Steady As She Goes

My performance is markedly irregular. I go through periods when I am totally engaged, and then I have days, weeks or months where my mind simply won’t conduct chess.  It’s not a matter of making mistakes, rather, it’s a complete absence of the detachment necessary to enter into the symbolic language space, making chess merely an act of shifting figurines around randomly and without heart.

Having musical errands in Southwest Kansas this past week, I decided to extend the trip and drive on to Wichita for the annual Kansas Open. The first evening I won a prize in the 10-minute tournament with 3.5/5, losing only when I experimented for the first time since the 1970’s with the Alekhine Defense in competition. This loss was artistically counterbalanced winning my first Dutch Defense ever in competition.

The next day I played one decent game, and that was pretty much it for the tournament.

So having improved in my middle game and transitions and conversions, the new frontier for me is constancy and reliable performance despite not having the luxury of being a child prodigy nestled about with care and having instead to live in the complex world of a man in his sixties.

Here’s my one good game from the Kansas Open. My opponent becomes frustrated and sacrifices a knight. Faced with the choice of returning the piece or clinging to material with a death grip, I cling. With a certain amount of luck, success!

Jacques Delaguerre