Here is the Reader's Digest Condensed Version of how I came to be here and my chess playing experience, for what it is worth...
I learned how to play chess when I was six years old...both my father and (maternal) grandfather taught me how to play. When I say that, I mean the board, what the pieces are, and how they all move. That was about it.
I liked playing throughout high school, and even joined the USCF to try and play in a couple of tournaments. That was when I found out how woefully out of sync I was with everything chess-related. I knew how the pieces moved, yes, but I had no idea about the actual concepts behind the game. Needless to say my experiences playing in tournaments were far from satisfactory.
At this point, I went to college, and chess mostly disappeared from the radar. I was more heavily involved in classes, music, girls and partying! ;-)
Fast-forward to the present day. In the past year, my interest in chess has resurfaced. My motivations in improving my play are for the purpose to teach chess to children, particularly underprivileged children. If I had that kind of experience between six and ten years old, I could have very well become a much stronger player. At the very least, my test scores (and grades) in school would have certainly been better. Learning and studying chess at that age has proven to improve test scores, concentration, critical thinking, etc. I have the attention span of a gnat...borderline ADHD, I guess. But, I digress.
My logic is that in order to be an effective teacher, I should also be an effective player...I don't have to be a master-strength player, but I should always be striving to improve my play, and learn new things about the game, and new ways to teach it to others.
I have recently renewed my membership in the USCF, and am also now a member of the Georgia Chess Association. I am working on getting my Certification from the USCF to be a Certified Chess Coach.
Sadly, my current work schedule requires me to work weekends, so playing in tournaments at this time is not possible. I would not begin to do that anyway, however, until I have beefed up my playing ability to a level that I am comfortable with.
In the meantime, I am studying the opening, middlegame and endgame parts of chess equally. I am trying to focus on the concept of strong opening play without having to delve deeply into opening theory at this time, though it is fun to find out what opening line variation I am playing actually is...the internet has been wonderful showing me this! For the middle game and endgame, I am simply trying to solve chess middlegame and endgame puzzles, both online and with chess computer programs that I now have.
I have no idea what my true playing strength actually is at this time. My last actual USCF rating was 1052, but that was also in January 1992 when I had no real idea what I was doing, and I feel that I am a much better player than I was back then, considering all that I have learned in just this past year alone!
I hope to develop some dialogue with others, here!