Last night, I was at a chess club and one of the fellas there was saying how he had resigned to the fate of not being able to improve in chess because of studies and work.
While I empathise with him, I do not share his sentiments in agreement. You can improve but only if you are willing to put in the hard work and time. All of us have 24 hours every day. How we utilise that time is up to us.
For most chess nerds..... errrm, chess players out there, we just have to figure out for ourselves exactly what we want out of our lives. The clock's a ticking and every minute we spent wondering about the what-ifs is a minute we'll never get back.
The main idea is to focus on what do we want to achieve out of our lives and question ourselves if we want chess to be part of that journey. If the answer is yes, we need to set goals or targets. And aim for that target.
Is it to get to a 2000 rating? Is it to beat that numero uno jerk at the chess club? It's all up to us.
I know in my case, it's neither. It is my need for challenge and to be challenged.
Sure, I could've take the easy road and do like what my colleagues always do ie. go for dinner or hitting the pubs after work and kill my brain cells.
But is that the life I want to go to? Nope. Unfortunately, that's just not me.
I constantly crave for cerebral stimulation.
My normal routine consists of solving Jumble, Sudoku and the crosswords every morning/lunch at work.
And added to that, I study in an unrelated field outside of work.
My boss thinks I'm the biggest nerd there is in my department. It's hard to find any of my colleague who has a combination of chess+computers+geekiness and someone who watched Robocop 10 times, Predator 15 times and quote lines from Sneakers (see 1st picture on right. "Setec Astronomy", anyone?).
I can't stay still.
I'm like the Energizer bunny (or Duracell bunny depending on which part of the world you're from) and I can't stop till I run flat - one reason why my wife thinks I'm going to die of a heart attack one day.
One good side of learning chess the last year and a half is that I found that it has improved my mental stamina, steadied my nerves and gave my concentration a big boost.
Cassia is a harsh cookie. She rewards those who work hard at chess and promptly punishes those who quits or not willing to put in the mileage. Chess is a very hard and a very cruel game. It's one of the hardest games to play. There's no element of chance in it. You can spend 1 hour and 29 minutes making the most beautiful and perfect 100 moves and all it takes is just 1 move after that to ruin it all. No one will care about the 100 moves you made before that. What people see is, you've blundered and lost. And no amount of screaming or yelling will change that fact.
Just so you know, when it comes to chess, I don't play the person - as the famous GM Svetozar Gligoric says it,"I play against pieces."