A chess camp and a tournament

Last week, Abe attended a chess camp, the same camp he attended last month. There were quite a few grandmasters as instructors at the camp. The lectures in terms of depth and quality must be excellent since Abe told me they were all very good. The biggest benefit the chess camp brought to Abe, I thought, was he had more interests in chess during the camp.

At the end of the camp, I found Abe got the first places in both blitz and puzzle solving in his group, but he did poorly in the tournament of regular games. He said he lost 2 rounds to lower rated players on time. I told him it’s OK: “Let’s worry about it later”. I felt in recent tournaments, he started to slow down his games. Instead of finishing a game quickly, he could use most of the allowed time in some games. He started to calculate deeper, think more about chess variations. Now, I would think it was a good thing even he could lose on time.

Last weekend, immediately following the chess camp, Abe played in Class B section of  Chicago Class 2010. He had 2 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss, so not bad at all.  One of funniest things in the tournament was he told me the reason he lost round four was because “I played too quick.” It’s a surprise to me, in many of the previous tournaments, I told him to slow down again and again but appeared to no avail at all. This time, he admitted his mistake before I had a chance mentioning it . Maybe it was a new development? Maybe it was because of last week’s chess camp?

Whatever the reason is, let’s just hope for the better of his future games.


It is neither Tom and Jerry, nor America’s Got Talent!

Back in January, I heard this story from NPR. Days ago, NPR said he has been caught.

As many people and the police will be relieved by this news, however, it is unexpected to hear “…there’s already talk of a movie deal. Harris-Moore’s mother, Pamela Kohler, has reportedly hired Courtney Love’s lawyer to represent her in any entertainment deals…”

Be serious, parents. The kid is a kid with a lot of talent; if he is doing something honest, I would be happy to hear he and his mother have a decent living. However, not now, it is not time yet to profit from it, before you have done your job—being a good parent— and your kid has become a man (a similar case reported here).


2 3 4…

We were hectic; we had a full schedule for the July 4th weekend.

On Saturday morning, we went shopping and prepared for the next day’s BBQ. In the afternoon, we watched some World Cup on TV. Then Abe, I and some of our friends drove to Ravinia Festival watching (listening to) a show: A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. A lot of people went there. When we arrived, we found that the main parking lot’s full. We had to try another parking lot which was more than 2 miles away. Aside from us being big fans of Garrison Keillor and we did mind the little inconvenience, the show itself was well worth it. You can listen the show from the website of A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor if you want to.  The show was best enjoyed if you lay on a lawn on a cool summer afternoon. In addition, it’s not a normal afternoon, but an afternoon on the July 4th weekend; no wonder so many people, including many families, came to the show.

On Sunday, we and some friends went to see the parade, then had BBQ in our backyard (the adults’ favorite was lamb kebabs, the kids’ favorite was roasting marshmallows), then walked to watch the fireworks in a nearby, if riding in a car, park when it was dark.

We didn’t know how many miles we walked in those two days. Although very tired, all seemed having a good time and could, fortunately, have a good long sleep.


Roger Federer and his parents

I read Anxiety On The Grass from New Yorker (issue of June 28, 2010). The article talked about Roger Federer:

Unlike Agassi and countless other tennis prodigies, Federer never had to deal with pressure from an ambitious parent…His Swiss-born father… and his mother, who is South African, …played recreational tennis at the firm’s small club close to their house… “We’d spend weekends on the tennis court”…”Roger had unbelievable coordination at very young age… We noticed this, but we didn’t push him. All the major decision of his spots career he took himself.”

It was Roger’s decision, at twelve, to quit playing soccer and to enter the program at the Swiss National Tennis Center, in Ecublens, two and a half hours by train from home…he stuck it for out for three years…

Upon reading this article, I felt that

  • Roger got immersed in the tennis environment by joining tennis-enthusiasts parents.
  • Parents are the big support along the way.
  • Right Coaching, right parents. It does not matter that the guidance is from coach or from parents or both.
  • Hard working. Roger mastered it from a very young age.

In order to verify those observations by reading more details of Roger Federer’s growth, I borrowed the book from the local library:  The Roger Federer Story: Quest for Perfection. You may find the following excepts from the book fascinating:

…Little Roger hit his first tennis ball over the net at three-and-a-half years old. At four, he could already hit twenty or thirty balls in a row…

…He played soccer, handball, basketball, table tennis and tennis and, at home, he even played badminton over the neighbor’s fence…

…For hours, Roger hit tennis balls against a wall, a garage door, in his room against a wall or even against the cupboard in the house. Pictures and dishes were not safe and his sister’s room wasn’t spared either…