14 oktober 2009

WHO STOLE MY FREE TIME?

Its hard to find time to write blog entries when your free time is completely taken by 1. preparing for chess lessons i give on sunday to a group of 4 adults, 2. studying the material of ICS (started back with month one because i forgot to much already) and 3. little preperation for the games i have to play in the various otb team tournaments. So forgive me my silence for the last couple of weeks, silence on my own blog that is.

1. Preparing for chess lessons i give on sunday to a group of 4 adults
Five years ago my chess club decided to start with chess lessons for the youth on sunday from 10am to noon. Quickly we saw that a few parents who dropped of their childeren also were intrested in following chess lessons. So after some talks we, the club, decided to start with a group for adults aswell.

Four year long i teached childeren. I even followed a special course about the stepsmethode (the course we use to teach our youngsters and adults chess) for this so that i know what i am doing and i am happy to announce that i may call myself a licensed chess teacher after easily sweeping the exam at the end of the course. I am now a C-class chess teacher which means that i am licensed to even ask payment for teaching step 1 and 2. But since i love chess and my club i offcourse do it for free.

Four, long, years i had to mildly discipline the loud, noisy, sometimes even obnoxious, little childeren so that atleast they learned something the first hour of the session. More then one grey hair on my head has found its start during such first hour. The second hour i always could relax since then it was play a game of chess time and i didn't mind if they were loud and noisy then as long they kept it between the boundaries of politeness for the opponent.

Four years long i saw my little pupils chess skills grew from absolutely nothing (step 1) to a little knowlegde (step 2) to having the abillity to make a little plan (step 3), not always correct but atleast they do their best to play with a plan and not just move by move in the hope their opponent blunders a piece or walk with open eyes into a checkmate.

This progress made me happy and showed me that i was doing something right. Even the parents (some of which are part of the adult group on sunday) of those kids in my group acknowlegde this since from winning a game of chess easily against their son they now had more losses then wins against them.

During august, before the start (september 6th 2009) of the fifth year of giving chess lessons, it was decided by the group of chess teachers of my club that each person that gives lessons on sunday would switch from group. After some debate i was appointed teacher of the adult group.

We are now five weeks further and all goes well. The first three weeks we repeated almost everything they should know after having had four years of chess lessons and passing the exams of step 1, step 2 and step 3. But since theory and playing are two different things i decided, after some debate with my new group, that instead of going to work directly with step 4's new chess theory, we will first tackle step 3+, which goes a little bit deeper into the theory given in step 3, and also do some analysis of games themselfs played.

So the roughly monthly schedule of my group looks as follows: Week 1 - playing a 30 minutes per person per game game against eachother (purpuse: so they get to play, get the notation of a chess game under their belt); Week 2 - analysis of the game(s) played during week 1 (purpuse: letting them feel that what they have learned isn't just stuff but helpfull material they could (should) use while playing. Time and time again i point this out in the analyse by using the terminology of the stepsmethode course to explain to them why a move is good or bad); Week 3 and 4 - material of step 3+ is taught.

Besides Week 1, preperation takes always plenty of my free time, especially the analysis of the game(s). Last week we did the first time a group analysis and it amazed me and my students that time flew by so quickly. Normally we have a little break at 11am but it was noon, and time to part, quicker then we thought.

2. Studying the material of ICS (started back with month one because i forgot to much already).
July and august, months where you take so now and then a week vacation from work. Hot weather, cold beer, sweat dripping of your body every movement you make. Not really good condictions to sit down and studying chess, atleast not for me. So the study suffered a standstill, my brain cooked by the high tempatures a complete shutdown. Two months no study, two months without even thinking about study. Two lost months since the little knowlegde i got managed to escape my brain.

Oktober, mild tempatures going slowly towards coldness. A hot cup of coffee is a plaisure to have handy. Cosy warm room, a good chair, the ics course in hand, the chessboard set up in front of me, what more does a human want this time of year? Sheer bliss, happyness, joy, delight. First trying to progress where i left off but quickly feeling it's best to start over again from startingpoint. Slowly but certain i will wrestle myself thru this course. Slowly but certain i will understand chess better and better. That is my hope, that is why i am working hard, to get myself thru this course.

Ssssssshhhhhh, silence, here does one study!

3. Little preperation for the games i have to play in various otb team tournaments.
27th of september the National interclub started again. The first team of my club plays in 3th National division, second team in fourth National division and the third team in the lowest division called fifth National division. Almost every two weeks a round is scheduled. So almost every two weeks i have an otb game of 2h for forthy moves + 1 hour Quick Play Finish in 3th National division.

On 27th september i had to play on fourth board of the first team. It was a reasonable game against a 2016 player. Not a game with a wow-factor. Due to a moment of concentration loss and overcalculating i lost the quality (rook for knight). I had seen this a few moves before it happened but it must have slipped my mind. Oh well, better luck next round on 18th of oktober.

On 4th of oktober the competition of the Antwerp Commerce started again also. I am still second board of the first team of General Motors Antwerp, playing in first division. The first round we had to play our second team who promoted to first division last year. We beat them 5,5-0,5. A half a point given to them by our fourth board in a won, but still have to work, position on the board.

11th of oktober, second round, and now we are the team with the lower rating. With black against a 2141 rated opponent. An opponent who has something like a +7 score against me with white. So i know it will not be a ride in the park, it will be working from start to finish. Same opening, 1. Nc3, as always comes on the board but this time i am a little prepared. Instead of going on the fancy tour with him i just play decent moves. In the middlegame i have one little slip but just like me my opponent calculated the right combination as better for me so he didn't dare to play it. More pieces are swapped and after some 35 moves the peace is signed, draw. After the game our first board, an International Master, showed us the right move order after my slip and how easy my opponent would have won the game. Me and my opponent agreed that chess at our level and chess at International Master level are two different things.

That is all folks, until next time!