Chalk it up for experience

Apr 4, 2015, 7:39 AM |

 Chess hasn’t been a priority in my life recently. But I LOVE this game and wanted to “enter the arena” at least once a month. I signed up for the Mass G60 one day event.  I played 3 out of 4 games  with a first round forfeiture with my opponent not showing up. 

I went in “cold”.  I had no time to prepare, warm up and do all the things I’d “normally”  obsess over.  I went into this knowing I would take some lumps.  But I really LOVE this game, I LOVE learning about what went wrong and why my performance varies so much. Jumping on an opportunity to play even though I wasn’t “prepared” still game me experience.

Why I play:

 I had a philosophical exchange with another blogger, OneArrow, who attended this one day event. He’s struggling with some similar life balance issues and expressed one of his chess goals ( like many) to reach the level of expert. Aside from being a lifetime goal, I asked him WHY he trains?

A snippet of his response that cuts to the core:

“…came across a passage that better explains why I feel chess and martial arts both offer spiritual/character development.

( quotes a piece of text from a book he’s reviewing)

"In ju jitsu and chess, people are taught the proper etiquette of shaking hands before and after a match. This is because while there should be “emotional content” as Bruce Lee put it, there should never be hatred or raw emotion spilling all over the mat or the board. In Karate and Judo they have an age old tradition of bowing. While many Americans and other Western people often downplay its necessity as a sign of weakness or corny tradition, there is a deep wisdom in it. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo taught that you bow to thank your opponent for improving you. Without them, nothing you accomplish is possible. You can shadowbox, run solo drills and do chess puzzles alone. But it’s not until the opponent is truly before you that you find your true limits, and abilities."

I enter that arena, ready or not, because facing my opponent is where I get the most experience.  Not online ( the animosity clouds the experience), not doing tactics, not reading books.

Thanking my opponent for improving me:

I lost 2 games and I will expose them hear in their ugliness.  Part of my goal for the day was to see how far my baseline can still take me and understand a little more where I get lost.  In the first loss, it wasn’t an issue of not understanding the opening, it was who’s attack was stronger. I decided to engage on the Q-side and I totally underestimate my opponent’s K-side attack.  Was it foolish pride? Probably, but I also think it’s an inexperience in practice.


The second loss came in the last round and I again, it wasn’t the opening I was floundering in, it was coming up with the wrong plan and underestimating my weakness in the center which, when I gave my opponent the chance, ripped me up.

I had one win, a couple of nice tactics… no more to be said.


Untill next time!