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One year aniversary

Yesterday I got a trophy from chess.com saying that I had been a member for one year.  I decided to make some "next year resolutions" and comment on what I need work on.  

Before joining: I had recently gotten back into chess after about a 5 year break because I found it boring.  I had started to play with friends and was looking for more of a challenge.  In addition, I had just won my school's intermediate chess championship and had heard about the site and decided to give it a try.

May 7 - July: Open Seeks: I started playing games on the site and found that people here were much better than anyone I'd ever played.  I was getting beaten quite soundly by people from all over the world, which is still one of the things I like most about this site - the ability to play anyone at any level from anywhere in the world.  I'd invited a few friends to join the sight with me and was playing them on a somewhat regular basis.  

July - mid-August: Groups and Tournaments: My playing began to improve and I reached my highest rating ever - 1416, in my first online tournament.  I had made it to the next round of another tournament that I had joined as well.  I had also joined the group Forces of Nature and was playing in its matches regularly.  I was really excited about my rating rocketing up again after being beaten multiple times by 1450-1600 players.

Mid-August -September 1st: Break: Unexpected circumstances caused me to take a break and put my games on vacation for two weeks, causing me to eventually time-out on two of my games.  My rating didn't drop much, but I still did have to get back into the groove when I came back.

September - November: Rating Woes and Team USA: Southwest:  Before I went on "vacation," I had signed up for a chess.com tournament and and group tournament with a group that I was part of at the time.  Both tournaments started within two weeks of my coming back, and my playing level simply dropped through the floor.  In the 18 tournament games, I went 0-18, being soundly trounced by even the 1100 players in my group.  My rating dropped down to around 1200, and although I was still really interested in the site, my enthusiasm was waning because of my poor play.  I didn't understand it - before my break, my rating was stellar, but after only two weeks break, it was back in the cellar.  

During that time I joined the group that represented my region in the chess.com world league, and while I was playing people that were a little above me (and still getting beaten), it was exciting to play for the national team, even if I was a small-bit player.

November - December: First 960 Tournament and rating improvement: From November to December I joined my first Chess 960 tournament.  The 960 really appealed to me at the time because I did much better at it (my online chess rating was still low to mid 1200s.) and there wasn't any movements memorization.  My 960 rating went up rather quickly and I managed to place 4th in the tournament, although if I had paid a bit more attention to one game I would have gotten third.  I also joined America's official world league 960 group during that time.  While my 960 rating was improving, my online chess rating was still stagnating and I wasn't doing any better.

January - March: Staying steady: Not much happened in these months - I kept playing matches and my rating improved somewhat (up to around 1275-ish), and I did become an administrator for Team USA: Southwest, which is/was really neat.  I discovered that I move too quickly in my games and that is why my rating wasn't getting any better - I had been told by multiple people that my rating would improve if I would slow down and not make blatant errors.

March - Today: Drastic Rating improvement: For the past month or so, my rating has been rocketing up and I'm at near-record levels.  I've moved on to round three in a tournament I originally started back when I joined the site, and I have a pretty good chance at moving on to round 4.  I moved on to the second round in an official chess.com tournament, and will probably come in second place (in my group) in the most recent one I joined.  I'm taking more time to make moves, and I'm feeling more confident about my playing.

 My goals for the next year include - get my rating past 1460, improve my blitz chess rating to at least 1200, do the same thing with my standard rating, and improve my 960 rating to over 1300.  I would also like to crack the top ten in the tournament I am part of right now (the one I mentioned previously).  I would also like to make it to round 3 of that chess.com tournament, though I'm not sure it will happen.

 

Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!  Looking forward to another good year of chess!  

Good luck, and I'll see you on the chess board, 

-- MJH

Comments


  • 10 months ago

    Pikachulord6

    Sure thing. Feel free to ask for tips/feedback on your games or whatever. I can no longer make promises about how quickly I'll get to it, but I'll do my best.

    By the way, losing more than you win is totally fine, especially if you're like me and learn a great deal more from losses.

  • 10 months ago

    MJH25

    Awesome!  Thanks for the tips, Pikachulord!  I did end up getting eliminated - I was playing two 1500 guys, but I still felt pretty good about my play - I'm trying to slow down and do those conditional moves more.  I'm beating higher level players more consistenly now, and although I tend to lose more than I win, at least the games are going on for more moves, possibly suggesting that I'm making them think more.  Thanks for the feedback!

  • 10 months ago

    Pikachulord6

    Several months late, but I guess it shows how busy I've been. :/

    Some thoughts:

    1. RPaulB's advice is really valuable. Basically, if you can predict what move your opponent will play, and prepare what move you will respond with, you are already TWO steps ahead of your opponent! Of course, they may not play the move you are expecting them to play, but you lose nothing by preparing. It usually just takes a little longer (half a minute or so) and it's very satisfying when you do guess the move correctly. I don't want to make any guarantees, but I wouldn't be surprised if one's rating jumped a couple hundred points for doing this regularly.

    2. Don't be discouraged if you don't/didn't make it to the third round of the chess.com tournaments. I've never made it past the second round of any of those tournaments myself, and there's a lot of luck involved, since everyone in those tournaments is rated close to you, so you're about as likely to advance as you are to end up in the bottom of your bracket.

    3. Rating goals are cool, but don't let them put pressure on you, especially in games. I don't personally like to set rating goals because ratings fluctuate all the time (though they even out in the long run), and they're not always the best indicator of your current skill level. Although, if you've stagnated for say, a year, there's probably a good reason for it (but it's also possible that there isn't!). My rating progression through the years on chess.com has been quite wacky, so it's usually more accurate to look at your games and ask yourself if you're satisfied with your quality of play and what you can improve on.

     

    Nice to see you're improving. Keep at it and remember to always have fun! :)

  • 13 months ago

    shahhussainkcl

    That's interesting RPaulB. I'll have to give it a try too. Thanks.

  • 13 months ago

    MJH25

    That's what I've been doing, actually, and my rating has shot up.  Thanks for the tip!  I will keep applying it!

  • 13 months ago

    RPaulB

    Improving is easy !!   Do NOT make a move until you decide on your conditional move !!   Then make both your move, what you think your opponent will move and your move to that.   At first you may lose more games, but not for long. You will see a big gain right away, in a month  !! The  more he makes the move you think he will, the better your game !!

  • 14 months ago

    MJH25

    Pay for a premuim membership?  Because you can enter multiple tournaments at once, you can have the computer analyze more of your games, and you have access to a lot more features!  However, a free membership (which is what most of us have) is fine.  I have a free membership like you, and while there are certainly some things I would like to have on this site, I don't want to spend money on it yet.

  • 15 months ago

    SFGuitarSolos

    I had a question: why do you pay for this?

  • 15 months ago

    MJH25

    Ahh, it's just in that Go Far one and then the one chess.com tourney - the Vienna Gambit one.  I've played my fair share of sandbaggers as well.  The Go Far one doesn't seem to have as many, though, so I've been able to move on.

  • 15 months ago

    shahhussainkcl

    You seem to do better on tournaments than me. I've never made it past the first round.

  • 15 months ago

    MJH25

    What triumphs do you mean?  I'm perhaps slightly better, but not by much.  Both of our games have been close.

  • 15 months ago

    shahhussainkcl

    Good post. I've tended to think of you as a player who is roughly equal to my level of play but it seems you've been keeping a number of triumphs secret from me. :-)

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