It's really interesting. If you ask most people on the chess.com forums, they'll say that the first big hump in chess is at 1400. 1400 seems to be the point where knowing your tactical and positional ABCs is no longer enough, and you have to consistently apply that knowledge to avoid the major mistakes and blunders that keep many players in the 1400s.
That's why I'm so thrilled to have hit the second big number, one which marks the start of my journey towards the 1700 hump, where "outplaying" becomes a word with a meaning and you have to push your opponents more than a little bit to roll them over.
Sadly not good enough anymore...
I know that when I was in the midst of a year-old plateau, I regularly blew half-points or even whole points due to awful endgame play, bad time management and regular serious mistakes right at the critical points where I could secure a winning advantage or a draw.
But I'm a firm believer in that 1400s don't suck, as some would say, and are actually misunderstood. From my personal experiences, a 1400's problem won't be just tactics or just endgame play much of the time. Most of the time, there are subtle psychological factors creeping in from all sides like stress, time pressure or even mental errors like Rowson's "Wanting" or Silman's "I can't". As GM Rowson puts it, "chess is too psychological for psychology to be just one dimension of it," and this rings true especially in amateur chess.
At least in the serious 90 30 games that I play, a lot of the insights in this book definitely ring true.
Here's my "1500 game", as I and possibly some other chess players like to call games which help you to cross a multiple of 100. My opponent went for the Urusov Gambit as White, misplayed the opening and ended up down a whole pawn, which I converted relatively smoothly given my rating.
So, ultimately, can I hold on to 1500? I think the answer is a firm and confident "yes". Although I've done very little chess work in the past few weeks, some of the ugliest mental errors are gone, and as long as I can keep from throwing away too many half-points, I should be here to stay.
A helpful review of Rowson's excellent book "Chess for Zebras" can be found here: