Playing chess is something I loved to do till grade 9. However, for a long time, I had become disconnected from the field as I was caught up in a never ending stream of assignments and examinations. But Cas in grade 11 and lockdown gave me the opportunity to formally take chess as an activity which is something that had been impossible for me due to homework and exams. I had always looked at chess as a beautiful game and nothing else, but i wanted to get better in this sport so i started watching videos and reading famous chess player’s books to understand the strategic thinking and reasoning behind every move, I wanted to get better at chess and climb up the rankings on an international chess site(chess.com) And for this, I started to play chess in lockdown daily for 1-2 hours, i started with a rating of 800 and climbed up to 1400 in just 3 months as i started to understand about the various different openings. Through systematic exploration of openings like king’s indian defence and king’s gambit, I was able to use my skills to practice these openings.
L1–Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
As I continued playing chess on a regular basis I became cognizant of my strengths and weaknesses. My strength is that I am good at planning and being creative, this strength even helps me in real life as in chess, you should always have a plan. Your plan may change, just as circumstances do. And my weakness was that I am a slow thinker. And after being aware of these qualities of mine, I felt relaxed and confident, as now I overcame my weakness by playing bullet games (1 minute) which made my thinking process a lot quicker. Quick thinking even helped me in situations where I had to think on my feet and make quick decisions. It is important to know your strengths and weaknesses because now I can focus on my weaknesses more, where more time is required rather than using time for areas where I already have some degree of expertise.
L2-Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
This activity also made me realize that chess is not an easy game like I’d thought, I faced many challenges from which the main one was losing concentration because I get distracted if the opponent is not moving his pieces and is thinking too much. I can recall a similar experience to this one, when I once took part in a debate competition and I was a little distracted since the opponent was taking too much time when coming up with his arguments. Eventually I overcame this by thinking or predicting the moves he is going to play and planning ahead for mine. Also I started playing more and more online tournaments with prize pools so that I will have a motive to play and will not get distracted. It is important to undertake new challenges in order to improve yourself and learn from that challenge. During the experience, I also learned different chess tactics which I applied in my games. This helped me increase my confidence in my games.
L3-Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
I organised myself by dedicating 1 hour daily towards chess from 9 to 10 pm for almost 3 months. I setted up alarms so that I don’t get late as I also had school assignments to complete and some days when I have much more homework to do I shift my play timings a little back. Usually, I am not a very organized person but I had to organize myself here. For me personally initiation was difficult compared to planning, because there were times where I was busy the whole day because of work and sports so many times I was not able to play chess and would miss out. However now as i have experienced this, self organisation skill will really help me in future to organize my work and initiate it.
L4-Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences
As i mentioned in the above para i play chess for one hour daily but i don’t always win many times i lose games in a row which would reduce my rating very much very rapidly and losing rating is much easier than gaining it and this would just frustrate me, this is where persistence was required. Few times I just rage quit and stopped playing. When I realized showing persistence is an important factor in the game of chess I started to show it and it helped me incredibly, although I lost many ratings I didn’t give up and after a few games i started a win streak as i learned a lot in all those lost games. Showing commitment was much easier than showing perseverance because I love playing chess and playing it every day but continuing it even after losing while holding the frustration was very difficult.showing perseverance helped me not give up on my goal.
In conclusion I developed few learner profile characteristics like thinker, knowledgeable and reflective. I have to think before every piece I move and understand the reason behind his move and then I have to reflect accordingly.
I became knowledgeable as I had to learn each and every opening and endgame tactics so I can apply them in my game and can counter it if my opponent plays it.
Furthermore chess even helped me learn Abstract reasoning skill with problem solving. These skills will help me in my career as I want to become an entrepreneur and for it this skill is very helpful as I could solve any business or financial problem.
Eventually the main and most important thing that I learned from this cas activity is to never give up and go with the flow/circumstances.