“You could play better when you slow down.”

Abe said sorry after I expressed deep frustration at the Illinois Open. He said he would slow down in the next tournament. The next tournament would be about a week away. It’s a strong round robin event. I would like to see if he can keep his promise.

I was asked by the organizer the night before the tournament, if Abe could play the double round robin section— a little stronger than the single round robin section—due to some conflicts. My intention for the tournament was to see if Abe could play slow. A little stronger did not matter, or quite the opposite, maybe it’s a little better if Abe took opponents more seriously and hence slow down his games. I felt Abe has passed the stage that he would be very upset to his losses to stronger opponents. In fact, Abe performed better on those occasions. So “No problem.” I said.

The round robin tournament was held in a very nice hotel near our home. There were six people in Abe’s section, everyone plays with each of  other opponents, so five games in a weekend, then switching color, five games in another weekend of next month.

The tournament was held in a well-lighted room in a nice hotel. I could watch Abe's games through the big windows

The tournament was held in a well-lighted room in a nice hotel. I could watch Abe's games through the big windows

Abe used more than half of times allocated (Game in 90 minutes if ignoring the time increments) in 4 of the 5 games. I was quite happy to his performance in general. He slowed down and took time to think. He scored 1.5 points out of 5. Considering his opponents are all higher rated than him, it is a fine performance. We even had a small celebration, not for winning or drawing his games, but for he played slowly. I told Abe “Hope it  remind you to slow down.”

Today I heard that Vietnam top player Le Quang Liem (2694) lost to Botswana player Kheto Phemelo (2266) in the first round of Chess Olympiad. The reason that a 2200+ player could win over a 2700 player will be scrutinized by many. I think since anyone can make mistakes in chess, it is important be patient to take advantage of your opponent’s mistakes. “You could play better when you slow down.” as I told Abe many times.

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“You made me angry!”

I was very frustrated with Abe’s recent performance in chess tournaments.  He likes to blitz in his games regardless of the time control. I keep reminding him to slow down.  He might realize his problem as shown in this post, but still, he will return to his bad habit very often.

He did so poor in the Illinois Open held in the labor day weekend, after a couple of losses, I told him, “I don’t care you win or lose, I will be satisfied if you take your time.” One day on the way to lunch, I explained to him ” when I say take your time, I mean take your time to think or to take a nap if you want to as long as you don’t snore.”But he only took my advice for one game, he blitzed his game again the next one and lost. After the game, I told Abe, “You made me angry! You blitzed again.”

I think I started to ask him to slow down more than a year ago, at least from this post in January. But Abe’s bad habit’s not been fixed. Fixing the old habit might take much longer than a year. Back home, Abe said to me, “I am sorry (I did not listen your advice to slow down), but you have to deal with it.”

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