A Beginner's Viewpoint

Apr 3, 2018, 9:32 AM |

I have been playing chess for a very long time, ever since I was around four or five; my mother taught me the game as a way of developing my critical thinking and inductive reasoning. I loved the game from the first match, in which I beat her while playing black. the move she had just taught me was castling, and I stacked one rook c2 and castled my other rook behind it, leaving mate in one and she resigned. It was a beginner level mate, but arguably one of the most brilliant moves I have seen to date (having only played with beginner/intermediate players even to this day). She has passed away in the last couple of years, and her passing has reinvigorated my love of this game, along with Shogi, another game she had taught me which is commonly called Japanese chess. I had lost interest playing for quite some time, as we had very limited resources (such as no internet and emergency-only transportation) and none of the family would play with me anymore. I've always been more tactically minded, especially when it comes to short-term solutions. However, this has had a large drawback on my overall skill. With nobody to play and no resources to read, I never really managed to truly learn all aspects of the game. I recently started correcting this, and there is always more to learn. For instance, I have found in the past two weeks how the game is broken down into three parts, and currently trying to get a handle on notation before moving to openings. It is still a very slow process, as resources such as internet time are again limited. Being an adult sucks. However, I do plan to stick with it, hard as that may be. Truly learning chess is a daunting task, as there seems to be no end to even the beginner's lessons, let alone mastery of the game to a satisfactory level. I want to be a FIDE recognized IM one day, but I fear there may be no chance of managing such a feat. With the revelation of online chess I have come to realize that my skill is subpar at best, and childlike at worst. It is disheartening to take loss after loss of ten minute blitz matches, which was supposedly my strong point. I feel like a true beginner again, and it hurts to not understand enough to improve. I understand there are resources available to me for this (Especially if you go premium! sad.png), but it's hard to know where to start in this vast place. I'm having fun playing blitz matches on the exceedingly rare occasions that I win or force a draw, but more often than not this game feels a lot more like work than entertainment. I suppose that it should feel like some work, and I don't mind that, but I do mind feeling lost in the massive world of chess past a familial level. As fun as the game can be, I fear this may turn away people who may be interested in starting to play or may discourage newer players from continuing to play at all. I know I've nearly lost interest again several times in the short span I've decided to pick it back up. There has to be a more engaging way to interest first-timers and retain newer players, along with a more explanatory way to further players that may not understand what's being explained. My example is openers, I'm not afraid to say I don't much get it at all, aside from the idea od developing pieces. These are just the thoughts of a novice so take it how you will, but I believe new players are just as, if not more important than refining advanced strategy. If there are no new players, the game dies. I don't see chess disappearing any time soon, and I hope it stays that way.


Andrew Rakow, chess novice and enthusiast



 (P.S. Here is a rough look at my first game, may not be accurate because it was over a decade ago sorry)