This is a guest post by Adriano, a Chessable user, who shares his interesting chess journey so far… We love his enthusiasm, his passion for the game, and that he packs a deadly Muay Thai kick behind that innocent smile. Hope you like his story as much as we did.
Hello! I’m Adriano, a 22-year-old university student from Brazil, and this is the third installment of “My Chess(able) story”! It’s a continuation from my previous two blog posts and some context can be missed if you didn’t read them, but in general, it’s not 100% essential to have seen them (although I would appreciate that ;-D). I want to invite the readers to think about the motivation that drives them in chess. I’m also sharing a report from a mega tournament that I played recently, and I’m sure the readers will recognize some of the faces in the pictures below! I sincerely hope that you enjoy your chess adventures as much as I’m enjoying mine, and I’m happy to see all of you on board to hear some stories!
You can read my previous two blog posts here:
Originally intended to be a case study regarding my improvement in online play using Chessable during the COVID-19 pandemic, I also tell how I got my start in the chess world and how it changed my life forever!
Here I talk about my (re)debut in classical over-the-board (OTB) play, which was more successful than I was expecting, despite some bumps along the way. I also celebrated the achievement of a major goal in my “chess quest”, the NM title!
Thanks a lot for all of your support!
Why do we play chess?
#tbt time! On board one, in the first round, facing GM Alexandr Fier (2592 FIDE at the time)! A very nice experience, one of the big highlights in my “career”! This is a clash between an amateur and a professional, a picture that introduces part of the discussion below.
The picture above shows people who are into chess, but each one in their own unique way. At the age Fier was already close to becoming a Grandmaster, I was struggling against people rated 1300 in online play. While Fier was traveling the world playing strong chess tournaments, I was studying to enroll in the university after high school. When Fier became the Brazilian chess champion one more time, I barely had time for chess. Do you see the contrast? Which approach is better? Well, there is no such thing as a “right” or “wrong” approach, you choose your path. What if you and I decided to become GMs when we were younger? There is more than chess involved in a project like that, we need to evaluate our priorities, skills, resources, and more importantly, the available opportunities. Chess is also a sport, and reaching the highest levels requires a lifetime of dedication, most of us are simply unaware of the price that professionals pay in order to pursue their dreams! We don’t need to feel bad for remaining amateurs because chess isn’t the #1 priority in our lives, we’re just pursuing different dreams in life. In this blog post, I intend to give food for thought regarding our love for chess! Are you willing to do some sacrifices? We’ll see!
I want to begin by bringing this question to the reader. While you were sitting on your chair, studying chess books, watching videos, training on Chessable, playing chess games and so on, have you ever wondered WHY you’re doing all of this? Why so much effort? So much energy spent? Nothing comes for free, you’re dedicating time and money to what is very likely a hobby, there must be a reason underneath. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not inviting you to search for the meaning of life by questioning your reasons for living in the chess world – what I want is to make you think more thoroughly about your motivation, and with that, hopefully, to give you at least one more reason to stay in the game. There is more than just enjoying a good time here…
Images like this can make us itch to play a chess game! Photo: Liz Vicenzi/Floripa Chess Open.
I’ve met many people because of chess, people from many different backgrounds and personalities. I’m not an anthropologist, but I’m quite happy in learning so much about so many different chess players, it’s entirely possible to write a whole book describing my experiences with the most unusual minds I’ve come across. We were united by a common passion for chess, and as you know, I’ve mostly used chess as a means to travel and interact with the marvelous people out there, but that doesn’t mean I take the pure chess part as a toy, I work seriously on my game and I have concrete goals myself. I’m not a chess purist, as you can see, and this is even reflected in my games, you can find several examples that I went for a “simplistic route” to avoid putting excessive energy in a single move. For me, there is no such thing as “finding the best move”, it’s “finding a move that is good enough”. This tiny difference is what separated the best players from the very best, I guess it’s fine at our amateur level.
