Kindred’s Kaleidoscope: NEW IN CHESS 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE

IN MY RETIREMENT YEARS WHAT JOY WOULD I FIND IN CHESS? I must admit I pondered this more than once. As I saw it, I could devote my time to correspondence play and or try to find enjoyment in playing away from home and entering some of the regional and national tournaments that adorned the CHESS LIFE pages in advertisements of upcoming events. Being married and having “the farm” which became a landscape joy for cultivating an interest for gardening and swimming in the nearly 2-acre pond-lake that housed an abundance of fish and attracted a host of wildlife from deer to birds of various kinds, I found myself along with my wife a widening interest beyond chess play.

It would have been fun to travel, to play in chess competitions just for the experience to see how far I could go in improving my rating. Most of my chess interest had been devoted to our local club as an officer and also a USCF Region II Director and tournament director.

During my working life I devoted my interest mostly to correspondence play with the CCLA and participated in numerous local and regional events in western New York State, often both as a director and participant but mostly as serving as program director for club activities.

Good or bad I had a thirst for a wide-ranging interest to investigate numerous things that interested me in and out of chess. In this series, for example, I noted my development of my square-count theory for mapping games graphically the ups and downs of the battle as well as applying it to actual thought process in my games. I have always advocated planning a game strategy from move one because from my viewpoint it was the best way to improve. Keeping the game play within your skill level development and understanding of strategy and tactics was and is essential for an amateur wanting to improve his rating record. In addition, I think it is the best way to foster a love for chess throughout your life if you so choose.

To me few people have the drive to achieve greatness in chess. It is a hard, difficult road to achieve stardom in chess and then maintain it at a top peak over time. History is full of also rans who devoted their entire existance to follow the pushing of pawns only to struggle in poverty and disillusionment. That is the crux of the difference between chess and other sport activity.

USCF advertised in CHESS LIFE that chess makes you smart. Maybe so. Maybe not. Certainly a child who studies and plays chess with some seriousness to improve will experience early in life such attributes as time management, development of critical thinking in terms of honing a decision making process, of judgment, of planning, and certainly the valuable nature of competitiveness not to mention developing relationships with others having similar interests.

I read in NEW IN CHESS–THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY BUMPER ISSUE a comment by GM Topalov to a question asked: Is a knowledge of chess useful in everyday life?  His answer was, “Very little.” In fact, most of the questions asked were answered in a narrow self-grandizement and perhaps a bit of humor to pull the nose of the reporter.

Herein, lies the difference between myself and perhaps most others who might answer that question in a similar fashion. I relate my views on this above. I do not claim to know the answer other than to say that each and every child or adult who takes a liking to the game of chess form their own evaluation which likely will be the right one in your own case.

Adios for now!!

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