Summertime Blues

Summertime Blues


“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

-- Robert Burns


What a summer I've had and it isn't the chess summer I had planned. After a successful eight day chess trip in Philadelphia, I flew home, spent a day in hectic preparation, and left for a two week family RV trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone couldn't have been anything other than fantastic and I purposefully avoided chess books, chess websites, and even stray chess thoughts. After months of intense and lengthy preparation for my World Open trip, I needed time to decompress.


August lemons

I didn't realize just how much chess decompression time fate had waiting for me as only a week after dropping off the rental RV, I came down with a mildly debilitating illness. I'm not one to get sick--ever, really. I tend to count the time between bouts of illness in years. But this one got me good and for a month--almost to the day--I was unable to do any serious chess training. There was no energy or motivation to use my brain for anything more taxing than Naked and Afraid binges. 

So it was that my aggressive chess training goals for August blew up like a Yellowstone geyser. There's usually some lemonade I'm able to squeeze from lemons and this case is no exception. With nearly a two month break from serious chess training and sitting a few points under my all-time high watermark, I'm ready to rumble.


 My total chess time for August was only 37.75 hours. That's 1/3 of my usual activity and nearly half of it was my pre-scheduled lessons with my chess coach. The bulk of the remaining time was spent on doing repetitions of simple tactics, which is a brainless activity.


Coming Plans

My 2016 goal is to hit 1900 USCF. I'm sitting at 1751. That's a heck of a gap but I've been trending in the right direction and with another two World Open performances, I blow through my goal. The plan is to look for as many long time control tournaments as possible to play in--the more rounds the better. Or more to the point, the more bonus points, the better (no pun intended).

This past weekend I played in a three round G/61 tournament but withdrew after the second round because my head wasn't in my games. Tournaments faster than G/90 are anathema to me but I thought I would check it out in order to get back into a tournament mindset, given my recent absence from tournament halls. But I realized--again--that G/60 just doesn't offer enough time to play the way I want to play, IE, taking enough time on each move to use my full thought process. This is one of my competitive advantages versus other A and B class players and tournaments such as G/60 mean one has to either calculate faster, less often, or truncate other parts of one's thought process. I'll stick with the G/90's or longer for the rest of the year.

With that said, I've committed to playing the following events:

  • St. Charles Chess Club's annual championship starts this week, a seven rounds G/90 affair, and heck, maybe I'll win the "Knight's Cup" for the first time.
  • The Nevermind Classic is a small three round G/90 this coming Saturday. 
  • Finally, I'll be at the Midwest Class Championships Columbus Day weekend, a five rounder.

So, that gives me 15 long games between now and mid-October!