Going for a Title: Chapter 8 "The Next Step - 2018"
When I started writing this blog six months ago I had no idea how truly fantastic the Chess community was or how positive and challenging this endeavor would be. I didn’t know how much of a truly life-changing and inspiring experience I was going to have. I wasn’t sure if anyone would read my blog or if it would drive me on to become a great player. I’m delighted to say the latter could not be truer or continue to be a more sought-after ambition and, really, a need. Granted I am still very much an amateur, but I have grown and improved at a steady pace with some speed bumps along the way. I stated I would be open and honest every step of the way for better or worse, and I am happy I can share my progress for the better six months on.
When I posted my first entry, my blitz rating was at 877, my tactics rating was never over 950, I had no USCF rating, and I had no formal training in the game. Six months later, I have a blitz rating of 1059 (+182), a tactics rating of 1166 (+216), a USCF rating of 1292, and six months’ worth of coaching from a wonderful FIDE certified coach who has trained two GMs (priceless). I have trained in tactics and played games daily, analyzed my games, and essentially relearned the game from the foundation up. I have studied some books and worked through many important, classic games. I’ve studied the history of the game and am studying a new chess icon on a regular basis. I have also had the opportunity to connect and have conversations with members of chess.com and professionals, celebrities, and personalities from across the chess world. The support of IM Danny Rensch and NM Sam Copeland at chess.com has made a world of difference and I am deeply indebted to these two cool dudes for inspiring me to share my experience.
To put it simply, for six months I felt like I was learning a brand-new game. While that may seem challenging or frustrating, I have loved the experience every day and continue to do so. I’ve taken sporadic breaks from writing this blog to study, practice, play, and hone my instincts. I have also accepted the honor of resident author for Chess^Summit, sharing what I have learned through the perspective of an adult learner and hoping to help initiate the intimidated in the game anyone can play and enjoy, a game that speaks every language and knows no prejudices. Now I still have a long way to go on my journey to become a competitive and one day titled player, but I have established a foundation that can only help me grow. What’s more, I am more driven and motivated every day not just for me, but for my family, friends, and readers.
I recently heard conversation regarding chess and one’s age and their abilities. It stated that the peak year for chess development and skill is 31, which leads to me to believe 2018 will be a great year for my growth. In the principle of being open and making my goals very public, I will now set my challenges for 2018 for all who read this:
By June 1, 2018
• Chess.com blitz rating over 1200
• Chess.com tactics rating over 1300
• USCF rating over 1350
• Teach two people how to play the game
• Gift two chess sets
By December 31, 2018
• Chess.com blitz rating over 1400
• Chess.com tactics rating over 1400
• USCF rating over 1400
• Teach four people how to play the game
• Gift four chess sets
I will make every effort possible to attain these goals, and that is my promise. They may seem like humble short-term goals to some, but being a dad, husband, and the responsibilities of my work must be taken into consideration when setting these. Any time I’m not committed to one of the above I assure you I am working at my chess. I have made a promise to my coach, my family, my readers, and myself that I will achieve my goals, and I keep my promises. Aside from wanting to be a titled player and play at a higher level, I want to build this game I love and draw more people from all walks of life to it. If I can bring just a few people into the game and make them excited to learn it and play it for life, well I have done part of my job.
So here’s my challenge to you, the reader: I will continue to promote the game through chess.com, my chess.com blog, my biweekly articles on Chess^Summit, and Twitter (follow me - danschultzchess). I will continue to train, study, and play whenever the opportunity arises and share my experiences for better or worse with you. In return, all I ask is that you teach one person this game or donate one chess set in 2018. Share this game, share the passion you have for it, we all know it’s contagious or why would we be here? You and I have the power to grow this game, the best game, the world’s game!
Dan “The Silver Fox” Schultz