I’ve played 16,037 games of chess over my 9 year career. From 2012 to 2018, my rating did not ascend past 1,300. During the pandemic, I’ve gotten my rating as high as 1,631 and wanted to share my feelings on the game.

On Saturday after a virtual game night of Quiplash where I drank 6 Centennial IPA’s, I fired up a chess session at 12am against Nitish2005 from India. He played a Scandy and I blundered a bishop in our first game and he won easily with 87.9% accuracy. I had a 3 pawn advantage in the 2nd game and blundered a rook when I didn’t see his rook could put me in check and lost that one in 45 moves. Now I’m getting a bit pissed. The 3rd game I get beat against a French in 11 moves. Now I’m really pissed. He beats me the 4th game with a 95.1 accuracy. I finally win the 5th game in 74 moves which is a marathon. He traps my knight in the 6th game and I’m fuming mad. The 7th game ends with him forking my king and queen with his knight and me taking my desk chair and throwing it up in the air making a huge crash at 1am. I’d guess the neighbors didn’t find it amusing. Ah, the joys of chess.

Mano a Mano

There is no hiding in chess. It’s intellect vs intellect and there are not unfair, random aspects to the game that reward good luck. This makes it so there is only one person to blame and it’s always yourself. There are times when the other player beats you but more often than not, you beat yourself. In order to advance in this game, not only do you have to have incredible preparation to understand the fundamentals, but you must not turn into a puddle of brain mush when you start losing. I have not mastered this at all and have broke my last desk and then practically broke my hand after losses on this new hardened desk.

With the popularity of the game increasing due to the Queen’s Gambit, I’d expect it to continue to rise because it’s truly a great game. I don’t think I’d play 16k games otherwise. What’s made it more fun is that there are streamers on Twitch who share how to play the game and its boosted my ability rapid fire. After watching Daniel Naroditsky’s YouTube speed run, I’ve improved dramatically. What is a good opening against the Sicilian? How to attack the king with pawns? Where to find weak squares? All of this boosts your ability to win and I’m continuing my climb. Do I think I can get to 2,000? Probably not, but I’d compare my 1,600 to about a 10 handicap in golf. Still a ways to go but better than your average bear.