Sloth Thoughts Version I
July 12, 2017
The Idea of Grit after 30
There are a few things you should know about me if any of this is going to make sense.
- I am awful at chess
- I would consider myself one with a low Grit score (look it up if you don’t know, it’ll open your eyes)
- I’m currently 31, married, with our first child on the way.
Now, onto the purpose of this Sloth Thought. Most, if not all of us, are familiar with the sloth. It’s slow, cute, and I for one have always been curious have they have survived so long given the fact that they aren’t quick enough to escape hunters, nor are do they seem intelligent enough to outwit opponents. Well, last year my wife and I went to a zoo in Florida while on vacation, and I decided to finally ask the zoo keeper how is it that smarter, stronger, creatures have all become extinct, but the ever so slow sloth has remained around. Her response? Sloths are known for smearing their own feces to ward off any predators.
This is how I play chess. I just throw things out and try to ward off the predators, but instead of becoming extinct, I just lose and can start from the beginning, doing the same opening, tactics, moves, and poor excuses at a combo. I must be a gluten for punishment with how often I seem to come back, but the truth is…I don’t always return for another match.
Every 3-4 months I get frustrated with chess. I love this game and have been playing it poorly since I was 10. I have never played in an OTB tournament, but I have held accounts on both here and ICC, all usually with a rating around 1200. Yes, you will see that I have been over 1500 before, but that was short lived and opponents ranked around that mark would usually make quick work of me. So this is the cycle I am in, I play and play a lot, get beat around, and then take a break because I’m just so defeated and sick of not progressing at all. It’s like I started at 10, got decent at 15, and then I’ve been in this 16-year plateau phase.
My realistic thought process, says that if any GM and I started at the same time, practiced the same number of hours, with the same teachers, that I would still not be a titled player. Tactics don’t come easy to me, and I’m too easily stuck in my comfort zone with all phases of the game. However, I would like to think that my ceiling is probably around 1700-1800. I am above average in intelligence, and I have the necessary means to both spend time and money on chess. Yet here I am, 31, and still struggling with the same issues I was beforehand. I’m frustrated.
So, here is my statement to the world, and to myself, that the approach I have been using has not worked, but this time I won’t be taking a break. Instead, I will change most of my approach to chess studying and tactics, and start kind of from the beginning. I am going to start playing a Live 10|0 Tournament every Monday thru Friday as time allows, and then once the tournament is over, I will go over, and self-analyze all loses, and use the computer after words to see what I have missed in my self-analysis.
I am also going to spend 30-60 minutes a day using the Tactics Trainer, and instead of guessing which moves to make, take my time and figure out exactly what the best move it. If I miss it, I will write it down and go over it again in 3 days’ time.
Lastly, I will stay positive and try to remember that chess is a game that I love. Nothing is better than out thinking your opponent, and the end goal is one where I believe that I will be able to out think my opponent often, and have fun with the process of growing.
So here are my Sloth Thoughts, I will be sure to try to continue to post some progress reports monthly.
Good luck to all wood pushers out there.