Chess ~The Journey so far~
I never took up chess seriously till I reached the second year of my undergrad Architecture studies.
I was taught the rules of the game by my mum when we got a free chessboard with a Milo Milk packet. This was when I was around 8 years old (not too sure when). We got a chessboard which was green in color (the size of a small book) and a pamphlet describing the rules of the game. Even my mum was new to chess so we had to sit together and work out how the pieces moved across the board and the certain nuances of the game. We finally figured most of it out and got the ball rolling. I wanted to play chess a lot but never had any opponents to play with. Mum was busy with her housework, dad worked overseas and I was the only son. It would have been nice to have gone for chess coaching. Mum failed to see that I was interested in the game but I can't blame her for that. In fact, I'm happy she didn't since I got to experience an awesome childhood (especially since it was the 90s) which I would've never had, had I focused only on chess. I was never the kid who scored high marks and almost always used to play the fool. Some teachers even described me as a carefree student who needed to get serious in life.
Coming back to chess. I don't remember any games I played as a kid but I do remember one in which I beat my cousin. It was a back-rank checkmate after he took one of my major pieces. I saw the back rank mate three moves earlier and I was eagerly waiting to execute it. And when I did do it, I jumped in joy. Sadly my cousin is no more after a freak road accident a few years later and I miss him a lot.
I regarded chess as a simple game where two players just play over the board for fun. I played only occasionally as a kid and with very few opponents. Most of them being my relatives and friends who were also not too strong in the game. So I lost some and won some but never did I lose more than a couple of games to one single opponent. This was what happened when I played one of my Architecture batchmates in the first year of college. I thought I could easily beat him. He beat me in three straight games and I was disgusted with myself. Disgusted by the fact that there were people out there who play better chess than me. I never had a proper chessboard so it was very occasionally that I got to play.Then came the second year of college and I got my laptop.
In the first year of college, it was mostly sketching and drafting so there was no need for a laptop. But in the second year, you start using CAD and SketchUp to model your designs. So I got a laptop and stumbled over the ChessBase software on Demonoid.ph (a torrent website). I was a curious torrent downloader and I would download like a mad freak. After installing ChessBase, it was the first time I played online with someone. Since then, I was just hooked on to the game.
I started playing 5-minute blitz games daily on the ChessBase software. I used to lose most of the time but also managed to win a few. My rating revolved around the 1000-1200 mark. I still didn't have any clue that chess had openings, tactics, strategy, middlegame, endgame, and all that jazz. But I got my first glimpse of this knowledge after a ragging session with our juniors. The friend who I kept losing to in the first year asked if any of the juniors played chess. And there was one guy who responded to whom my friend asked if he knew any openings. And then the names started flowing:
The Sicilian, Ruy Lopez, Blah blah bla.
I was just lost at that particular moment when our junior friend started spurting out these openings. A "What the Fuck" moment in my chess endeavour. I quickly looked it up once those guys left to play and then realized how deep the game was.
I've started at 1200 and now I'm at 1700. So there has been quite an improvement in my chess game but I want to do better. I played in a couple of tournaments and did fairly good finishing in the middle of the ranking table. My fide rating is 1320 something after four rated tournaments so far. I'm still in college so I cannot devote all my time to chess but once I'm out, I will be devoting a lot of time to this game.
To infinity and beyond