My love of chess


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From a young age, I have had a love of chess. It is the most magnificent and enduring of games, rich in both depth and reward.

Last year, I went into a tournament and had a horrendous experience. I lost all 5 games, spread over 2 days! This was my worst result ever. However, out of the ashes rises the phoenix! This negative experience was actually a blessing in disguise. It prompted me to re-evaluate where I was going with my game and to strive for progress. And the only way I know how to progress is through tiny, incremental but relentless change.

With that in mind, this season I have won 6 games, drew 1 and lost 1. My grade was 169 before the tournament, but that has dropped to 156 because of my appalling result there. But, if you look at the 8 games I have played this season, my playing strength based on those is 180. I am very pleased!

My goal is to get to 200 playing strength. That is a real stretch goal, because to get to that kind of level, you need to be playing a lot of chess and I just don't play enough games for that. At the moment, I play about 22 slow games per year, but that is only because I entered 2 tournaments last year where you play 5 games in each. In any case, I have set goals for my estimated playing strength month by month. When you break it down this way, things seem much more doable.

I've bullet pointed a bunch of tasks I need to do which will nudge up my grade consistently. I am using a website called Chessable that helps you drill your openings, or learn strategies, tactics and so on. By consistently following this route, although I am not playing that many games per year, I still hope (and expect) to boost my grade significantly.

So, this thread is for anyone who wants to talk chess and also doubles up as an accountability thread, to help publicly disclose my improvement intentions and to keep me on track.

Faith without works is dead!
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save his grade? If a brother or sister is without a chess-set and destitute of daily games, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace with the Bishop, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the brain, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.


Founding Member
I, on the other hand, never got that deeply into chess. For me, the allure of chaos is more interesting. And this chaos is embodied in card games where you shuffle and deal from a randomized (chaotic) deck, then do the best you can with what you've got. I used to be a tournament bridge player (duplicate style as opposed to random money games). My best partner and I split ways when she went off to find love with another person (she was gay; I wasn't). My wife is not a card player.


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I won a trophy at the weekend. It was for best Crowborough player in the local tournament. I also won it 32 years ago! After 32 years of hurt, it is finally back in the right hands again. I am the champ!

Also, I joined a new chess club this Monday. Played 5 games and won 3, all against very strong opposition. Nice quick games with 15 minutes each on the clock. I will definitely be going again. My local club doesn't have strong enough players going on a typical club night, so I have gone slightly further afield. Only 6 miles in the car which is very doable.


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Good work, Jon! Glad you got the trophy back.

I was never a good enough bridge player to win national tournaments, but I once taught a bridge class at my alma mater, Univ. of New Orleans, and later was director for the uni's bridge club. When the number of people attending a session was uneven, I became a "playing" director though you get more points to hand out if the director is non-playing. As it happened, one of my bridge students and I had a good run and came in at third place for the season. The uni had the chance to send two teams to college regional finals and the team in 2nd place wasn't qualified because our game was an "Open" and they weren't students at U.N.O., so my partner and I went as the 2nd team to the state regionals. We didn't place any higher than about sixth overall, but over the weekend of the tourney, we had a blast. It was a great experience and I still am in contact with that partner even though he moved to Texas. We exchange e-mails now and then and when he comes to New Orleans to visit family, we will get together for a chat over dinner.


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Thanks Doc.

I never got into bridge, but it is hugely popular. Whenever I go to my local chess club, or even the new one too, there is a bridge thing going on, with large numbers of people taking part.
I've been thinking about getting back into it because the local ACBL (American Contract Bridge League) is only about 3 miles from my house. But these days I've got other priorities and so far, nothing has moved me to go back. But I've had a lot of fun at bridge tables, just as I'm sure you've had lots of fun at chess boards.


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My club is a couple of miles away, so it is a no brainer for me. Having said that, I only go when there is a match to my local club. This new club has stronger players so will drive the 6 miles there.

Doc, at least you know its there if you get the inclination. If you are anything like me, I cycling in and out of my interest in things.