Journey from Expert to Master

Apr 4, 2012, 4:48 AM |

Hi everyone!  This is my blog post on another site from about 3 months ago.  I decided to continue the series here on instead of the other site, so I'm reposting the original post here.  I will add a follow up post in a couple hours explaining how my progress has gone in these 3 months. 

Hello.  My name is Jacob Wagner, I'm rated 1970~ by the United States Chess Federation.  I used to be rated slightly over 2000.  

  I quit chess for 3 years, although I did play a bit of blitz chess during this time.  There were times when I went at least a month without playing a single game of chess. 
  My goal with this blog is to chart my course to going from "expert" to "master".  This is not an easy task.  Although I have beat 2 official "masters" in over the board play, I am definitely not of "master" strength.  In other words, when I'm on form, inspired, and lucky, I can beat strong players.  But on the other end of the spectrum, I can completely mis-read a position and have many holes in my game.  
  I'd like to say that I could realistically achieve this goal in 2 years.  I've got tons of chess material to study, a huge backlog of information.  Chess software, scores of pdf books, videos, websites, etc.  
  I've been playing chess seriously since about 1997.  I'm 31 years old.  I've played thousands - yes- thousands of speed games on ICC, Playchess,,, and in person.  I've played tournament chess for years as well.  I was highly under-rated for years: with a 1300 rating I was beating 1800's.  My rating finally caught up to my skill when I moved to Kansas City and was able to play more tournaments.  
  I also like to teach chess.  More on that later.  I am not looking for students.  I like to make chess videos and am thinking about making a chess video site.  
  I will be posting frequently, attitude willing.  In the next few posts I hope to explain a bit about my chess career, the way I view the game, how I improved, etc.  Let's just say I'll be mentioning Josh Waitzkin a few times.  You may hear the phrase "maintain the tension".  Heck - just go buy chessmaster grandmaster edition already and start watching the Josh Waitzkin lectures.  There, I got that out of my system.  Best lectures available in chess, hands down.  
  Thanks for your time, and I look forward to your participation as I make the long journey from expert to master.