Wednesday, April 29, 2009

help me design a research experiment!

I've been thinking recently about the role of confidence in chess. My theory has always been that there are some things that it helps to be unconfident in (like driving) and some things it clearly helps to be overconfident in (public speaking, fighting), and that chess clearly belonged to the latter group. Last weekend, while coaching at the Nationals Girls Championship, it occurred to me that I was hearing the phrase "I don't know if this is right, but..." a crazy amount (though interestingly, not from the very best players or the very worst). Which inspired me to try an idea for a research experiment that Jean Hoffman and I had come up with a couple months ago.

I'm trying to test whether girls are less self-confident in their chess abilities than boys, if that affects their ability to find the right move in different situations, if it impacts their time usage, and whether one gender is more accurate in their self-assessment (i.e. maybe girls and boys both answer a question incorrectly, but only girls are aware of it). I'm in the middle of producing the survey and test positions, so I'm eager for your feedback or ideas. I'm excited about doing this well, because I feel like I'm in a uniquely good situation to gather data: many coaches have already offered to help.

Students are given 12 positions and asked what move they would play if they had this position in a game. While the problems are not labeled as such, there are four types of answers: tactics, attacking combinations/moves, positional moves, and positions where you must respond to your opponent's threat. After deciding on a move, students are asked
a) how sure they are that their move is a good move
b) how sure they are that their move is the best move.
They can choose from very sure, sure, medium sure, not sure, and it's a guess.
There are two worksheets, one for tournament players 800-1100, another for those rated 1100-1500. Students may take as long as they wish to answer the questions, but they are asked to report the total time.

After* completing the problems, students are asked a few questions: age, gender, ethnicity, rating, time spent on chess, time spent on this survey, and how good they see themselves as being, relative to others in their chess club. (What else should I ask?)

Any statisticians want to offer any advice on what I need for this to be remotely valid? Or where to go to learn how to analyse the data? (I know what a standard deviation is and I can use excel, but that's about it.)

other thoughts?

ALSO: If you are a chess teacher and would be willing to give this to your students, please let me know. It should take about 30 minutes to complete, and I would be happy to send you the answers, so you could use it as a lesson.

*There's been research that shows that when African Americans (and maybe other minorities who are negatively stereotyped) are asked about their ethnicity before taking a standardized test, they perform measurably worse than when they are asked after completing the test.

Monday, April 27, 2009

quiz position

Talitha takes a picture.
Lauren R-Talitha Santana
black to move

more photos from girls nationals, mostly in the airport

Jie Jing (tie for 7th, 16 and Under section), Xonatia
Girls 16 and Under Champions [Talitha, Jie Jing, (both tied for 7th in the under 16/under 14 section), Rochelle (winner of the Under 16 section)], with IM Anna Zatonskih

Mitasha (tied for 6th, Girls 12 and Under)


Jie-Jing, Xonatia, Brittanie

Megan Lee, the 12 year old winner of the 18 and under section

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Photos from Girls' Nationals

Rochelle and Jie Jing
Mitasha, Brittanie, Talitha, Xonatia

Mitasha, Talitha

solving tactics before round 1: Brittanie, Rhoda, Xonatia, Mitasha, Talitha (Mr. Galvin in the back)


Mr. Galvin, my assistant principal/ assistant coach


Jie Jing

Mitasha, JieJing, Brittanie, Talitha, Rhoda, Xonatia, Lisa
sorry for the lack of commentary-- I have to go and look at games now; more later.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

family photos and DDR

my sister Rachel (left) and me
My dad (visiting from England), playing Aleem at a neighborhood fair. Myles is watching.

