To Begin an Odyssey

To Begin an Odyssey


Odyssey: A long and eventful or adventurous journey.

Last summer I quit my job. Now I play chess.

After starting in tournament chess nearly 20 years ago (in 1994), I have increased my USCF rating less than 450 points, from an initial provisional rating of 895 to its current and dismal 1321 after 106 rated games.

That works out to an average of about one tournament a year for 19 years. In reality, I would play in 2-3 touraments in a year and then disappear for several years. I would take the proverbial two steps forward and then one hiatus-induced step backward.  

Regardless of my past performance, exposed for all to see via my chess rating history graph, I have a goal of becoming a chess Expert.

There are innumerable adult improvers in the chess world. Few who began serious chess play as adults reach the level of Expert or Master. I don't believe this is because of a fundamental deficiency in the learning capabilities of adults. I believe this is due to a deficiency in free time, discipline, and importantly, prioritization.

That is to say, adults have jobs that are needed to support themselves and their families. They have competing interests, including professional development, hobbies, and relationships. It is simply not realistic to highly prioritize improvement in chess under these conditions.

But, what if one didn't have to work a forty hour work week? How would it change the capability of an adult to achieve remarkable chess progress, to even achieve a title?

This is the odyssey that I begin today.