Man de la Maza

Monday, October 30, 2006

Quest for the Holy Grail

This weekend I was looking over the USCF top 100 lists. I noticed that with a particularly strong year my 11 year old daughter could end up one of the top 100 girls under age 13 in the US. To achieve this, she would need to achieve a rating of 1135 which would be a big improvement for her, but it certainly is in the realm of possibility if she wanted to do it.

I casually mentioned this to her because I thought it would be neat to be the top 100 in something in the country. She responded, "Could you be in the top 100 players in your age group?"

Insightful question.

Despite her geneological handicap, she is a smart little girl. What is this little chess thing for her about anyway -- me or her? I try to let it be about her, but there is a little me in there. This conversation about top 100 lists is definitely about me.

There are actually two valid responses:

1) "Hell no!"

I'd have to be a senior master to be in the top 100 players in the country. This is a citizen of the country of Not Gonna Happen and might even belong to Could Not Happen.

2) "I'm not old enough yet".

The next age list I can qualify for is the over 65. To do that, I'd have to be rated 1983. That's 300 points higher than my current rating, but certainly doable given that I have 25 years to get there.

So here it is at last, my quest for the Holy Grail:

To be listed as one of the top 100 players in the US over the age of 65

Outline of plan:
1) Not to die in the next 25 years (This is key!)
2) Not to quit playing chess
3)Improve 16 points/year over the next 25 years. (This will get me 2078 which would easily qualify me the top 100 over 65.)

Potential Problems:
1) Premature Death -- I'm working on avoiding this.
2) USCF folds and there is no list -- Wouldn't that be a bitch!
3) Losing interest in chess -- Probably the biggest risk
4) Such a great idea that suddenly everyone wants to do it. Being an expert won't make the top 100 anymore -- Possible but then I get to claim it was my idea. USCF will make me an honorary master for boosting membership complete with a lifetime membership and a Jacques millennium chess set ... Or maybe chess geeks will buy me beers at tournaments.

Are you serious, Don?

Yes, you heard it here first.

This is my quest for the Holy Grail, and it will take at least 25 years to complete.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bit behind. Second thoughts.

I'm a couple days behind schedule here. I not infrequently skip a day and then do a full hour the next day. Well, that's happneed twice, so I have 2 makeups to do.

Having second thoughts in general about the 100 days. I have some school work that I have to get busy with now, and I don't want to necessarily give up an half hour of evening time to chess. I was ready to chuck the whole idea last night, but I decided to stick it out for another week and see how I felt then.

My tactical game is shaping up nicely. I have been playing a match against a buddy at chess club. The tactical sharpness has enabled me to enjoy the game more. Rather than a series of random battles, the game flows together much more as a whole.

39 days down, 61 to go