Happy New Year everyone! My resolutions are to
1. get more exercise (this is every year)
2. stop wasting so much time on the internet
3. not get stressed out about little things
4. blog more
I just got back from the US Chess School in LA. It was pretty fun-- I "chaperoned" Justus Williams and Will Fisher (I didn't really do anything other than walk with them to get food a couple times and check them into their hotel room.), and they are fun people. It was good to be forced to do chess again, but honestly, really concentrating felt a little pointless. (--just for me, where I'm at with chess. the kids enjoyed it immensely). I used the video function on my camera for the first time, which was good. Question to everyone: should I be filming the games from behind white's head? Is it annoying to see it sideways? any other complaints or things I should change?
All my photos are up here.
I'm learning some new openings to teach the kids-- the Semi-Slav and the c3 Sicilian. Nice to learn new things-- it struck me that it's been a while.
I'm reading a great book: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond. (He won a Pulitzer for his earlier book, Guns, Germs, and Steel, which was sort of the opposite of this one-- about how societies, especially Eurasian societies with better technology, succeed) Collapse profiles different civilizations, like Easter Island, or Norse Greenland, and looks at why they died out. In Diamond's eyes, there are five factors to consider in understanding any environmental collapse: the damage people inflict on the environment, climate change (Ice Ages, the cooling effects of volcano eruptions, global warming), hostile neighbors, decreased support by friendly neighbors, and how well a society is able to respond to changes and problems: some combination of societal values and efficacy of government. It's amazing to read about the dying days of a culture, when they turn to cannibalism (a big insult on Easter Island towards the end: "The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth").
I need your help with a good USATE team name. I'm playing with Laura Ross, Abby Marshall, and Alanna Katz.
Galvin and I are thinking of starting a chess tutoring business, in which our high school aged alumni get some training in teaching and then give private lessons to local kids for $20/hour.The student teachers we are working with are rated 1800-2100, are reliable, good with kids, and have a structured teaching program (designed by me). If any parents out there are interested, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).