My first memories of playing chess are a little fuzzy, but I do remember I wanted to beat my brother Shepherd at something he was in a club for and I wasn’t. I had a really competitive spirit and I still do now. I wanted my brother to show me how to play chess and finally my brother was forced to by my mother. Luckily, my kindergarten school had a chess club which is where I met my best friend of five years. After playing with my friends and winning, my competitive spirit slowly turned into a love for chess and finally at my first rated tournament I got to put my skills to the test. I was in the lowest section and there were five rounds (it was a city tournament). The section was K-1.  Everyone had an under 400 rating. I won each of the 5 rounds and I got first place. I shot up my rating to 925 and got kicked out of the section because my rating was too high. I helped my team to get first place with 4 people (top 4 add their points together for the team points).  In total, we had 16 points (my brother – 3, a 1st grader named Joshua – 4, my best friend Avaan – 4, me – 5). I played in many tournaments, finally reaching a rating of 1000 at age 6. 

Skip forward a few years to 3rd grade. My parents made me stop playing chess tournaments because my schedule was full. I adapted and for two years I didn’t play chess.

Skip forward a couple more years. In 5th grade, because of Covid, all the chess was online. There are differences between online chess and real chess. One difference is that there are distractions at home. Siblings can be very annoying when you are trying to focus. When we are playing in person, everyone has to be quiet. I started to play online chess and broke 1500, hurraay! My rating started bouncing around between 1475 and 1525, finally settling around 1510-1530. 

However, then my rating jumped down to 1488. WAAAAAH. At a tournament in April 2021, I won two out of two games. I thought I could win all 4 rounds. Unfortunately there was someone who is higher rated who I hadn’t beaten in the last 5 games we played. I beat him a long time ago, but I thought, It probably won’t be today… UUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHH! His name is… Elliot Goodrich. He is only in 2nd grade and has a rating of over 1500!  

First round, I played a guy named Andrew Plasse. 20 moves later, it was still even. Finally, I thought of a tactic. Win a pawn. Then, I was up 1 point. I won another pawn. I was winning when we got to the end game.  I was up 2 pawns. Me- King, Bishop, Rook, and 2 more pawns than him. Him- King, Knight, Rook, and 2 less pawns than me. He resigned. Victory for me! I checked his rating after the match, 800. Cue the groan of disappointment. 

Note: I could only see his name when I was playing. His name allows me to know where to search for his rating, but I didn’t look him up. 

In the second round, I won again. Then I played Elliot… And I won! I was so happy!

Just to mention, there is a timer in chess that ticks per second. There is sometimes a delay which means if you don’t move in a certain amount of time, your clock starts ticking. After each move, you get time back on the clock. But the increment isn’t used for every chess game. In person, every time you move, you are supposed to hit the clock switching which side is ticking. If someone’s timer reaches zero and the other person can win if they continue, it is a loss for the person out of time. If the other person cannot win if they continue playing, then it is a draw.

Chess can be very frustrating for me at times. There are two specific times when I got really mad. I was winning at the game when I put my opponent in a stalemate, when he cannot move his king or any piece anywhere. This means it is a draw. At the first game I was in the last game of the tournament at board 2. My friend and I were the top two players, both at 3/3. My friend beat his opponent and won the section, but I drew to my opponent by stalemate even though I was winning and I got second. He got 4/4 but I got 3.5/4. And no, it was not on tiebreaks. I was the only one with 3.5 as my opponent went 3/4. Stalemate means that the opponent cannot move or you cannot move, therefore resulting in a draw. This is different from Chinese chess though.

Even with all my troubles and frustrations, I still continued playing chess. I actually started writing this paragraph on the 2nd day of the New York State Chess Championship. It was between rounds 4 and 5 on April 17-18, 2021. There were two days and three rounds per day. 

The first game, I was winning by a bishop and a pawn. Then, I dreadfully lost a rook by a simple tactic that I found immediately after I moved. Then. I lost. I was so mad and so sad. I was playing a 1000 which was not even that good. The word STUPID ricocheted across my mind. Then, I got over it in an hour by telling myself that the next round would be easier. 

2nd game, also against a 1000. I got his bishop in the first 10 moves. I took everything from him then I mated him. Easy enough. 1/2 points is my score.

3rd game, last game of the day, and the most insane. Lost the exchange. Then I won a bishop for a pawn. The game was tied. Then, I lost a knight. Then I lost the game. I was playing 1200. I won ⅓ of the games.

In the 4th game, I played another 1000. I won a bishop. I went to the endgame and was victorious. Yay! Return to the present.

In the 5th and 6th game I beat a 1000 and 1200 respectively. I got a score of 4/6, 27 out of over 100. Not really impressive. My friend though, got a score ⅚, and got 3rd place! Considering this is the championship for elementary players, he is basically #3 elementary school chess player in the whole city. Interestingly enough, when we were in the K-1st grade we played each other infinitely and beat each other around the same amount. Like, 10 times each.

I don’t really know why I like chess so much. It’s hard for me to explain my feelings. I just like it, no need to push, that’s it. So, you people can try it and see how you like it. I am still going to play, not planning to stop. But I think this essay is lengthy enough. But just so you know, if you challenge me, I won’t go easy: I like to win.

*P.s- You may be asking yourself what the title is. The letters start a word. The letters are the first letter in the word. The numbers are what number the letter is in the alphabet, for example, 1=a, 2=b, 3=c, 4=d, 5=e.  The title is a puzzle just like chess!

P.s.s- This was written over a period of time (you’re probably thinking DUH).

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