Introducing My Over the Hill Blog
Chess seems to be a sport for the young. Records are kept on the youngest players to make the title of master, International Master, Grandmaster. Nobody keeps records on the opposite side of the spectrum. Who was the oldest player to become a master? Does anybody care? I think they do! I think there are a lot of chess players like me who love chess but had to put it on the back burner because there were higher priorities in their lives, then they return to chess and get discouraged because it tends to worship youth and pooh-pooh the idea of making progress as a mature, established player.
I am 57 years old as of this writing. I have played in a handful of over-the-board (OTB) tournaments here and there -- off and on. I started in the late 1970's, a few years after the Fischer craze and I think my first published rating was around 1200. I did not live in an area that had a lot of opportunities to play serious chess. This was also way before the internet exploded -- before personal computers, even. I played in a couple of tournaments in the 80's pushing my rating above 1500 and in 1990 I broke the 1800 mark and then slipped back down to the mid 1700's. I played in the US Open in 2005 which is a story in itself and pushed back to 1799. Then I slipped back into inactivity. The chess bug bit me again after retiring from the Navy and I recently decided to push myself to achieve the highest rating I could -- even if I was "Over the Hill" by chess standards. The USCF now had category "titles" with norms ... and "milestones."
Alas! There are still higher priorities. Church. Family. Work. I've played in weekend Swiss tournaments recently but I've always had to take a "bye" in the first Sunday morning round because I am dedicated to attending worship service. This has made it hard to earn "norms" toward category titles and to make milestones in the USCF. Weekend Swiss tournaments are also exhausting! Three serious games in one day! My hat's off to those dedicated weekend warriors! Sorry, but I cannot continue playing in that circuit. What are the alternatives?
There is a big advantage these days for those players in the "Over the Hill Gang" who cannot dedicate their time to OTB chess in the Weekend Swiss system tournament action. Chess is a game that seems to be *made* for the internet. There is so much opportunity to play online these days. Don't go for the lure of playing only fast time control games! Slow down. Play serious chess online. Right here on chess.com.
I have been working toward establishing a "Rapid" rating on chess.com so that I can join the Slow Chess League and play in long chess games on a regular basis. I want to be free from the hassles of the weekend Swiss circuit yet have the benefit of playing "serious" chess.
I have been playing 30 minute games here on chess.com to get the 20 games required by the Slow Chess League. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was paired with a partner for a 30 minute game in less than 30 seconds for every one of the 30 minute games I have played so far.
If you are like me... an old fart trying to get measurably better at chess -- against all expectations -- then you are one of my brothers. I invite you to come along with me as I attempt to improve my chess play while "Over the Hill." The biggest question to answer first is, "What are my goals for online chess?"
More to come... Stay tuned!