Learner Series #6

Welcome to edition 6 of our learner series! Peter is a 39 year old who has gained over 100 points in a year to cross the USCF expert threshold!

General Overview

How old are you and how long have you been playing chess?
39 years old. I learned to play when I was about 6 but after getting kicked out of the after school program I was in I didn’t play again until high school. How many hours per week do you spend on chess?
Right now, zero. A full time job and taking care of two kids during quarantine leaves no room for chess. Before the COVID quarantine I was shooting for 4-7 hours/week. 

Chess website usernames?

ptsmooth at chess.com
BrandonHeat at lichess.org 

What’s your current skill level or rating?

Around 2000 OTB. 

Playing Overview


Chess Castle Thursday Knighters – played quite a bit in 2018 but haven’t in over a year due to having a second kid. 


Ideally I’d be playing ~15+10 time control games frequently on chess.com and lichess.org. Sporadically I’ll play 3+2 blitz.

Studying Overview

Game Analysis

I try to go over every OTB game after I play it and annotate it (spending ~1hr/game). I have tried to create a system of annotating but usually just get overwhelmed and it’s hard to tell if much sticks when going over my games.
I use chessbase and lichess.org studies. 


Chessable.com tactics courses. I used chesstempo for a couple of years and it may have been the best way to train this but I got out of the habit.
I also did the Woodpecker Method book and on chessable when it came out.
If you are including calculation, then I get quite a bit of this in Yusupov’s 10 book series (of which I’m on the last book but have been stalled there for a couple of years). 


Chessable courses and looking at where I went wrong in my own games. 


100 endgames you must know on chessable. I spent a decent amount of time on it ~3 years ago but haven’t really gone back or spent much time on the endgame specifically since then. 


Yusupov’s 10 book series

Other Useful Tidbits

I don’t really watch too many streams or videos. I always plan to but then don’t or do it very passively. I’m not sure I do anything very unique – I just need the time and mental space to actually study materials or play challenging training/OTB games.