December 17, 2020 Brandon Suffel
After watching Beth Harmon conquer all the simps on The Queens Gambit, I took it upon myself to try out chess. It’s not an easy game. I figured that out rather quickly. I tried playing random opponents on Chess.com; as my rating continued to drop, I felt hopeless. It was all too confusing; the piece movements were extraneous to my game strategy & I blundered more than I had missed wins or even made a solid move.
Is there any way I can improve? Yes, I thought. Practice makes perfect. I didn’t give up. I spent countless hours learning how each piece moves and their best positions to stay active and effective on the board. My hopes and dreams of learning the game of chess as a new player took off. I wanted nothing more than to conquer my friends at the chance we play against each other. I thought I was ready.
Still, my movements were imprecise and lacked any reasoning or lucrative thought. The blunders continued to reign upon any sense of victory at the end game. I couldn’t help but fail to put them in checkmate or even finish them without mercy at endgames, and most of the time, it ended in a draw stalemate. It was a horror show, to say at the least.
Suddenly, an epiphany came to mind. Who can I ask for help, with a warrant to do so? I couldn’t find any personal guidance since no one I know is great at chess. So I took my inquiries to YouTube. There are channels out there that provide good detail to avoid common mistakes for new players. For instance, it’s imperative to put your pieces at constructive positions before your opponent. That is, to advance your Knight pieces to the middle of the chessboard and having your Bishops aimed and ready to fire. Also, make sure not to use your Queen piece too early, as it should play defense in most game scenarios compared to offense unless your opponent commits the most heinous mistake to the game of chess: opening up your first two pawns (playing as white) to F3 and G4.
No more would I let these foolish blunders be a crucial component to my defeats any longer. However, I still couldn’t comprehend and effectively win in the end game scenarios. I usually end up with the most pieces on the board towards the end game and sometimes advance a pawn to the other side of the board to become another Queen or Rook. But yet, as threatening pieces are to my opponent’s position, there I was, still in a grim endgame with no winning end in sight. How can I get there?
The key is to play ruthlessly. Make sure to advance your pieces and trap your opponents before they can trap you. That’s not a simple task. It takes practice and dedication to get better at the game; however, it’s worth it. If you spend at least 30 minutes of your day playing an opponent, a friend, or a computer, you will soon understand why you’re making those constant mistakes. Keep trying and don’t give up, coming from a Chess Dunce.