Learning to Play Chess: First USCF Rated Event

Learning to Play Chess: First USCF Rated Event

Feb 22, 2015, 2:49 PM |

This weekend I was able to compete in my first ever USCF Rated Event. It was called the Quad 45, and was 3 rounds of 45/5 games. I was excited to see what competitive chess was all about, and it was fun to get to play in a serious environment.

My goals for the Quad 45 were two fold. First I wanted to dip my toes into what the experience of competitive chess was all about, and secondly I wanted to experience what it was like to play over the board.

The experience was eye opening to say the least. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly difficult it is to play over the board vs online here at Chess.com. Visualization for me is much more difficult when looking at a real board as opposed to a 2d screen. The second thing I noticed after the first round was how exhausting it was to be playing such long rounds. It was mentally (and after a few hours physically) exhuasting to play for so long. That will definitely be something I have to spend time getting used to in order to improve my game.

I have been using the Tactics trainer to improve my game as well as the study guide material offered to premium members. That in compilation with some articles/videos of people I enjoy watching/listening to (such as IM Rensch, IM Pruess, and FM Liu) I have been learning the basics of chess and the strategy, tactics, and themes that it contains.

For actual games, I wanted to play Queen's Gambit as white. I have spent a little bit of time over the last 2 weeks studying it, and as black I basically just didn't want to make blunders.


Below are two of my games from the tournament, 1 as white, and 1 as black.


As you can tell from these games I am still very new (Read: Bad) to chess. I have a lot to learn not only in how to play, but how to think about the game, positions, pieces, tactics, etc. However this was a good start, and it was a lot of fun.
Overall I had a great time and the event only gave me more motivation to improve my game. I will be using this blog as a way to document my progress going from someone new to the game to hopefully someone semi-competent at playing.