The Road to Class A
Hello everyone. This is my first attempt at a blog of any capacity (let alone chess-wise) EVERRRR so do be kind. After reading the many exhortations by strong players that one of the best ways to improve is to analyze your own games, I decided what better way than to annotate my serious tournament games AND publish them online for all the world to see (man, I must be asking for it).
So, a little about me. I am currently 43 years old, married, children and all of the other things expected of an adult. I began playing chess at 17 and broke into Class B (1600-1800) when I was 19. I felt like I had a quick climb at first. My first 3 provisional ratings were 1317 to 1414 to 1535 which included a win over a 1799 rated player almost a year to the day after first learning the moves.
As good as all of this sounds, what followed was not. I hit the dreaded plateau. You know, the rating level where you usually end up for the rest of your adult life, give or take a window of points. As quick as I hit Class B, the great irony is, I am still there, 24 years later. Now granted, there has been time when I would take extended breaks, either from losing interest (my other hobby is playing guitar, which included playing in a band for a few years) or just plain adulting getting in the way of playing/studying regularly.
Most of my time in Class B was spent hovering in the low 1600s with the occasional dip back into Class C. A few years back, I decided to employ the services of Valeri Lilov to help with my play. I never (and still have not) taken private lessons but I did order a few of his training packages and also used his video game analysis for my tournament games. If this sounds like a glorified infomercial, then so be it, because I was able to break 1700 for the first time and have settled into the mid 1700s for the time being.
After a good result this past weekend, I am currently at a career high of 1782 USCF. Only 18 points away from my goal of finally breaking into Class A. I have 3 more tournaments planned for this summer (before I start graduate school this Fall and my time for chess takes a backseat) so I am going to be using this blog as a place to put my annotated games along with any training regimens that I am following. Although gaining those last few points may seem like no big deal, most everyone knows that those are always the hardest to gain. My long-term (and probably realistic goal) would be to make it to Expert class (2000+) and of course, who wouldn't want to be a NM at one point, although I know that can require an inordinate amount of work. Please feel free to ask any questions or offer insights into my analysis. I am going to end this inaugural post with my first round win from the 2017 Carolinas Classic tournament this past weekend and my first ever attempt at annotation