Tag Archives: learning project

S’more Chess Updates (not the graham cracker kind)

This week, I decided to use Smore to show my learning project update! Smore is a website that allows you to create beautiful flyers and share them online. It was really easy to use and I love the way it turned out! I will definitely use this tool in the future.

Unfortunately, due to security reasons, WordPress will no longer display content embedded in WordPress posts unless it comes from “whitelisted” sources. So I can’t embed my Smore, but please click this link and check it out:

SMORE – Chess Update March 15th

I’d love to hear what you think of my chess Smore and my learning project progress. Comment below!

Chess Games: The Ultimate Relationship Test

Yesterday, I took the opportunity to challenge my fiancé to a chess game! This is a rare occurrence, as he is a much higher rated chess player than I am, so I always lose to him. Being a competitive and easily frustrated person means that I generally do not enjoy the experience of Kelly crushing me in chess games. However, my determination to improve and my idea of making a cute little video to share made me bite the bullet and request a match.

Just to give a little context, Kelly’s rating on Chess.com is approximately 1600 and my rating is around 900. Statistically, this means he should beat me every time. (A 400 point rating difference means that the higher rated player should win 10/10 times. We have a 700 point rating difference so that basically means that the person that can beat me 10/10 times, Kelly should be able to beat 10/10 times.)

So the gap is significant. To close this gap, we usually play with a handicap, which means he takes a piece off the board before we begin the game. For the purposes of the video, I chose to play against him with no handicap this time.

Kelly’s roommate and our long-time friend, Curtis Bourassa, captured a moment early on in our chess game.

Shout-out to him for letting me borrow his tripod and for letting us play at the kitchen table, giving him limited room to eat lunch. Check out his learning project, focused on learning to paint here.

Now for the video you’ve all been waiting for…

I needed some time after the game to pout about losing and how long it took and how much my brain hurt, so we took a break and made some delicious spaghetti and meat sauce for supper. Afterwards, I was ready to learn!  In this video, we go through the game move by move, with Kelly analyzing our blunders, identifying weak moves, and suggesting better moves for next time.

This video turned out to be longer than I had hoped. Here are the highlights:

  • My first mistake – playing b6.  (2:08)
  • I miss the opportunity for a queen trade.  (7:18)
  • I drop a pawn and am down material.  (8:00)
  • I move the same piece twice in a row (not usually the best idea).  (10:44)
  • Kelly’s blunder – playing Nd5. I missed the opportunity to fork his Queen and King!!!  (13:04)
  • I drop my bishop. (15:11)
  • Kelly gives a quick recap of the game. (18:15)

I hope that gives you a good idea of where I’m at in my chess learning and what kinds of things I’m working on! I’d love some feedback on the videos I created and some tips on how to make my learning project posts more engaging. Chess might seem boring to the average person, so I’m always looking for ways to spice it up!

Dropped Pieces + Shattered Dreams = Fresh Determination

My chess quest is proving to be quite a struggle.


The white king is me… #defeat

There is just so much to learn and so little time! This post will provide a quick update on my progress, a description of the challenges I’m facing, and my new action plan.

An Update on My Progress

  1. I have been doing my Tactics Puzzles almost every day.
Tactics - Daily Activity

Tactics – Daily Activity

This chart shows how many tactics I have completed and how many I passed/failed on a given day.  As you can see, I’ve been pretty consistent with doing 5 per day (you get 5 for free with a basic membership). I have been contemplating upgrading my account to a Gold Membership so I can have access to 25 tactics per day (and other perks), but I haven’t fully decided yet.

Tactics - Progress

Tactics – Progress

This chart tracks my Tactics Rating. It fell at the beginning of January because Chess.com started me with a super inaccurate rating of 850; therefore, my rating had to fall until it settled into a more accurate reflection of my ability.  It has been steadily climbing since January 18th and I’m hoping to bring it up to 700 soon!

2.  I have not been playing games online as much as I should be.

Record of Chess Games Played

Record of Chess Games Played

I know I need to play more in order to improve and to find my legitimate rating, but I’ve been struggling to find the time and motivation to sit down and play with so much other stuff going on!  As well, playing games can be draining and difficult.

Check out this video, created with Screencastify, to get an idea of what my online chess games are like.  In it, I analyze one of my games on Chess.com and outline my major blunders.

Things I’m Working On

  • Recognizing my opponent’s forcing moves (especially checks, captures, and threats)
  • Finding/setting up tactics

Continually dropping pieces in games and just being a disappointment to myself in general has led me to make some new chess resolutions!

Action Plan

  1. Play (and analyze) at least 4 games online per week.
  2. Continue doing Tactics Puzzles each day.
  3. Watch instructional videos as well as LiveStreams from Daniel Rensch and videos by John Bartholomew.

Is anyone else struggling to find the time or motivation to stay committed to their #LearningProject?  What barriers have you faced in your quest? Any suggestions for overcoming these challenges are welcome and appreciated!


So I’m learning to chess…

Intro to Learning Project

This week, I started my #LearningProject for ECMP 355, a class about using technology in the classroom.  The purpose of this assignment is to choose something significant and complex to learn online (using videos, text resources, podcasts, etc.) and to share progress openly in an online space.  I decided to work on improving my chess game for my project.


I was inspired to learn to play chess by my wonderful fiance, Kelly.  Kelly started playing chess online last year and soon became quite addicted to it.  He played live games on Chess.com off and on for about a year before enrolling in a Prodigy Program, which includes live lessons, study plans, homework, and guidance from a team of chess coaches, through the website.  He also plays in the University of Regina’s Chess Club.

Anyway, when he first started playing I learned some of the basics with him.  We used to play against each other once in a while, but he improved really quickly and I hate losing, so I started to reject his offers more often than not.  This Christmas break, he convinced me to play a few times (by giving me a handicap of him playing down a rook) and I started to enjoy playing chess again (even though it’s still extremely frustrating).  Now I’ve decided to fully take it up for my learning project for the next 3 months!


I think this is a good choice for my learning project for a few reasons:

  1. It is very complex, so I know I can easily put lots of hours into learning it.
  2. I already know of quite a few online sources I can use to start improving my chess game.
  3. It is something I can easily work on every day if I choose to; I don’t have to set aside a ton of time to do it.
  4. I have a support person who is super passionate about chess and already tries to teach me chess stuff all the time.
  5. I think learning chess could actually benefit me in ways other than just getting better at chess (i.e. staying calm in stressful situations, thinking ahead, problem solving).  It also might be good for my brain!

Have you ever played chess before?  Do you find it fun, challenging, or frustrating?  Share your thoughts/experiences in the comments!