Man de la Maza

Monday, November 08, 2004


Not the most productive weekend. I went for a weekend visit with a friend. Never got around to doing any problems, so I am way behind. Having a nice relaxing weekend gave me time to reflect about things, and I have to say that there are a few things that seem important to me that I am not paying enough attention to.

Chess seems not so important and like a waste of time. Taking 2 hours every day to work through problems is quite a big commitment and one not warranted by the subject matter. So, I feel very ready to pack up my chess pieces and get to paying more attention to more important matters. I've done other "big efforts" before, and I know that usually you reach a place where you want to throw in the towel and can find no reason to go forward except your orignal vow that you were going to do it. Well here I am.

This isn't entirely about chess for me. One of my secret reasons for embarking on this quixotic endeavor was the knowledge that it is a good thing to lay our a challenge for yourself and then work to achieve it. The goal achieved is transient, but the memory that you can do very hard things stays forever. 5 or so years ago I learned this lesson by training for a marathon. I had always wanted to run one but could never quite make it through the vigorous training it required. To my own surprise, I was able to stick it out and complete 5 months of training and 26.2 long miles of running. I'm now back to being fat, out-of-shape guy, but knowing that I did it is a source of stregnth for me.

There is much that I yet want to do in my life. What I feel I lack at this point is the will to make it happen. It is a muscle that I never developed enough or perhaps exhausted at a young age. So I don't want to give up largely because giving up is a bad habit.


  • You can't give up because then those of us following your progress will never know if it's worth it or not!

    I understand about the feeling that perhaps chess isn't the best use of your time. I think there are far worse things you could be doing.

    I wish I had more time to devote to it. I get a couple of hours a week to study, tops. Then I get my ass kicked by nine year olds at the club on Tuesdays.

    Whatever you decide, good luck. I'm enjoying reading about it.

    By Blogger Jim, at 1:44 PM  

  • Moments like these are why I joined on as your sidekick.
    I knew there would come a time when one of us would start to feel overwhelmed. It's up to the hero to save the sidekick and vice versa during moments of crisis.

    In the past I have let guilt talk me into quitting a task just because I fell behind on my schedule. I would feel like a failure and figure what's the use. Once I learned to identify that pattern I was able to realize it was at those moments I had to push harder.

    Being an instant gratification kind of guy is why I chose to alter Michael de la Maza's original plan slightly. I knew if I tried to spend his suggested 10 mins per problem I'd be wasting my energy and getting frustrated all at the same time. I figured if I could complete one circle I would gain some momentum and doing the second would go a little easier. (Much like your analogy of laying out challenges.) Even if I have to make this the 8 circles exercise I plan on completing the mission, hopefully honing my tactical ability along the way until its razor sharp.

    So hang in there Don, because at some point it will be your turn to lift my spirits.
    You are almost one third of the way through your/our mission. So pop open a Fosters, get your mind right and do a few exercises. You'll put this low point behind you and in just a few days you be back trucking along like this never happened.

    Your comrade in arms,

    What I have started to notice is that the exercises while longer in the number of moves are starting to repeat the same themes with just a few subtle twists.
    Each time I'm exposed to a new idea it allows me to understand the next "new idea".

    By Blogger Sancho Pawnza, at 4:21 PM  

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