Diving Deeper into Chess

For my introduction into the chess scene I started my journey by signing up on chess.com which is the world’s leader in online chess and the site that will track my matchmaking rank as described in my first post. The platform was actually full of valuable information and teachings from puzzles to show optimized moves and even practice matches against bots of different skill calibers. After making my account I started with a matchmaking score of 400 which will be the baseline for my progress.

To start my learning process I moved to what I found to be the most valuable resource when learning any type of skill online, YouTube. I started discussing with my one friend who plays chess if he had any recommendations for channels that cater to beginner players. He told me to check out GothamChess on Youtube which is a rather large content creator that specializes in lessons such as openings and match critiquing. My friend also recommended a video on the topic of openings which is the starting point of chess strategy.



An opening simply put is a strategy of moves made from the start to set up the beginning of the game. Different openings are used to accomplish goals such as better protecting the king, creating space for later movements and making it easier to set up pawn captures as the games moves forward. I watch a video on the King’s Indian setup which I will link at the bottom. This setup provides a great starting defence for the king as well as room to make plays with the surrounding pieces.

After tackling the King’s Indian setup I moved into games against the generated computers provided on the chess.com website. I started against the lowest possible bot and transitioned into bots in the range of 200-400 matchmaking rank just to try to get a hold of the movements and trading concept. One of the biggest struggles in my introduction was understanding the different piece values and what was a good or poor trade. Being able to play against a computer that wouldn’t completely punish my mistakes made a great starting point to use the opening learned in the first YouTube video.



I think for my next moves this semester is try to utilize some of the puzzles and different learning methods accessible to me and move into playing games against real world opinions around my skill caliber.



Photos taken from the chess.com website and the GothamChess Youtube page via https://www.youtube.com/c/GothamChess

Tackling Chess

For my semester long learning journey, I’ve decided to try to tackle the game of chess. Chess is something that I have zero experience in other then exposure to its references in pop culture. With its resurgence of popularity due to online streamers taking an interest in the game I thought it would be an interesting skill to try to grasp a hold of. I’m a person that is very interested in games whether it be sudoku or different types of video games so I’m predicting that I’ll take a liking along my journey.

To start, my current knowledge is very limited in chess. I can recall some of the pieces movement and have played checkers in the past but have zero experience in strategy. From what I hear chess is a game that is not terribly difficult to learn but the ceiling for skill is very high. This is another reason the game interests me as I feel climbing the ladder in skill will be a great way to benchmark my journey.

This leads me into another interesting element that attracts me to chess specifically is the ladder system it introduces. In chess there is an assigned number to your perceived skill rating. Based on your wins and losses in online and in person games your number will increase or decrease. I think this is a great benchmark for my progress and looking at the bell curve of number distribution I can see how I compare to the rest of the community throughout the semester.

So my journey starts here and I am excited to see what it brings throughout the semester!

Photo via chess.com