Sunday, November 13, 2016

Why Watch When You Can Play?

This week I've started my lessons by asking my students this question: "What is the best tournament in the world?" I get all answers, like World Championship, Olympiad, National Championship etc. In the end, I tell the kids that the best tournament is the one that you are playing in. Chess is a participation event. Ok, it can be great to watch games, matches, tournaments, and some of them are great to follow. But nothing beats playing, and nothing beats playing tournaments. Therefore, whatever tournament I happen to be in is more important to me than any event that I might watch. The same should go for everyone.

The World Chess Championship match has started, and we've had 2 not so interesting draws to start off with. My twitter feed is filled with the usual comments about how boring the chess is, and how the format of chess doesn't lend itself to producing a spectacle. Having never participated in a World Championship match, or at anywhere near the level that Carlsen and Karjakin are competing, I'm hardly fit to comment, but it seems that both players are easing themselves into the match, and getting over any pre-match nerves. They are both showing respect to the other over the board, and I'm guessing that the play will heat up for the rest of the match.

As for me, I want to start playing otb chess again, but I've been in quite a bit of pain with a probable torn tendon in my shoulder. I had planned to play at the Melbourne Chess Club's event next weekend, but my focus isn't good at the moment as I'm in quite a bit of discomfort. The event does look great, though. The MCC are hosting a match of MCC vs Rest of Victoria.The event will be split into mini matches based on ratings, so the top 4 MCC players will play a Scheveningen event against the top 4 Rest of Victoria players, and then the next 4 vs 4 in the same format etc. As a lover of team chess, this is something that I'd go out of my way to play, but I'm holding my decision until after physio this week. I'd encourage anyone who can play to join in. After all, playing is better than watching.

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