Starting Out

Jun 30, 2015, 7:31 AM |

I'm not sure if anyone will ever read this, but I figure it's high time I put some of my writing ability to work and start chronically my journey through chess.  

A little about me first though.  I learned how to play chess at the most basic stages when I was about 10, playing long games with my dad where it would seem as though I was about to get crushed before he would "accidently" knock his King over (a house rule, meant you lost automatically) or would accidently move his Queen into the firing line.  He bought a computer chess program (it was a handheld board that you could play against) that was awful in retrospect but I could never beat it.  I learned the "fools mate" from my 7th grade math teacher and used it to beat a good friend of mine who had an ELO of 1800~ at the time (I verified this with him about five minutes ago) when he was showing off at Boy Scout Camp.  I thought I was a master.  I was 14 years old, and didn't need to play chess to know I was the best at it... that was 13 years ago.

Then I downloaded chess on my phone about 6 weeks ago.  And I lost.  Every game.  Against Master... all the way down to beginner.  So, being the smart guy that I am, I researched openings because I had read an article about Bobby Fischer a while back when I was looking up the movie "Finding Bobby Fischer" on imdb.  

That is when I stumbled on and realized that this game was perfect for me.  See, I've always been competitive, and I've had incredibly high ELO ratings in various other games I've played, including being top 100 in Magic the Gathering for about six months.  It wasn't long before I was playing rated games on and getting absolutely crushed.  

Then about three weeks ago I was diagnosed with ADHD.  Severe ADHD.  Not the learning disability type, but the get bored really quickly type.  Homework is no fun.  There is a reason why I never got higher than 86 in MtG.... While I loved tournaments, I hated the prep work.  I had natural ability, but I would never sit down and grind games over and over (specifically draft) in order to prep for GP's and PT's.  There was a reason why I had a (and I'm not exagerating here) 97% test average in High School but finished with a B average in school.  I didn't do my homework.  The fact that I know my exact percentage should be proof enough... I love numbers and I tracked every grade and assignment I got in school on graph paper that I later turned into Excel so I could track my literal day to day GPA.  I wanted to swim so I made sure my grades were good enough to swim, good enough to keep my car, and good enough to get into any college, and then I excelled at the SAT (1590, old system, one try) and so I was set to not have to try.  

However, the ADHD had gone unchecked so long that it had lead to depression, paranoia and some suicidal tendencies.  That's why I got help to begin with, and my psychiatrist said Chess was probably the only thing that had saved my life about a month ago when I picked it up.  He said that it gave my brain an outlet to focus on when I had nothing to focus on other than negativity, and that it was so mentally straining in a positive way that it was keeping me somewhat sane.  So I played.  A lot of chess.  Over 300 games in a month on here, lichess, real life at work, my phone (probably closer to 500 games if you count my phone).  I started off barely able to keep a 950 rating.  Then I studied master games.  I could watch them and then play them back in my head almost instantly.  I watched the world finals of Magnus Carlsen and Anad, but not the analysis, I watched the actual real life replay.  I wanted to see how they thought, how they acted when they played.

Anyway, I started out at 950.  I downloaded SCID and started writing down moves I didn't understand, and started using them in games when they felt right.  I started winning.  I won 8 games in a row and almost got back to 1100 but then started losing a lot again.  I started analyzing my play, asking for help, and learning.  

I'm at about 1250 now on both Lichess and  I don't know if this is accurate for me, but we'll see if I can maintain it.  It depends on how tired I am when I'm playing.  I sleep about four hours a night, and play a lot of chess.  I will get to 2000 rating.  It will happen eventually.  Then it will be 2100, then 2200.  If I never become a real life GM, so be it, but I will have a GM rating online on at least two sites, maybe three.  I know classical is meaningless online because of cheating, but right now, I focus on the beauty of chess.  I'm worried about my rating, but only because I'm worried about my personal growth.  If I'm not growing, or if I'm digressing, then I'm doing it wrong.  


There are no games in this post, but there will be.  In the future, you'll see many games, good and bad.  This will be my journey, and it starts at 1200.  I will talk about everything I do, my schedule, my dedication and my committment.  You will see me grow and you will see me fail.  You will see really, really bad chess.  I blunder still.  I hang pieces still.  But I take better advantage of my opponents blunders then they take advantage of mine.  

Follow my journey, it'll be crazy, it'll be fun.  I'll start streaming soon on twitch as well.  I've done it with other games (Hearthstone, League of Legends, WoW).  It'll be fun.  Thanks for reading, see you later today when I post my first set of games.