Why I Do What I Do
After reading through dpruess's article "Genius Kids" and the comments that were made afterwards, I have decided this was a great topic for this week's blog (especially since I was mentioned in some of those comments). There are so many opinions about this from adults. I thought it might be a good idea to give my side of it.
I can't speak for everyone, because there probably are kids who are forced into doing things they don't want to do by their parents in all kinds of sports and other activities. But I can speak for myself and tell you why I do what I do.
It bothers me when I read things like this comment that is on dpruess's article:
the idea of training a kid and placing him in a box from outside world is a horrible idea. let the kids be kids and stop trying to create chess machines out of humans. i am sure the kids would like to use chess peices as toys and have imaginary battles they can enjoy. However, if you try to teach them and ruin their childhood, its ur fault as a parent, especially if the kid ends up with depression or isolation
Quote - the idea of training a kid and placing him in a box from outside world is a horrible idea.
We are only one sentence in and I already strongly disagree. laith28 talks about being disconnected from the outside world or in a box. Have you actually tried doing what we do? If you have then, as long as you are not shy, you should have met and befriended a lot of people, kids and adults. I have met people all over the country because of chess and I think you probably meet more people then when you just go to school and stuff like that. How many 11 year olds can say that they have good friends in California, New York, Arizona, New Jersey, Florida, Indiana, Idaho, Rhode Island, Texas (etc.) and live in Utah? My friends are all different ages, nationalities, and different religious beliefs, but chess brings us together because it is something we all love.
Quote - let the kids be kids and stop trying to create chess machines out of humans.
Let the kids be kids? My parents tell me all the time "If you want to quit, you can." It is my choice to keep playing chess, not anybody else's. And for the chess machine part, I don't think I would mind if I could play as strong as a chess engine (maybe Deep Rybka ).
Quote - However, if you try to teach them and ruin their childhood, its ur fault as a parent, especially if the kid ends up with depression or isolation.
I don't feel like my childhood has been ruined yet (not expecting it to be ruined either) and I don't think I have ended up with depression and isolation yet (and again, not planning to).
I think why people say this kind of stuff is because they don't fully understand. I don't think ANYBODY can be a great player without at least liking chess and if they don't like it, it won't last. I do what I do because I love what I do!! It is true that there is pressure. I will not deny that, but people are so quick to point out the bad things and forget about all the good things. Because of my chess, I have done things that most kids never get to do. I have been to another country. I got to represent America in a national event and will get to represent America in a world event in Greece. I have traveled all over the country and have met a lot of cool people. I am not afraid to talk to adults (because I play against them all the time) or people who are different than I am. I am learning to be a better writer and people actually care what I write about (that is pretty good for an 11 year old ). And imagine if you were a kid who loved football and got to hang out with your favorite pro football players all of the time. I get to do that!! Only with chess players not football players.
But laith28 is right in a way. Nobody should have their childhood ruined or kept (as laith put it) in a box. I also think that parents need to make sure chess is staying fun. Maybe one of the reasons I love chess is because my parents have always made sure that there is lots of fun mixed in with the hard work.
Some people ask why I work so hard on my chess. This last weekend was an example of why I do. I played in a tournament last weekend in California and unlike the three before this one, it was great! The tournament was 5 rounds and the time control was 40/2, SD/1 (you have 2 hours to make 40 moves, then you get an extra hour and you can have a 5-second delay). I ended up with 3 points, had lots of fun, and as a bonus took home $133.33. My two losses came from GM Alejandro Ramirez and IM Enrico Sevillano. My wins came from Show Kitagami, Roberto Aiello, and IM Jack Peters. Two IMs and one GM--not bad competition! But the biggest difference was having my two coaches there, GM Melik Khachiyan and IM Sam Shankland. It was great! I played GM Alejandro Ramirez for 6+ hours and could have had a draw (but I was low on time--six hours is just not enough time ). I played IM Enrico Sevillano for over 4 hours and I played a good game, and beating IM Jack Peters was especially nice. The bad tournaments are tough, but the good tournaments make up for all the bad ones.
And just in case any one is wondering if all of this has made me miss out on being a kid, just talk to the tournament directors from last weekends tournament who got mad at Leo and I for running through the halls (and down the up escalators) after the tournament was over (okay almost over). Hey, I've got to be a kid sometimes!