Monday, September 07, 2020

Why Continue?

I put what I felt was a lot of effort in preparing for this year’s online version of the World Open only to have a performance that was lacking any indication that my efforts were paying off. After 9 games, I finished with a 3.5 score in a section that was within my ratings. Six of my opponents were minors and one of those points was from a forfeit when my opponent didn’t show.

Chess knowledge and chess skills are two different beasts. Consistently putting knowledge into practice, for every move I make, is a discipline that separates me from reaching higher ratings.  I tried training specifically for weaknesses in my skill only to fall short in a “real” or “virtual real” setting. I’ll admit it’s discouraging and not the first time I hit this wall. I’ve reached periods where I’ve actually thrown away my chess set and sold my books in frustration. This time, I took a reflective month off.


A couple things came to mind here:

  1. I didn’t play up a section ( or two).
  2.  It takes more “actual practice” in tournament conditions to solidify knowledge to skills


My first mistake was playing in a large tournament’s section within my rating range. I didn’t go into it  expecting to win that section, rather I would have been happen for a middle of the pack  4.5/9 games played score not the abysmal 2.5/8 played ( not counting the forfeit). With 66% of my opponents have a better neuroplasticity along with a rating that had more momentum, yes, I got my butt handed to me. Historically, when I play in “my section” at these events, I never fair well.


Playing up is better because it removes the “performance” pressure of shooting for a score indicative of where you feel you *should* land. Wins are always a upset and losses are not as painful. Should of, could of, would of,….. Will I learn this time?  The other benefit of playing up is getting to play those opening lines a little deeper as stronger players tend to stay truer to the mainlines or more common lines than the “gotcha” cheap shots too often seen at the level I play.


I should have continued my practice regimen following my results after the World Open, but I needed a rest. When … and I will get back in this arena…I do come back, I will find a better balance of study and real practice. The good news, I have found ways to do this with the virtual space and the different timings. I also have a growing database and various notes of what worked and what didn’t.

I’ve been fighting the same demons over and over. What to do when faced with an odd opening move. How to sustain an efficient “safety” check before moving so as not to generously blunder away material or the position. I hindsight, I can say that while I getting better at these  in most cases, all it takes is that ONE MOVE where my guard is down and I regress to a weaker thought process.


All good things…

All good things either come to an end or come to those who wait.  My crippling chess addiction is too strong to throw it all away ( though my wife would be happy I suspect… putting up with my ups and downs in this hobby).  I’ll get back on the horse and remind myself of the deliberate practice techniques, the various thinking processes I’ve reviewed, and the joy I get in reviewing games and just uncovering more to learn.

So what if my rating sucks. Here’s a surprise. I’m not doing this for you. I’m not seeking you to respect my chess knowledge based on my rating. Sorry, I respect myself without your validation. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll have a few more wins under belt as an indication that I’ve managed to develop another aspect of the chess skills always in need of a fixing.  

Until next time,