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Old 03-12-2015, 06:15 AM   #51
Rei Ayanami
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Quote:
and it's explanation (which is pretty complex)
It's an elegant and pretty problem sure, but the "explanation" really shouldn't be anything but simple. The variations can be complex, I guess.

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you can improve your tactical skill by understanding some important aspects of tactical theory: hidden resources
That a resource is "hidden" is a post hoc assessment (i.e., not really meaningful when you're trying to find it in the first place) and not an aspect of whatever "tactical theory" is. You don't go into positions saying, "Ooh, I'm going to find a hidden resource here!" I don't understand how that's a concept.

Also the word "understanding" in that sentence really should be "having patterns burned into your mind that are associated with ... ."

Quote:
This puzzle demonstrate how tempo and urgency is key in precise calculations as one move can save everything just in time.
This is tautological at its core.

Of course you should play strong moves when they are actually strong.



Better play 1. Rd8# before Black can equalize. As the lesson says, tempo and urgency are key!

No, that tidbit doesn't actually help us; it's an empty concept. It's another one of those post hoc things -- you can meaningfully say that "tempo and urgency is key" only after you've found the right moves (obv there are a lot of positions where they aren't key; or where one side has a deceptively quiet move in the middle of seeming fireworks; or where the move consistent, on a superficial level, with "tempo and urgency [being] key" fails concretely anyway). Figuring out which moves are strong and weeding out the weaker ones is what's necessary.

The stuff about tactical geometry, about not immediately rejecting stupid-looking ideas, and about slowing down and selectively using logic to look for ways to counter defensive resources is pretty useful. Understanding them as general principles isn't enough, though -- they should come to be associated with specific patterns and subverbal procedures.

Last edited by Rei Ayanami; 03-12-2015 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:42 AM   #52
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

@Rei Ayanami

Good point. I am an amateur theoretician at best XD

I do think tactical ability is a result of training the brain to be able to visualize deep variations and recognizing geometric patterns.

With regard to tempo and urgency, i think my main point is really taking away your personal bias in regards to candidate moves.

In terms of hidden resource, I understand what you mean. I guess I'm saying resources that are hidden exist only in a forced variations as a consequences of changed position of pieces in those variations. I guess I need to do research to see if there are techniques techniques to help identify more abstract tactical patterns in general (other then just practise ofc)

I'll definitely go through some "tactical theory" that I learn from the International Chess School or from books by great chess authors like GM Jacob Aargard.
I'll probably talk about such chess techniques like using stepping stones in your calculations (where your mind find critical position in future variations) among other visualizing techniques.
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:01 AM   #53
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 10/3/2015 - 12/3/2015

Day 25 - 27

Been going through month 2 core course of the International Chess School. Mostly stuff about king safety (attack method against uncastled/castled kings), something I'm fairly familiar with.

Also just got my English Opening books: Play the English (Pritchett) and English ... e5 (Raetsky and Chetverik). Also probably gonna get a video series off chessbase.com. Excited about the changes in my repetiorre and what it will bring to my play
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Old 03-14-2015, 11:11 AM   #54
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

The problem that most chess novices have is that they only work on tactics. The key to getting better at chess is knowing what to do when there are no tactics available. In other words, you need to develop your positional play. You need some sort of algorithm that works in all positions.
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Old 03-15-2015, 12:48 AM   #55
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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The problem that most chess novices have is that they only work on tactics. The key to getting better at chess is knowing what to do when there are no tactics available. In other words, you need to develop your positional play. You need some sort of algorithm that works in all positions.
Not really a chess novice considering I played tournaments seriously my whole life :P

An algorithm sounds like an easy short cut, but positional chess is still about understanding themes and specific details in a position (I hope you read all my posts in the thread, there was alot of positional chess). The positional themes will come when learning openings.

It's interesting that both punker (a national master) and my coach (a master level player) both disagree with you about the importance of tactics. You underestimate the importance of tactic in winning games, most <2400 games are decided by tactics and even high level elite games ultimately came down to tactics. Positional chess is important, but it's not the single defining factor of success. In fact, at most level, tactics might be the most important one.
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Old 03-15-2015, 02:09 AM   #56
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

I don't think the distinction between positional play and tactical play is that useful, tbh, simply because a crapton of positional moves are executed via tactical means. Where does the line get drawn in that case? It isn't really useful from a categorical standpoint to call a sequence "tactical" when it wins material, but call it "positional" when it's identical in every way except for giving you a positional trump instead of winning material.

"Static play" and "dynamic (concrete) play" are more versatile categories, imo. YKW went over this in a slightly different context. In this case, our hypothetical move would be a dynamic one regardless of its end.



