Mauled by a kitten

Feb 11, 2011, 6:14 PM |


After 25 years away from the game, I returned to chess about 2 weeks ago.

Yes… I am an old guy, just retired.


When I quit in the mid 1980s, my UCSF rating was a couple points short of Expert.

I stumbled through a short open tournament about ten years later, then quit again.


The highpoint of my "career" was a victory over a senior master.


He was not happy.


After the game, with great animation and some degree of style,  he explained to me that I was not actually even a “Chess Player”, but some lower form of life, possibly related to algae.  He only lost because he was so incredibly bored by the prospect of playing me that his mind had temporarily seized up, refusing to function normally.


I have been around a lot of chess players.


Leaving aside the question of whether his mind had ever functioned normally, I understood that he was struggling to find a gracious way to say…”Nice Game”.  I accepted his comments in that spirit. You can’t expect too much from a senior master who just got hosed by a patzer.


The low point of my career happened about 5 days ago on FICS.

After 25 years.. I remember nothing and am playing every opening.


In 5 zero Blitz, I was playing the black side of a Tarrasch French against a fellow rated all of 1305.

After one minute of play, I was marveling that I had managed to establish such a terrible position in so few moves.  If my goal had been to find the worst possible squares for my pieces, I don’t think I could have done it more efficiently.


Things weren’t bad enough, so I hung a knight… at which point my opponent started taunting me in the chat window.


“Are you ready to cry?” he asked.  “Need something to dry your eyes?”


What I needed at that point was a shot and a beer. All due respect to those who work hard to get to a 1300 rating, but I felt like I had been mauled by a kitten. I imagined my feisty opponent was about 14 years old, figuratively or literally, so I could not even get mad at him. He had, after all… just kicked my ass.


So… I bought Fritz and Chessbase and a membership in, deciding that I should study some.


25 years is a long time and a few things have changed.

The tools for studying chess are now AMAZING!!!


The great videos by so many terrific teachers leave me speechless. Between the tactics trainers, the opening drillers, the end-game injectors and the databases, studying chess is not like work at all.


Armed and ready with the latest tools… I am very confident that I will soon be able to survive the opening against the average D player.


Who knows where it will all end. J