Black to move and win.
White to move and win.
Consistently spotting simple tactics, as in the positions above, have given me fairly consistent wins against players class C and below. But the tactics in master games are more complex and it often takes me 10-30 minutes to decipher a middlegame position.
How to assess 1.Ne6?
Is the sac 1.Nd5 sound?
An expert, by definition, can scalp a master every few games. So I better learn to decipher these positions much quicker. I'm retiring from Troyis (world-rank: #503) and diving into the ChessCafe Puzzle Book for "circular" tactical study.
Tempo hit on one prerequisite for consistent tactical study--Joy. The book's written by Karsten Mueller and based on recent master games, so that factor's there for me.
What else am I doing?
Endgames - Secrets of Rook Endings by Nunn & Comprehensive Chess Endings volume IV: Pawns by Averbakh... detailed works. I want to fully master these endings.
Strategy - My System + GM-RAM games.
Openings - Studying annotated master games from ChessPublishing.com.
Fitness - I began an intensive athletic training and nutrition program 3 weeks ago to give me more energy, stamina, focus, and discipline.
Play - Mostly correspondence for now... won 15/16 games. I need to return to live chess and seek out harder opponents once my repertoire's complete.