Dries Buytaert

Elo 1400

Reached a chess rating of Elo 1400 on Chess.com by studying the Four Knights opening and the Pirc defense.

Today, two months after reaching Elo 1300 on Chess.com, I reached Elo 1400.

Since reaching 1300, I decided to study two openings: Four Nights for when I'm playing with white, and the Pirc Defence for when I'm playing with black.

I watched some YouTube videos and memorized the top 3-5 lines for each. In practice, it is not often that my opponents follow any of the main lines that I studied. That said, I found it helpful to start each game with a basic plan.

I noticed a pattern on my path from Elo 1300 to Elo 1400: I'd make a move and then immediately realize it has problems. There were just too many: "I could have avoided that mistake if I spent more than 15 seconds thinking!"-moments.

I now realize that the weak point in my play isn't any theoretical knowledge of openings, but a lack of discipline before making a move. I've been trying to force myself to slow down, pick a few candidate moves, and calculate the one that is best. It has helped me blunder less.

As a next goal, I'd like to get to Elo 1500. That would take me from "decent social player" to "beginning club player". My best win to date was against a player with Elo 1488. Reaching Elo 1500 feels far off right now.

Trying to become better at chess has been a humbling experience. I'll let you know when I get to Elo 1500 — if I can get there at all.

— Dries Buytaert

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