Nothing but chess!
Mountains near Rejkjavik, image by Martin Putz (

Nothing but chess!

Mar 1, 2018, 6:24 PM |

I just quit my job, and for the next two months, I'll be playing chess. I want to use this time to become a better chess player. Most importantly, I want to blunder less, but I can learn heaps about calculating better, understanding openings, and playing endgames smoothly. That's all aspects of the game, which isn't that surprising, since my current Fide rating stands at less than 1900 - there's a lot to improve!

Chess has become an obsession for me. I played chess as a kid, but stopped playing consistently at around age 15. By that time I had reached a rating that was higher than my current rating, but I since played a lot less and completely stopped playing over the board by age 18 or so, with sporadic online play since.

I've started over-the-board chess about a year ago, mostly playing at the amazing Marshall Chess Club in NY. Since then, I've also spent more time on practicing, learning openings and endgames, and even getting excellent coaching.

While I've loved playing chess, I've always felt that I wasn't playing as well as I should. That's probably a feeling most chess players experience, but I simply want to put it to a test: How much can I improve if I really focus on chess? It's easy to get trapped in thoughts like "in my mid-30s, I can't improve by a lot", but it sure would be fun to prove this thought wrong.

I'll be traveling a fair bit. Both because there's great chess tournaments all over the world, but also because I like travellng and because all I need is a chess board and a laptop. My first tournaments are the famous Rejkjavik Open (starting 3/5) and the slightly less famous, but huge - already, there's almost 1,000 players signed up - Grenke Chess Classic in Germany at the end of March.

Finally, I'll be posting games! This is a scary commitment device - it means that I'll be revealing some horrible blunders and my enormous lack of chess understanding! Of course, that's really the point - I'm quite scared of being ridiculed by you, the valued readers, so I'll work hard on playing better.


And I really am quite optimistic, because over the last year, there's a number of games that I've played well. Here's one of those games, with a 45-minute time control, where I punished my opponent for his optimistic kingside assault. I haven't used computer help in the annotations, but that should give you an even better window into my current playing strength: