Where Games Help And Theory Doesn't
Since it's my first ever blog post for chess.com, I wanted to put out a personal experience regarding my games and, in general, my chess. While some theory is crucial (we humans below 1800 aren't exactly Stockfish or Houdini that can find the book moves even without the book), it is only practice that can get them to the point where more theory is required.
I know many other have said this in the past- "Practice makes perfect" and "Theory only gets you so far", but I'd like to extend that to it being personal. I'm going to share how that has indeed been the case with me, nothing but an amateur chess player.
I do know most of the main openings about 4-5 moves deep and also know the ideas/themes behind them. (For any other opening, I simply use the normal development principles and be wary of any traps and tactics) I started off at about 900-1000 rating, and very slowly inched my way up to 1100. Up till this point, my philosophy was "play play play". But once I got to 1175-1200, I forgot my own principle and began relying on theory and variations and whatnots, when all I required was practice.
I then shot my way up to 1300 within a few days by regularly playing the Computers 1(Easy) and 2(Medium), which, instead of enhancing my play, almost destroyed it, as they would play the stupidest of lines just to have more pawns in the endgame, something humans wouldn't do. Then reality hit me, and boy, did it hit hard. Once I started playing against humans, I realized how much more I needed to be at that level.
So here I am now. at 1250 (give or take) and playing unrated games till I can regularly beat stronger players. I do hope that one day, I'll be even better because after all, the sky is the limit (or being a GM or IM or NM or CM or FM) :D