In our latest Malkovich thread, I gave 1. Re5 in this position as a move that, despite angling towards a positional end, ticks all of the usual "tactics" boxes: it's forcing; it exploits tactical geometry; and it calls for some calculation, which I messed up at the time because I half-assed it, lol.

There are so many moves that, via tactical means, gain positional trumps that any 1500-1800 understands. That's why I don't think one can be a good positional player without being a good tactician; someone with shaky tactics will constantly miss good "positional moves".
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:26 AM   #57
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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An algorithm sounds like an easy short cut
You need to structure your thinking process, the way you approach a position. This is very closely related to your evaluation skill. If you can't evaluate a position correctly, you cannot find the best moves.

Besides that, Botvinnik claimed that Capablanca had such an algorithm. Dorfman shows his approach in "The Method in Chess" and if you analyze Rubinstein's games, it is clear that he had a very similar one. Last but not least, chess engines go through an algorithm also and nobody can say that the result is bad. In fact the development of sophisticated algorithms was a huge step forward in comparison to the simple brute force method of the early days of computer chess.

Here is an example:
If we want to evaluate a position, the first thing we do is checking king safety. If we can convince ourselves that the kings are safe, we go to the next criteria, which is usually material balance. In the end, we claim that the position is equal or better for white, whatever. The same thing happens on the move-search-algorithm. First we check if we can attack/mate the opponent king, if not then we check if we can win material and so on. The tricky part is the hierachy of criteria. King safety is easy, but what comes next? Is the bishop pair more important than doubled pawns? Do you see why?

There is one other thing that I should add: The real shortcut to chess is opening theory. If you simply know what to do without thinking, it is the easiest way to hide incompetence. For the same reason, working on openings is usually is the fastest way to produce positive results.

Last edited by Shandrax; 03-15-2015 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:35 AM   #58
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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You need to structure your thinking process, the way you approach a position. This is very closely related to your evaluation skill. If you can't evaluate a position correctly, you cannot find the best moves.
I think I've explained this in my earlier thread. The International Chess School has a structured method of playing a position:

1. Record the consequences of move (e.g. Bc1-g5 weakens b2, may allow future Qb6 ideas)

2. Evaluate it based on positional criteria and features, i've posted on this earlier: king safety, initiative, space, piece mobility, position, role, stability, pawn structure etc. etc. (there would be different criterias for positional evaluation in an endgame (e.g. pawn majority, play-coordinating piece)

3. Build to To-Do list: relates to move order, plan of play, task may change with position, task would be like e.g. bring pieces to queenside, secure the c- file etc. etc.

This would be as close to an algorithm as you can get.

I could even show an example of how this can be used during play.
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Old 03-15-2015, 06:51 AM   #59
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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2. Evaluate it based on positional criteria and features, i've posted on this earlier: king safety, initiative, space, piece mobility, position, role, stability, pawn structure etc. etc. (there would be different criterias for positional evaluation in an endgame (e.g. pawn majority, play-coordinating piece)
Once again, the hierarchy is important. Do you rate the initiative higher than space? What does "role" or "stability" mean?

You can't just go by vague definitions of what might be useful form a big box of "stuff". You need a clear understanding what exactly you are aiming for and why. Also in order to evaluate something, you need to understand value. What is the initiative worth or what is the value of space? Usually beginners can't put a price tag to space, because they cannot convert space into a win. They know that they got a space advantage, but that's it.

Botvinnik claimed that chess is basically a plus-trade. In order to make such a trade, you need to know what you have and what you are trading for.

Last edited by Shandrax; 03-15-2015 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:38 AM   #60
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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Once again, the hierarchy is important. Do you rate the initiative higher than space? What does "role" or "stability" mean?

You can't just go by vague definitions of what might be useful form a big box of "stuff". You need a clear understanding what exactly you are aiming for and why. Also in order to evaluate something, you need to understand value. What is the initiative worth or what is the value of space? Usually beginners can't put a price tag to space, because they cannot convert space into a win. They know that they got a space advantage, but that's it.

Botvinnik claimed that chess is basically a plus-trade. In order to make such a trade, you need to know what you have and what you are trading for.
If you give me your email, i could send you the course pdf on International Chess School.

These evaluations are very position dependant, and would depend very much on the openings you play. Anyone attempting a single algorithm to cover every type of position would over simplify the situation.

Often, this depends on the opening you are playing. e.g. 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 c4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e6 leads to the Panov Attack and would often lead to a IQP type position where the d4 pawn is isolated and a target of attack. Black's plan would be to try to trade pieces and put pressure on this weak pawn. Whereas white has space on the kingside given the control of e5 to develop pieces and launch an attack (among other ideas).

Positional chess is something all serious tournament players study and we put significant emphasis on this area.

