Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Chess Journey

I'm so impressed with the resilience shown by one of my commentators (oh, alright, that should read "only" commentator!), here at Celebrate Chess, that I would like to introduce her to you.

Polly is clearly a strong-minded and resilient person (well, she is Taurus). Her blogs are a revelation in terms of trying to get to grips with our motives for playing this "oh so tough" game and an inspiration to chess players everywhere. And I was fascinated by her "quest to play a tournament in all 50 states"!

Here's an excerpt from one of her posts, thus:

"All the sloppy piece placement and clock slapping was starting to annoy me, but I wasn't going to get into it with him. However I was on the verge of losing it when he plays 41...Bd3 and takes his hand off and then grabs the piece again to move it elsewhere. I said "You took your hand off the piece, you have to leave it there." He continues to hold on to the bishop and says "I want to think about it." I tell him there is nothing to think about, he has to leave the bishop on d3. He puts the bishop back on b5 and keeps telling me to stop it, stop it. The funny thing was at that point I wasn't saying anything. If he wanted to use his time to think about a move he was going to have to play that was fine with me. He had about a 10 minute time advantage, so any free time would make me happy. However I was prepared to stop the clock and get the TD if he tried to make any move except Bd3. At this point we've drawn a bit of a crowd. Everyone likes a good chess argument. This had the makings of becoming a good one".

The denouement makes for exciting reading, so I hope you'll track it down. As someone who is now largely restricted to internet play, this is perhaps a timely reminder that not all OTB stuff is chivalry and good comradeship! Contrary to the view frequently expressed by those who don't play chess, OTB seems to test our interpersonal skills to the full. Not to mention the resilience that we need in order to keep coming back for more. Will we win or are we going to blunder (again)? Why is it always US who gets into time trouble, not the opponent? And why do I always see a great move just after I spent a long time in skilfully locating, and playing, the worst move on the board?

(if you read this Polly, please let me know that you are OK with this post, as I was not able to contact you via email)

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