I ordered Dance Dance Revolution last night. It is going to be my new fitness routine. I am really terrible at it, but that will change.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

it's earth day soon, right?

free and interesting e-book: Sustainable Energy-- Without the Hot Air (David MacKay)
10 page synopsis
thanks to Alan Stein for link


I find it weirdly funny that this is a publicity stunt for a reality show.

autism/ genius

two more thoughts related to the autism/ Rowson/ gender/ chess/ capacity for hard work/obsession conversation:

1. Gary Kasparov's speech at SuperNationals: "Hard work is a talent"
2. An Economist article on autism and genius:

"A standard diagnosis of autism requires three things to be present in an individual. Two of these three, impairments in social interaction and in communication with other people, are the results of autists lacking empathy or, in technical jargon, a “theory of mind”. In other words they cannot, as even fairly young neurotypicals can, put themselves in the position of another being and ask themselves what that other is thinking. The third criterion, however, is that a person has what are known as restrictive and repetitive behaviours and interests, or RRBI, in the jargon.

Until recently, the feeling among many researchers was that the first two features were crucial to someone becoming a savant. The idea was that mental resources which would have been used for interaction and communication could be redeployed to develop expertise in some arbitrary task. Now, though, that consensus is shifting. Several of the volume’s authors argue that it is the third feature, RRBI, that permits people to become savants."

Coming from a chess background, that seems intuitively true, right? Think about people who play on ICC 10 hours a day. The article also contains hope for the "neurotypicals" among us:

"Given such anatomical differences, then, what hope is there for the neurotypical who would like to be a savant? Some, possibly. There are examples of people suddenly developing extraordinary skills in painting and music in adult life as a result of brain damage caused by accidents or strokes. That, perhaps, is too high a price to pay. But Allan Snyder of the University of Sydney has been able to induce what looks like a temporary version of this phenomenon using magnetism.

Dr Snyder argues that savant skills are latent in everyone, but that access to them is inhibited in non-savants by other neurological processes. He is able to remove this inhibition using a technique called repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Applying a magnetic field to part of the brain disrupts the electrical activity of the nerve cells for a few seconds. Applying such a field repeatedly can have effects that last for an hour or so. The technique has been approved for the treatment of depression, and is being tested against several other conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and migraines. Dr Snyder, however, has found that stimulating an area called the left anterior temporal lobe improves people’s ability to draw things like animals and faces from memory. It helps them, too, with other tasks savants do famously well—proofreading, for example, and estimating the number of objects in a large group, such as a pile of match sticks. It also reduces “false” memories (savants tend to remember things literally, rather than constructing a mnemonic narrative and remembering that).

There are, however, examples of people who seem very neurotypical indeed achieving savant-like skills through sheer diligence. Probably the most famous is that of London taxi drivers, who must master the Knowledge—ie, the location of 25,000 streets, and the quickest ways between them—to qualify for a licence.

The expert here is Eleanor Maguire of University College, London, who famously showed a few years ago that the shape of the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in long-term learning, changes in London cabbies."
update: maybe only tangentially relevant, but today's NY Times has an article on the importance of professional coaching in sports. It makes an interesting counterpoint to the idea in chess that adults almost never improve, even with coaching.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Christmas Poems

My cats recently learned to jump up to the top shelf of my closet, and last night knocked over all my old letters and notebooks. I found a diary I kept from the late 90s, when Greg, Jenn, Donny Ariel and I went to play in Groningen together. We celebrated Christmas together (between rounds 5 and 6), and so I wrote everyone a Christmas poem. I'm afraid I can't share Donny's because it was too rude, but here are Jenn and Greg's.

Jenn's Christmas Poem

Your skin is thick, white,
soft as a rabbit's.
You have several strange
and peculiar habits.

There are many types of wood:
cedar, pine, cherry, and balsa.
This does not explain
your obsession with salsa.

You are a lover of luxury,
of cashmere and silk.
You are a rich creamy white
consumer of milk.

You borrow my pens.
You use my conditioner.
You are an avid and vigorous
Dragon practitioner!

Greg's Christmas Poem

We have so much fun,
oh, why do you spoil it,
by refusing to clean
the bathtub and toilet*?

I'm sorry we broke up.
I know that it's my loss.
No one else could make me
want to drink so much hot sauce**.

Her letters are frequent***,
affectionate, zealous.
Do you really believe
I'm not the slightest bit jealous?

Chess girls adore you.
You've been loved by so many.
Oh, would it have helped
if I'd been named Jennie?

