In a conversation with myself. Why I play chess Ziyad Ali Greenshaw high school

With two of my articles being about the Surrey’s progress in the U1450 SCCA tournament, some of you may be wondering about my own journey and why I play chess.

First, an update on how the Surrey team did in the tournament. Following our narrow victory of 7-5 over Middlesex and Essex losing by the same score to Kent, Surrey managed to come out on the top of the table securing us, Kent, and Essex a spot in nationals. We were set to play Leicestershire in the quarterfinals however due to a forfeit from them we have made it to the semi-finals to face Kent on the 11th of June. I, as well as the rest of the team, are very confident, we can, not only beat Kent but also win in the finals.

As for my story, I first started playing chess when I was 8 due to my primary school teacher introducing it to me, I went on to play with family members and my teacher however eventually they stopped playing with me and I only had myself to play with which got quite boring very quickly, so I stopped playing the game. However, after 8 years I was reintroduced to the game; at the time I was struggling with insomnia, and one idea to help me cope was to exhaust my brain. I immediately thought of chess to do this I thought it might be a nice way to challenge myself to get good at another skill.

Immediately it became apparent that despite my prior experience I had much to improve on despite me being an above-average player for basically a beginner of the game. Soon after I started playing chess again the ‘chess boom’ began due to Netflix’s release of the Queen’s Gambit. Because of this many new players or returning players were eager to learn and so many chess content creators made videos tailored to beginners my personal favorites are GothamChess and GMHikaru. After studying the game through buying courses and watching many YouTube videos I eventually built enough confidence to enter unrated tournaments. Out of the 5 tournaments I played in I won 3 and as my online rating climbed to 1500, I decided to start teaching chess to other beginner players. Eventually, I received an email offer to play for the Surrey team, I was so nervous to respond I asked my history teacher to do it for me. After a game against the captain to assess my rating, I got into the team and now I am playing in a national-rated tournament.

My journey in chess is far from over I will continue to teach and play in many tournaments and maybe one day become a titled player. Now I have something for you as the reader to do; think of a hobby you have always wanted to do whether that be playing a sport, reading, or even knitting, start doing it because you never know where it will lead you.

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