Today's entry in my weekly series, Rook's Recommendations for Raising Ratings, concerns using one of the best resources on the web for improving your game - personal chess improvement blogs.
When I decided to get back into chess last year, naturally I searched the Internet to find advice on how to improve my game. Lucky for me I came across this:
The Chess Of Edwin ‘dutchdefence’ Meyer
Checks, captures, threats, combinations… Weblog of an amateur chess player determined to improve.
Part of the appeal Edwin Meyer's website was that he, like me, was taking on the task of improving his game later in his life - having first learned to play chess between the age of 29 and 30.
I read several of his blog entries. They were really interesting and very helpful - so helpful in fact that I went back to his very first entry (and to his original blog And Then There Was Chess) and read everything from the beginning!
There was (and is) a tremendous amount of useful information at both his blogs. I can give it no higher recommendation than to say it served as an inspiration for my own.
Since then I have come across several other excellent personal improvement chess blogs. Here are some other great ones:
- Begin Chess - A beginner's journey into the complex world of chess... A superbly designed and organized web site - everything is categorized so it is easy to explore a topic of interest. Like Edwin Meyer's blog, this was one of the first to catch my eye - since the writer of it is on a journey very similar to that of yours truly, Rook Van Winkle. If you too have decided it's time to give chess a try I think you'll find a lot of interesting reading here and lots links to good information.
- Confessions of a Chess Novice - Chess is too serious to enjoy, and too frivolous to take seriously. Eric Thomson is a member of the Knights Errant, a group of chess enthusiasts blogging about their quest to improve at the game. He started playing chess in 2005 and says "After six weeks of playing chess, I entered a tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina and lost 3/4 games, ending up with a provisional rating of 900. That puts me in the F class, which is the bottom 10% of all rated chess players." Form there Eric chronicles his chess improvement with an astounding amount of thoughtful and very useful chess improvement material that could keep you occupied for weeks!
- Steve Learns Chess - Never enough time, but trying to improve my chess game anyway! Steve Eddins says "I’m a borderline class C / D player with a USCF rating fluctuating around 1400. I’m an adult player who’s trying to study and improve my game in between devoting time to my family and my job." That sounds familiar to must of us! This is a good blog to visit once your chess improvement plan is under way to see what life is like in the trenches.
- SquirrelChess.com - A journey into the world of chess. Squirrel says "This website is about learning to play chess, random things I discover on the long way to chess mastery, and the game of chess itself." Another must see site with all kinds of content: articles, reviews, annotated games, a chess glossary, and more.
- Chess Tales - Chess, chess players and tournaments worldwide, online and in the media. Roger, by his own admission is "probably quite a good player" and there is a lot of interesting material on his site. In particular, for advice on improving your chess, start with his Chess Improvement Tips
Finally, although not a personal chess blog, I want to end this post with an absolutely essential resource for the chess novice:
- Dan Heisman's Chess Page. Dan is a National Master, full-time chess instructor, hosts a regular chess broadcast as "Phillytutor" on the Internet Chess Club and (best of all) is the award-winning Novice Nook columnist over at the Chess Cafe. Whew! I've mentioned Dan before in my blog (here and here) and I cannot recommend highly enough the fabulous advice he has for the chess beginner and novice.
I'll end with this bit of advice: "When in the same boat we should all pull together." :-) Thanks to the great chess improvement blogs out there, we are "pulling together"!