Garry Kasparov once said, "Chess is a contact sport." When asked why he works out so much, he said that you have to be very fit in order to play chess. I have read about this same idea from several other GMs and top chess players and after having a few games last until 2:30 in the morning (after already playing a 6 hour game earlier in the day), I can see what they are talking about. Because of this, my dad and I have been running in the mornings (of course, once winter hit, we traded for sit ups in our house...but we are back to running outside now). In Utah, I have seen as we run all the trees and plants blossoming and getting leaves, and it appears that everything is coming alive and starting new. It appears that way every Spring. I feel that way about myself and what I am doing in my chess right now. Starting new!
As I said in my last blog (http://blog.chess.com/KaydenTroff/three-strikesam-i-out) I was planning on some big changes.
I could leave all of you in the dark, or I couldn't. Should I tell you... should I not .................................. I should!!
As many of you know, the World Championship match is coming up. And we will have a NEW World Champion (unless Anand wins it then I guess you could argue he isn't new). My news really has nothing to do with the World Championship except that that is something new...a new start for a new champion (or an old champion for a new term). So, how am I starting new, okay maybe I am being a little mean by stalling...so, here I go.
I have changed my... wait, before I get to that I just want to make sure you don't think I am stalling because I don't want to tell you. I don't care if you know... but... I know how to explain it! Have you ever sat there and watched someone try to find an answer to a puzzle that you know the answer to already. It can be way fun! Not to be mean, but it is fun to just watch them staring at it so confused when it makes so much sense to you. I hope I don't sound mean. I don't want to; if I do, forgive me.
But anyways, back to what I was saying. I have changed my... who do you think is going to win the World Championship? Anand probably has the bigger expectations, because he is the defender. But Topalov is higher (at least I think so) rated. I guess we'll find out.
Okay, okay, here I go. I have changed my chess coach. This may not sound like something major to you, but it was pretty major for me!! I was working with GM Predrag Trajkovic who lives in Serbia. I learned some good things from Predrag and he taught me a lot and helped me get from Expert to Master, but lately I have felt like I needed a change. My new chess coach is GM Melik Khachiyan. Because we travel so often to California, I have seen GM Melik at many of the same tournaments I am at. I have developed a friendship with him and have even hung out with him after one of the tournaments playing blitz. He has given me advice during some of the tournaments and I think he is a really great coach. I have already had two lessons with him and am definitely satisfied with him so far. I am also now working with IM Sam Shankland on my openings which is another really good opportunity for me (I am hoping to get him to tell me how he jumped from 2150 to 2450 in about a years time)!
It is not just my coaches that have changed though, but with everything going on I feel really excited about my next tournament and my attitude has changed. I have always loved chess, but it is like looking at something from a different angle and seeing it for the first time.
I think getting back to running outside has helped. My dad says he is trying to make me fiercer (is that a word?). I agree this has helped me mentally and physically. There really is a connection between the physical and the mental.
So, I am starting new: new attitude, new coach! I feel ready for the tournament coming up this weekend that will be in LA (Los Angeles). Even yesterday, I was playing my Grandma in Skip Bo (a card game) and she was saying afterwards that if I play like I played in our game, then I will definitely win some games in my tournament coming up. Maybe I was a little too hard on her...sorry Grandma!!
Here is the main answer to last weeks puzzle: