In today's Sterling Chess event, I took first place in the U1000 section. It's nice to win, though the best part of claiming a trophy is that my sons get more excited about chess when dad comes home with something shiny.
1) I especially enjoyed this tourney not just cuz I won in my division (though that's all right), but because all four rounds I felt challenged. My opponents all played well and kept me on my toes, and at some point in each of the four games I felt the sting of defeat looming for me -- though I was able to turn it around each time.
2) In all four rounds, I took more time than my opponent. Ah, the fascinating dance between feeling that one is running out of time vs. the sense that one's opponent maybe should be thinking things through longer...
3) It doesn't hurt that the night before the tournament I spent two hours doing kirtan. I certainly am not implying that God favored me because of my piety, but I think devotional acts can sharpen the mind and give the heart courage.
The last of the four rounds was the most tense game. I probably should have lost, but my opponent lost heart at the crucial moment.