First, let me celebrate. I recently reached the 2100 rating mark … and then immediately lost a game to fall below it … then had a few draws … then I won and now I’m back over 2100! It’s by exactly one point, but I’ll take it.
Just a few years ago, I had been stuck at 1800 most of my life. To have my rating now over 2000, let alone over 2100, is like a dream come true.
When I broke the 2000 barrier for the first time last year, I wrote a post examining exactly how I did it. That is, I looked at every single victory and classified it by type. For instance, sometimes I won by a mating attack, sometimes by an endgame advantage, and sometimes my opponents just hung material and I took it. It was a good experience, and quite eye-opening. I learned a lot about myself…
… and then I wondered, if this were so useful only looking at one year’s worth of games, how much more insight would I get from looking at ALL my games? The thought never left my head, and after nearly three months of work, I present to you my findings. It’s pretty awesome. Continue reading →
Victory is sweet. We all know that. There’s a thrill, a rush of accomplishment when you win, when you defeat your adversary. Whether it’s sports or games, soccer or scrabble, victory feels good. In fact, the greater the adversary the greater the thrill. Defeating an opponent against all odds is one of the greatest and most powerful feelings you can get.
So everyone else didn’t believe? Shut up, Wallace.
I know this feeling well. As a former competitive martial artists, nothing feels better than victory … and nothing worse than defeat. Currently, my focus is on chess. Over the last year, I’ve played 59 games, winning 47 while drawing 9 … and I would trade them all away, every single one, to have this one defeat erased from my memory. Continue reading →
In everyday life, we use the word ‘obsession’ rather loosely. When we say someone is obsessed with something, we generally mean they have a very high interest in something and spend much of their free time on it. We generally do not mean that they are under mental compulsion and are unable to do anything else.
When it comes to chess, at times I was very close to this actual definition of obsession.
I consider this image really clever.
It didn’t happen right away. Though I learned chess at the age of six, I didn’t get fully into it until the age of 10 or so. I was getting pretty good, considering I only played once a month or so, but I couldn’t beat my grandfather. I got close a few times, but more likely I was simply losing slower. I was putting up resistance, not fighting back. I wanted to change that. Continue reading →
Strictly speaking, it wasn’t my first victory. I had played schoolmates and won, but that didn’t count. Those were exhibition matches, Little League, forgotten before the last move touches down. From very early on I had one goal, one overriding mission: defeat my grandfather.
My grandfather was the Chuck Norris of chess.
Some chess teachers let their students win every once in awhile. Not my grandfather. When he first taught me how to play he went easier on me, but by about our third game it was 100% every move, every game. I swear he once stared at a mate in four for several minutes trying to turn it into a mate in three. There’s a rite of passage for most boys, when they start beating their fathers at sports. I would have gladly accepted losing every sport forever if it meant just one win against my grandfather.