So I'm not exactly sure whats your point really...
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:48 PM   #61
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Sometimes I have the feeling that I am simply wasting my time on 2+2.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:28 PM   #62
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Are you saying we're hopeless and will never listen to your advice, or you genuinely spend too much time on 2p2. Not catching the tone of that comment there.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:16 AM   #63
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

algorithms? openings? yeah Shandrax you are wasting your time
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:31 AM   #64
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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algorithms? openings? yeah Shandrax you are wasting your time
What's wrong with openings?
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:37 AM   #65
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Nothing at all per se, and creating a repertoire (aka having a gameplan against all the main options of your opponent) is something you should pay attention to at some point. Just don't memorize lines but try to understand why certain moves are played, this way a) positional understanding improvement! b) you can way more easily punish your opponents if they do something wrong in the opening and c) you don't lose like a total chump to better players once you have to start coming up with moves of your own (been there done that). I'm a FM in the 2300s so I suppose I have some idea about what it takes to reach your goal
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:44 AM   #66
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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Nothing at all per se, and creating a repertoire (aka having a gameplan against all the main options of your opponent) is something you should pay attention to at some point. Just don't memorize lines but try to understand why certain moves are played, this way a) positional understanding improvement! b) you can way more easily punish your opponents if they do something wrong in the opening and c) you don't lose like a total chump to better players once you have to start coming up with moves of your own (been there done that). I'm a FM in the 2300s so I suppose I have some idea about what it takes to reach your goal
Yea, well said.

I've been studying English Opening, which my coach says is more based on understanding than memorization. Hopefully, this will be a good thing. Would you mind if I ask you some questions on PM (especially about things to study), would like to pick the brains of a strong chess master



Anywayz, guyz, sorry for not updating. Next progress update coming soon!
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:05 AM   #67
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

i'm 2800+ fide. my memory of hitting 2300 is vague since i was a baby, but i'll be happy to give advice anyway.
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Old 03-17-2015, 07:47 AM   #68
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 13/3/2015 - 17/3/2015

Day 28 - 32

Been mostly grinding tactics, need to get back into the groove for middlegame and opening study.

My goals for the next hundred days - still a longway to go :/

Tactics
CT Art: 14/500 middlegame studies done (with compilation)
CT Art: 0/400 Endgame studies
CT Art: 0/500 puzzles done
Chess Tempo: 74/500 puzzles done
Chess tactics puzzles with theme revealed: 15/500 done
Jacob Aagard's calculation: 0/10 chapters done
Visualization exercises: 0/100 days done
Reviewing past tactic compilations/catergorization (0/100 days done)


Strategy

45 techniques: 6/45 done (---- goal on hold)
Core months: 1/13 done
ICS essential+ practise: 0/13 done
ICS strategy puzzles: 0/13 done
Strategy 3.0 0/200 puzzles done
Strategy 3.0 0/100 games studied


Endgame

Endgame puzzles: 0/300 done
Endgames topic learnt: 0/9

Also, need to do my opening repetiorre

Lol, just started on this. As you can see, i've mostly been doing chess tempo stuff. Decent progress. Chess tempo puzzles are mostly taken from real games, so the moves are realistic than those fancy mate in xxx combinations or crazy impossible tactics compositions and endgame studies

Future looking bright for tactical training I've been mostly getting stuff wrong from over complicated thinking and missing basic things :P Also if i get a few wrong, I start tilting and trying to rush

Chesstempo has a good system to keep progress in check as well as show you what ideas you tend to make mistakes/get wrong in




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Old 03-17-2015, 09:19 AM   #69
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

sure, ask away
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:59 AM   #70
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 8/3/2015

Day 33

I'm happy that I'm at least getting some chess work done everyday (few hours), but this is not acceptable that I'm not able to do enough. I'm waking up too late due to insomnia/bad sleep cycle (e.g. 3pm) and feel already too dejected to do much.

My goal in the short term is to at least wake up at 9am-11anm as a star, then:
few hours in doing tactics
few hours in doing middlegame strategy and strategy 3.0 + International chess school exercises
few hours in reviewing/practicing basic endgames
few hours building and researching/testing my repetiorre for English Opening

Not very specific on the "few hours' but have to start somewhere


Anyway, I mainly did tactics and abit of pawn endgames today
Some progress on chesstempo, been spending too much time on tactics, gonna limit myself to less puzzles before i start tilting and rushing them:

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Old 03-19-2015, 09:22 AM   #71
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 9/3/2015

Day 34

Did some chesstempo today, gonna do less now to make room for other studies

Did some pawn endgames, and they are ridic hard tbh. ALOT OF CALCULATION (maybe i should upload few later). Now I understand why even GM make mistakes in these deceptively simple looking positions. My coach even said pawn endgames are tough enought, that he tries to avoid transition in general. He's a rook endgame specialist and generally prefer to keep a set of rooks on the board. Thats pretty hax/nice shortcut.

