Thoughts After My 1st Year of Chess

Thoughts After My 1st Year of Chess

Nov 16, 2015, 12:34 AM |

A few observations from my first year of playing chess:


1. Whenever my rating starts to get higher than I view myself as being, I start to get greedy to move up, and my play suffers as I start to have different attitudes about winning and losing than usual.


I joined some chess club type activities, hoping to grow my interest in chess, but it seems to have done the opposite.

2. I get a lot of things that make me uncomfortable--easy wins and having to know how to handle that without being irritating,

3. impossible opponents that will beat me no matter what (then I wonder, am I wasting their time? and--should I resign after it's clear, based on the player and the board, that I have a position I should never win from unless a beginner suddenly takes over, etc.),

4. getting advice about things I know about because I "didn't see it" in the game--imagine how irritating it is to be told what a fork or pin is, because you missed one? Or you grab space because your opponent's development is done in a way that lets you do so, just like that chapter of that BEGINNER book you read, only to have your opponent tell you to "never move pawns more than twice in the opening" or "develop a piece instead", things you took to heart 10 months ago. Every time you blunder, you get told to do more tactics (what if you already are?), play slower, develop knights before bishops and so on.

5. I think this is the biggest one, I feel rushed in most games. Most players see the obvious things before I do and they don't like me to spend 1-2 minutes thinking. So if we play without a clock, I feel rushed and my habit to really see everything, that I established before coming to the club, keeps getting lost due to this "pressure factor." In timed games, almost universally players want to play 5 minute games, 10 minute games, 15 minute games, etc. with me. If I want to write down my moves I will get into time trouble even in a 30 minute game--still feeling rushed. My over the board chess expectation is to feel pressure to pick guesses and half measures, bad habits that I broke before going to chess club, but they crept back in after facing real people.

6. Being an "advanced beginner" leaves you kind of alone. True beginners you crush easily, and everyone else is hundreds of points stronger than you. Hard to find good rivalries, which I think would be the biggest benefit to going out and meeting chess people. This gap also means when you finish a game, if they want to analyze with you either it will be too fast for you to keep up, or you will be seriously annoying them. When you lose to somebody you lose, but if you win it can come across as "of course you won" or "you got a lucky break against a better player." Hard to just enjoy the game or just enjoy the win. A loss is always a failure, if not a series of them. Hard to keep things in perspective and enjoy progress.


7. When I do a lot of tactics I start to work out and get comfortable with visualizing a few moves ahead and controlling myself before picking a move--but--this goes away very quickly. It's like I need to do a lot of tactics the same day, before I play chess, in order to have this effect.


8. It's hard to find one good hour EVERY day. Sometimes I go several days in a row without being able to get back to chess. Also, there seems to be some resistance or inertia. The longer I've stopped, the harder it is for me to return.