I started getting more serious about studying chess in the spring of 2021. This is a chance to capture my progress as a point in time.

Before this time it was playing for fun and trying to pick up tips and tricks from YouTube, Twitch, and some books, but I did not have any kind of plan. This made chess not fun because I kept throwing away games with silly blunders. I felt like something had to change to get me on a better path. I felt like I was a better player than my games showed.

To help jumpstart my learning, I got one lesson from a coach, which I talked about a bit here. After that I had a plan and started seeing some improvements.

By The Numbers

I’d like to say that the ratings were not that important to me, but that’s not entirely true. Having so many concrete numbers to watch, especially my rapid ratings, is one way to measure progress.

These are the numbers from April 1 to June 30, 2021 (stats from

  • Rapid rating: 839 to 1200
  • Number of rapid games (almost all 30-minute games): 149
  • Daily rating: 1001 to 1096
  • Number of daily games: 69
  • Blitz rating: 467 to 447
  • Number of blitz games: 1
  • Puzzle rating: 932 to 1371
  • Puzzle rush best score: ??? (went back to add this but does not have the history of puzzle rush)
  • USCF Online Regular: 876 (P21)
  • USCF Online Quick: 1084 (P11)
  • Chess lessons with a coach: 1

Books Studied

  • Queen of Katwe, Tim Crothers
  • Endgame, Frank Brady
  • Mind for Numbers, Barbara Oakley

July to September Plan/Goals

Here is what I think I should do going forward:

  • Get more lessons from a coach
  • Continue to study tactics
    • Improve puzzle rating and puzzle rush high score
  • Focus on some core openings
    • Use Chessable as the main tool
  • Play more games
    • Drop from 30-minute to 10-minute games