I’m back!

I apologize for the long hiatus. The last month has been a hectic one. After coming back from Windsor on July 9th, university got a lot more intense. I was able to do the simul at the Canadian Open on July 12th, but there was no other time for chess.

The summer semester was not a very busy one until July. Missing a week of university during the compressed summer time was like missing two weeks during the regular school year. I came out alive. My last exam ended yesterday at 11am! I handed in my final assignment soon after. It was a 23 page essay. I finished the requirements for my Honours degree in Science and Technology Studies in the faculty of Science and Engineering, at York university! Mission complete.

Life would be boring and unsatisfying without new goals. The last goal was my university degree. The next goal is top 100 in the world. My chess playing has been limited in the last 4 years. In the years from 2008-2010, I have played a total of 94 FIDE rated games! That is simply not enough. What might be more disappointing is that I haven’t been able to study much chess in these years either. My summers have been packed with playing a lot of tournaments, leaving little room to study and rest.

This year will be different. I plan to play at least 100 games from August 2010 to September 2011. There will be time to study as well. This will be quite a change. Those who know me as a chess player know that I am as hard working as it gets at the board. This might be easier to do when I play so rarely. Giving it all I have in every single game might be harder when playing so much. I need to stop myself from burning out.

There will be good results, but there will also be bad ones. With so many events, it should be easier to forget the bad ones. The philosophical approach of accepting bad results is a new one for me. I am a competitor and I hate losing. I am my own hardest critic. This acceptance will be something new. It might be what differentiates a professional from an amateur. After all, I have been an “amateur” until now, regardless of how strong I have been able to become with this approach.

My first tournament will be in Barcelona and it starts on August 20th. In 15 days I will be back to playing the game I love. Total break from competitive chess will last approximately 350 days. I’ve missed it. Other forms of competition are just not the same. After devoting such a big part of my life to chess, how could they be?

Whenever chasing a goal, there needs to be a plan. Tomorrow I will be setting up that plan. I need to figure out what I need to study. This might include openings, players, endgames, etc. I have less than two weeks before I leave for Barcelona, and therefore my holes will be the first I will need to cover. My sessions will be long and daily. I did not become a Grandmaster by slacking off. I know that I will not become a top 100 player by slacking off. That’s the bottom line.

A part of my routine will involve sports, whether running, or playing basketball and tennis. This is both for the sake of sanity and for better physical conditioning. If anybody wonders why the top chess players are all physically fit, there is a reason. Chess games are extremely demanding at the highest levels. If you are not in top physical shape, you are at a disadvantage. The pressure is at its highest. At recent tournaments like the Canadian Open, I have tried to go to the gym every day after the game. It clears the mind, which is hard to do after a long game.

I look forward to the challenge that is ahead of me. It won’t be easy. It would be boring if it was…

I will try to maintain posting daily/bi-daily even while I am not playing, partly on my own day as well as on other events around the chess world.

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3 Responses to I’m back!

  1. Nina says:

    Sounds exciting! Good luck with the grand plan (:

  2. I find this idea of accepting some bad results interesting and working maybe not only for GM. I myself realized that you can’t avoid it and sometimes being too hard on yourself affects your confidence.
    It would be great and unusual to read about the working day of GM, how and what you study, of course you don’t have to disclose your opening secrets :).

    • The idea of accepting bad results is one that is easier said than done. But it shouldn’t be confused with that horrible feeling in your stomach saying you are unhappy with the result, that’s going to stay, but might be more short lived.

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