I think everyone who plays chess sets 1500 as one of those major milestones along the way to their potential. It’s about the time when many principles start to make sense and all the pieces which make up a chess game fall into place. The game isn’t so much one big event as it is a series of smaller movements working towards completing an end goal. Understanding each part of the whole has made a huge difference in my approach to each one. By this time I’ve also began to figure out my style of chess, how I like to play and what I strive for on the board. I’m not much of a sacrificial or aggressive player, I like to know what I’m going to do is going to work. It puts me in the more classical and solid style of chess which focuses on controlling the center, logical piece development, accumulating minor advantages such as space or the bishop pair and using those over the course of the game to constrict my opponent.
The game I’ll share today is a good example of this, even though I win a minor piece I don’t rush to convert. Instead I trade down the rooks to my advantage (meaning the recapture of the last rook leaves me with the open file) which is a huge part of positions and one of the most important things I’ve learned. Having the open file generally allows more vertical mobility for your rook and if challenged can step forward to be recapture by a pawn in the event of a trade, many times this would lead to a passed pawn and one step gained towards promotion. I also used the extra bishop to probe and create weaknesses and then use the power of the Queen to pick off the weaknesses which were created while maneuvering.
Another definite improvement I can see is my board sense, the ability to figure out what to do when there isn’t anything to do. The time during the slow moments on a chess board where there aren’t any tactics or weak pieces to exploit is one of the most important, it’s about setting up for the future. This is where the knight transfers happen, the bishop shuffles to better diagonals, the rooks are placed behind pawns that wish to make their journey forward and the Queen is placed out of hard but with an eye towards something in the future.
The journey to 1500 has been much much faster than it was to 1200 and I have a feeling 1700 is coming within the next month or two based on performance in blitz against 1700+ opponents as of now. I can always work to extend this into rapid and classical but those time controls are more for OTB games I feel.