Well, I think I've started to figure this game out a bit.
When I was a kid playing with my dad I learned the moves... not all the moves, mind you, but enough to play with my dad. Something I've just recently learned properly is the en passant... When I had played with my dad as a kid, come to find out, he had taught me wrong. But, other than that, he showed me how all the pieces moved. Strategy and what not I had to develop on my own.
I played my whole life that way... never learning more than the manner in which the pieces moved.
Now I'm discovering all sorts of new aspects of the game... notation, strategy, proper movement of all the pieces (who knew there was a Queen side castle!) as well as the true deficencies of my own game...
Yes, yes, of course I need to explore openings and what not but at the moment I can fairly well hold my own against some fairly good players... but what gets me every time (besides my need to rush and thereby making really amateur mistakes) is my endgame... I simply do not know how to pin someone down and stop their play.
Perhaps I shouldn't admit that to current and future opponents but, as I've said before, I'm here to learn... and, hopefully, to pass on what I learn to others.
I played my longest game tonight. 64 moves. It could have and should have been much shorter than that but neither one of us really had much endgame... I blew several moves that I saw after the fact and noticed my opponent letting me off the hook time and again... most likely kicking himslef as well.
I found a player here, Endgame Tactician... haven't had a chance to read any of his blogs yet but (if all the rumors are correct about Member Points) he seems to be well on the way to winning his second free t-shirt. Perhaps that says something, perhaps not. Either way, reading another's opinions can never hurt.