Among all the chess players I had the chance to interact with or at least read their interviews, only a few are actually 100% into chess, looking to reach their maximum potential, finding the best moves on the board, making a living out from the game etc. Regarding “finding the best moves”, I’m very serious, I met truly purists who prefer concrete solutions and the so-called top-tier openings regardless of the opposition; it must be said that I don’t consider this right or wrong, only different, everyone has the right of deciding what they want to do. On the other hand, I consider myself more of a pragmatist, although some of you might label me as a lazy chess player, but it all comes down to your goals in chess. I mean, if I’m not pursuing an IM or a GM title, I don’t need to have a Fischer-like enthusiasm for analytical work. Like most of you, I just want to sit for a game and have fun, I don’t want to drain all of my energy for a hobby.
GM Hou Yifan became the second strongest woman of all time and had the potential to compete against the elite, like GM Judit Polgar did, but Yifan decided to become a professor at university instead, a big achievement in itself! Photo: Maria
With all of this in mind, I want you to think about why you’re doing what you do in chess. Do you want to beat your dad in chess? Do you want to win the state championship? Do you want to become a strong master? Do you want to become a World Champion? Or do you want to simply want to enjoy your time as long as it lasts? Whatever your goal is, there is one thing you definitely need, and quoting Magnus Carlsen: “Without the element of enjoyment, it’s not worth trying to excel at anything”. Notice this isn’t exclusive to chess, many activities and professions are difficult and bring a lot of exhaustion, and at least liking what you do will minimize the suffering. I can safely attest that every chess player at least once had a terrible game or tournament that makes them think: “I had enough, I’m quitting chess forever!”. If that promise lasted more than a day, it’s already remarkable! Having a passion for chess, regardless of what you want with it, makes you move forward and not give up.
This was my first classical OTB tournament, the U17 nationals, back in 2017. Despite finishing in 24th place, almost last place, I felt motivated to play more big events like this, and I had to improve my game in order to make it happen. I began to play intercollegiate events later on.
Having clear goals in chess is important to determine the kind of effort we’re going to put into the game and how we’re going to deal with the competitive pressure, especially with the devastating losses. You can quickly understand why when you compare different types of players and put yourself in their places to see if you would like that. Are you willing to make the same sacrifices? Let’s think about a few scenarios:
Scenario A: You’re a top Grandmaster well above 2700 FIDE and need to think about chess basically every day. For you, chess isn’t always about fun, it’s mostly about results; looking for sponsorships, tournament invites, convincing performances against fellow elite players, and so on. Maybe you’ve to coach and publish educational content for either get extra income or make a bigger name for yourself, and this is simply a different business. If you’re around top 10, the opening phase becomes a science, you have to research deeply into well-researched lines to find something new or risk yourself in a slightly dangerous territory in order to have more winning chances. Not only that, if you’re a promising prodigy who is looking to become World Champion, even if you bet your whole life in chess, nothing is guaranteed for you, very few individuals make to the very top. You had a very unusual upbringing due to your chess career beginning so early, and depending on your social circles and other circumstances, you may have difficulties in certain aspects of life, such as becoming more extroverted.
Scenario B: You’re an adult, married, and with kids. You probably learned chess when you were a teenager and quit the game due to university/work/family. Regardless of the level you were at your peak, you desire to improve and have no overambitious plans, and just want to enjoy the game. Surely you have less time than you wanted for this, but at you least you got some and wanna make it worth it. It’s very likely that you’re confused with the excessive amount of advice in your chess environments, mostly about which openings you’re entitled to play or not. You don’t really care about ratings or the final standings in the tournaments you play, therefore not afraid of losing. You’ve realistic goals and sometimes you find yourself wondering how different things would have been if you didn’t stop playing.
Scenario C: You’re a chess professional, but far from elite level. You’re the first humble chess coach for many kids or an IM pursuing the last GM norm. In any case, you do chess for a living, and you’re seeing yourself divided between improving your own play and your students play’, and despite having all of your working time geared towards chess, you wish you had more. Results are somewhat important in your circumstances, although it’s fine if you don’t always get what you want. You’re happier with your pupils’ progress than with your own and truly believe you can make a difference in their lives. Cultivating good habits in both chess and life is essential to make an example out of yourself for those who look up to you; playing 1. g4 is something that maybe you can’t afford to do.
Scenario D: You jumped from a random plane and parachuted into chess somehow. Maybe it was because of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit series or an unexpected Youtube suggestion to watch the latest GothamChess or Agadmator video. Maybe a friend of yours bought a little chessboard at school and taught you (incorrectly) the rules. Maybe you passed by a store, saw a chess set and wanted to learn the game just because you found that little “horse” piece beautifully designed (that was how GM Hou Yifan got attracted to the game). In any case, out of nowhere, you arrived in the game with either high ambitions or no ambitions at all. Regardless of your age, you want to see where chess will take you, and then you’ll make your goals based on your own reality. You don’t plan to pursue a living with chess even if you’re above 2400 FIDE, and see yourself looking to do something else.
Floripa Open & Chess & Blunders & Friendships & Fun! This shirt is quite telling, isn’t it? Always remember what you’re exactly pursuing in chess, this way you can determine what your priorities should be.
Life is too complex to reduce the backgrounds of chess players to only four scenarios, I just wanted to pick a few to illustrate my point. If chess is what brings food to your table, it doesn’t matter if you’re an 1800 or a 2800-rated player, you have to love chess, you have/need to enjoy what to do, otherwise you’ll suffer for your whole life! When you read the scenario A, didn’t something like “man, this is a torture, I would never want this!” cross your mind? While I’m sure they would cut the hard part of the job if they could, but I believe that most of them don’t regret their choices, simply because they love chess (or at least I assume so). Scenario B is a big fraction (though not majoritarian) of all the chess players I met, and I believe their general support to younger players comes from their own desire of being supported when they were younger themselves. I’ve seen several times adults slightly depressed when talking about their chess, they blame the life circumstances their had, and for this I want to bring back the concept of “butterfly effect” that I talked about in my first blog post; I didn’t put scenario A alongside scenario B randomly, I wanted to show this contrast to make you see the sacrifices required. Whenever thinking about a major goal (e.g. becoming a Grandmaster), always think about what comes next. “Okay, I became GM, now what?”. Such thoughts can help you to make better decisions. I explained the “butterfly effect” in the first blog post, but in short, it’s how small choices can impact in major outcomes – if you didn’t
quit playing chess, would you have met your future wife/husband? Wouldn’t you have met someone else? Wouldn’t you be an entirely different person due to your different social life caused by your chess activities? So yeah, don’t regret about things you couldn’t really control, living is selecting one door after another among countless ones and we’ll always wonder how would’ve been if we had chosen other doors instead.
The last two scenarios include a lot of chess players, obviously, and the burden of improvement is rarer in the last one. In my specific case, I rarely put results as a priority, but when I did this, it was psychologically demanding for sure. I’ll not deny I didn’t enjoy part of the competitive side of chess, I liked to see my progress over the board and the feeling of reaping the fruits of my work, but at the same time, I didn’t like the feeling of constantly needing to prove something for myself. While I have emphasized that “chess is more of a mean that an end”, I never meant that I didn’t enjoy learning about the game and its intricacies. I would like to keep things as stress-free as they can get, and that’s not always possible. Chess, being a hobby or a profession, demands a lot from us. Whatever the role it has in your life, make sure it’s making your life better rather than worse! Your mental health should be always a priority, don’t let the setbacks affect your pleasures in our marvelous game!
The mayor (and his secretaries) of my city brought chess to the schools, a big surprise for me! I was invited to oversee the first steps, but also to inspire (!!!) the kids, as I was the only one in the region who played chess competitively, and because I also continued with my studies at the university. I was very happy with that! You can see me in the middle, alongside other politicians. The mayor is sitting on the left, facing a little girl. They wanted me to help with the first few moves, and I chose the Ruy Lopez, one of the oldest openings in chess, to appear in the official pictures!
