I was probably 11 years old when my dad taught me the moves and I never gave it further thought back then. I mostly ignored it for 24 years of my life. Now I'm closer to 40 than I am 30 and I think it's one of the greatest games around. My dad used to play for Wakefield and had an ECF close to 170 back in the day. He would work in a restaurant all day, come back, practice and then catch the bus to play for his club. It's great I can share this game with him.
My interest has come so late though! I'd love to reach a level where I can give him a good game but my dog, an English Springer Spaniel named Poppy, limits my time... and my wife who I don't want to turn into a Chess widow! 🙂 My other loves are playing football (soccer) and boxing which I practice as an amateur welterweight (5'9"/175cm, 69kg/156lb).
I do use the Analyze tool but if you message me I can make a gentleman's agreement that I will not use it at all. Time to time, I will make a stupid move and that's the problem I find playing online and playing the game in broken stages. If my mistake is too severe then I will resign and I do so with the utmost respect to my opponent. Please do not be offended.
Skulls... I will always try and contact you once and give you a day or two to reply. But if it's a repeat thing then I have to go for the timeout I'm afraid!
Chess is a great game. When you get past the basics, studying finer concepts such as tempo, initiative and position; open up all kinds of doors. Forget about your rating once in a while, play someone lower, play someone higher. Give someone the benefit and pleasure of playing against you so you can *both* improve.
If you're hovering around an online rating of 800 - 1500 then Jeremy Silman's "How to Reassess Your Chess" is the best book I ever read that helped me improve my game. Very readable and simply awesome advice.
You can follow me on Twitter @shingywan
Don't stress out - just play 🙂