Initial Learning Strategy

Obviously, a game with more than 500 years of history has an unending amount of learning resources. I read that Anatoly Karpov has a private chess library of more than 9,000 books. I've attempted to distill those available down to me into an initial game plan. Of course, this will evolve significantly over time.
  1. Apps
    • Play Magnus - this and the trainer app are just really beautiful and fun. I know I'm not maximizing my learning here, but I enjoy it. I'll probably take the tactics to a reasonable level and hopefully beat Magus at age 9 or 10.
    • Chess.com - my goal is to play to beat at least 20 tactics games a day. From all I gather, learning tactics are the critical first step that never stops being valuable practice.
  2. Endgame - I purchased Silman's Complete Endgame Course after seeing it highly recommended. The great part about this book is that it's broken up by rating. I figure I can handle the first section (<1,000) and the second (1.000-1,000) for starters. This should push the limits of my knowledge. I will constantly be referring back to this book as I get better.
  3. Play live games on Chess.com - this is going to be a huge mental hurdle for me. As amazing as blitz games look, I know they would be disastrously bad for me starting off. Once at this point, my objective is to play 5 rapid games a day. My goal for this is to achieve a rating of 1,000.
  4. Online Lessons
    • I have my eye on a GingerGM course "Chess Improvement Secrets for a Busy Player". This course deals heaving with openings, especially the London System. I find this very interesting and fitting for my style, but I'm also told I should focus on opening strategies last. I'll probably familiarize with the system more first via YouTube videos.
    • Gary Kasparov Master Class - I don't have any information on how good this course is, but it looks very polished. And it's Gary Kasparov! Hard to resist.
  5. In person lessons - Of course living in NYC, it just so happens that a well respected GM lives a couple doors down from me. It's a long ways off, and very expensive, but this could be a solution to overcoming major hurdles later on.
  6. Join USCF - Why not? I guess this is required if I ever want a "real" rating.
  7. Live Chess - Again, I'm fortunate enough to live in the greatest city in the world. Bryant Park is right by my office, and I could easily swing by for a game a lunch. There's also the Marshall chess club, but that seems like years away.
I'm really looking forward to checking off items from this list and adding new ones. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

The Road to 2000

As a person obsessed with learning (and not casually like Max Deutsch), nothing has fascinated me more throughout life than the game of Chess. Improving at it has always seemed like one of the purest challenges of learning, yet somehow it has always eluded me. I'm a flat-out bad chess player. If I could obtain a rating, I'd have to guess it was 400. It's certainly sub 800. The problem is, I can't even commit to playing games against other people to get an accurate ranking. My blunders are so numerous and apparent that I quickly give up any consecutive games. I've tinkered with learning the game in the past but never fully pursued it. As the new year approaches, I'm deciding to make a resolution of another push but this time with some accountability. What's my end goal for my lifetime? Let's say achieve a rating of 2000 by the US Chess Federation. Why 2000? For one, it just sounds like a cool even rating. Also, it happens to be the cutoff for which USCF considers "Expert". Who doesn't want to say they're an expert in something? This seems like it would be a good level to achieve to actually play games with others for fun while being competitive. Some hurdles I recognize:
  1. Time commitment - there are so many chess knowledge sources these days, I should have no problem finding solutions that are conscious of time commitments.
  2. Composure - Whenever in a competitive setting, I tend to lose my form. As a poker player, this is known as "going on tilt." I'm hoping to make chess the exception to this.
  3. Late start - I'm 32. I'm sure all the chess greats you've ever heard off were child prodigies. Obviously, this will never be me. But I also think chess has a demographic problem. Why are more people not taking it up later in life? There's no barrier to entry, like having functioning knees for skateboarding. I hope I can somehow solve this problem in my journey.
Wish me luck!