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,