Chess and Me
I first learned how to play chess in fifth grade (a very formative year for me - I discovered chess, science, basketball, and girls). Our school was too small to have a formal chess club. Instead, I spent many hours after school playing our mathematics teacher Paul Walker using a set identical to the replacement that I have purchased and is shown above. I never did win very many games (one or two), and almost exclusively played the Giuoco Piano. I never knew enough to do anything different. I now have a USCF membership, but I have yet to play a rated game. I primarily joined to get Chess Life and eventually establish a scholastic club here at Ferris State University. Even though my chess abilities have not improved all that much, my passion for the game continues unabated. Something about this game seems to lead to obsessions (ever notice how many of the chess greats had some sort of mental issues?). My current chess activities involve three areas (for now). I usually go by the handle of “WeeBeasties” online. (hey, I’m a microbiologist - what did you expect?)
SUPPORTING CHESS IN BIG RAPIDS
I really want chess to become a “thing” in Big Rapids. We have a lot of coffee shops and other places where people congregate to pass the time during our long, cold, dark winter months. Why not play chess? So… I bought ten chess sets and distributed them around town for everyone to enjoy. Now I periodically check up on them to replace damaged or lost pieces. Apparently chess can be a violent game…
On campus, I have been trying to get a chess RSO (Registered Student Organization) going. No luck thus far, but a few regulars have been gathering to play pick-up games. Anil Venkatesh from the Mathematics department helped out for the past year or so (I have been tied up with General Education duties). However, I am looking forward to playing a lot more in the future. I have set up a website for the club now and we are an official USCf affiliate. So stop on by and play a game (or two).
PLAYING CHESS ONLINE
One site where I occasionally play online is lichess.org. This is a free site - I do not pay on this site, but I do play. My account can be found here. I have also set up a Big Rapids Chess Club Team on this site for anyone that is interested.
ONLINE CHESS TRAINING
I have recently set up an account at this site too. Chessable allows me to practice various openings, end game postions, and tactics. It is a handy way to master variations of the openings that I want to learn. It is also a very effective way to study chess books online. The dopamine surge from this gamified approach is very addictive; I’m drawn back like a moth to a flame. You can see my online profile here
This last site is an online tactics trainer. I use this along with tactics trainers on Chess and Lichess to help recognize tactical opportunities that arise over the board. Puzzles are good for your brain too. You can see my stats here