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!

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