Archive for October 14th, 2022

It could be the case that a pleasant, if long, train journey to what is my favourite place in Thailand, for nine days of chess, where I get to meet up with old friends is the sort of thing that dreams are made of. The sort of thing that makes holidaying all the worth while. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to go off travelling to play some chess. Stands to reason doesn’t it? But that might only be true if impulses are at the heart of our decision making process. But you do have to be in the right frame of mind and that’s just not the case with myself. I have to pass up the opportunity, and its for the best. I’m too wounded to limp on. So I shall stay at home and spend time with my well-loved child instead. It’s helpful to remember that chess isn’t that important, and sometimes circumstances prevent it from ever being so.

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How do we assess our current level? It’s an inexact science but nonetheless correlated to how often we play. I think rustiness is defined in terms of being out of the game for some time. But if we aren’t rusty per se and we aren’t playing regularly enough, how do we define where we are, and thus, what we are capable of? Just how do we measure by graduation and what exactly is the criteria being used. We have a few expressions which readdress the matter but mostly they are colloquial and are a bit vague. It seems to me that assessing where you are at with your chess is not as straightforward as it may first appear. I’m not talking about competitive chess here, instead I am taking about approximate level. Lack of match practice is a separate issue.

We all like to know where we are with things but it seems we must stick to generalities as knowing exactly where you are isn’t so simple. I play online quite a lot but never take it seriously, as is so often the case. How much does that count for? Hard to be sure. I don’t know how useful it is to dichotomize chess into online and OTB, and perhaps it is the case OTB chess carries with it certain things which online chess cannot but establishing the seriousness of your online play and using that as a yardstick to gain some idea of overall level is far from straightforward. Form should, in itself, be transient but what the conditions are for the development of form, or improvement to put is simply, are unclear. Detachment doesn’ t lend itself to explication and most likely we never are well aware of what shape we are in. The question is why should it matter, and the answer to that might just be down to a manifestation of guilt through not trying hard enough with online chess. In all probability attachment to a club or institute of some kind will embed experience with more definitive results and participation. The bigger questions determine to what extent life is being led properly. Life led in some quandary zone, never being neither here nor there doesn’t sound quite right to me. Nor does looking for answers to issues to help plan things more carefully.

If there is a solution then it lies with objectification. Go to tournaments, win some games, climb up ladders, and so on. Basically, don’t sit around doing nothing anymore and wonder what it’s left me with, and instead be active. Whatever the solution may be, it lies in that direction I would say.

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Going nowhere fast

A principal quality to becoming a strong chess player is pattern recognition and it has much value beyond the board too.

And so the upshot is I am less excited about a return to OTB chess. Why? I’ve been here before too many times. There’s nothing new about it and too much that is familiar. It’s tempting to think I go round in circles. Even if I don’t, the truth of the matter is not too far off. I seem to be quite good at putting my foot in it (reckless bugger), and so the sense of familiarity is too strong and enthusiasm somewhat lacking this time around.

There is a transition in play when you go from online to OTB. Etiquette comes back into play, the sense of occasion over-arches all. The games come thick and fast in BKK chess club because they only play blitz there. There’s also nearly 2 hours of travel to the chess club. It’s a welcome transition but it has to be remembered that chess is just a board game and there are far more important things in life to be getting on with. Well, admittedly chess is a passion too and that does elevate its status.

General considerations should never be overlooked and so, owing to circumstances, I might not be too up for it. Hard to be sure.

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