openings, try them online,  then try OTB, it can bring me the result that I want. By the way, it could be worse first, but it will disbalance that freaking straight line, so maybe next time it would be better ( like Carlsen tries to disbalance the position ).
So, a few openings to force me to look for the tactics all the time and to get advantage of some unprepared players ( though some person rated 200-300 points higher would probably get advantage of me ).
Marshall attack I already tried OTB and got a winning chance, then missed it (got a draw), played online about 40 Benko gambits ( still have to analyze that ), tried recently Two Knights Defense (with pretty good results), Blumenfeld gambit (won twice) and Albin counter-gambit (lost once). 

Immersion system works well for the languages, why not for chess?