Fighting out of the E Class. My first year of OTB. Part 1

Fighting out of the E Class. My first year of OTB. Part 1

Nov 8, 2009, 1:44 PM |

My goal for learning chess in 2009 was to break 1200 in the USCF rating system. So I thought I'd write a little bit about my intro to chess and what has helped me the most. Part 1 is about losing. Part 2 will highlight the things I believe have helped me the most. 

I had never played a rated OTB game in my life until sitting down against Shan Siddiqi in the first ever Knights tournament at the CCSCSL.  The Knights tournament is monthly tournament where players gather every Wednesday night and each month a winner qualifies to play in the CCSCSL Club Championship.

Before the match started club employees assured me it wouldn’t be so bad, gave me pointers on notation, basic do’s and don’ts of tournament play and etiquette. All of which pretty much went over my head.

 I was in a losing position by the 4th or 5th move.  I wouldn't have even been able to tell you what a "losing position" was last year. I didn't know what the "Sicilian" was, a "Ruy Lopez" I don't think I'd ever performed and en passant capture and I definitely didn't you know the touch move rule.

This was my first experience taking notation and playing with a clock.

 That was August 2008, and the experience was incredible. An eye opening 30 minutes when I knew that I knew nothing and was excited about the possibilities of learning chess.   

 My first victory in OTB chess was a quick rated game in the CCSCSL Friday night Quads. This little kid, probably 8 or 9 blundered his way out of a winning position right in front of his dad. Winning that game didn’t feel good at all.

Really though, studying Chess and playing OTB was like entering an abusive relationship. It was like meeting a new girlfriend who punches you in the face before and after each date. You love it but it causes bruises. 

I left gameknot for, became an annual member of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center Saint Louis. Began a really undisciplined, still very much so, initial investigation into the Sicillian, Ruy Lopez, 4 knights but never really got a grasp on any of them.

Every trip to the Chess Club, for blitz, or classical tournaments was a trip to another beating.

I ended my provisional rating period with a whopping 849! I lost a lot of games but had a brief break from the constant thrashing in the rating based “Thanks for Chess” after the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday. I came close to winning my section losing in the final round when I blundered my queen away. That was a highlight of my first year winning a “brilliancy prize” for a Ruy Lopez game with the white pieces. The game was published in the MCA bulletin and that felt great! 

Anyway, I have lost a lot of games over the last year. A lot of games and even though I know I 'll keep losing with the occasional win here or there my confidence is going up and my knowledge of the game is increasing. 
Part 2 to come soon.