I'm back / OTB vs Chess.com

Aug 30, 2011, 7:32 AM |

A few months ago I was playing a lot of chess on 2 websites; here and on another site.  I was playing too much.  Chess is a great escape at times, but at some point I end up reaching burnout.  I'm feeling a lot better now.  I think from now on I want less than 10 games at a time and then on a slow time control.  I'll probably move every day or every other day, but its good to be able to relax for 3 or 4 days if life kicks in.

A few months ago I bought a house and was getting my old house ready for selling.  Before that I had time to play a bit online, but I over did it.  I was also playing many USCF correspondence games as well.  I reached a breaking point where I never was able to just sit down and rest my mind.  I absolutely needed a break, but when you have many games going you can't just "stop".  Finally it slowed down and I only had a handful and then "round 2" of a tournament started up that I had entered months earlier.  That was the tipping point.  I resigned all my games on every site, withdrew from all the correspondence games and concentrated more on my job and my 2 houses.

After a bit of recuperation I feel a LOT better now.  So hit me up if you want to play a game.  Don't be offended if I reject, however.  It would only be because I want to take it slow.  I did sell my old house, however, so I'm not likely to reach that same level of stress again.  The only big thing I have to do these days or raise my 2 little girls and work on my back yard.

I have been wanting to play over the board in a local chess club.  In a couple of weeks I'll probably play in a Tournament in Alabama.  (I live in Georgia, however).  Playing in person is fun, but my heart races and I get SERIOUS anxiety from it.  I will play several hundred points lower in person than on this site.  On this site I think that I can compete at 1600.  In person I'm lucky to beat a 1300. Here are some of the reasons why I think this is the case:

OTB vs Chess.com

1) OTB you can't use Analyis mode.  So its just your mind.  For this reason often when I play I try not to use analysis mode on this site.  I try to improve my ability to see through the positions without help.  But when I am in a tough jam or when I pull ahead of a higher rated player, then I'll use analysis mode.  I will use my mind as long as I think I am doing well.  I recently blundered a game and lost, however, when I was 2 pawns ahead.  I should have used analysis then but didn't. 

2) OTB doesn't include an openings book.  When in person you have to rely on just own knowledge of openings.  I have been playing the same opening for white and black every time so as to try to minimize the advantage of playing on this site.  But in person I will get in a jam and often make a mistake.  A lot of players study openings and I haven't been doing that.  Maybe I will in the future.

3) OTB has a faster time control.  When playing in person you have might have 90 minutes for the entire game.  At lower ratings I think that its not as much of a factor because we aren't "good" enough to use all the time.  In OTB tournaments I've seen all the lower rated tables empty except for one, WAY before the time control is up.  But I get nervous and feel pressure.  When you do play all the way up until the flag is about to fall, then you will not play as well.

4) Intimidation!  OTB includes more intimidation because you can see your opponent.  On this site, if my opponent is a 10 yr old boy then I don't see that.  But in person its more difficult to accept a loss to a child.  Still I'm proud of them when they beat me.  Having a kid play chess is a great thing.  At some point I hope to get involved in Kids chess (when I have more free time). But its still diffcult to lose like that.  Its also hard to win like that too.  If I check mate them I am worried about them being too upset about it.  Ha.  Which is ridiculous on my part.  Also when the other player is a jerk, then that is hard to ignore. (Like when they slam the pieces down on the board because they think they are making a move that has destroyed you).  The positive side, however, is that you can make friends in person and talk about the game.

There are probably other things I'm not thinking of. The main issue I need to get over is the fear of losing in person.  It frightens me.  I have a real issue with it.  So I feel like the answer is to dive in head first and play a lot.  I don't play on the ICC for this reason also.  I feel like I am going to have a heart attack when I screw up.