Sunday, July 15, 2012

Taking care of business….

  It’s been over a month since I submitted this Broken Pawn blog to the CJA (Chess Journalists of America) for the 2012 Best Blog award. In addition to hoping to win an award, I found that last year the awards submission process provided me with the source of some entertaining blog posts and had no reason to think this year would be any different.

  On June 9th, the CJA website posted a notice from the awards chairman reminding the potential entrants about the upcoming deadline. The notice said that the list of entries received ‘should’ be available on the CJA website in the near future to allow for confirmation of the entries. 5 weeks later, there is no mention of what entries have been submitted and I’m very happy that I verified that my entry was received when I saw the original web site post (my entry fee check still hasn’t been cashed).

  I know that everyone involved with the CJA is a volunteer and maybe I was spoiled by the stellar work of the awards committee the past 2 years, but it’s disappointing to me that with less than a month to go before the actual awards I don’t know who submitted awards entries, who the competition is, and I don’t have a lot of hopes for seeing the voting results after the awards have been announced. I’ll just have to wait until next month to see if I happen to win or not and that will be the end of it.

  This isn’t a case of me being part of the problem by not being part of the solution. I’ve contributed 3 columns to date to the CJA magazine ‘The Chess Journalist’. I received the latest issue (the winter 2012 issue!?) 2 weeks ago and the column about my blog exchanges last year with Bob Long and Andres Hortillosa looks great in print. You can see the issue with my first column here. I take great pains to get things I’ve committed myself to done when I say I’ll have them done and I wish others would do likewise.

  This type of stuff is common in volunteer organizations and would hardly be tolerated in the workplace. Salespeople who don’t return calls or programmers who consistently fail to meet deadlines generally end up having to find new employment. But most volunteer organizations don’t have replacement personnel at the ready and are reduced to a position of hoping that the well-meaning volunteers can eventually find the time to meet their commitments.

  I’ve been keeping to my normal chess study routine until last week when instead of clicking on the picture of a ‘3’ for a 3 minute game on the Internet Chess Club, I accidentally clicked on the picture of a ‘1’ less than an a half inch away. I lost the game and fell from my peak 1 minute rating of 1575 that I hit last July 16th. Once I hit my new high, I stopped playing 1 minute chess and worked on trying to hit an all-time high in 3 minute chess. I came close to a personal best a few times but I’m still chasing my all time of 1751 that I set in June of 2010.

  Now that I’ve fallen off my one minute high rating, I’ve broken training and have been spending almost all my time playing 1 minute chess. I forgot how much fun it is even though I’ve watched my 1 minute rating plummet from my peak of 1575 to between 1000 and 1300 depending on how I’m playing. Here’s a couple of my favorite games from the past week:

pgn4web chessboard courtesy of
  With a month to go until my next tournament (The Jackson Open in Jackson, Minnesota), I’m going to have to stop my 1 minute escapades and get back to business. I’m exactly one point away from matching my all-time peak USCF rating and I’d hate to backslide 50% like I just did in a week of playing one minute chess. When I play 3 minute games, I always go over the games afterwards to see what kind of tactics I’m missing and see if I’ve stumbled on a new opening idea. One-minute chess is tremendous fun, but I get in the habit of playing 20 or 30 games in a row and never getting around to studying them afterwards. I’ve never thought that playing chess is ever harmful no matter the time limit, but when trying to specifically improve results, some training methods are better than others and in this case I can take care of it now and not wait a month.