Playing Chess Again
I freely admit that I have long lost interest (and most importantly the motivation) to play tournament chess and for one who has experienced time controls of 40 moves in 2 hours (and even adjournments) I am finding the most commonly used FIDE time control today of 90 minutes plus 30 seconds per move from the start of the game to be very difficult indeed.
But now as a trainer of top young talent - since being persuaded to be so at the 1st Asian Club Championships in Al Ain, UAE - I am convinced that it is important to play regularly (proper games) so that I don't lose touch with what my students would face over the board and that this personal "training" is also important so that when I teach I am able to analyse well and not depend on general principles alone.
So it was no big deal to agree to play in the recent Intchess 7th Vision Masters where I joined two GM's as the thrid veteran (perhaps also the designated sacrificial goat!) in a six player double round tournament to give three talented young players (who had apparently trained extensively for this event) a chance to make an International Master norm.
Against these "kids" I happily played 1. e4 without any preparation and happily engaged in open games. Tactics of course are their strong point and I actually had quite some fun exercising my mind in the resulting complications (and not doing too bad in calculating variations) and even though the final result was two losses and four draws it could easily have been any score at all! For the first time in my life I also played 1. ...e5 against 1. e4 including defending a Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game)!
I would have lost something like 20-25 rating points in total but for a trainer these things really no longer matter and I will probably also be in Pattaya for the Bangkok Open in April playing the openings my students play so I will be able to help them more in the future.