Falling Back to Earth

Since I post only once a week, I have fallen behind in describing what I am actually doing these days in my own chess studies and play. Back in early September I noted that I had plenty of time for chess because I was no longer working at a full-time job. However, my part-time military service in the National Guard continued.

Since then I have been asked by the Guard to work full-time at a desk job, Monday through Friday, in addition to training one weekend a month and doing other occasional duty. (For example, I served on State Active Duty three days this past week, due to Hurricane Sandy.) At first I told them I wasn’t interested, but they wouldn’t take no for an answer!

All this means my time for chess has been very much less in recent weeks than it was in September and early October. Nevertheless, I consider myself well-launched into my program of study and play. These days I am continuing my chess program, though with severely curtailed hours.

Allow me to describe briefly what I am doing for my chess now.

Play: I am continuing to play one game every Thursday night at my local club, the Newburyport Chess Club in the northeastern corner of Massachusetts. Due to early rising for military duty, I tend to be tired by evening, which naturally affects my ability to play good chess. (Last Thursday night I dropped my queen to a totally obvious move, and of course had to resign immediately. Can’t remember the last time I committed quite so gross a blunder.) However, after founding this club in 2002 and then abandoning it for the last several years due to a military deployment and subsequent job conflicts, I feel obligated to stick with my weekly game. I feel it is a duty owed to my chess comrades in arms, if you will.

Study: I am trying (not always successfully) to log at least one hour per day during the week, and more on weekends. I will talk more in detail about my studies another time.

Looking on the bright side, I believe I am now experiencing conditions similar to those faced by most amateur players: too little time for chess study, and often having to compete when not at one’s best. In September and early October I had plenty of free time, and used that free time to think through my general approach and plan my work. Now that I have much less free time, I will have to work my plan under conditions that have more relevance to other amateurs. My new circumstances should provide a rigorous real-world test for my training ideas. It is a fair challenge, and I welcome it!


Author: Tim Hanke

Tim Hanke is a U.S. amateur who still believes, despite much evidence to the contrary, that he can become a decent chessplayer.