Thursday, August 29, 2013


I know I'm getting boring, but that's how many days before I go on holiday to America! I can almost hear the call for me to go to the boarding gate. Only 18 days left. It's a great age to be, 18. I remember vividly going out on my 18th birthday with a couple of friends. We went to a pub so that I could legally have a drink and we were kicked out because the barmaid had gone to our school and thought we were underage. Ironic as we'd been drinking underage in that pub for over a year. Luckily, there's always another pub around the corner and I had my birthday pint or 2.

Is this what being 18 is all about?
At the age of 18 there are a whole set of rights that young people suddenly enjoy. Drinking alcohol, driving and voting are the ones that we normally associate with the age of 18. There probably isn't too much difference between what 18 year old's can do in UK and Australia. In both countries they can use weapons (gun licences in Australia, buy a crossbow in the UK), go to prison, enter legal contracts (eg buy a house, apply for a mortgage), make a will, serve on a jury or get a tattoo. Check this site out for the rights of 18 year old's (and younger ages too). In fact it looks like about the only things that 18 year old's can't legally do is adopt a child, supervise a learner driver, and drive a bus (for which you need to be older in order to have developed a miserable streak of cynicism so as to make passengers feel uncomfortable).

Tattoo's and Crossbows are allowed at 18 (source: rank my tattoos)
At 18 I wasn't even thinking of driving. In fact I never learned to drive until my 30's when I moved out of the city and found myself somewhat isolated without a car. At 18 I was pretty naive, and without any direction in my life. In fact, the only thing I really wanted to do was play chess. Unfortunately I wasn't good enough to do that full time. But all's well that end's well, and I eventually found myself in Australia where my love for the game has been rewarded with a full time chess coaching position with Chess Kids. Funnily enough, since I've started coaching I've become less interested in playing. I've given up international (FIDE rated) chess competitions because of the ever increasing bureaucracy that the governing body is imposing on national federations and organisers, which is basically making it harder to play in and run events, as well as making them  more costly. I had thought of throwing in the towel, coughing up the transfer fee of 250 Euros, and just getting on with it, but once again FIDE are attempting to introduce a player registration scheme (actually, they seem to have introduced it). This is a watered down version of the ludicrous registration proposal of earlier this year which caused me to turn my back on internationally rated chess in the first place.

Again I find it ironic that when I was 18 the thought of getting my name in the back of an Informator with a rating of 2200+ meant a great deal to me, and when I finally reached that goal about 7 or 8 years ago, it was like I achieved my goal. Since then my view of ratings has diminished and the FIDE rating which has dropped to 1000 level is not the thing it once was. And I think this is the main issue I have with the things FIDE are trying to introduce. FIDE are used to working for the top end of players, but they are imposing the same rules to players who have significantly different needs and desires. Widening the net to include a greater number of players to get FIDE ratings is ok, but there needs to be a widening of rules to accommodate these different strengths of players. Imposing the same registration and licensing rules for a player who might compete in one FIDE rated tournament a year (if that) with that of a professional players who plays hundreds of game each year is somewhat ridiculous.

The majority of my playing from now on will be online, probably at a site like where there are different types of chess available, articles and media resources, and different membership levels depending on how active a player wants to be. I will certainly not be an unlimited full member as I will not utilise the site this fully, but as soon as I get back from my trip to America (in 18 days time woohoo) I think I will sign up for a year.

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