A sort of reflection
I took some time to search myself on USCF and go back to my tournament history to ... reminisce, I guess. I remember some events fondly but have little to no recollection of others. It was very interesting. I saw Davydov, for one, lose 4 games and then squeak out a win way back when his rating was under 400 and provisional. I also saw Kevin Wang with a rating under 2300, to which I must admit I was somewhat surprised.
My own history brings both frustration and elation to me, simultaneously. I see periods where I stagnated, including a long period of time oscillating between 1100 and 1200. Now that I look back, I realize that period spanned 2008-2011. I don't know what happened. Of course, looking back, I know I should've played more, gotten involved more... It seems so easy to insult myself here, thinking of all the missed opportunities I didn't take. However, I feel like in a way that "time off", where I attended tournaments *very* infrequently, was also a good thing in a way - it allowed me a breather. Once I started playing again, I was able to shoot up to 1400 very soon. I remember that tournament - it was the National K12 Championships. I scored around 4/7, but those included two draws against 1800s and a win against a 1750. Two of those are Class B players now, but one's an expert. It feels odd comparing these people, as the only interaction we've had was one brief, hostile one (if you can call a game of chess hostile!), but it's still odd, me currently still below where they were several years ago.
Some of the only tournaments I regularly competed in during that period were the MD Scholastic Champs. I actually did very well in those, placing 6th and 4th during I believe 7th and 8th grade. Other than those, though, my tournaments were few? Why? Clearly I was doing well, if I was only going to 3 or 4 tournaments per year and scoring that much, surely I should up the ante? Apparently not, according to my past self.
Of course, this "reflection" - it's sort of more like a tirade - stems from my feelings from the UMBC Open. That was my first tournament since either September or October of 2014, and really got me feeling like I should start going to more tournaments, man! Still, life hurts. I'm taking the SAT tomorrow, thankfully a bit of a break between this week and States. I was asking Dennis where Pekarek was, and he replied "life", or something similar. I was about to respond how glad I was that I wasn't that encumbered by it, but I realized I was. Look at this paragraph's second sentence. Look at middle school, during which I attended very few tournaments. As I said before, I definitely missed a ton of opportunities, which saw some people catapult past me in rating and experience, Davydov for instance. As hard as it is to believe, I was 1400 when he was 1000. Look at our ratings now, sheesh.
I might be placing a bit much emphasis strictly on rating. When everything's said and done, though, it's still a very good indicator of someone's rough strength. Arpad Elo knew what he was doing. Of course, the moment you sit down to a board, rating is the least of what matters. But it still makes for some thought-provoking historical considerations.
While contemplating what I would write next, the alert announcing "it's been 30 minutes since you've saved your work" popped up. I then took the opportunity to save my work. Sure wish life had alerts like that.
Anyways, I hoped you enjoyed this self-indictment and I also hope it inspires you to look back through your own history, see what events you still recall, no matter the feeling. Gotta study for that SAT now, peace.