Once you have clear goals regarding your chess, it becomes easier to outline your list of “dos and don’ts”. For example, if you’re in scenario B, you can do everything you want, play every existing chess opening and remain 100% in peace with yourself. If you’re in scenario A, well, it’s very likely that you won’t be allowed to play anything except 1… c5 and 1… e5 against 1. e4. To the rest, you’ve to adapt to your circumstances, shaping the needs according to what we want to achieve, we have to understand that we can’t “copy and paste” other people’s methods in our lives. Have you ever considered that maybe our stagnation in our current level isn’t caused by lack of study, but maybe lack of play? And vice-versa? Or, more importantly, could it be caused by our psychological state? Or even an underlying health issue? Don’t feel bad for anything, there is always room for improvement, and sometimes the solution is just under our nose. Some people aren’t interested or willing to enter “the quest for improvement”, they are 100% for fun, and that’s
totally fine. Every person knows what’s best for them.
I hope I made the reader think a bit, and I’m eager to hear and read the different perspectives. I’ll return to this subject soon, now I want to share about what happened after the second blog post and my newest experiences. If they motivate you at least 1% more, I’m already very happy!
You’ve got a friend in me, albeit Lotso might disagree… 😀
AFTER THE LAST TOURNAMENT…
What happened between my second blog post and this one? If you read it, you may recall that I’ve struggled psychologically to keep my pace during the games at the FIDE Zonal 2.4. I had a great start, putting up a great fight against GM Alexandr Fier, coming really close to defeating him, but I eventually got busted, all of that effort only to crack in the following rounds. I thought I would be unable to put things back together, but somehow I was able to do it and attain the necessary 50% score I needed to attain the NM title (and also a FIDE CM “norm”, I only need to touch 2000 FIDE now). The cause, which I later discovered by thinking alone for some time, was the excess of pressure I was putting on myself, I had to stop fixating on chess goals. I rarely played for ratings or prizes, and the moment I decided to go after those, everything started to become difficult for me. Despite finding my inner peace, I wasn’t entirely satisfied, considering how I lowered the quality of my play in those games at the Zonal, so I decided I was going to try to justify the NM title and retrieve all the rating points I lost. But no big pressure this time.
The couple who hosted me in Porto Alegre has a nice collection of chess books! I think you might recognize most of them, despite being translated to Portuguese. Chess in a universal language!
I spent the following months studying chess more lightly, relaxing a bit, and also keeping my university studies intact. I remember I wrote that “I should work on my calculation”, and well, I didn’t do it. I guess laziness beat me to it again, but hey, one day I’ll work hard on this, I promise! I didn’t invest in new openings except for the Catalan (1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3), and I had no plans of working too much in chess as there were no plans of classical tournaments anytime soon…
Until a big one popped up! The Floripa Chess Open (https://floripachessopen.com.br/) is the biggest open chess tournament in Brazil, I’ve known about it ever since I learned chess back in 2017. In its 2017 edition, Floripa Chess Open brought the legend, Alexey Shirov! A funny story about that is that NM Wellington “Fortitudine” Albuquerque, now a chess.com staff member, found out that Shirov was
going to play in the event, and before traveling, Albuquerque took a picture holding a fire extinguisher – a clear reference to Shirov’s “Fire on Board” books.
Chess.com’s staff member NM Wellington “Fortitudine” Albuquerque ready to extinguish Shirov’s fire!
Guess who Albuquerque faced already in the first round? Yeah, Alexey Shirov himself! I’m not joking, you can see for yourself 😀
Unfortunately, Albuquerque was the one who suffered the slow burn. An amazing experience for him, nevertheless! Photo: Claudia Aquino/Chess.com
I’ve seen so many people playing and enjoying the Floripa Chess Open over the years, and looked so distant… literally, it’s like 3700+ km away from my hometown. “No hurry”, I said to myself, “one day I’ll play in that event”. The years went by and I only remembered my plan once a year, every time that the event began again. It was never something that bothered me, because as I said, I had no hurry. This time, however, its timing with a non-chess-related project that I had in the South region of Brazil was something that brought me a pleasant surprise. “What project is that?”, you may ask; it’s a really old life-changing plan that I had for many years, long before I learned chess, and something that very few people knew about. I promise I’ll return to this subject later, for now, I’ll only say that Chessable was more than willing to make both possible! This time, my mind was far away from chess, I couldn’t be more relieved!
