My Week In Chess: Making Advancements At My Own Pace

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. I also usually have some kind of tea while I study, so building that routine is helping. I have a bad habit of stress snacking, so there’s some progress on replacing a bad habit with a better one.
  • This one feels really silly, but it’s a win. I know that chess is a war game, a player is control of an army, but this week I saw one of my puzzles had a pretty solid queen side defense. In that moment, I realized I was seeing the game not as an arbitrary way, but I was actually felt the weight of the game, I guess? I am controlling an army, and I must use my pieces wisely. The moment I realized this, I felt like I unlocked a new door into the world of chess. It was like I could finally peel off the outer layer of the chess onion I previously hadn’t been able to grasp.
  • The other day I hadn’t done anything with chess all day, so I decided to hop onto so online tactics puzzles on an app. I did not have as many incorrect answers! Hooray! And I noticed that my impulsiveness is a bit quieter. I felt really good that I didn’t get hung up on the small skirmishes, and looked to the bigger concerns on the board. I felt unstoppable! This is working! Last night I tried it again, and then I got a bunch wrong in a row — keeping me humble.
I put this in because I loved it.

Other Good Things This Week

  • I am officially a member of the Southern California Chess Federation! I’m already a USCF member, so I am officially qualified to register for the tournament!
  • Workouts kind of fell to the wayside this week. I spoke at a conference about chess and design on Saturday, and as much as I needed to carve out that time for myself, it didn’t happen. I have a chess event I’m going to speaking at in a few short weeks, so definitely going to try to make sure I keep at the workouts.
  • I got back to somewhat more regular mindfulness practice this week! Adding in that daily practice has been difficult, even though I find myself using it most days in some capacity when I need it. This week I’ve been working towards 10+ minutes of mindfulness practice.

What I’m Working On

My local chess club has a club match they’re participating in — it’s going from next Sunday to July 31st, every Sunday. It’s for rapid and blitz. I am not at all a blitz player right now, but I do sorta okay(?) as a rapid player. I’m realizing I need to start playing with the time controls to get more experience. This one will be 15 plus 2 second increments.

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