I have been playing chess since 1974. My first and favorite chess book was "Chess Strategy" by Edward Lasker (pub. 1911), given to me by my father. Lasker's excellent guide taught me the basics in QP and KP openings with clear and concise text. This book is available for free download at Project Gutenberg here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5614 However, the important chess diagrams are not adequately represented in the HTML document. While Gutenberg is sometimes a useful site, a beginner is better off buying a chess book. I would suggest Lasker's "Modern Chess Strategy," the superior revised edition published in 1950.

I do not own any chess software of any sort, although in the past I've dabbled with Fritz and CM, but I find computer chess boring and pointless. The computer beats me every time if I set the difficulty high enough. I only play against humans, either online or OTB. On correspondence games, I analyze positions and games on a board with pieces. The entire purpose of chess is mental exercise and recreation. I do not require the mathematical perfection that computers bring. Losing reveals the limitation of my mind, whether temporary or permanent. I feel one misses the point of chess by bringing computers to the table. I feel that it is dishonorable to rely upon machines to do the thinking. Computers do not need chess. Humans do. Computers already calculate certain problems with near-perfect precision. Humans have the flawed brains that can benefit from the rigor of chess-exercises.

I do not believe that many people cheat on chess.com (and in fact it is not feasible in blitz games of less than ten minutes), but those that do are sad sacks to need the empty, petty "victory" of winning a stakeless game by underhanded means. They deprive themselves of the true purpose of the game, which is exercise of the human brain.

Chess lets me know when my brain is functioning sub-par. Could mean, not enough sleep, too much sleep, or... In the past, I drank, for a very large portion of my life in fact, since the age of thirteen even. Not heavily, as some do, but I drank nonetheless in order to "feel good," or relaxed at any rate. It was not until a very late age indeed that I learned how to feel good and relaxed without recourse to substances of any kind. At any rate, drinking impaired my chess-playing to the tune of 200-400 points. Don't believe me, analyze my rating over the course of my chess.com tenure, the facts are there. Drinking impaired my mind not only during intoxication, but for days afterward. What I am telling you is that it is possible to get smarter, more emotionally balanced, relaxed, and whole on the inside, and the Way begins, just begins, by stopping drinking. As a side benefit, more chess games are won, but that really is not a worthy goal by itself. In summary, I give credit to chess-playing in spurring me on to realize and appreciate the true nature of alcohol, which is a poison to mind, body, and spirit, despite what the media may say about "flavonoids" in wine. Resveratrol does not make up for the alcohol content in red wine. My brain I consider to be the only thing I have going for me and my best friend in this world. I should not do ANYTHING to hurt my best friend, ever! Would that more people saw things this way, as the world would be a better place.

I prefer to play unusual openings that I developed largely on my own and do not care what the "received opinion" is on any opening. If you think my opening can be refuted then have at it, within the time limit allotted! I relish disabusing opening snobs of their prejudices! In my opinion, either color can move any piece or pawn to any square on the first move and still come out okay in the end with proper play. So prove me wrong, if you can!

Chess.com has great groups, including gay groups, is gay-friendly, and has Vote Chess, none of which is true of certain competitors. Chess.com also has a better service overall, not dropping connections due to technical problems or losing player histories, unlike certain competitors.

On Chess.com, I like to play blitz (not bullet), standard, and on rare occasions, against opponents of equal strength, games as long as one hour per side, but usually not longer. 

I like Vote Chess, but have had to quit a number of games in which team members were not participating but merely voting with little or no discussion, which defeats the purpose of vote chess. If there is to be no discussion of moves, then there really is no advantage to playing vote chess over solitary chess. Communication is key.

 Generally, I do not join Tournaments or Vote Chess, because I loathe commitment, I like being able to snatch my chess snacks on a catch-as-catch-can basis and not feel like "I gotta."

I do not join groups just for the sake of joining groups. I only join groups of an ideological cast that I believe in. I believe that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol and should be legal. The reason marijuana is not legal today is because of the inability of some human beings to evaluate scientific evidence. I believe gays should have the right to marry. I do believe in God, but do not adhere to an organized religion and therefore do not join such groups, although there may be overlap between their beliefs and my own. I believe it is the duty of a citizen to exercise the right to vote, in the rare instance in history when such a precious right is granted.

I believe in honor, do not cheat in any way, and will try to rematch players if they request it. I am not scared of losing and do not care what my rating is. I am glad for my rating to go down, because it means next time I will get an easier opponent. I just do not care whether I win or lose. In fact, I think it is silly to be obsessed with something like rating. If I do not rematch you, it means one thing, I am tired, and you must not get into a tizzy. There is more to life than chess. Besides, I am old and get tired a good deal easier than some of you. I usually need a break after an intense game. Cut a little slack to us older folk!

Whether I win or lose, I like to encourage my opponent to complete their lessons in the game of Kings. I hope to inspire and motivate others. It may come as some surprise, particularly after I have won, when I employ the ever-charming colloquial, so different from traditional English. "I been done lernt you a lesson" is the past pernicious participle, as fellow grammarians have so rightly observed. See "Official Colloquial English Guide," 19th ed., Vol. IV, p. 571-579, where this is discussed in greater detail. Those who find mere text on a screen unsatisfying should visit Google Translate, where my words are spoken aloud: ( https://translate.google.com/?q=i+been+done+lernt+you+a+lesson#auto/en/i%20been%20done%20lernt%20you%20a%20lesson ). I recommend clicking the speaker icon once, then a second time. I find this most satisfying. Isn't Google Lady lovely?