Today April 27th marks 3 years since I started playing on chess.com and by extension how long I've been playing chess for (I did know how the pieces moved prior to joining chess.com but only played like one game every two years, didn't know any of the basics of chess, didn't know of en passant, didn't know how castling worked etc. hence why I say I've been playing chess for 3 years when people ask). So I thought I'd take a look back at some of my games.... hope you enjoy
My first game:
D: the horror
I lost my first 6 blitz time control games and my rating dropped to 663... I was devastated. I set out to study chess and my long term goal was to get above 1200 since I could've just not played and left my rating at 1200. I played a few 1-minute games and came to the conclusion it wasn't for me. Being an Australian with piss poor ping didn't help either. I then moved on to trying out the rapid time controls. Again I lost my first game but I won my next two games!
I was over the moon, my rating was 1287 and I was the king of the world of chess
I continued playing rapid for a long time, all the while reading chess books I had bought on my kindle and watching as many Saint Louis Lectures as I could. Eventually, I returned to blitz time controls to achieve my long term goal of 1200.
My first blitz win:
wowsers... worthy of Morphy himself hahaha.
For a long time, I played the stonewall simply because of this blog and I barely understood what I was doing in the opening lol as you would have seen from the hanging of knights and bishops in the opening.
A quick perusal of the chess.com forums and you would see many threads by beginners asking about openings and/or how to get better. The answer always given by an expert level player is tactics, tactics, tactics. Now that I have achieved an all time high of 1950 blitz I can honestly say this cannot get closer to the truth. It does not even require intermediate tactics knowledge. I found the main reason I got to 1200 was not hanging pieces such as my tenth move in my first blitz win. Many swear by Silman's Reassess your Chess if you want to improve. I have never touched the book, I'm not saying it's a bad book, just it is not necessary. But the book that helped ME the most was "Tune your chess tactics antenna" by Emmanuel Neiman. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, after 3 months of intense study I managed to get my goal of above 1200:
As you can see I still blundered my queen on move 29 lol. Even below the 1600 rating, the key to success is picking up material the opponent just blunders and not giving your opponent free material lol.
Once I reached 1200 that's when the "Gollum syndrome" set in. My rating was too precious and I didn't want to lose it, even if it meant being unable to progress. I started playing on two chess websites. I'd spend months just playing on one until I reached my progression goal there, then I would go to the other website and play till I got my goal there and keep switching back forth, each time having progressed in my chess knowledge when I returned to the chess website meaning I didn't lose my precious rating. This meant my rating flatlined for months on end then took a sharp increase:
Now I've managed mid 1900s and honestly, I am ecstatic. I've switched openings several times over the years, each time learning more about certain pawn structures, plans etc. Won games I had no right winning, lost absolutely smashing games. Just keep moving forward. Hopefully you have learnt something from my journey