Year of chess: january 2022 update

Yup. It’s that time already. My first month is done. Tempus fugit. Time flies when you are having fun.

How far have I come? In ELO points? 74 up (at the time of writing). I use my rapid rating as a metric, because that is the timeframe that a beginner, like me, should be focusing on, as blitz games (1 to 5 minute games, are waaaay to fast for a beginner). I also only focus on 30 minute games in the rapid rating. 30 minute games are a normal time frame.

What I noticed is that at my level, most try to go for a fool’s mate and will blunder their queen very early on, or try to eat all your pieces when they know that the fool’s mate hasn’t worked. So one of my strategies right now, is to bait them into taking a certain piece and abusing that knowledge in setting up an ideal position for myself. This has gotten me some nice checkmates already (and one I blundered because I released my mouse one square to early, which caused me to resign the next move).

What I have also learned is not to give up too early. Even when I lose my queen, and they still have their queen it’s not a lost position just yet. I will push it to endgame and try to go for a promotion at the endgame. Most players don’t think a pawn move is that strong and won’t try to eat all your pawns, only when they notice that you are about to promote will they try to do something about it, when it’s already much to late, when I still have a supporting piece, as I can give a series of checks and force their piece away from defending, either by sacrificing my own piece or eating up theirs.

Something I love to do as well, is just watch other players play chess and hear them thinking about their moves. Hearing them calculate (as thinking through your moves is called in chess), and seeing the possibilities they might not see, or seeing a possibility which is refuted later. Something I also do, is watch opponents in my timeframe and just see them play and analyze the position and see what move I would play in that position, without the pressure of having to see and play myself. This gives me a very simple and easy boardvision exercise.

My biggest help though, is my exercises and study with the steps method. I have other chess books, but they are above my level. This method really takes you from the very, very beginning of learning how the pieces move, to 1500 Fide ELO if you go through all 6 steps. I am still at step 1 and notice that even certain mate patterns, at the chapter I am, are still to much to grasp, eventhough I will play certain patterns in games, to study them is a bit too much still. I am getting there, but slow and steady wins the race.

That is something I see with the chess players I watch on twitch, as I will recommend the steps method to all of them (not the IM’s or higher, off course) but if they are within the range of the method, I will recommend it to them, and most won’t take it. They will read a book by a IM or GM and then get discouraged that they can not study enough.

And as would be expected. I lost my motivation already one month in. I tend to lose games because my opponents take to quick and I get tunnel vision on my moves because of thinking about them for a long time, without taking into account the new position they are in. Or losing because they come parading their queen, while at other times parrying their queen perfectly and winning the match because of them bringing out their queen much to early. One thing I have to learn as well is to not hunt their queen. If I play solid chess, I don’t have to hunt, as they will hang their queen one time or another, but me hunting their queen can jeopardize my whole structure on the board, so I have to watch out with this.

Every post is written first in scrivener 3, which you can get a 30 day free trial of here at literature and latte.

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