Sunday, September 30, 2012
Brain freeze -- I try to return to USCF-rated chess
One of my objectives in this period of my life (after my mother’s passing at the end of 2010), is to regain all the old skills I used to have.
I bought some up-to-date books on chess openings (Books blog, July 3), checked base with the local Arlington Chess Club (in a Methodist Church just off Route 50), and, on Friday night, showed up, paid my dues, and played one rated ladder game. The link for the club is here.
I’m afraid that I must admit that I crashed and burned in the opening about as quickly as Washington Nationals’s pitcher Edwin Jackson got knocked out by the St. Louis Cardinals Friday night, a debacle that was going on in almost simultaneous time. My defeat would have been the equivalent of a 16-0 shellacking in baseball.
I don’t blame the Two Knight’s Defense. (I hadn’t yet looked at it.) With everything else going on, I just got brain freeze. It wasn't even a "senior moment". I hallucinated that the position was something other than what it was, and tossed a piece very quickly, and resigned (as Black). But it was me, not the opening. (By the way, that opening fits into a Broadway show, “Chess The Musical”, reviewed on my Drama Blog, Sept. 1, 2010 – and a visitor entered the score of the actual game using this ancient chess opening as played in the musical.)
It’s hard to play very well cold, and it’s necessary to find a place to play more skittles again, totally unrated, maybe even at Dupont Circle in DC or Washington Square Park in NYC. I think there’s an area behind the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring MD where people play, too.
I’ll get back to this endeavor soon. Next time, I’ll have reviewed all those old openings that real chess players use. I had some periods where I was pretty competitive in USCF-rated chess: when I was in the Army (1968-1970) and in the early 1980s when I lived in Dallas (for much of that time, the Dallas Chess Club was located in East Dallas until moving to Forest Lane). Once I instantiated myself as a published author, time and concentration on chess became much more limited. I had last played in a rated torunament in Minneapolis in 2000, a weeknight 3-round action where I went 1-2. Returning to chess is part of establishing my credibility as a "professional wallflower."