My Chessable socks! Believe it or not, even people outside of the chess world find those socks cute, and I keep them safe because I know they risk
THE FLORIPA CHESS OPEN
The main event of the Floripa Chess Open happens every January, and it’s the biggest chess tournament in Brazil, often surpassing 500 players! For the strongest players, it gives opportunities to obtain norms and good prizes, and for the less experienced ones, the chance of facing much stronger opponents and enjoying the experience, and I’m not talking only about chess! As you can imagine, I didn’t have major ambitions this time around, I was looking to cause some upsets and try to hold my own against lower-rated players so I could make use of my k40 factor to climb the rating ladder faster – or at least I would try to prevent major rating damages. But even then I wasn’t
putting so much pressure on myself, fortunately, because I was going to the South for another reason…
First day in Florianópolis, we took this picture right after the first round!
Even if I had lost that game, how could I be possibly sad?
I arrived in Florianópolis on January 23 in the afternoon. I took a bath, changed my clothes and when I was going to get some food, I see a man climbing down the stairs who starts to interact with me in a foreign language, and I took a few seconds to realize it was English, then I asked him if he needed any help. He said he only wanted to get specific items in the market, I offered myself to help with the translation. I connected the dots and asked him if he was playing the Floripa tournament (why someone would come from a different country and appear right on the same neighborhood where I was?), which he confirmed and then he presented himself as Leon Piasetski. A quick look on the internet revealed that he is an International Master from Canada and that he loved the English opening! A very humble man, I must say, and he was clearly enjoying his time in Brazil! We didn’t have much time to talk during the tournament, he left the city before the last round, but he told me quite a few stories, like when he played Bent Larsen and also when he attended a lecture from Paul Keres when he (Piasetski) was young!
With the Canadian IM Leon Piasetski before he departed! A very nice man, his enthusiasm was shining through!
When I reached the huge playing hall, I quickly met my friends and we celebrated a bit our presence there! As you probably know, I’m not a shy person, I also talked with the other people there. I recognized many players that I knew only by pictures and news on the internet. I was like: “Wow, they really do exist!”. That includes the GMs I didn’t meet so far! I was eager to meet the Chessable authors, and the first one I bumped into was GM Pepe Cuenca! In real life, he is mild-mannered and really calm, I couldn’t imagine him screaming “ratatatatata” when I saw him (watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfNR16G34l0). Coincidentally, his Lifetime Repertoires: Kalashnikov Sicilian was released on that very same day! Pepe is very accessible and friendly, he was quite happy when he heard about my posts on Chessable! We had another coincidence: in the blitz section, we were paired against each other on the third round! “Sorry, man”, I said, “I’m with White but you can’t play the Philidor or the Kalashnikov against me, because I play 1. d4!”.
The famous GM Pepe Cuenca! Besides the aforementioned LTRs, he has also published a course on prophylaxis and has plans for a QGD repertoire. Did you know that he is also a Civil Engineer and holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics?
Eventually, I also met WIM Florencia Fernandez (“Vence a la Grunfeld”), future Chessable author and winner of the tournament GM Alan Pichot (“La italiana”, final title to be determined) and WIM Gabriela Vargas (“La lógica de los finales”), but I took too long and completely forgot to take pictures with them as well. Not only with them, I forgot to take pictures with A LOT of people there, I guess I was excessively distracted, albeit in a good way! A lot of people recognized my Chessable shirts, even my socks, I guess the days I was one of the few Brazilians using the site are long gone. One funny moment was after I played the Sicilian against an Uruguyan NM rated 2100+ FIDE (it ended in a draw), people immediately asked if I was following Shankland’s Classical
Sicilian course! The merge of Play Magnus and chess.com is already bringing a lot of eyes to Chessable, as we can see.
