Introducing Chess Atlas

Published on 17 Jan 2020

As this is the first blog post, an explanation of what the Chess Atlas is about is in order. I’ll go over what my motivations are (aka why am I doing this?), what I intend to write about (aka what’s a Chess Atlas anyway?), and the way I planned to proceed (aka how am I going about this?).

Why

There are two reasons why I’m sharing my experience of trying to get better at chess as an adult. The first reason is unrelated to chess: I love writing. I used to write about my job, but I don’t care as much about it as I used to do. Which is a perfect segue for the second reason.

At the time of writing, I’m a 37 years old and recently became a father. You can imagine, it’s always busy. While I found information (I intend to provide a comprehensive reading list as I progress with my studies) about adults wanting to get better at chess, so far I couldn’t find anything that can engage me long term. Learning this game is overwhelming, and most adults don’t have enough time to get to their full potential. Writing is my way of making sure I make the most out of studying the game. I retain information better if I write it down. So why not sharing it anyway?

What

I need to define what getting better at chess means. At least, I need my own definition so I can draft an initial plan. I want to underline initial as I don’t believe in long term planning. I believe in taking into account the things you learn on the way, some of those will probably lead to a change of plans. But even making an initial plan seems hard, chess is too vast and I don’t want to get lost. So, maybe, the word I’m looking for is map. Following this metaphor to its full extend was the spark that lead to this website. Think of chess as uncharted territory. After you learn the rules of the game, you’re left with an almost empty map. At sight though you can see the phases of the game:

  • Opening
  • Middle-game
  • Endgame

The idea is to draw a map as I go on this trip. I’ll be providing details while exploring one of those three places. And I’ll surely need to add places I can’t even see at sight now that I’m starting the journey.

I’m going to admit it: I absolutely love metaphor. Here’s wikipedia definition for Atlas:

An atlas is a collection of maps; it is typically a bundle of maps of Earth or a region of Earth.

Now exchange Earth with chess and you get my idea. Chess is an immense topic so one map is not going to cut it. I will be creating a collection of maps. Each place, again following the metaphor, will have its own section on this website. That way exploring its content should be easier (I love feedback, please reach out!)

How

I have three goals with this website:

  • I want to write a lot
  • I want to map as much chess knowledge as possible
  • I want to share my experience as an adult with a busy life trying to get better at chess

With these goals in mind, the approach that I find more natural is to build the map in the open (the atlas itself) and provide diary entries (the blog part) as I go.

In the next blog post, I’ll be explaining where I’m at in the journey at the moment, what my current study plans are.

As for the atlas itself, I will provide a list of lists in the Atlas section for now. The long term plan though is a little more complex and it’s an interesting project on its own. The metaphor is strong so I could go as far as providing a google maps experience. I find the idea stimulating but somehow too complex. One other idea is to provide an interactive mind map which would fit the atlas well enough (mind maps have too much focus on hierarchy though and I’m unsure how relevant this would be here).

As you can see, everything on this website is a work in progress and I intend to keep it that way.

Hope you enjoyed it and see you soon!