Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chess and Vacations

Chess and Vacations

Greetings from Stinson Beach CA where my wife Pat and I are vacationing with our two boys.

For a dozen years (mid 80's thu the 90's) typically our vacations used to consist of loading up the pop-up trailer, strapping on the Old Town 17'4" canoe and trucking up to the northern part of Moosehead Lake ME. During those times I would choose a chess agenda and spend a couple of hours a day. Subject material could be end game improvement, a world championship match, or a famous tournament from the past. In the trailer I would pack my best set , board, along with several books.

My three kids are all good chess players and the solitude of the woods, having a limited choice of activities, guaranteed opportunities for chess games, as well as a myriad of card games. Some time in the mid eighties my daughter Melissa pulled of the upset of the last century by beating this old man. Victories by my kids were very rare. In fact my wife has said that I would pummel my grandmother into submission if I had the opportunity. I am simply passing on the philosophy my first coach great uncle Justin "Ducky" Power (a BCC member) had to be unmerciful at all times. BTW Melissa's real forte is in checkers.

As a college student in the early 70's in the summer, working at Fenway Park allowed me many Tuesdays to visit the old Boylston Chess Club and work with Harry Lyman to fine tune my game. Each fall I would return to Westfield State College and win board one on the chess team, only to lose it during the year to Dave 'Wiz" Copy. Then return again the next fall to reclaim it again.

As for this California trip we had to pack light and so the only chess book I brought was Lev Alburt's Chess Training Pocket Book: 300 Most Important Position & Ideas. The main plan being that I would borrow my wife's notebook to log into the ICC. But this is only a partially effective as we are roughing it in paradise and have such low bandwidth that high lag time precludes me from playing much. So you won't be seeing FENWAY1 on very often.

Nonetheless Stinson Beach, secluded on the west side of Mt Tamaplais, of which Muir Woods sits on the east side, consists of a series of coastal cottages where people have accounted for the relative coolness of the ocean breezes by using architecture and civil engineering to trap warmth in outside settings. So even with ambient temperatures in the high 50's low 60's you can sit in the sun in places that climb into the mid 80's if you want to. And the water temperatures are more like Nantasket Beach than Bar Harbor, so you can jump in without stopping your heart.

What are some of you summer chess rituals?
Please Comment.

Thank You.

Mike Griffin 07/29/2009

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