These are just a few among dozens of friends who were in Florianópolis! We were unable to take pictures with everyone (notice that most of them here were taken on the same day), but rest assured there are hundreds of pictures of this amazing week on the internet! I’ll let you guess who is my sweetheart… 😉
A LITTLE REPORT
You can check a full analysis with my annotations (more words than variations, as usual) at the link below:
THE SOUTHERN EXPERIENCE
Here I’ll comment briefly on my experience while I was in the south of Brazil. What I’m going to share now is actually huge news for several people who know me in real life, so… Alright, let’s travel all the way back to July 2021! Yes, around that time, I concluded that insisting on a law career wasn’t exactly the best bet I had in order to become a teacher/professor, as it’s really a small gap for such direction. More likely, I would’ve stuck with a profession that I wasn’t interested in practicing, which would be painful for sure. Therefore, I decided to switch gears and pursue a teaching degree directly, and my area of choice was Letras (“Letters”, I would study languages, linguistics, and literature, among other things, check more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachelor_of_Letters). Due to personal reasons and a general desire for a better quality of life, I decided that I would switch to a university far in the south of Brazil.
In September of the same year, I had direct interactions with Chessable’s founder and former CEO David Kramaley, he was very excited for my projects and he was genuinely interested in sharing my story as a chess player, and it was all materialized in the first blog post! He is aware of my plans ever since, and he greatly supported them!
However, the day my flight was scheduled, the matriarch of my family, a lovely 95-year-old woman, fell terribly ill. Not taking any chances, I didn’t think twice, I postponed my project for a whole year. She recovered well, and I remained in my university, began my studies in my new area, and resumed my chess activities. As you may know, 2022 was a great year for me, I didn’t have any reasons to complain about the turn of events. Later in that year, I started to prepare for the trip again, scheduling my flight to mid-January to the city of Porto Alegre, which is 4000+ km away from my hometown! With such distance, you can cross many countries in Europe! Coincidentally, the Floripa Chess Open was around that time, and the city of Florianópolis was around six hours by car from where I was going to stay. Knowing that I had a free ride, I brought the news to Chessable’s CMO Matt O’Brien, thinking about the possibility of merging both plans. I would stay in Porto Alegre for nine days, then I would spend seven days in Florianópolis to play in the tournament, then I would return to Porto Alegre permanently.
I wish I could say I was studying for several weeks straight in order to prepare for my university application, but no, I procrastinated until I had no time left. Keep in mind that public universities in Brazil are completely free of charge, but you have to pass tough exams and stay on top while competing against thousands of students. While there was a time in my life that I was draining my vital energy to prepare to join the Law school, that version of myself was long gone, I would fight only with my general knowledge. Knowing that I could easily pass another university in Porto Alegre by using my grades from previous exams, I relaxed a bit and didn’t put pressure on myself. Guess what, I had a fantastic performance there! I would say that all of the time I spent studying for other exams wasn’t in vain, I could see some crystallized knowledge being applied, but more importantly, the lack of pressure allowed me to perform way better than I could ever imagine! As you can see, overcoming psychological obstacles is one of the keys to succeeding in your goals.
After that exam, I went to Florianópolis, had an amazing week there, then I returned. Then, the true adventure began! I was also applying for jobs in Porto Alegre, otherwise, I would be forced to return to where I came from in a few months. While I was arranging a new place to stay, I was hosted by Marcelo and Nilda, a lovely couple who came from my state a decade earlier and were willing to help me to stay in the city! I learned a lot about the state of Rio Grande do Sul, I took my time to study its culture, and I was always amazed to think that I was still in the same country! The road between Porto Alegre and Florianópolis had a lot of cool views, really stunning stuff, and
I couldn’t avoid comparing them with the countryside of my region. Every second I spent there was a mind opener, reminding me that the world isn’t the size of our neighborhood.
