Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tick Tick Tick ... X

Flag Hanging

I'm seems like we've only just said goodbye to last season but already the next one is just eight days away. Will a new chess year be any different to all the others? For some of us perhaps ...

  • Our London League Second Team captain has new domestic arrangements. There used to be a widely held view amongst professional players that getting married automatically led to the deduction of a good wodge of rating points. This time around Antony will be finding out if the same applies to amateurs. He, sensible lad, is rather more concerned about the impact of the demands of another year of getting us all to Golden Lane on time.

  • The allegedly rusty T.C. has not (yet) joined Antony in either matrimonial bliss or team captaincy but he does now have a swanky new grade to defend not to mention his title of S&BCC Club Champion.

Somehow I expect another successful season for both my club mates. My own prospects I'm not so sure about since I'll be finding out whether reaching my 40th birthday does indeed result in the immediate leakage of brain tissue out of the ears. Either way it is the passing of that particular milestone that I'll employ as an excuse to explain any disasters that befall me at the chess board over the next year.

Different or otherwise, one thing that is pretty certain is that most of us will be back. Our game, for the most part, is just not the sort of hobby that a person walks away from. Why so? Well to borrow and then mangle a phrase of Martin's from his latest contribution to the comments box (here):-

This is chess not art

That we all implicitly accept this is the only explanation I can think of for why we keep returning despite the near impossibility of playing the game properly. It's the competition that's the thing. We play because we like to play. We play because the rubbish we serve up for ourselves is better than not playing. Prettiness and accuracy are the exceptions not the rule and we accept that to keep playing.

Win Ugly was T.C.'s advice from his recent Improve your Chess series. Well most of us don't have any choice. Marriage, advancing ratings or advancing years won't change that.


ejh said...

There's always another chance. I think that's what keeps us going. Next time we really might get it right.

Congratulations to Antony, by the way.

Jonathan B said...

Yes indeed ... the addict's firmly held belief that next time things might be different.

Jonathan B said...

even though deep inside the addict knows full well it won't be.

ejh said...

Of course, but we also know that after it isn't, there'll be a next time after that....

Anonymous said...

Very perceptive comments! Next summer I promise to get down to that chess opening study.

I managed to halt my gradual grade decline of the last few seasons with a 2-point increase. What married life will mean, who knows?! I'll keep you posted. (I suspect the strain of captaining teams at two different clubs may play a contributory role...)


Anonymous said...

The trick is to find an alcohol level at which you perform at your best.

Somewhere between one and two pints in my case.


Morgan Daniels said...

Or weed.

Anonymous said...

As all married men will confirm - once you tie the knot, the nagging levels go up considerably. You have to field silly questions like, "do you have to spend this evening on Fritz instead of watching 10 Years Younger with me?" Suddenly the thought of not getting home til gone 11 is even more appealing.

I should know - my first anniversary is rapidly approaching.

Impact on last season's performance: grade went up 16 points!

Now that baby number one is on the way however I expect to see an equally dramatic decline this year. Sorry team.

Adam B.