Saturday 16 February 2019

The Life of a Chess Player- Part 1

     The idea of this post came to my mind on yet another day when walking to the round from La Linea to Gibraltar.

     I had my headphones on, pretending they were a good alternative to the cap, though the wind didn't necessarily agree with me...
Ready for the game?
     I was staying on the Spanish part, at about 15 min walk from the border. It was possible to take a bus after another 6-7 min of walking or walk the whole way up to the Caleta. I tried it on the first day and it was a 45 min walk all together. Had to repeat it quite a few times on the way back, as some of my games finished too late for catching any bus. The music in the headphones was undoubtedly a good companion. Having this whole time for meditation I was contemplating my life as if it wasn't mine.

     Some people have told me that they envy my lifestyle in a quite recent conversation. I asked "What is there to envy, you're a postdoc at one of the best Universities in the World, having great perspectives, while I basically live a life of a 'gypsy'? " He told me "You make a living out of your passion- the thing you love the most and you're best at in your country, while the most of the people are ok with just being "mediocre" at a few things...".

     How exactly does this life look like?

     Well, back to Gibraltar while walking to the round... There were 2 more rounds to go, I was on +1, which was my goal before the tournament. While actually playing the games I felt I could do better than that, I missed some incredible opportunities, being quite frustrated immediately after. When you're at a tournament, you can't afford negative thinking, as you still have some games left and you must make the best out of them, so I had to trick my brain into being satisfied. "You see how well you can play? You can outplay anyone, it's just a matter of experience you're missing". "Sh**, 'missing'... After so many years I know very well that I can outplay anyone, the 'missing' IS actually the problem." Ok, corky brain... Let's try a different way.
 "You play so well, you were just a bit unlucky, tomorrow will be better!". "'Unlucky' you say- the story of my life."
      I would manage to come to an agreement with 'the brain' eventually...
Still a bit of walking left towards the rock.

     So, 2 more rounds to go, +1. I was playing against a young guy with about 2495, having the white pieces. Being at a tournament like Gibraltar I thought "2495... Pf, what is that, I should 'beat' him!", making abstraction of the fact that this 'Pf' and a few years younger than me is actually better than my 2407. The wind was the only one keeping it real- pulling out my headphones from time to time. "I will win today making it to +2, then I get 'some' 2550+ with black, he'll want to win- risk it all and I will suddenly be on +3". "Shh, keep it real, brain, just play well today, please."

     I got to the playing hall 30 min early. Decided to go for a tea on the terrace. Met a friend there and finally got to talk to someone else but my brain! Felt quite confident when sitting at the board afterwards.

To be continued...

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