I have been playing chess since I was 8 years old. It started out as just a fun game to play, but as is usual with me, it quickly became an obsession of mine. I have the type of personality where I need to know every little detail about anything I involve myself in. Chess was no different.
I began to visit used book stores where I would pick up chess books by the dozens. I amassed quite a library of chess literature. I would pour over games and lesson material on a regular basis. I soon began competing in tournaments. I did quite well right from the start. I would play a weekly tournament at the local chess club and then the random weekend tournament around Southern California.
I spent time studying all three parts of the game: the opening, middlegame and endgame. I began studying tactical puzzles and that brought my chess skill level to a much higher place. The book that took me to a very high level was The Art of Sacrifice in Chess by Rudolf Spielmann. For some reason this book did more for my chess playing than any other that I had read to that point. There was just something about the patterns I saw in all of the games that took me to new heights.
Chess has become therapeutic for me at this point. I enjoy getting inside of the game and figuring things out. Learning why something was played a certain way is huge to me. It relaxes me and makes me feel at peace. My new chess studies are taking me to a new place in life.