The First Steps

The First Steps

Sep 2, 2017, 1:05 PM |

     Greetings to all zero of you who are reading this new and wonderful blog about my chess journey.  I hope I enjoy writing it (for my benefit) as much as you enjoy reading (for what reason I cannot imagine).  My name is Brian and I, after years of playing chess with a few friends, have decided I want to play competitive chess with serious people.  I have never had a chess lesson or been a member of a group/club in my many years of existence.  I moved to the Columbia, SC area about two years ago and shortly thereafter found the Columbia Chess Club.  I spent over a year after finding it to actually make my way out to the club and now I am three rated events into this fun trip.  The purpose of this blog is to cover my growth through chess for my benefit.  If one of you actually starts reading and liking what I have to say then I would suggest finding a mental ward in order to get an evaluation. 

     My chess life began at the age of around 5 or 6.  Both my father and grandfather played chess and I would watch.  I eventually learned the basics from them and would play games when they let me.  I also enjoyed the beauty of the sets that each had which, in my young mind, seemed to be the cool factor that drew me to the game.  When I was a kid growing up I played sports or other activities outside and never gave chess a thought other than the occasional game with family.  I did not know any other kids who played.  Where I have spent most of my adult life had no chess club and no other culture to speak of.  You may have heard of "K-mart-by-the-Sea," or Myrtle Beach, SC. 

     Most of my adult chess involved beer in my garage with friends (mostly one friend) who I still play online with a lot.  He moved back to his home in Rochester, NY which is what got me to discover  He is a much stronger player than I which finally sparked my idea to study this game that I have played my whole life and maybe, just maybe, be good (relative). introduced me to lessons and tactics and opening positions.  I found the chance to play games against strangers, which I rarely do, and it gave me the chance to find that there is a whole world of chess.  Perhaps I was just stupid, but I only knew two chess player's names growing up: Fischer and Kasparov.  Now I follow chess news and tournaments.  I am that nerd who turns on live events on my computer and watches them from start to finish when I am not working. 

     Well, enough of my introduction.  I am going to post games in this blog from OTB matches.  These games will feature my commentary and move variations I find.  When a computer is used it will be credited in the game.  Since I have three games under my belt, all commentary was performed the following day and reviewed several times.  I had reviewed each game no less than three times before I turned on a computer to assist.  My analysis is weak, but this is where I want to improve in order to assist my growth in playing.

     This was my first organized game and my first time playing USCF rated game.  G/60,d30

     My first game was not great.  I felt behind the whole game and I felt clueless as to how I should proceed.  My opponent played very well compared to how I played. 
     Game Two was a few weeks later (work prevented making Round 4 of one event and Round 1 and 2 of the next event).
     Game Two was worse and I felt awful.  I blundered my way through this but I still had fun.  I spent a lot of time finding errors and I must have played through it with a real board at least 50 times a few days later.  The computer screen does not adequately relay the board in my eyes.  I sometimes see things in one that I cannot see in the other.  I find I miss things in both (obvious) but OTB play is certainly harder since it is not all condensed like a screen. 
     Game Three was last week.  I was matched with a person who has less experience at chess than I have.  We spent a lot of time after the game together to review this and also because he had never done notation before.  I did all of the notation during the game and taught him afterwards. 
     Game Three is my first win.  I got a knight onto e5 and never protected him yet he was never threatened.  This was the inexperience of my opponent and I doubt it will ever happen again.  I went there to simply be greedy and grab a pawn.  I also castled late in this game but it did not cause any issues. 
     I have a long way to go in order to be "good."  I have no intention on being a master of any sort I just want to be able to compete at the club level and play in some tournaments.  Someday, I would like to be good enough to justify a trip to one of the larger tournaments around the country.  My current USCF rating is 538 after three games.  I know I can get that up higher, but if I reach 1600 I think I will be quite happy.
     I will get back into my book (Silman's Amateur's Mind and Complete Endgame) and continue reading my Chess Life magazine (including this wonderful sample American Chess issue).  I use my board when I read the books (usually) or, at least, break out my pocket chess set.  I avoid computer for analysis in any of my training. 
     Thank you very much for reading and feel free to tear my games apart.  Just laugh in my face rather than behind my back, please.  I do want to learn!