Sunday, August 06, 2006

Random Thoughts About Chess

I have decided to give a brief update on my chess activities as of late and to reminisce about the "good old days" of chess for me. I have just started another correspondence tournament at ICC and still have one old game going from last month. I have been playing too quickly in some of my games and it has hurt me greatly. I am still not considering all of my opponents possible replies at critical points in the games and thus lose or find myself fighting for a draw! This has gotten rather old. Sometimes I get outplayed in the openings because I get caught in lines that I don't know or haven't played in a while and I forgot what I was supposed to play in those positions. I am going to force myself to slow down in the games that I just started and hope for better results. It is also best not to look at the games when I am tired.

I am playing in a thematic tournament that is also correspondence. In this one, everybody has to play the Colle-Zukertort. The first five moves are given and forced. Play picks up on Black's move 5. I'm still in the opening in these games so I'm not winning or losing.

I have a book on the Colle, to include the Colle-Zukertort, so I have some help here. I plan on buying a copy of Modern Chess Openings 14th Edition (MCO 14) from soon and to use it to help me avoid opening traps in my correspondence games.

Now for the good old days. I started playing chess with my little brother back in the 1970's. We didn't know all of the rules back then so we both played some illegal moves. In 1974 I joined the Plant High School Chess Club and team. I joined mainly to get good enough to beat my little brother and got hooked on competitive play. I loved competing against other schools in matches and tournaments. At the time I joined the club and team, Plant High School was the reigning champs of the Southeastern United States (Region 4). I went to the Region 4 championship in my senior year (I believe that was Spring of 1976) and did OK. I played in the Under 1400 section and we won it. I played in the Under 1400 section at National High School and did OK. I believe that I got an even score in that tournament.

I continued playing chess off and on through the eighties and nineties and now I play mostly online because it is cheaper. When I got out of the US Army in 1986 there were tournaments in Tampa almost every month. So, I played in most of them and kept my skills up. After meeting Tom Stiers I helped him run some tournaments in the Brandon, FL area. Now, there are no tournaments in the Tampa and Brandon areas that I know of. There are some players who are interested in forming a club, but we need a place to meet. I really do miss being part of a team and I also miss running tournaments. I have found that lately I cannot play in any tournaments that I am also directing because it is just too much work for me.

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