The Blueprint

Sherwood, Russell  Friday, January 19, 2018

So you want to progress to the pursuit of higher titles? There a number of areas to consider (and action) if you want to make progress. Most of these I have covered in some depth in previous articles but bringing these together is of some interest.



You need to gain access to events which will generate the necessary norms.  It is fairly simple to consider which events will give IM norms (Category 1 upwards) but this leads us to  two sub questions




                Once you reach 2300  up to Category 3-4 become openly available, Category 7 once 2400 is reached. Getting into a higher Category event is an aim of many players but this is not often available.


                Relative Difficulty


Not All Norm events are born equal, even those of the same Category. This may seem odd but the nature of an event, the nationality of the players and the prestige of the event can all affect the level of difficulty of achieving a norm. In addition, even and oddly numbered categories tend to be slightly different in strength.  Here one area to consider is the spread of ratings of the players as the average of the ratings drives Norms but spread can have a massive impact.


Norms vs Rating


This is a difficult pill for many players but once you are chasing Norms, ratings become secondary. You do need to avoid dropping any significant points but your aim is to secure the norm and this may mean taking negative elo-draws!



At lower rating levels, progress can be made by simply waiting for your opponent to make a mistake and blindly following an engine’s output. Once around 2200 is reached this is no longer the case and if you want to secure Higher norms, you need to win games. I covered this in “USP” but there are many ways to try and win games and you need to consider what your method(s) will be



At the start of the event you need to consider your game plan – what do you need to achieve for the Norm – 3 wins from 12 games? Whatever is necessary you need to consider how you intend to achieve this? Aim to draw with Black or play to win? Target specific players? Identify other players winning style?  All of these go into determining your game plan.


Time Management

Most players will have a portfolio of games. Are these Norm games you’re most important? If they are then you should give them the most time and attention.


Work it

With all the clever ideas in the world, one thing that is necessary to win games at the higher level is hard work and a lot of analysis. One thing is for certain, if you are playing mainly the Engines first or second choice then you will probably not win games at the higher level. The reason for this is quite simple – your opponent can see you coming!


So go for it!

Updated Friday, January 19, 2018 by Russell Sherwood

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