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.


  • But first you must answer this question:

    "What is the air speed of a barn swallow?"

    ( or something like like that from the Monty Python's movie about a simialr grail)

    Good luck... remember there's always the "next" 100 list or the top 100 after the top 100. Lower the bar I say!

    By Blogger BlunderProne, at 7:38 PM  

  • A European or an African swallow?
    If you look around long enough, you always can find a list where you're on top.

    By Blogger Temposchlucker, at 2:10 AM  

  • Hi there!

    I’m trying to solve some problems with my new template and wondered if you could help me out. Could you please check out my blog and see if the layout is as it is supposed to, that is with the title “Samurai Chess” at the top of the page.

    It seems that people with Internet Explorer 6.0 or older has problems viewing the page correctly, namely some problems with the scrolling function which puts the title and posts further down on the page.. Some have updated their IE to the new 7.0 which seems to have worked out fine. Please get back to me if you experience any problems.



    /Chris aka Samuraipawn

    By Blogger SamuraiPawn, at 5:34 AM  

  • Great post ;)

    A solid plan which demonstrates long term strategical thinking. There is another factor that might affect things however.....dementia. Chess is supposed to prevent this, but I am doubtful to this claim. It's hard to gain points if you keep forgetting if it's your move.

    By Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza, at 6:52 AM  

  • I think I can hold the dementia occ until at least 67.

    By Blogger Don Q., at 8:18 AM  

  • Oh yes, regarding the Monty Python quote ...

    My first job out of college was to sell memberships at a health club. (Hang with me; it'll come together in a minute) One of the down sides to this was I had to walk obnoxious college kids around the building and then try to sign them up.

    One day I dragged two sniggering weeneies around the building for half an hour. It was like playing the straight man to two 6th graders. When we returned to the sales office, I demurely asked if they had any questions.

    Jokester One said, "Yes, what is the air speed velocity of an unladden swallow?"

    Without missing a beat, I replied, "European or African?"

    It is the highlight of my life to this point.

    By Blogger Don Q., at 7:10 AM  

  • *snickers* Awesome! Curious to hear their response to your comeback. Funny I just read your post today. I ordered the complete Fawlty Towers about 20 mins ago. I have Holy Grail on VHS but have to upgrade to DVD one of these days.

    Good luck on your epic!


    By Blogger Pawn Sensei, at 9:43 AM  

  • Have you seen the latest senior lists? Now you have to break 2000 to make the top 100 list. Bummer.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:54 AM  

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