I had no prior knowledge of Chess before my uncle Jay introduced me to the game and taught me how to play when I was in elementary school. He showed me how the pieces move and explained some of the strategy behind the game. After his first lesson, I was immediately hooked.

My Personal Experience with Chess.

Games in elementary school consisted of the most basic lessons and techniques: How the pieces move, how to checkmate with certain pieces, and general openings. I supplemented those lessons by playing at the pool and attending a chess camp where I learned more about chess.

During that time, I also played in a few tournaments and managed to play relatively well until reaching a rating of approximately 1000.

Then I stopped playing tournament chess. But I never really stopped playing the game. Chess was readily available online and I chose to take advantage of the opportunity where it existed. When I got to college, I joined the chess club and started to play seriously again. In my sophomore fall, I managed to win seven games in a row, winning the Washington National Chess Congress. Since then, I've played a few other tournaments but still mainly play in a casual setting with friends and fellow chess club members.

What I learned from the Game.

The first thing that I learned is that it requires practice to get good at anything.

To get better at chess required a ton of games and also more deep thinking that allowed me to get in tune with what needed to be done to compete. This practice included reading books and thinking about potential strategies before trying them out in tournaments.

The second thing that I learned from chess is patience. Taking something just because it is out there doesn't always work out.

Your opponent could easily be setting a trap or have a bigger threat that you do not see in mind. In chess, as in life, aggressiveness only pays off when it is well planned and timely.

And the third thing that I learned in chess is that everybody is different. We might all be playing the same game, but everyone has a different playing style and prefers different openings when playing.

I personally choose to play relatively aggressive with white and fairly passive with black, but that's not the only way to play. It's important to recognize that there are often other successful methods to play chess employed by others, and the same is true in life.