Thursday, January 12, 2017

Post-Smokey Mountain Updates

It took me several days to find time to analyze my games from the 2nd Smokey Mountain Open. That's the life of the working man. If I could afford to take time off of work to just write about and play chess I definitely would. I'm sure you probably would as well so it's a situation where I think few people want to talk about. It comes into play for my training as well. When am I supposed to study chess? I lose sleep at night staying up to look up that one important variation. Truthfully, it would be far better for my advancement to just sleep. The end of last year I splurged on my coming dream of chess mastery and purchased Komodo 10 and and Chessbase 14. Since that time it is like a kid in a candy store. I have been answering opening questions that I have had for years. I highly recommend these resources (or similar ... a chess playing software package and a database ... the two I mention just happen to be the top of the line at the moment). Once the newness of these tools wears off I will actually be in a better position to improve further.

Anyway, I'd like to make some remarks on my previous tournament. I lost the first two games. Can I end the story there? On the trail to 2200, right out of the gate in my first event of the year, I was sitting on a score of 0-0-2. I wanted to quit. I wanted to call it all off and go home. I'm not going to lie. That made me angry. It makes me angry even thinking about it now. I showed up to the third round still feeling the fear and anger at myself. I showed up and played. That game is such a horrible one for both me and my opponent. It wasn't a shining moment. And yet ... and yet ... that game is where I achieved the greatest victory. I changed my mind. In the course of the game I stopped wanting to quit. I stopped wanting to give up on the dream. I started wanting more than equality. In a completely lost position I started to want to win. It was powerful. Thinking back I am convinced that my opponent felt the resolve. He ignored clearly winning moves in straight sets and conceded to me. As ugly a game as it was I won it. I could continue with the dream.

That's the mentality that I'm going into the future with. I will continue the dream by any means necessary. I gained eleven rating points from the event and that pushed me over the 1900 rating barrier. That is my highest ever achieved USCF rating. Within days of reaching that milestone I received an invitation to Kentucky's most prestigious closed tournament ... "Three Tables Chess". The minimum rating for that event is 1900 and I have to maintain the rating by the time of that event in February. I'm very excited for that because I will be the underdog and I have a good chance of gaining a great number of points in that event.

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