New Experience #4 – Learning to Play Chess
For the longest time I have wanted to learn to play Chess, but never really took the time. The closest I ever got was when I was a child and a friend of my father tried to teach me, but at the time I was more interested in playing videogames.
Well, a little over a week ago I sat down, read up on the game, and began playing on my computer. I have yet to win, but that’s ok. The author of the lesson I was reading stressed that it takes a lot of practice and you just have to keep on playing – like anything else. So I will continue to play and learn the game. So far I have found the experience to be very stimulating and forces me to tune all other distractions out. I enjoy getting to that level of focus and the game of Chess certainly achieves that.
I will admit, it gets a little trying at times. And I have to remind myself of what the author says and what I have learned many times in life – it takes practice to learn new things. Fortunately, most of the time it is enjoyable and I keep learning new things from each and every loss.
This will be one of those learning experiences that continues throughout the year. It is surely becoming a daily habit to get a couple of games in the morning while I eat breakfast or a couple before bed. A good friend suggested I get a chess set and play against myself. Hmmm…well, at least that way I am sure to win! For now, Chess on my Mac Book is doing the job nicely.
February 7, 2012 @ 10:30 am
Don’t play games to get better.
Chess is strategy and tactics. Improve tactics by solving puzzles – plenty of free ones on internet or sign up to chess.com and use their tactics trainer. Study games to understand strategy.
Study openings too – don’t just memorize the moves, actually get to understand the strategy behind the moves.
When you do play a game, annotate it and study the moves after, preferably with the aid of a good computer chess engine like Fritz.
But chess is mostly tactics. If you want to improve, then practice tactics and puzzles. After a while certain patterns will stick in your mind and they will start to stand out in games.
February 7, 2012 @ 4:26 pm
Thanks for the great advice, Mike! I really appreciate the guidance. I will certainly post about this again to give an update on my progress.