3001 A Chess Odyssey: age Fifty overload
You see, the thing is, I have like twenty+ years of experience in taking raw chaos, analyzing it into elements, patterning it, then defining it to be built or to perform, then executing. First, I am a classically trained architect--from infancy—literally. I am to planning what a fish is to water.
I can take, for example, a university building, say a physics department, map the number of students, the lab equipment, the flow of persons, and arrange it all, get the air in, get the water in, keep the water out, and budget it with time, money, material, and conflicting needs. I can do this not just physically, but in time, so that, for example, you can allocate half a year to draw it up, three months to put it out for bid, and get a contractor on site with labor and materials, then fourteen months till classes start with reliability, all on a big slope of dirt, nestled between classic campus buildings, on soil which is not fully stable but which must be stabilized, and put a heavy building on it with, for example, very heavy magnets on the floor, and plan how much it will sink, or as we say, differential settlement--in short, architects take all THAT, and REDUCE all those disciplines into a plan in project management and facilities.
I can also take three years, and figure out how to raise ten million dollars, by making a bunch of phone calls, or take six million, and make a bunch of phone calls about THAT while finding new customers, delicately or at times brutally and heavily dancing around the most complex capital markets on the planet, involving information systems, health care, transport, energy, basic materials, financials, media, etc. I can do that. I can talk to the customers about it, and guide them, or let them allow me to guide IT. I can record what they say, or remember all of it--in short, I can manage risk in relationships and assets combined.
Then I have plans for my plans. I have folders for plans, plans for folders, maps of civilization, maps of ideation, etc. Really--more than really I aught to talk about. I have athletic plans, climbing plans, blog plans, and nutritional plans. The thing is, I don’t just create them like the perennial overweight person who has read all the diet books, while eating Haagen-Dazs ice cream. No. I do my plans. So I take the making of my plans very seriously. Target a rocket to a far off galaxy, and in time, you will get there.
So now for chess. In 500+ days (believe me, I know the number, but identity theft I do not invite now!) I turn fifty, and have the intention to do all of the 3002 problems of Reinfeld's 1001 Winning Sacrifices and Combinations, 1001 Brilliant Ways to Checkmate, and Emms's The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book by then. I figure, that by then or after this, I will be a real chess player, as in able to play 'real chess'.
What is reasonable--given other chess efforts in chess outside those--is that this amounts to four per day in two years, putting me half a year after age 50, or May 2009, and I don’t want to wait that long. So do I do five per day, instead of four? I know I can do that, but then I will suffer quality, or must not then other efforts falter (endings, live chess, blogging), or need I give up other parts of life??
For seven weeks, I have managed twenty per week, or just under three per day, but it is more like one or two per day, with bursts of delightful and satisfying effort on my weekends, or late at night in bed, when I cannot sleep. So, you see, if I do four a day, then that is 28 per week, and while many are easy problems, some are not easy, and take an entire day or session for one problem. And for those thorny problems that just wont budge, but which are solved in time, we need to sit on them with Zitsfleisch, and it defeats the entire purpose of the exercise to just say, 'ok, this is too hard, let me peek at the solution!' No. This is exactly wrong. It is the whole quality versus quantity thing, as we all discuss here.
Which takes me back 180 degrees to my goal of four per day, and my wish that I were polishing off five or six per day...
chess is the application of mental force
I have already made it part of the way, but have far to go. For example, Monday night, when I was at puzzle number 144, and needed to be at 148 Tuesday night, after doing only ONE last night [time was eaten and I was already spent from 12 upper level four CT-Art problems in the last three nights done slowly and carefully, my main chess focus right now in a big way], but solving five Reinfeld problems tonight, I am now minus one off of plan. Daily this effort is made--and this is on top of whatever CT-Art 3.0 I do, whatever CTS I now manage to do, and whatever chess I play, chess books I manage to read, rapid or blitz chess games played, correspondence games wrestled in depth, blogging about chess, email to chess buddies or Grandmasters, or analysis or annotations made, or Grandmaster games visited. Wew.
Can I do it? For sure. But making a long term plan really brings you face to face with cost, or budget, or relative value... In the recently begun concerted job search, I am necessarily keeping detailed track of my time by category IN COMPARISON TO CHESS and other life areas, and it is shocking what I do...! How easy it is to drift when we 'say' that we are resolution in attaining a major life goal, seeking instead distraction or comfort in dissolution!
(link to"Have It All" parody!)
So willy-nilly, And we get around to asking, 'is this project worth doing?' Absolutely! Then after that, we ask, do I do it faster, or better, or what other projects must I contract, or give up?
Then there is a little thing called the 'real world', which many of you have heard of? I seem to somehow recollect something called a job, and relationships, then get the odd sensation of some stuff called bills, pet, maintenance, cleaning for house and vehicle, laundry, low fat cooking (often organic, whole vegetables--not fast or easy), fitness, trading markets and financial reporting, record keeping, filing, taxes, television, and then, last of all, rumor of sleep, and romance between waking and sleeping or between?
If you don't want to be low functioning or mediocre, then this takes the effort of mighty Sisyphus. And unlike other, more significant bloggers or chess players than me, I have no children, wives, employees or clientele, church, publishers, or property to consider, so how do all you other people do it, who, I surmise, have it no less easy than me? My goodness. A breath mint, somebody.
And how popular do you want to be at blogger, or if you prefer, well connected, or hemmm, ' ** in touch **' or polite in reading those who read you, as a true friend would--cum Quid Pro Quo? You don’t want to be a jerk or total narcissist. So you read, comment, reply to comments, etc... And all this takes time... The better your comments the more does this elicit comments on those, and you deal with THOSE? You get the reward, then, the ultimate, the penalty, the curse of interesting times and most interesting friends here, as you all are...
Then the little matter of staying abreast of the sonic cone of hyper global-planetary change--just the little matter of strategically remembering to look at that, and make sure you are not building your palace in Bagdad or your tiny but sweet chateau in pre-Nazi in Berlin, as Lasker did--loosing all his doubtlessly hard earned money, despite being the wily, foxy, crafty, mind that he was? Just the little matter of being able to see outside or beyond the throngs of true believers, in sustainability, energy, land, money, society, media, technology? So there we are--we need more chess study? I need more study of chess? Chess is the elixir?
Then the matter of being a master--now lets get serious. Do YOU really want to be a master? I don’t. I just want to be really, really good, but given X hours, I don’t want to spend 70% of my time necessary to do that, but more like a good 30% towards becoming 'class A' or 'expert' but THEN use the next 40% in thirds, and do two or three OTHER things superimposed on top of that. Look at that one. When you get old, do you want to say, I was 2100 FIDE, but I never knew my kids or neighbors, but I did learn the Alapin Counter Gambit book inside and out?
Me? I want to do the best 20% that gives me the best chance of getting 80%... right now, it is taking 40 to 60% to get there, and it is costing me too much. I love chess; but I don’t want to overpay for it, and need to contain my effort. Some need to try harder. My struggle is NOT to try harder, and to balance and allocate and contain my efforts and my territory.