It was back in April that I first cracked the rating of 1900, and it's been almost 2 months since I solidified myself at the 1900 rating on lichess. These dates are notable because this afternoon, I finally poked my head across 2000. I had gotten as high as 1998 before then tumbling back down in rating. Yesterday, I ended at 1997. And then this afternoon, I intended to just play one game and then stop to do some chess study. But the first game ended in a stalemate. So I played another. That one I managed a draw from a losing position. The third game was rough, I was losing until I managed to snatch up an opponent's rook. That game put me up to a rating of 2002.
I have no expectations of staying over 2000. It has been a repeated pattern that I break a new rating threshold and then fall back. Which makes sense, ratings are measurements of your accumulated skill and playing ability at the time of your playing. I'll tumble back before continuing to advance, learn, and improve.
This threshold, though, is notable as it has been my goal. When I started chess "seriously" at the start of Covid, I knew I wasn't shooting for an official FIDE title or anything like that. I don't want chess to become my life, which is what would be required for that. I want to be "good" at chess, where good is defined as "better than most people." I picked the 2000 rating as that was roughly the rating needed to be better than 90% of players on the site.
So, here I am, poking me head at that level. I won't stop here, there are some obvious areas where I can improve which will definitely further improve my skill at the table. Right now that list is:
- Defensive play - I still opt for very aggressive play. This has been beneficial in the lower levels as newer players struggle to keep solid defense against it. But pure aggression is more and more easily handled by my opponents and I find myself floundering, so this is an area to improve.
- Pawns - I don't really utilize my pawns. It is not uncommon for us to get through much of the middle game and I'll have 4+ pawns still in their starting square. This isn't inherently a problem, but often it is clear that I missed an opportunity to develop them and claim space on the board, etc. Or I leave myself flat footed as my opponent launches an attack.
- Openings - As of now I default to the Scotch opening when playing white, and the Caro-Kann as black. My abilities with the Scotch are far better than my skills with the Caro-Kann, but in both of these cases I can improve my opening knowledge and repetoire. As well as adding more comfort with different openings, something which will likely be needed as my rating continues to grow.
This list is by no means conclusive, there is lots for me to improve on. But these are the ones I'm thinking of as I look at the next stint of my journey.