I think I've got it! Sort of... Well, a bit...

Tonight I actually hit a personal milestone. I noticed a real difference in my games today.

Don't get me wrong; I'm still ranked in the 800s. No serious chess player would look at my recent games and be impressed, I can assure you. My games still show blunders, mistakes, inaccuracies, and the like. But the key difference was the way I felt about my Chess game today.

For the first time in my life, I was playing a game where I felt like I was being truly strategic.  I was actively looking for pins, skewers, and forks. For the first time ever, I intentionally set up a discovered check which cost my opponent his queen.

Even better, for the first time ever, I saw my checkmate three moves ahead. And it worked.

When I first started working with my coach I described myself as someone who has, for decades, been moving my pieces around the board and hoping something good happens. There was essentially no strategy.

While I have so incredibly far to go in my journey, the feeling I got after checkmating my opponent today is why we all place chess in the first place: to create a game that is a work of art. While my art is in no way a Picasso, it is at least a step up from the finger-painting that I was doing yesterday.

So in sum, today I made meager progress. Working with my coach who helps me analyze my games has been seriously helpful. So yes, today my games were different.  And I look forward to the games tomorrow brings.

Do you remember a time you first realized you were becoming a better player?  If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.