Available and Unavailable

“Therein lies the secret of great hunters. To be available and unavailable at the precise turn of the road.” – Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan

James MacNeil won the Under 1800 prize this past weekend in the Denver Chess Club Fall Classic taking home $500.

I did not attend the tournament. I had other chores as we prepare our garden for winter.

At one point I felt that the essence of improvement after my return at age 59 to tournament competition after a 20-year hiatus was to play everywhere every time.

And improve I did, and continue to do so, yet recently my results have declined.

I see now that the essence of success is to play when I it is to my advantage to play, when I am ready to play, when I am psychologically prepared to play. To know, as Castaneda put it so beautifully, when to be available and unavailable.

In today’s game, I was available to take home James’ king.

I’m not sure why I minced around with 3. d3 and 4. Nd2, since after Black’s 2 … c5 there was no reason not to go straight into a King’s Indian Attack with 3. Nf3.

14. Nh4! was good enough, but the sacrifice of a bishop for two pawns was not convincing enough that I needed to refrain from 14. g4!!

Jacques Delaguerre