What is chess mastery to me? I took some time and came up with three different dimensions of chess in which I hope to improve myself.
1. Chess as a competition: I want to be a proficient competitor. I enjoy and want to win chess games and tournaments. This would involve improving performance skills such as staying calm under pressure and time control. It would also involve making practical decisions at the chess board - e.g. should I go for a sacrifice that might be beautiful but would take much of my remaining time to calculate, or a safe move which I can make right away but is kind of boring. In this respect, I hope to compete as much as possible and eventually reach the USCF rating of 2200.
2. Chess as an art form: I want to play in elegant and beautiful games. The aesthetic dimension of chess is something that very much interests and motivates me to learn and master it. Using chess to creatively express ideas and relationships between pieces. Also, I see chess as an expression of my character and personality. By getting better at chess and improving my understanding of the game, I hope to also appreciate the games of the world's best players at a deeper level. Implications of this dimension include playing different types of openings, and being able to analyze positions deeply to get at the essence of a chess position. I hope to develop this ability over my lifetime.
3. Chess as mental discipline: In my games and my training, I strive to improve my mental abilities through chess and use my mental abilities to better my chess. This dimension involves topics such as accurate and thorough assessment of positions, efficient and accurate calculation. It also involves disciplines such as concentration, mental stamina, and focus. I see a chess master as attaining high levels of these attributes, and I hypothesize that improving these areas will bring a correlative improvement in one's overall chess ability.
This is how I define chess mastery. I suppose that others may define it another way, but this is my vision of chess mastery that I will work towards over the coming days, months, and years.