*we lived together at the time
**we had had this party, at the end of which I drank a cup of tabasco to in an effort to impress Greg
*** at the time Greg was dating Jennie Frenklakh, and they wrote each other long letters.

they have cults too?

A while ago, I wrote that I was going to order a bunch of magazine subscriptions and the magazines would be like my new friends. I'm happy to say it's worked! I feel less lonely and I have more things to talk to people about.

Last night I was reading this unbelievable article about an Iranian expat cult. I had assumed messanic cults were somehow an American phenomonen.

“IT WAS one of the strangest places I’d ever seen,” says one of the few Farsi-speaking Westerners to have spent weeks in Camp Ashraf, 65km (40 miles) north-east of Baghdad, where some 3,400 Iranian dissidents are hunkered down and are now threatened with expulsion from Iraq, perhaps even back to Iran. It was “like a spiffy midsized town in Iran”, with parks, offices and buildings—but no children. It was “sterile, soulless and sad”. Nearly two decades ago, families living in the camp were “dissolved”, couples were forcibly divorced, and their children sent away, many of them to live with supporters living in the West, to be brought up in the faith of a movement widely described by independent observers as a cult.

For the past six years, the Americans have protected the camp, whose raison d’ĂȘtre is generally opposed by the surrounding Iraqi communities and by most Iranians, whether or not they are for or against the clerical regime in Tehran. But as American troops prepare to go home, the Iraqi government, which wants cosy ties with Iran, now says the camp must be closed and its inhabitants dispersed, probably back to Iran, where they would face an uncertain future, to put it mildly.

No less controversially, the PMOI is widely reviled by human-rights groups for nurturing a messianic cult of personality around Mr Rajavi and his wife, Maryam, and for enforcing a totalitarian discipline on its adherents. Several defectors testify, in the words of one of them, to a “constant bombardment of indoctrination” and a requirement to submit utterly and unquestioningly to the cause. No sources of news are allowed without the PMOI’s say-so. According to one defector, around 50 members who rebelled were sent to Saddam’s prison in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad.

Members are completely cut off from contact with their families. When the above-mentioned Farsi-speaking Westerner, who visited Ashraf in 2004, enabled wavering group members to talk to their families in Iran by satellite telephone, some of their parents refused to believe it was their children, for they had been told by the PMOI that they were dead.


In other hilarious news, the smiling, happy 16 year old above is a Somali pirate, arriving in New York for trial. Arrrrr! Learn the language! (don't miss clips of pirate speak in Mandarin elsewhere on the site)

update: The NY Times has a funny headline today: When the City Held Pirates in High Regard

It has been many decades since a good pirate case has landed here, and for now, the laws and penalties are stacked to the skies against the defendant, Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse; gangster capitalism has its limits.
History shows that the city has long held pirates in high regard. Successful ones, that is. Under Col. Benjamin Fletcher, who became the British governor of New York in 1692, piracy was a leading economic development tool in the city’s competition with the ports of Boston and Philadelphia.

Monday, April 20, 2009

don't throw pieces at the Marshall!

look, it's me, yelling at Myles (pictured above). Notice how amusing Myles's opponent (JP) finds this.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Can America Fail?

A great article in the Wilson Quarterly by a dean of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He describes three 'systemic failures' in Amercia (group-think, the erosion of the notion of individual repsonsibility, and blindness to the problems we cause internationally) and proposes three very specific solutions: completing the Doha round of trade talks (which are currently stalled over subsidies to American cotton farmers), imposing a $1 a gallon gas tax, and encouraging politicians to be more honest and less political about economic realities.

