Friday, August 14, 2009

I may have gotten too good to enjoy chess...

...and I'm not really very good. I went to the US Open in Indianapolis (my hometown) and hit a wall. I didn't have any will to get into positions (to calculate deeply, that is), to do the hard work over the board that is required for success. I almost liked it better when I was 1600 and a win or loss seemed to be more a result of inspiration than grinding. I admit, I was a little out of sorts as I was spending the days with friends and family that I rarely see, but more was going on than that. I simply wasn't enjoying playing. I was lucky to score the 1.5 points that I actually managed. The loss to Magness wasn't such a big deal as he's a talented junior on the rise, but the loss to Pressici was the worst upset I've suffered in years. I even saw the tactic he laid on me before he played it, but I was too lazy to do more than a superficial assessment of its power. It wasn't that I didn't know I should look more deeply into it, I just didn't have the will.

It may be that after I get my mental shit together I'll be able to play well again. I've been pretty out of sorts on many levels since I wasn't selected for a Project Management job (I got through two interviews and was very confident), as my employment outlook is pretty bleak. Chess is very mood dependent, as least for me, and I have not been in a mood to play serious chess for some time. I hope I have the first again by September, as I like the idea of playing in the Miami Open. If I were to play in my current mental state it would just be throwing money away. I'd probably end up withdrawing like I did from the US Open.

Ironically, not getting the PM job freed me up to take the chess teaching position that I'd been offered. It's only an hour a week and thus won't screw up my unemployment as I continue to search for work. The irony lies in my accepting the position only as I become less personally enthusiastic about chess. It may reignite my love of the game to see it played by kids without agenda or fear of losing rating points, or it may just make me even more tired of chess by forcing me to think about it when I'd rather not. I'm hoping for the latter. We'll see.

Almost as a post-script, here are the games I played. Go through them and you'll probably see why I withdrew. All I can say is that I played as well as I could with everything else going on in my life and in my head. It was really bad timing that the Open came when it did.






ericmittens said...

I know EXACTLY what you mean. I'm an A-player myself and I know the weakest part of my game is calculation because I'm simply too lazy to do much of it OTB. Deep calculation of lines is required to compete with people 2100+ but in doing that chess ceases to be fun and instead becomes hard work. The only way out of this that I see is attempting to become one of those "positional" players that play very quiet openings and slowly try to squeeze their opponents. Apparently playing that way keeps calculation to a minimum...who knows. Looking over your games it's obvious to me that you play rather sharp opening lines that require much calculation to handle. Maybe you could try switching to something a little quieter, more positional?

es_trick said...

I was also in Indy, visiting my hometown and playing in the Open. Definitely enjoyed wisiting with family, but maybe that made it hard to play at my best. Lost five of the eight rounds I played and rating went down 40 points. Still, I don't regret the trip.

I guess you withdrew before I had a chance to look you up.

CHESSX said...

If i remember correct you wanted to be 1900 next year.

You are almost a year in front of your plan,your chess is hitting a slow patch at the moment as you adjust to this new level.

You feel down about the pm job,and i think you are taking it out on your chess.Understandable.

The chess teaching post sounds good,i run a primary school chess club in England,you will love it(perhaps not a first).
What age are you teaching?
You can give them your experience and re-learn chess from the bottom up.
Covering all the things you learnt then over time forgot.

you may not think it but you are playing dam fine chess,i can only wish to play aggressive chess like you.
Heads up you know you love the game.

Caeruleum Canis said...

I'm starting to get back a little enjoyment of the game, I may go back to playing more 1.e4 just because I'm starting to get bored playing the 1.d4 positions. It's all King's Indians, QGDs, and Benkos. Very few Slavs, Semi-Slavs, Nimzos, etc. It gets boring playing the same shit all the time.

I don't know. We'll see how it goes. I'm still not playing in the near near future.

CHESSX said...

I can understand why you feel this way.
Perhaps not rushing into playing staight away is a good idea.
Take some time out,then come back refreshed and play lots of attacking 1.e4.