I've got abit more than a hundred days to prepare a complete repetiorre for competition, starting with 1. c4 and I'm abit behind haha

My aim is to study all the critical line effective without wasting time on side messy variations while also understanding the themes/middlegame plans/endgames transitions in these openings.

Also, there might come a point where I have to do research on my opponents (I know most of them) and see the lines they play from online databases and focus on preparing against them. Need to use the fact that most of them don't know me yet to my advantage.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:46 AM   #72
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 20/3/2015-21/3/2015

(Sorry Day 33 should've been 18/3 and Day 34 should've been 19/3)

Day 35-36

Been spending my times on building my repetiorre, with help of my coach. I want to make it priority before other things, because I need to test it on against engines and other players

Priorities:
White: English Opening
1. c4 e5 main lines: Reverse Sicilian's, four knights/three knights, Reverse Grand Prix, others
1. c4 c5 Symmetrical defense (quite theoretical)
1. c4 other transpositions: Bb4, Anti Grunfield/Anti Slav, v Indians System

Gonna copy most of GM Marin's repetiorre from his books (excluding 1. ... e5 in which I'll play main lines)

I'll also use Botvinnik System (a lazy man's opening) as my default to some lines that I don't have time to study. It's a pretty easy opening with straightforward plans


Black
Against most of White's 1. d4, 1. c4 and 1. Nf3
I'll play Slav and Semi Slav (I've bought too many books on it already + Coach plays it and have secret lines)

Against 1. e4
I'll play Sicilian Dragon and prepare against anti-sicilians
These lines require more up-to-date theory and memorization (narrow repetiorre with forcing moves), so I'll leave them at the end.

So hopefully, I'll get a successfully tested repetiorre done in 100 dayz lol

An opening tree that I'm building





A friend invited me for lunch + movie tomorrow and I'm probably gonna play a live freeroll afterwards (cuz free $$)
So Tomorrow is probably a rest day (although I won't be having much of these)

Last edited by NL Loki; 03-21-2015 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:39 AM   #73
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Loki — That is exactly what I feel I need to do. I'm a bit afraid to get too far down that road in case I get a coach and he's like "lol at your openings, wtf man." At the same time, one would assume a good coach doesn't just make you play what he knows but has some good way to help the player pick appropriate openings for that player (practically, in terms of winning, for getting better, and for having fun).
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Old 03-23-2015, 03:21 AM   #74
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 23/3/2015

(22/3/2015 Day 37 was a rest day)

Day 38

I'm only halfway through today, but massively tilted. Getting raped hard in online blitz playing the English. My English repetiorre, being incomplete and barely able to survive the early stages against players who know what they are doing.

This convince me, that despite, all the stuff I have to study. Opening is a KEY point of focus right now.

Being blitz, I don't have a time to think of a plan that much and have to focus on instinct and feel for the position, which is kinda bad right now, because I'm clueless to alot of the positions other then something vague like "queenside expansion here "transfer my knight to here".

This is abit of a wakeup call, especially since there is only around 100 days before the tournaments.
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Old 03-23-2015, 03:56 PM   #75
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Quote:
Originally Posted by NL Loki View Post
UPDATE: 23/3/2015

(22/3/2015 Day 37 was a rest day)

Day 38

I'm only halfway through today, but massively tilted. Getting raped hard in online blitz playing the English. My English repetiorre, being incomplete and barely able to survive the early stages against players who know what they are doing.

This convince me, that despite, all the stuff I have to study. Opening is a KEY point of focus right now.

Being blitz, I don't have a time to think of a plan that much and have to focus on instinct and feel for the position, which is kinda bad right now, because I'm clueless to alot of the positions other then something vague like "queenside expansion here "transfer my knight to here".

This is abit of a wakeup call, especially since there is only around 100 days before the tournaments.
If that's the case, I would study specific thematic concepts that are consistently used in your openings, and try to apply them in blitz (almost regardless of position/result). Doing so should give you an idea of what factors need to be present for your tools to work (eg, if you try to expand on the queenside every game, you'll probably find it works well in closed center positions, and poorly in open center positions). This helps you develop a feel for which techniques you should be using with just a basic glance at the structure of the position.

Opening variations should not be a key point of focus unless you care about your blitz rating. There's a place to be had for reviewing those blitz games where you get destroyed in the opening, looking up the "correct" move, and then trying to determine why the correct move is better than whatever you played. This also will slowly but surely build up your knowledge and memory of the opening in a much superior manner than some opening tree.
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