Thursday, April 19, 2012

Da Da Da

In honor of the 30th anniversary...if you don't remember this, well, here it is:

A translation of the chorus for the less German-proficient reader:

Ich liebe dich nicht, du liebst mich nicht
"I do not love you, you do not love me," or something like that. 

Note the utter simplicity of the arrangement, the clever internal rhyme...there is more here than the surface. Or perhaps less. Life is still a Mystery.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Mantra for Chess Improvers

I get feeds from a lot of sites, but rarely has something hit the inbox that struck me like this.

From this long and interesting post, a small nugget of pure gold for people striving to improve at chess:

[The girl asked] "How do I let go of this harsh false self, this ego, this part of me that keeps beating myself up and comparing myself to others, yet still keep striving to improve myself? Once I give it up, will all the drive I need to succeed just evaporate too?”


She simply responded to the girl, “There is one thing you have to keep telling yourself throughout this process, and it’s something I continue to tell myself to this day: ‘You are fine just the way you are…and there’s always room for improvement’.” Those words were like a sledgehammer to my chest that knocked the wind out of me. So direct and so simple. The most important part to me was that she said “and there’s always room for improvement,” rather than “but there’s always room for improvement” which would make the acceptance feel a lot more false and conditional.

From that point on, every piece of personal growth I pursued, everything I read, every piece of advice I got from people, every goal I set, every memory I recollected, every emotion I processed through meditation…I processed all of it through the filter of that mantra: “You are fine just the way you are…and there’s always room for improvement.”

And I asked myself if I've ever thought of my chess life that way.

You can ask yourself, too.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Memorable Game 13: My First Tournament Game, J. Monaco-R. Pearson 1-0, Reno City Ch. 11.23.81

It has been over 30 years since my first rated tournament game. For fun, I thought I'd share it. My play is actually not all that bad, considering that my first tournament was the city championship and I would go on to score one draw and 13 losses! I haven't annotated the game in detail like the previous "memorable" games but a few highlights and questions:

What am I doing playing the Sicilian?!? I usually played 1. e4 e5 as black for some time after this. 4. ..d6? is a bad error after which black is almost lost, but I scratch and claw and my opponent (a 1550-rated player) makes some inaccuracies and after his 14. Na4? I actually am all the way back and as late as move 24 I still have an edge, but I don't know what to do with it. I forget (or don't really know deep in my bones) that my rook must come into the game right now, and he wins a couple of pawns and the game.

All in all, not bad for someone whose first rating was 1198. I still remember this game and the magical feeling of playing serious chess with clocks and score sheets and ratings. The nice thing is, the magic has never really gone away!