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Just what you were praying for, another blog from another bad chess player.

Just what you were praying for, another blog from another bad chess player.

Jul 17, 2017, 11:26 AM 4

1993. I'm 27 years old and attending my first official tournament in Austin, Texas.  It's the Texas Championship and I've never played a timed game in my life.

For three years I have been a semi-serious student of chess.  It started when an annoying buddy of mine constantly challenged me to a game of chess.  I would always accept the challenge (I'm nice like that) and would always be stomped soundly within ten moves.  So, I decide it's time to hit the Radio Shack and a Waldenbooks. I pick up the best chess computer they have at the Shack and pick up a copy of Reinfield's The Complete Chess Course.  Within a few months, I gradually was able to defeat the computer at higher levels and play much less embarrassing matches against my friend.  An amazing thing happened during this process, I realized that the more I knew about chess, the more fun it was.  Soon after, I relocated to Germany for a new job and made more chess friends.  One was my boss, an arrogant jerk who scoffed at my constant study of the Reinfield tome.  He didn't scoff for long.  I was definitely getting better but I was young and more interested in partying.  Of course, one of my favorite opponents was the owner/bartender of my favorite dive.  He would give me a free drink if I beat him.  I got a lot of free drinks.

After returning to "the States", I decided to get a little more serious with chess and joined the USCF.  As I wasn't familiar with the local chess scene, I was mostly a correspondence player.  My chess library started to grow (I learned algebraic notation finally) and my ambitions did as well.  It was time to seek out serious chess.   I signed up for the Texas Chess Championship as an unrated player.  Might as well jump in, right?

I was pretty excited an arrived nice and early to sign up early with my new tournament chess set and clock.  Winning, ironically, was not my main goal.  I just wanted to play and be around other chess players.  

My first opponent was a kid, maybe 10 years old.  I knew better than to underestimate him because I had read enough Chess Life issues to know that there were multitudes of younger players that could stomp me into a fine paste.  As my victory started to become obvious, this guy started offering a draw on every turn.  I occupied a weird state of mind between pity and aggravation. Aggravation won and so did I.  Time for round 2.  I am summarily beaten and I leave Austin at 97th place and a rating in the upper 1200s.  I am VERY happy and feel like I did my best.  My chess career has begun!  Then life happens.  And here I am 25 years later, coming out of retirement to once again wow the amateur world with my amazing chess technique.  That previous sentence may contain some hyperbole.  Too early to tell.

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