People who have not seen me in the last 1 year might not know, but all others should have by now been vexed with my indulgence in chess.
I have had a personal chess trainer for almost an year now. No, no, I am not talking about the flesh-and-blood one. It is my chess.com web account. So far, I have been using the free account and it would be a surprise to Abi if I did not spend at least 10 hours per week on this site learning / playing chess.
For me, the learning has been through all the features of this site - the daily puzzles, tactics training, discussion forums, blogs, online games, tournament games, analysis of the 'game-of-the-week', analysis of grandmaster games, etc.. especially the last. My rating on the site has increased from 1000+ to 1500+ in a little over 8 months - mostly due to all this learning.
There have been periodic alerts (between my game alerts) to take a membership on this web site. But so far, I had not - partly due to laziness but also due to my current economic situation. I guess a lot of people do that, at least those I know. Last Friday however, after logging in, I was immediately taken to the 'Buy membership' page. :-) I guess for once the site owners lost their patience with me using their features for free. ;-)
This is an amazing website and being an information technology professional myself, I know how difficult it is to create such a web site and maintain it. It should be taking a lot from the web masters. I discussed with Abi and we both felt that if I really saw value in taking the membership, I should take it and I paid for it that night itself.
May be there was some guilt lurking somewhere in the mind about using the site for free and not heeding to the membership requests. All that was gone in the instant I paid for it and got the membership. The first feeling was that of relief! And then I headed on to the tactics trainer, a feature not available for free users, and got my online rating going to 1550+ from 1360+. So, here starts the second phase of my journey in learning chess. Let's hope it is better than the first one or atleast as fruitful.
Finally, am a platinum membership holder for chess.com and it feels nice to be in good terms with my trainer again :-)