Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Sep 27, 2011, 3:34 PM |



My name is Luke Stephens and I play chess as a hobby, (A competitive hobby Tongue out) and I have been playing chess since I was three years old.

I didn't really get into it until I was 9-10 years old. My family had just moved to Colorado and we joined our first chess club. It was relatively small, maybe 10 kids at the most. The best player there at the time was a kid names Christian. He was rated about 800 uscf at the time so as you can tell it wasn't a very strongchess club. But strength wasn't really the point of the club. Nor was chess for that matter. It was primarily a place were moms could bring their kids while their older sisters did ballet in the same building. Kids would bring games like Twister, Statego, Bingo, and occasionally UNO. Even though it was advertised as a chess club it was basically a daycare.

That part of it I didn't enjoy, but at one point my dad and the lady running it decided they wanted to return the focus to chess. This was great, and at just about this time my uscf rating was around 1050. I was now just about tied with Christian (who had also improved) for the top player spot.  However, right that time the ballet classes stopped because they had found a better site, and the kids still coming were the ones that actually were committed to improving their chess. But the club was slowly disappearing due to the fact that kids were losing interest in chess. Generally from what I've seen is that as kids get older they have to decide whether they want to keep studying and devoting time to chess, or give it up to spend all of their time watching videos on YouTube and staying up late texting.

During this time I was also going to local scholastic tournaments. About once every month we would drive down to Denver and play in a 1 day, 5 round, scholastic tournament. At first, these tournaments were relatively weak. The top players would either be Daniel Zhou, (1450 at the time) or, Jackson Chen (1750 at the time). Daniel was my age but has consistently maintained a rating 100-200 points above my own. Though we have drawn several times in recent tournaments. Jackson on the other hand, is a year younger than me and from the point when he started playing in tournaments has been a clear favorite. He is a very talented whiz-kid that clearly has a talent for the game. His recent tournament performance is currently averaged at about 1950-2050, and he is still improving. These two players actually provided a large amount of motivation for me. Primarily because they were the ones that were always getting the trophies and medals. Needless to say I was a little bit jealous... But I was able to turn this jealousy into motivation to become a better player. And before I knew it, I was up there playing with them as one of the top scholastic players in the state. Now don't get me wrong , if I were to play one of these guys, I don't know what the result would be. But I have a feeling I would be able to put up a pretty good fight. Not to mention that in recent games, both in tournaments and out, I have done very well against players of their strength. However not in the game below. :P


That game I can safely say was NOT my best!

But unfortunately this feeling of being one of the top players in the state would not last very long. We moved down here to Texas back in march and I can definitely say that tournaments here are alot different than in Colorado. 

In Colorado, tournaments are very relaxed, enjoyable, fun and all around great. 

Tournaments in Texas are MUCH more competitive. DCC (Dallas Chess Club) which is run by a very nice man name Luiss, (I hope I spelled that right :P) is a lot more competitive, than the local CSU chess club I was used to attending. For instance, in my 5 years playing tournaments in Colorado I never encountered an incident were one player accused another player of cheating. In one evening tournament at DCC, 3 different people were accused of cheating. Not to mention that DCC is basically just a place to go to play G/30'5 tournaments, which aren't good for me because I am a very slow player, (I like to check every variation that I can see :D).

All in all, tournaments in Colorado, were fun and relaxed, so far here in Texas all of the tournaments are competitive and have quick time controls. 

However, since moving here I have started working with FM John Jacobs and that has proven to help my play. The increased strength in tournaments has driven me to studying/practicing more. 

So moving down to Texas has had it's advantages, and it's disadvantages, but I'm going to try to make the best of it and we'll see what happens. 

I will post again as soon as I can.