The cycle of life ebbs and flows with some periods being more demanding than others. August to October of this year has been particularly demanding, which forced me to cut down on my chess writing and playing. Curiously, that break preceded a jump in my online game successes both in live challenges and on the damnable Chess.com Tactics Trainer. My online ELO currently sits at 1101, which is the first time it has surpassed that benchmark since March 13 of this year.
Pretty charts, but still a long way to go. (Credit: Chess.com/Campfire Chess)
Of course, some of my recent wins were clearly undeserved (abandoned by opponent, etc.) but I believe that many of them are starting to reflect my constant dedication to studying and learning about the game. For example,
Winning and losing in chess is like the tides, so I am trying to prepare myself mentally for the time when the wins don’t come and the only way ahead seems to be down, like this heartbreaking loss:
You really have to hand it to Magnus Carlsen. As one of the youngest chess champions in history, he has transformed the professional chess world with major brand endorsements, his own clothing line, his own brand/chess app, and is noteworthy as the first World Champion to develop his chess abilities in the age of prevalent chess computers. In the 2014 World Chess Championship, Carlsen effectively destroyed former champion Viswanathan Anand where there were no shortage of comments and questions about him being past his prime and Carlsen being the young wave of the future.
Earlier this week on February 21 in Hamburg, Play Magnus hosted a simul exhibition with 70 players. The German paper Die Zeit organized the event to commemorate its 70th birthday, which puts its first publication right after the end of World War II. In this competition sat one person for every year that Die Zeit has faithfully published to its readers.
70 boards ready to take on Magnus Carlsen. (Credit: Play Magnus)
As you can see, the setup for the event was stunning with each player receiving a Play Magnus chess set which was autographed by the World Champion after the event. Some of the competitors were invited to the event while others were chosen from a pool of over 1,000 applicants.
Carlsen’s six-hour battle. (Credit: Chess24.com)
At the halfway point of the event, Carlsen had shut his opponents out with an amazing 30 wins and 0 losses or draws. At the conclusion of the event, which lasted around six hours, the World Champion emerged with an exceptional record of 67 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss. It is easy to lose sight of the wins in this situation because of the startling number of losses. This defeat came at the hands of Jens-Erik Rudolph, who is identified by Chessbase as a City League chess player with an 1981 ELO.
Magnus Carlsen’s single loss in the simul.
After struggling somewhat last year, it is refreshing to see Magnus playing such good chess recently. Additionally, it was nice to see that there was an eclectic mix of people participating in the simul including a nine-year old chess player and a famous futbol coach among others. Although I have to consider variables such as the number of people Carlsen played in this simul it is nice to know that the World Champion himself is not impervious to defeat at the hands of players < 2000 ELO. Rudolph’s 1981 ELO gives me hope, I tell ya.
This will be the last post of 2015 on this site. This has been a rollercoaster year for chess around the world and it has also been a wild ride for me as I continue to work on improving my game. 2014 concluded with my online ELO rating sitting at just around 900. This year I am excited to end on a high note sitting at 1100 with a peak rating of 1170 in early December! It is incredible how much work goes into just a few hundred ELO points but the reward of persevering through unnerving losing streaks and perilous blunders is well worth it.
2014 was a hard year for me because it was a time of major transition. I moved from Ohio to Texas that year and was still very green when it came to learning the nuances of chess education.
2015 was much more rewarding in that I managed to find a rhythm and method that works for studying, analyzing, and integrating my game experiences into future play. Here is the final game I am playing this year so that I can focus on my family during the New Year’s holiday. From the Campfire Chess family to yours, I wish you a very Happy New Year and much joy and chess success! See you in 2016!