As I surveyed my face in the mirror this morning I reflected on the fact that although my hair may be starting to turn grey and also wear inexorably thin on the crown of my head (damn that male pattern baldness), at least I have gained the wisdom that comes from "experience" during my 36 years on this earth.
Then I thought, what wisdom? Sure, I know know that running with scissors in your hand is a bad idea and I should look both ways before I cross the road, but what about chess experience? What nuggets of wisdom have I accumulated in that sphere of my life?
I realised then that although I have read a lot of chess books and played a lot of chess games, I'm still confounded by this wonderful "game of kings" and perhaps that will never change. Even if I packed in my job and jetted off to Iceland for personal chess lessons with Bobby Fischer himself for the next 10 years, I'm very unlikely to get to be a grandmaster.
Perhaps chess improvement a bit like keeping fit. We promise ourselves that we will go to the gym 3 times a week, do sit ups every morning until it hurts so much we cry, and eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day like our chain-smoking doctor tells us to. But in reality we wake up too late to do the sit-ups, are so tired we collapse on the sofa when we come home from work, and the fruit dish hasn't seen any fruit since you brought some home from your last hospital visit.
So it is with chess. My best intentions to study go up in smoke as I succumb to the temptation to watch TV or check my favourite websites again. But does it matter? I enjoy playing chess and can't really imagine life without it. I'm just going to keep trying to improve, make lots of chess friends and enjoy myself. Who could ask for anything more?