Information Architect extraordinaire Jorge Arango’s newsletter came out last week (if you don’t get that newsletter, sign up here). He had linked his post called “The Key To Understanding Why Things Happen.” Great title, gripped me right away, I had to read it. The post is about systems thinking.

I’m a junior UX’er, I still have a lot to learn as I move through this industry. Systems Thinking is one of those things I’ve heard about but hadn’t researched until I read the blog post. Basically, systems thinking is taking a more holistic approach to problem-solving — looking at all…

Modern chess design has stood the test of time, but that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes less is more.

Chess has a long history, it dates back to the 7th century in India, where it was created as a war game. In some ways, a lot of the game has remained unchanged since the creation, but there have been some big moments in the evolution of the game. Today, we’re talking about one particular moment in chess history — when the pieces became standardized.

To put on my information architect hat for a minute, the word “piece” in chess has a few different meanings depending on the context (if you’re following my IA and chess blog series, I will…

I got a new coach, and I’m making beginner’s chess content for adults!

Hiker at the summit
Hiker at the summit

Back at it this week with my blog. Last weekend was my birthday and I meant to write something up, but time got away from me. Even though I didn’t post an update, it’s been a busy two weeks of chess.

Prioritizing my chess needs

Two weeks ago, I made a hard decision. My chess coach was really nice and we got along, but I had to be honest: I needed more specialized focus. I have been flailing the past couple of months — there was no homework, and I tried…

A monthly look at great women chess players in history.

Basically, this all started with New In Chess, which is a chess magazine. Specifically the April edition, with Bruce Monson’s article on women’s chess champ LaVieve Mae Hines, a women’s chess champ from the 1920s.

I was so inspired by this article. LaVieve was an incredible player, and even more so, her story overlaps with my own in one way — we both live and play chess in the same city. I was born and raised around Los Angeles, so this piqued my interest. …

forest with the sun shining through
forest with the sun shining through

Hi. It’s been 3 weeks since my last one of these blogs. Had some family stuff going on, a big work project. Chess fell down my list of priorities. It happens.

In mindfulness, there’s an adage — once you recognize that your mind had wandered, you return to your breath and begin again.

I begin again with chess, this time with a little more awareness. I feel like I’ve been stuck as a beginner, I’m having trouble breaking out of those beginner issues. Up until I took my break, I was feeling frustrated with that. …

Polywork is ready to give LinkedIn a fight.

Landing page for Polywork
Landing page for Polywork

What Is Polywork?

You may or may not have heard of Polywork, depending on your social media circle.

Polywork is angling themselves as a direct competition to LinkedIn. There are no likes here. You can make your page what you want, and follow who you want. LinkedIn had one good thing going for them — seeing the connections of your connections, but it’s really gotten far from that as spammers take over and the bloated career popularity contest.

Talking about you as a person with multiple interests, hobbies, and facets of your life, isn’t up…

This week was kind of a mixed bag. I had a tough week, I got sick, but really what made it a good week was the online chess community.

100 Days Of Chess

I passed the 30% mark this week, I’m on day 34 of 100 days. While I was sick on Thursday, I was feeling so crappy, I posted that I got nothing done. TJ Murphy had me play a game with him. I lost, but I couldn’t have showed up for that day without him.

This week, the #chesspunks community showed up for 100 days of chess, and it makes my…

This week was a good week, overall, when it comes to chess. This analog studying method might be slower compared to studying digitally, but it’s working really well!

This week’s wins

  • Showing up every day to study some kind of chess has been extremely helpful for prioritizing myself. I have a hard time sticking with things, and seeing that I’m on day 27 of 100 days of chess, it feels good! Sticking with daily chess practice and study has become a new outlet. The other day I realized I was stressed, and my first thought was I need to get my chessboard out

After last week’s realization that I need to go more analog and tactile, I went all in this week.

Study Schedule

Last week, my coach and I mapped out what one hour of studying should look like.

My study books

40 minutes should be tactics puzzles (1001 Chess Exercises For Beginners). I write all over the inside of the book — draw lines on the board, write questions, leave myself reminders, etc.

20 minutes should be studying master games (300 Most Important Chess Positions). I use the notebook in the picture to take notes on the text. …

This week has been interesting. I’ve been keeping up with #100daysofchess, that’s been really motivating (day 13!). It’s been slow going this week, but I’ve been adding exercise into my daily habits this week. Mindfulness has been a little bit of a challenge. That’s something I’m planning on adding more of for next week.

Chess Study Progress?

I’m entering the grey area of my chess studies where I’m not sure if what I’m doing is working because I haven’t seen any improvement. Of course, it wouldn’t show up right away anyways. I can’t really know until a month or so down the road…

Jessi Shakarian

Jessi is a junior UX Designer at DIA Design Guild. She lives in Los Angeles and can be found on twitter @jessishakarian.

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