My tournament history goes back to ’93, but I’ve been fascinated by chess since ’84.
The only lingering thing that still doesn’t feel right is how when I play now, some people I can tell they really want to beat me instead of take a draw. But then again I think that attitude has percolated down now to all levels, the self-improvement ethic but with a serious industriousness. Another reason why I’d rather not play lower-rated players now. I see them in the lower section not talking to each other after their games, and really playing the whole clock out fiercely over some precious draw or little time left game.
Back in the days of Yore, when Chess was still big, I guess, and online games weren’t around, I remember that I would go to the donut shop after at least one of my games and analyze the whole game with an opponent, that was possibly more fun than even playing that game, silly as that sounds. Nobody does this anymore really, and it makes me sad. I think that’s one of the reasons I pulled back from tournament play many years ago. I would go in not taking it all deathly serious but I could feel that that was the general atmosphere; guess I was walking in out of practice some times.
Five years after I had started tournament chess I was still a low 1300 level player even! But I always loved chess and wanted to improve and have different adventures. Now I am a ‘responsible’ player and stick to what I know a bit more because I know that is what works, and that results are what people go by, it’s funny that I’m even consciously acknowledging this. It’s more stressful to play a game nowdays, but still enjoyable, if not quite as surprising as it once was when used to stumble into a loss in the first time control frequently enough.
When I say stressful, it’s not really the chess because that is something I do to myself, it’s the body language of a higher-rated opponent, more confident, a more judgmental aire, plus they are strong on the clock almost universally in the sense that they are thinking on my time rather than the other way around. Actually, I was lucky to win that first round game as I had a minute remaining (he had set 5 second delay) and he had about 50 minutes remaining, but this is common against these opponents. I must say though the fact that I can play strong chess takes a lot of the pressure off, as I was walking around during all 3 games looking at other people’s games, hadn’t been doing this recently.
I will suggests moves to my opponents now after the game, how they may have possibly improved, but most don’t reciprocate the same desire, instead it feels more like Cold War Russia where you don’t want to let your secrets out. I think I talk too much sometimes too.
Anyway, I think to myself that some people are also probably stuck like I was for five years, and I watch them play against me, and I feel like they are hitting their heads against the wall a bit and should open up more. But that is life I guess.