(of course, note the awesome first comment from Rick.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

poverty, stress, memory

An article in the Economist reports on a study that seems to show that poverty causes stress in children and this erodes their working memory:

"THAT the children of the poor underachieve in later life, and thus remain poor themselves, is one of the enduring problems of society. Sociologists have studied and described it. Socialists have tried to abolish it by dictatorship and central planning. Liberals have preferred democracy and opportunity. But nobody has truly understood what causes it. Until, perhaps, now.
To measure the amount of stress an individual had suffered over the course of his life, the two researchers used an index known as allostatic load. This is a combination of the values of six variables: diastolic and systolic blood pressure; the concentrations of three stress-related hormones; and the body-mass index, a measure of obesity. For all six, a higher value indicates a more stressful life; and for all six, the values were higher, on average, in poor children than in those who were middle class. Moreover, because Dr Evans’s wider study had followed the participants from birth, the two researchers were able to estimate what proportion of each child’s life had been spent in poverty. That more precise figure, too, was correlated with the allostatic load.

The capacity of a 17-year-old’s working memory was also correlated with allostatic load. Those who had spent their whole lives in poverty could hold an average of 8.5 items in their memory at any time. Those brought up in a middle-class family could manage 9.4, and those whose economic and social experiences had been mixed were in the middle.

These two correlations do not by themselves prove that chronic stress damages the memory, but Dr Evans and Dr Schamberg then applied a statistical technique called hierarchical regression to the results. They were able to use this to remove the effect of allostatic load on the relationship between poverty and memory discovered originally by Dr Farah. When they did so, that relationship disappeared. In other words, the diminution of memory in the poorer members of their study was entirely explained by stress, rather than by any more general aspect of poverty.

To confirm this result, the researchers also looked at characteristics such as each participant’s birthweight, his mother’s age when she gave birth, the mother’s level of education and her marital status, all of which differ, on average, between the poor and the middle classes. None of these characteristics had any effect. Nor did a mother’s own stress levels.

That stress, and stress alone, is responsible for damaging the working memories of poor children thus looks like a strong hypothesis."

awful thought, right? maybe I'm not understanding how the statistical techniques work, but I might also want to look at whether the quality of the schools the kids went to had any impact.

Just for context: "Children are considered to be living in poverty if their family income, before taxes, falls below the poverty thresholds set by the federal government for families of different sizes....In 2005, the poverty threshold for a single parent and two children was $15,735; for a married couple with two children the poverty threshold was $19,806 ... In 2005 (the latest year available), the highest rates of child poverty occurred in three of the five boroughs of NYC: Bronx (39.4%), Kings (which includes Brooklyn) (30.9%) and New York (29.9%)."

If you don't live in NYC, please understand that the conditions kids live in here are even more dire than in other parts of the country, simply because $15,735 doesn't go nearly as far here.

(info from the NY State Kids Well-Being Clearinghouse)

ask the individual to smile

My dad is visiting from England, so yesterday we took the train (Metro North from Grand Central to Beacon, $27.50 round trip, 80 minutes, and the train goes along the Hudson, so very pleasant) to Dia:Beacon. Dia is a modern art museum with huge open galleries, natural light, enormous couches, few visitors, and big installations. Beacon is a nice little town with lunch places and Main Street and fresh air.

spider, Louise Bourgeois. imagine sitting in the chair.

The entire basement (empty, dark, 40 foot ceiling, concrete floors, walls) is Bruce Nauman's work. He does the big fluorescent light pieces. (example below, but this one is not at dia)

It's great to stand in an enormous unlit basement completely by yourself with your eyes half-shut as that thing (or something like it) flickers at you on its own schedule.

Richard Serra. These are great because they are very big and somehow gracious.

I was disappointed in the positions I collected from Nationals, but I thought you might enjoy two good questions kids asked me recently that I couldn't answer and had to go home and look up. Answers are at the very bottom.

Jermaine's question: This position from a Guioco Piano occurred after 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. O-O Bc5 7. Re1 O-O 8. Nxe5 Qh4. What is white supposed to do here, or has he already messed up?

Danny's question: This position occurred after
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d4 Nxd4 6. Nxe5 d6 7. Nxf7 Qe7 8. Nxh8 Bg4. White is up a rook and pawn, but black's pieces look very dangerous. What's going on?

Americans in Prison/ the Economist

Incidentally, do you know the difference between prison and jail? I had been using the terms synonymously, until a prison guard friend of my sister corrected me. Jail is where they take you overnight; prison is what you are sentenced to.

