Whether old or new everyone has a responsibility to work to improve their own game. We coaches can give you some great advice, but if you guys aren't putting in the work, then all the good advice won't help you. New players should work really hard to catch up with those who have been in the Training Squad last year. Those players from last year should work hard to get even better results than they did last year, and there were some truly stunning performances in 2012.
So what work do you need to do?
1. You need to be regularly working on your tactics. Register at chesstempo.com and then send me your USERNAME and I can follow your progress and see your tactical strengths and weaknesses. Under 8's should be doing at least 30 of these puzzles each week. Everyone else should be doing at least 50 puzzles.
2. You need to be playing regularly. Everyone should be enrolled at the chesskids playing site and again send me your username so that I can follow your progress and see some of your games.
3. You should also be playing tournaments to try your play against stronger opposition. We have regular RJ Shield events throughout the year (the next one is Sunday 24th February and all Training Squad players should plan to play that), and Training Squad players should be playing as many as possible. Also, everyone should play at least one adult tournament throughout the year as well as state and national junior championships.
4. Collect and store your games at chessmicrobase and the games that you play should be recorded there. Then you can send me the games you play by pressing the "share" button and then "get link". If you copy this link and paste it into an email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org then I will be able to look at your games and tell you what you are doing right and what things need to improve.
5. Keep regularly checking this blog, because there will be loads of info here for your benefit.
Thanks, and good to see you all again. Let's have an even better 2013!