It's Not How Many Times You Get Kicked

It's Not How Many Times You Get Kicked

IM DanielRensch
Jan 2, 2012, 3:33 PM |

...But how many times you get up, right? Or is that just something losers tell themselves after a particularly hard beating? Tongue out Well, in any case, it's a saying I have used to remind myself of the big picture whenever things get tough. Right now, as I recover from a poor performace at the first ever Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St Louis GM Norm Inviational!, I am eager to play in my next event -- The Northern California International (starting in roughly 4 hours from now).

I will freely admit that I struggled to keep myself focused and calm after losing my first five games in a row in St Louis. After "letting it all hang out" so to speak, I did eventually find myself on the other side of my "chess tantrum". Which if you're wondering what that looks like, it basically consists of me crying to my wife about how hard I have it competing against other chess professionals Cry (ie not being able to study more or as much as them, having a full time job that doesn't involve playing chess more often, not being good enough anyway so why am I even doing this, I should quit chess forever, why I am even on this planet, the world is ending, etc, etc, etc Tongue out).


The beautiful Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St Louis: Current host of the US Championships (Open, Women's, Junior, etc) and... future host of a World Championship???


But before giving you some games and "food for thought" in regards to where my mind set currently rests, I'd like to thank the CCSCSL and it's Executive Director, Tony Rich, for inviting me to the prestigious event mentioned above. To say I am excited about what is going on in St Louis and their involvment in the chess community would be a gross understatement.


Pretty cool that they have four large flat screen TVs constantly broadcasting chess games (either live from within the club, or simply observed via one chess server or another) to the "street passers " walking through St Louis...


The club is amazing, the staff professional, they have great visions and goals for improving the American Chess Scene, and I wish them nothing but the best. I hope to return to St Louis in the near future, and maybe even play a little better next time. I also enjoyed taking a tour of the World Chess Hall of Fame. See the outside (located right across the street from the club) of the Hall of Fame below:


The elegant, and rather interesting, World Chess Hall of Fame. Some "contempary art/meets chess artifacts" stuff was going on that I wasn't quite sure about (you can see pictures below) but it was cool to see for sure!!!

In general -- back to me now Wink -- I would say I am looking forward to "the-year-of-chess-that-will-be-2012". As mentioned in the first paragraph, I am about to play in a major tournament here in Freemont, California that - regardless of the results - should serve as a good stepping stone towards getting my head screwed on a little tighter when it comes to my chess improvement. I think it would be fair to say that my experience in St Louis reminded me of how much work I need to do if I am going to make real strides towards the GM Title.

Specifically, the work that needs to be done is over the chess board: Playing in more tournaments (which by itself is my 2012 resolution, as simply playing more, for me, will represent a deeper commitment to the game than I have shown for almost 3 years); building my mental discipline and stamina back to where it was when I was playing all the time and earning my IM Norms (2009); and making an effort to disect my games in search of mistakes, repeating patterns, weaknesses in my opening repertoire and approach, etc

Exactly how that process looks from here, I don't know. I do know that playing more would be a step in the right direction, and hopefully, I can build up the muscles of good study habits (in order to accomplish the other things I listed) along the way... What I do know -- and learned/was reminded of again in St Louis -- is that freaking out over every loss, throwing tantrums at every bump in the road, and losing the sight of what's most important in life when things aren't going as planned, is exactly what I can't to do.

So, long story short: It's time to get back up again! It starts this week in California and will continue at the next event of 2012 (not known at this time). Enjoying the journey is going to be key to keeping me on this long, and potentially very hard road, towards achieving my goals. All I can do is focus on the next tournament... the next game... the next move... and control my own focus and discipline. Add a little hard work to that mindset, and the results I want should come with time.

Wish me luck and expect a post tournament blog. Until next time...

PS -- Oh yeah, here are some games from St Louis I analyzed and some more pictures from the Hall of Fame...


and one interesting win I had from the Open tournament that preceded the GM Norm Round Robin Invitational...
And here are some more takes from the Hall of Fame...
This picture shows a bunch of "chess moves" represented by photography of natural scenary... kind of interesting. The next picture shows a close up of one of the moves...
Here is one of them close up:
This next picture was presented along with a video that shows people dressed in the clothes and acting out a "violent" and kind of creepy looking chess game/dance:
Take a look at this chess board of collected junk:
And finally, this "Chess Piano" which was actually really cool. Basically, each square plays a slightly different chord, AND a different piece (different) weight on that square would play a slightly higher tone of that chord... pretty sweet, right?