Still more chess. I thought some people might be vaguely interested to hear this stuff, the others will be driven off by boredom. There are only 5 readers here, anyway.
Oddly, Iowa seems to have a more accessible chess scene, just by number of tournaments and the existence of regularly-meeting chess clubs I could find, than Chicago, unless somebody would care to enlighten me. Enough so that I may plan trips home around tournaments in Iowa if I do get seriously back into things. I mean, there's North Avenue Beach, I suppose, but I'm looking for something structured where you could get in a G/60 or G/45 at minimum, hopefully downtown. I think the University's chess club may be open to people like me, but it would be on hiatus for the summer right now. I could look into playing with those random guys at that convenience store or McDonald's, but I'd feel awkward approaching them, just like at North Avenue. So for now I'm just dinking around the Chess Tactics Server, playing occasional blitz, and will soon have a nice little pocket chess game that plays at around 1750 for the bus ride, a couple G/15 every day on the bus or something should be helpful, but not ideal. Should I ever get that Windows box working again, I may be able to play some computer chess with reasonable time controls. Also working heavily on visualization exercises and, soon, endgames.
I seem to have hit a wall on CTS (fluttering around 1450, no correlation to real ratings), so I'm backing off for a few days and instead devoting my time to solving hard problems slowly. Then, Vukovic. Then, CTS with gusto. I will break 1500 (no correlation to real ratings)!
So, tactics, endgames, and visualization. There's a lot more to the game, but I figure that, at my current level of strength and rustiness, those will be the most valuable and pay the most dividends. Fortunately, they're also the easiest to make some quick headway into.