I've been getting my Economist late, lately, so this excerpt is two weeks old, but there is an eye-brow-raising article/ blog entry by Lexington (it's the magazine's editorial (?) blog on American politics) about incarceration rates in the US:

America has less than 5% of the world’s people but almost 25% of its prisoners. It imprisons 756 people per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the world average. About one in every 31 adults is either in prison or on parole. Black men have a one-in-three chance of being imprisoned at some point in their lives. “A Leviathan unmatched in human history”, is how Glenn Loury, professor of social studies at Brown University, characterises America’s prison system.

read more here
If I had a 1 in 3 chance of being imprisoned in my lifetime, I would be really angry.

A Public Service Announcement / Spam on Blog

Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue

STROKE: Remember the 1st Three Letters....S.T.R. (see below)

During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) .she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die. they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.

'3' steps, STR

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *
Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *
Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)

(i.e. It is sunny out today.)

R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.


Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

Thanks to Charlie Hertan (whose recent book, Forcing Chess Moves, won ChessCafe's Book of the Year) for this life-saving information.

your, ah, moment of Zen: Dan Flavin's "The Diagonal of Personal Ecstasy"

Jermaine's question: After 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 d5 5. exd5 Nxd5 6. O-O Bc5 7.
Re1 O-O 8. Nxe5 Qh4, white should take the knight with 9. Bxd5 because after 9...Bxf2+ 10. Kh1 Bxe1, he has 11. Nf3, forking the queen and bishop. After 11...Qh5 12. Bxc6 bxc6 13.
Qxe1, white has two pieces for a rook.

Danny's question:
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d4 Nxd4 6. Nxe5 d6 7. Nxf7 Qe7 8. Nxh8 Bg4

White is doing well and should continue 9. Qd2 Nxe4 10. Qf4 Be2 (10... Nxc2 11. Qxg4) (10... h5 11. Ng6) (10... Bh5 11. Re1) 11. Re1 Bxc4 (11... Nxc2 12. Rxe2) 12. Qxe4 Qxe4 13. Rxe4+ Kd7 14. Be3 Nxc2 15. Rxc4

Sunday, April 12, 2009

some unrefined thoughts about temperment and talent

I was listening to John Watson's interview with Jonathan Rowson on ICC, and he says something that struck me about talent: that it's partly early exposure to high level chess ("how many GMS you play before age 15"), and it's partly genetics, but that genetic "talent" might be more tempermental than mental. He talks about it in terms of being able to sense critical moments, but also in terms of energy and optmisim and the willingness to concentrate for long periods.

I think this is a very interesting reformulation of the idea of talent in chess, that idea that the genetic component we recognize as "talent" is something like persistance, or optimism, or an overriding intellectual curiosity, or the ability to think clearly in stressful situations, or just the willingness to sit through long periods of hard work and anxiety. I feel like for starters, this changes the terms of the conversation about gender in chess. It certainly makes the suggestion that women aren't as good at chess because they don't like playing it more powerful.

I was talking to a friend of mine about talent and he said something like the boys he works with are more talented than the girls. I asked what exact behaviors caused him to say this, and he replied something like "none of the girls would ever be able to solve these endgames immediately, or recognize that this idea is from a classic game." But I think those two things are actually about the work you have done in chess, more than about natural talent. But it's interesting that something that is probably a trained skill, like being able to make comparisons to earlier games ("pattern recognition"?) is sometimes seen, even by strong players/trainers, as talent.

But maybe the conclusion should be that a substantial part of what we mean by talent is the temperment to work? I read an interview with Carlsen where he said something like "probably if I described it, it would seem like I spend a huge amount of time studying chess, but really it never seemed like work to me." I remember in a 'coaches interview' I did for Chess Life a few years ago, Robby Adamson made a comment like "Girls don't work as hard at chess as boys, and that's why they aren't as good. You almost never see girls studying by themselves." I blew that off at the time, but I've come to think maybe he's right. Also, Dmitry Gurevich said to me a few years ago "when girls get good at chess, they peak for a short time but can't maintain it." I also found that annoying and stupid at the time*, but I've come back to think about it a lot.

any thoughts?

update: title of article: "Garry Kasparov in Nashville: Hard Work is a Talent"
*mostly because my own rating was beginning a free fall. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

maybe I'm more than usually interested in the mechanism of Greg's food choices

I would understand if you were starting to suspect that. it just seems like there is a very small chance that this process is a secret window into something else.

