What Goes Up Must Come Down

GM KaydenTroff
Sep 14, 2010, 2:39 PM |

Is it a scientific law or a theory?  The answer is: none of the above!!  My grandpa has been teaching me about the absolute laws of science and he has never mentioned this one.  We have talked about the laws of gravity and the laws of inertia but never about the law of “what goes up must come down”.  In fact, my grandpa says that if we didn’t have gravity then the rule would be “what goes up, keeps going up”….now that is the rule that I want…at least when it comes to my rating.  But it appears that this “non” law “what goes up must come down” holds true most of the time!  I mean look at the stock market which, unfortunately, has gone down more than it has gone up.

Over Labor Day weekend I played in a tournament in Los Angeles, California. As you can probably guess, my rating went down slightly.  I ended up being one of the highest rated players in the tournament (8th to be exact) so I played multiple players that were lower than me (multiple being 6 out of 6, but we won’t talk about that—doesn’t need to be mentioned at all). Now, lets not go back to my last blog’s topic about whether or not ratings matter…already covered that!   I ended up getting 3.5 out of 6 (2 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss) which unfortunately dropped my rating 11 points because of my opponent’s ratings.  No comments necessary about how I did in the tournament.  But actually, my games weren’t too bad; in fact, my GM coach said that I really didn’t have any major mistakes, just some inaccuracies. 


This brings me to my topic for today which is: which is more valuable the journey or the destination?  You may think this conflicts with my blog post last week.  I don't think so.  I still say that ratings are an important way to measure your progress along the way.


If you have read my blogs in the past, you will know that my parents love to give me sayings and quotes. My dad has been reading this huge book (1001 pages) by one of his favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson, called The Way of Kings.  There is a part in there that says:


“And so, does the destination matter? Or is it the path we take? I declare that no accomplishment has substance nearly as great as the road used to achieve it. We are not creatures of destinations. It is the journey that shapes us.


In the end, I must proclaim that no good can be achieved of false means. For the substance of our existence is not in the achievement, but in the method.”


The truth is that I don’t like it when my rating goes down (I don’t know anyone who does), but I realize that when I have a bad game or tournament which usually leads to my rating going down I learn a lot about what I need to work on to help me improve my chess.  It appears that if your rating goes up too quickly without the work and study to go with it, you might miss some important things that would seriously help improve your chess.  Players like this often do not understand what they are missing because they got their high rating so quickly.  Then they find themselves losing games they shouldn’t and getting frustrated over it because they don’t know why they are losing.


People often ask me when I will become a GM and my answer is, “As soon as I possibly can!”  I know there are things that I have to learn before that point.  I learn by study, I learn from my coaches, but I also learn from experience.  I don’t know which of these three is most important, but I know that they are all important.  Sometimes those experiences are fun and sometimes they are not so fun.  Even though they might not be fun, I realize that they are way, way, way important.  The ups and downs seem to be much more valuable than just up, up, up (even though that might be fun to try sometime Smile). 


Thinking about it, if we just went to the destination without having the journey then we wouldn’t have really gained anything.  This is definitely true if your destination is GM.  You get the title of GM—wahoo—but without the journey you wouldn’t really be able to play like a GM, and it wouldn’t really mean as much to you.  The battle is half the reward (maybe more than half)!   You “become” something by putting in the work it requires to get it.


Of course, if someone wanted to just give me a billion dollars….I won’t argue too much about it and people could get mad at me all they want for just “getting” something.


Here is my best game from the tournament (no need to show you my other games, even if I learned from them Smile):