After a while, even when seeing that I would be able to choose which university I would study and having three job offers that paid relatively well, I faced the greatest challenge: loneliness. My old life, my old habits, my friends, my family… everything was left behind. Was I ready to pay such a high price? Some people argued that given I’m not a shy person, I would rearrange my social life in no time – but the thing is, it’s not the same people, we’re not “replacing” them! I started to feel guilty, as I slowly remembered the loose ends I had back in my hometown and old life, and how sneaky I was for avoiding telling many people the plans I had for myself. I mean, if everything went wrong, at least I wouldn’t have to explain the same history over and over again… After contemplating my next moves for quite some time, I decided not to stay. I know this is quite surprising, but after having so much time to think, I felt there was a lot of things I had to do before pursuing such an ambitious goal. No hurry. Foreseeing the possibility of returning, I didn’t burn the bridges, I left my student status active in my old university, leaving it that way until the very last second – as chess players, we’ve to often think ahead.
So yeah, despite all the incredible advantages that the south of Brazil offered me, including even more opportunities for my own chess, I decided to return to where I came from. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t discard leaving, what I’ll do is settle certain things I left unattended and possibly find more people with similar goals. I’m contemplating completing my degree in my university before thinking about leaving again, this will make things far easier. But hey, let’s not make too many plans for the future, shall we? What is funny about this whole experience is that returning was far more expensive than actually leaving, but I’ll manage that, I don’t have the slightest regret whatsoever. I don’t have enough words to say thanks to everyone who supported me in my goals, regardless of how crazy those projects might be. In particular, from the Chessable community, I highly appreciate the support of David Kramaley and Matt O’Brien, I wouldn’t have come this far (both in chess and in life) without them.
WHAT COMES NEXT?
With everything that happened, I obtained new perspectives, not only in chess but also in life. In both cases, I found myself in situations where I made excessive planning. While we’re advised to see everything until the end before playing our move, sometimes this isn’t possible, either because we’re not strong enough to notice most of the hidden resources or simply because we don’t have enough time on the clock; we have to make a leap of faith. Like I said before, I have no regrets whatsoever regarding my decisions, I would only regret if I didn’t try anything. In the end, it was a matter of choice, I wasn’t forced to take any of the measures I took, and this includes my chess moves.
So what comes next? I wish I could calculate 40 moves ahead, but I can’t. Do you remember how exactly I gave myself each goal in chess? I tried to be realistic; when I obtained my first online rating (1100), I never aimed at 2000 at once. Instead, I made step by step, the first goal was always climbing 100 points further. The first major rating mark was 1500, I remember I made a little party for myself when I got there! I put in the work, crossed 2000, and then I started to aim at NM/CM. As you may recall, I’ll decide if I’m going to pursue FM only in a few years, if it’s realistic enough for me. If not, this is totally fine, and in that case, I wish at least keep up at the level of a strong NM/CM.
But what is coming next for you? Only you can tell, only you can make your own choices. Do you remember the “butterfly effect” I mentioned in the first blog post? Every small action results in major events in our lives, and most of the time we’re unable to trace such outcomes back to our decisions, making us think that we were “lucky”. Well, for me, “luck” is when the opportunity meets preparedness, I don’t see a “lucky person” as a mystical being. Sometimes, we’re simply not ready for the opportunities that arises for us, or sometimes those opportunities simply don’t pop up regardless of how prepared we are. In any case, we should do our best to prepare and grab our chances with a strong grip; if you see a mate in one, don’t fool around, just do it! Fight with the weapons you have, at least this will improve the statistics for you!
If you read this far, I’m very curious to know what you’re thinking, but I’m afraid I’ll never know. At the end of the day, the deep complexities that our small actions entail are more or less impossible to foresee; I wish I could know the impact of, for example, the reader deciding to play more OTB just because he/she saw beautiful chess boards in the pictures above. Who knows? I only hope I have been able to motivate you more than anything else, and I’m already very happy for each person who took their time to follow the stories I wrote so far, I can’t praise your support enough! This is a little token of my appreciation for everything the marvelous people I met in chess did for me, I hope to see you all again soon 🙂
With best regards,
In memory of my friend Abias Jacobsen, a fine chess player and mathematics student who sadly passed away this year just before his 22nd birthday. He’ll be remembered by colleagues, friends and family. Rest in peace, Abias.