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