Monday, June 18, 2012

One Year On

I'd always tried to keep chess separate from my social life. By that, I mean that the majority of my best friends were completely removed from the chess world and it remained a hobby rather than a lifestyle. That's definitely still the case, but the last 12 months have changed things somewhat. Hell, I'm now even advising the general public that their ideal spouse should play the game.

 27 year old Shak proved to be a hit

And this is because I live in a house packed to the rafters with chess players. Five of us; three titled, two of those professional. A set fairly consistently adorns the dining table and - before the analogue signal was switched off - the TV aerial perched on My Great Predecessors, Part II. Guests aren't hit by a tidal wave of black and white, but there is definitely a Caïssic ambience to our place. It's simply very cosy and familiar for me; I don't particularly study the game myself so there's no danger of overload. 

I did, however, expect my new environment to have a positive reflection on my play. Sadly though, my FIDE rating has dipped back below 2100 and my English rating went down for the first time ever. All other things being equal, this is rather puzzling, and presumably has more to do with variance and a degree of stagnation. I know that I haven't become worse.

So, in the coming weeks, I'll be investigating what it is that influences improvement at various levels, from novice to world-class Grandmaster. Over the last year, I've seen at first hand just how much work the professionals in my household put into their game. If nothing else, they've influenced me to think more about chess and I doubt you'd be reading this if our houseshare hadn't materialised. It's been a fun 12 months.

We'll get going next week.

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