Monday, March 14, 2011

US Amateur East and Upcoming Nationals

The Spring Nationals will be held in Dallas, TX. This is a convenient location for us, in a way, since we have opportunity to combine the trip with a visit to family there. I have been quite remiss in my recent blog postings owing to many factors. In fact, as happens with almost everyone involved in the game at one point or another, chess has been put on the back-burner recently as the kids have been more involved in music and language lessons and I have been busy with other things.

Richie's practice has schedule has suffered recently. He has scarcely been playing or studying the last few months. Just yesterday I asked him to try out a few games online and he was summarily dispatched in several games in a row. It was a little like listening to an out of tune instrument. Hopefully he'll get back in tune before the Nationals, otherwise he may be disappointed with his placing.

We did manage to sneak in a trip to Parsippany, NJ for the US Amateur East tournament. I had heard over the years that this was one of the most fun events for chess players of all ages and I was really looking forward to it. We formed a team with our friends Daniel Levkov and his father Dmitry. Dmitry played board 1, I played board 2, Richie played board 3, and Daniel played board 4. Richie had a lot of stiff competition on board 3 and mostly played "up" in his games. But even accounting for that, I couldn't help but feel that the mistakes he was making were not typical of his strength, and was left with the impression that a lack of recent practice has dulled his game somewhat. He even lost to a mate in 1 in a winning position, which has much more to do with carelessness and lack of desire than anything else. That last game stung a bit, but overall, I think he enjoyed himself.

Our experiment with coaching didn't really work out so well. I think the lack of a local coach has certainly cost him, particularly in the last 6 months or so as I have been less focused. He could have used some guidance from a professional coach, but we made the mistake of not committing enough to coaching and ended up with a few scattered lessons here and there rather than any purposeful training.

I don't think it's easy to make up for so much lost time in the next six weeks, but we'll see what we can do within reason.

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