Happy New Year to all my readers. I know I haven't been too chatty as of late. It's hard to write when all I want to do is whine about how life is unfair. Breaking my ankle and being stuck inside tends do that me. It's funny how easy it is to take for granted the ability to get on a train and go down to the Marshall Chess Club for a tournament when I feel like it. Suddenly I have to depend on other people to drive me down there because I can't negotiate mass transit on crutches. If no one from around here is going down there, then I end out not being able to play.
Such was the case on New Year's Eve day when Steve Immitt held his annual "Your Last Blunder of the Year" tournament. He's held it every year since the mid-eighties. I've only missed it a few times. I had a ride all lined up, but then it was snowing in the morning and the person ended out taking the train instead. I was stuck in the house and in a really foul mood. It's annoying when all I wanted to do was be with my chess friends and participate in an annual ritual. My last blunder of the year occurred on December 19th when I fell down the steps.
I looked back at my first post of 2009, and had asked the question "What would 2009 bring?"
Number of tournament games? I did break 4400, but didn't make 4500. I ended out playing less then the previous year. Though people would argue, rightfully so, that 350 is a lot of games. I didn't break 400 like last year due to my decision to stop playing as much "cracktion". Most Monday nights including tonight, I sit at the chess club checking out Facebook, working on my blog (doing that now), or reading the forums at uschess.org when there's an even number without me. I'll get to play the last round because somebody is taking a last round bye.
New states to play? I thought I'd only do two new states, but I ended out doing four instead. Tennessee and Indiana I was sure about, but Nevada and Kansas also got into the mix.
Chess improvement? I never did come up with a concrete plan. My chess study was hit and miss. All the talk of revamping my openings did not happen. I did do some tactics stuff, but not on a consistent basis. My play went from really good to really bad at times.
Tae Kwon Do? I did what I set out to do. I made it to bodan by June giving myself a year to really relearn and sharpen my technique in everything in preparation for June 2010 black belt testing. That was the plan until I missed a couple of steps and broke my ankle on December 19th. It doesn't look good for June. I'm not on the June candidates list.
So what about 2010?
Lifetime game totals? I'll definitely break 4500 games this year. 4600 - 4700? Who knows? I'm not going to even take a guess.
New states to the list this year? Maybe Minnesota if I somehow get a coaching or writing gig for the Junior High Nationals. Maybe Utah. I have a friend near Salt Lake City that I haven't seen since she moved out there.
Chess improvement? I've been following the ACIS of Caissa posts on many of the different blogs. I really do want to come up with a genuine plan of improvement. For me it's not simply studying tactics, end games or openings. I need to take a holistic approach to chess that will incorporate not only the chess elements, but also the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of my life that I feel impact how I approach and play chess. I will share details as I start to find some direction.
Tae Kwon Do? I did see the orthopedist today, and now I can start to put weight on my left leg. Hopefully if I continue healing I will get the cast off when I see him again on February 1st. Then it will be time for physical therapy, and gradually working my way back into Tae Kwon Do. My left kicks will be good because I've developed really good balance and strength in my right leg and ankle. Kicking with my right leg will be more challenging as I balance on a weakened left leg. Black belt by Fall? I hope so.
I had to interrupt the conclusion of this post to play two games in the tournament tonight. I evened out the numbers in the top section after one player opted to leave after one round. I lost both games to higher rated opponents. Neither game was a blowout, just mistakes that added up after awhile.
There you have it. My first post of 2010. My second post will about Sunday's tournament at the Marshall Chess Club. I finally got the proverbial "Get out of jail free" card, and was able to snag rides to and from the club.