Chess – learning challenge vol. 1

January 2021

Start of new year is a perfect time for picking up new hobbies. It is a common knowledge. In my case, for 2021 I’ve taken up the challenge of learning chess. From total beginner. Each month I’ll be publishing my stats from chess.com and some commentary if applicable. It will ease the process of tracking progress, and strenghten my motivation.

The end of 2020 in the realm of polish chess brought three events that have impacted the popularity of this discipline domestically.:

– Queen’s Gambit, series published by Netflix
– Jan Krzysztof Duda victory over reigning champion of the world – Magnus Carlsen, ending Carlsen’s streak of 2 years without a defeat in classical time format
– interest surge of influencers on twitch.com in streaming chess

Taking the above into consideration – 2021 is probably the best time in history to start playing chess.

So – shall we play?

February 2021

January in chess sailed under the sign of learninf basic tactical moves. I’ve focused on the opening theory, opening files for rooks and taking advantage of 7th and 8th rank. I’ve practised with book ‘My system’ authored by Aron Nimzowitch.

In January I’ve played significantly less games – 107. On the contrary, I’ve achieved a much higher win percentage – 56%. I’ve played less, but mor accurate. I’ve also decided against playing late in the night, or fatiqued. Also, I’ve dropped the Sicilian defence – it’s just not the right moment for this opening.

I did play some games with people, that have written to me after publishing first post on linkedin. I did not anticipate that so many people from my connections play chess too.

March 2021

February on my way to become somewhat competent chess player was a month of downtime. Beginners enthusiasm faded greatly. I’ve not played much games, and when I played – I’ve achieved rather mixed results.

I’m not plnning on giving up, no way. It’s been only three months of learning, still a long way ahead. In march I’ll double down on my efforts in opening theory. I’ll study the italian game in more detail.

Stats for february 2021:
Games played: 51
Games won: 17
Winning percentage: 33.3%

April 2021

March in chess is an ideal example that confirms the saying ‘hard work pays off’. Due to the fact that I’ve changed jobs, and more or less locked country, I decided to use time off to play chess. Increased effort during the studies had a positive impact on the results.

In March:
Games played: 139
Games won: 77
Winning percentage: 55.4%
Over the course of 20 games, I’ve won 17 & lost 3
Crossed over 1200 rating points, that’s the treshold I’ve dreamed to be at the midway of the challenge.

May 2021

Having april finished – almost hald of my challenge is completed. It does not mean that my progress in half-hearted. In april, despite changing jobs and reduced hours that I’ve spent playing chess – I’ve managed to play 122 games. Of those 122, I’ve emerged victorious 56 times, which gives roughly 45% victories.

My chess challenge ain’t stopping – in may I’ll work on tactics even more.

June 2021

May in the process of learning chess became extreme. I’ve risen to the highest rating in my life – 1285, as well dropped to lowest in couple of months – 1156. All in matter of days. Such a rollercoaster.

I’ve changed my training plan – I work more on tactics, focusing on chess puzzles. I work less on video tutorials and on the play itseld. I’m convinced that cyclical work will bring me the result of playing better, in upcoming months.

In May:
Games played: 167
Games won: 81
Winning percentage: 48.5%