Since I last played in the five hour marathons at the Reno Chess Club (see here for my rather whiny farewell) most of my chess activity has consisted of blitz on FICS. While I've certainly gotten some satisfaction and enjoyment from these games, I've also gotten into some pretty bad habits.
As James Stripes writes in this post at his excellent Chess Skills blog, "Blitz and rapid chess involve a lot of smoke and mirrors, while standard chess is a quest for truth." I have seen that in the evolution (devolution?) of my "style" over the last months; I developed the typical blitzer's habits of playing trap chess and "hope chess," always pushing forward and doing very little consolidation, rarely playing for an "edge" or going for a superior endgame. I have had some nice artistic successes, learned a lot about the openings...and hung a lot of pieces.
Last night I had a good winning streak, ran my blitz rating up to a reasonably respectable 1377, and having a desire to get back to the "quest for truth" have decided to play only 15 0 or longer (the minimum for standard rated games) for the present. My FICS rating at that is 1686, and I figure I could get that quite a bit higher by playing serious, real chess.
Meanwhile, I've gone to a couple of meetings of the Juneau Chess Club, which is a laid-back affair for two hours at the library, once a week. There are several pretty decent tournament players in my town, in the 1400-1600 USCF range, so I'm going to get busy organizing a "stimulus package" and start playing rated games again. Game in 90 minutes to be the maximum, if I have my druthers. There are also several tournaments a year up in Anchorage and starting next summer I expect to have the time and money to travel to something in the "Lower 48."
So right now I'm headed off to get back to "real chess," because I've gotten a bit shallow, and hope is not a plan.