Ok, finally finished "Unbeatable Chess Lessons for Juniors". I think that these sorts of books have a limited affect on chess learning. My chess coach once told me that he doesn't believe in reading annotated master games because he feels it is better to gain what you can from going through a game than trying to understand what someone else is telling you. Also, by going through more games you will see the same patterns over and over again, whereas annotated games tends to slow the reader down. Given this information I am going to modify the way I go through these types of books. I've downloaded the next book, "Logical Chess Move by Move", into my Palm Pilot so I can go through the games first, without annotations, and refer to the book when there are moves that I get stuck on, or don't understand.
I'm also going to make a better effort, from now on, to write down moves in unannotated games that I don't understand, and ask a higher rated player to explain it. This way I can slowly start to learn to think like a higher rated player.
Still doing at least 30 minutes of tactics a day. On a good day I can get two 30 minute sessions in, for a total of one hour. I've temporarily switched from CTFB to PCT for a few units to drill more basic mate problems. I was starting to bog down in the "Win material" section so I figured it wouldn't hurt to do more basics before moving on.
I think I now understand the basics of the K + P vs K endgames. Been drilling the first couple of units of the first module in PCT. I'm also planning to spend more time on the games in "Capablanca's Best Endings" when I have the chance. The annotated books are taking up my Master Games' time right now.
Lost my latest game against a 1500 player. I thought I played much better this time around even though I won our previous encounter. I made a weak move in the opening and had to play defense the rest of the time, but made it to a drawish looking endgame. Don't know if I screwed it up or if I was lost already, the position was too complicated for me. On top of that I only had seven minutes left on the clock. One of the things I was proud of in this game was my clock management. At one point in the game I had something like 10 minutes on the clock and he had over 20. After a couple of moves however his clock dropped to around 12 and we were pretty even on time. Usually this doesn't happen with my games. I'm usually on the short end, win or lose, so I was pretty stoked about my clock management. Rating is still fluctuating between 1410 and 1390, so I hope that means it's stabilized. Sometimes after a new high it drops like 100 points or so. We'll see what happens.