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Sunday, July 17, 2016

State of the Site and Upcoming Content

Typically, I try to publish an article once a week - usually on Fridays. However, this past week there was a health emergency with a family member - she's okay now - that took me out of town for a few days.

I wasn't able to complete the second part of my current article series - the Three Stages to Mastery - this week. I am currently working on the second article and should finish it in a couple days, but I didn't want to rush it. I will then work hard on finishing the final part on time.

Sometimes, I get ahead on my writing and would have had an article ready to go on Friday, but alas, that wasn't the case as well.

So I thought I would just share a few thoughts about the state of Better Chess Training and some thoughts for upcoming articles.

Survey Results

In June, I put out a reader survey and got some very good feedback. In general, all of the feedback was positive and I really appreciate all of the readers who took the time to complete the survey. Here are some of the conclusions I came to based on the survey:
  • Readers enjoy the articles on psychology and training methods.
  • I will start doing more reviews of chess books and software.
  • I will start including more instructional chess material - particularly geared toward beginner players.
I plan on doing this type of survey regularly - perhaps annually or semi-annually - because although I enjoy writing immensely, I enjoy knowing that my writing is helping others.

State of the Site

I am really enjoying writing for my readers and meeting you through your comments and correspondence. It is very rewarding when I play someone on ICC or chess.com and they send me a message after our game like, "Hey! I enjoyed your last article" or some other message.

Besides continuing to provide quality content, I am trying to improve the look and design of the site slowly as time and finances allow. However, the focus currently is to stay consistent with my publication schedule and to continue to find interesting topics to write about. 

Since I've started writing again regularly these last few months, I've also become an occasional contributor to GM Nigel Davies' Chess Improver site, which has some great writers including Mr. Davies himself. This has been very rewarding and I'm glad to be part of that as well.

I realize that not all chess sites can be all things to all players, and I think I'm homing in on my niche in the online chess world. This may evolve as my own abilities as a writer and chess player improve. 

I hope for the most part, I've provided you with some value for the time you've spent with me. I plan to continue to do so and any suggestions on how I can improve is always appreciated.

Upcoming Content

Besides finishing up the series on the Three Stages to Mastery in the coming week or so, I have a few other articles I'm working on and would love your ideas for articles you would like to see. Here are just a few that are in the works:
  • An interview with a certain International Master regarding a certain chess site he or she is involved with (I'll leave it a surprise for you).
  • A monthly or quarterly - I'm still deciding - chess quiz series to test your chess knowledge and skill. I am toying with the idea of creating a contest out of it.
  • More in-depth articles on chess psychology, including mental training to increase focus, attention, and improving attitude.
  • Some follow-up material for my chess class students that I teach in person here in my community. This might included annotated games and booklists to complement the introductory instruction given in the live class.

Your Turn

So that's what's going on with me. I would love to hear from you. Here are a few questions:
  • Is there a particular player you'd like me to interview? I ask often, and some say no, but many say yes. Let me know and if I agree, I'll give it a shot.
  • Is there a particular book you'd like me to review? Give me the title and why you think I should review it.
  • What is your current struggle with chess? If there's an article or series I can write to help you, I'd love to do that.
Thank you for continuing to be a part of Better Chess Training!

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