Supernationals. where to start?

ok, I love the hotel, have to completely disagree with you there, Ellen, sorry. here's why: even though I never left the hotel for four days, I still got exposed to natural light and the fresh breeze, was surrounded by green lush beautiful plants, oxygen rich air, and the burbling sound of the river and birds. so I really didn't feel my normal way: bitter, angry, and tired. I could not leave that hotel for weeks without going crazy. ( :)? )

although, the food sucked, I agree. I really wish there was just a pill you could take.

my favorite auditory moment was the beginning of each round of the blitz tournament. if you've never heard the sound of hundreds of Chronos being tapped near-simultaneously, it's very beautiful. like a thousand tiny water-pebbles clattering.

so Jacob played 1...a6, and while I agree this is not a normal puzzle answer, but my students are not performing monkeys, what can I do? you want a blog with better puzzles? try Susan Polgar's blog: she has a new series I am looking forward to, positional puzzles.

Jacob's game finished: 2. Bxc6 Qd3+ 3. Ke1 (3. Kg1 Qd1#) Rae8 4. Bxe8 Rxe8 5. Qe7 Rxe7#.

It's hard for me to really know how I felt about Nationals -- we took 58 kids, and so the games I saw are really just a small and probably unrepresentative fraction of the whole. (Greg Shahade and Alex Lenderman helped me, so they saw the better kids' games. Let me say they are wonderful, patient, hard-working, generous people and I am deeply grateful to both of them.) But in my analysis, I saw a lot of blundering, which depressed me.

There is a freelance filmmaker who works for MTV* who came with us to Nationals to make the trailer for a documentary about the chess team. I suspect I will seem like a real lunatic. Several times I would be answering a question on camera and my answer would start to go in some weird, very abstract direction and then I would lose track of the sense completely and just trail off and shrug apologetically. I think I find it hard to go back and forth between chess and talking.

One thing Katie, the filmmaker, commented on was that I don't do anything when the kids cry. I just ignore them and continue going over whatever game I'm going over**. I used to drop everything and run over to console the kid, but I stopped for a couple reasons. First of all, I can't and don't want to touch the kids, pretty much ever. Kids that age are super-sensitive, and they aren't really in a position to say to their classroom teacher "hey, I'd rather you take your hand off my shoulder," and so I realized it isn't fair. Also, one time I put my hand on a kid's arm and she visibly shuddered, and then I realized with horror that I had become the creepy teacher.

But also, I think it's nice in a way that I can have a relationship with the kids that's supportive and important to both of us, but not emotional, or about whether I like them or they like me, or how nice anyone is, just purely about how much they are thinking. I feel like pretty often in my life I've made the mistake of forcing relationships to be more emotional than they needed to be, and maybe I'm trying to model how not to do that.

It's strange now, I was only working and thinking about kids' chess and Nationals, but suddenly I'm on spring break for a week and then the summer stretches out ahead. I better find something to do.

*that's my way of trying to impress you

**although if they want to look at their game, they get to be next in line

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

super nationals coming soon

I have some things to tell you, thanks for coming to check, but I need to recover a little first. I couldn't sleep in Nashville, both Friday and Saturday. I lay in bed at 3 and 4 am, staring at the ceiling, cursing myself for being awake. Then the next days I felt jittery and detached, like I was doing a reasonable job analyzing games on a hypercaffeinated autopilot, but if I slowed down things might rapidly fall apart. so I took today off and spent it sleeping, watching tv, and eating a lot.

more thoughts coming soon, while you're waiting here's a position from Jacob Martinez' (black) game against Anthony Swindell. (rd 4 k-9 under 1250). black to move.