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Forty Chess Games! · 22 September 2018


I did not mean to do so, but I am currently playing forty chess games at the same time. Forty!


I like to play chess, but nobody at my home really likes to play in person, so I play online at chess.com. Usually three-day matches. That is, each player gets three days to make a move. I play regularly against a couple friends from work, which gives us more things to talk about than just work. And we have fun.


The nice thing about chess.com is that since we often do not have time or do not make time to actually go play chess, we can still play. Another nice thing is that you can play in tournaments. I played in my first two tournaments earlier in the year. I do not know that I won any games in those tournaments, but I did gain a regular playing partner. Who I finally beat in a tough contest after many many games.


I like to have a few games going all the time and I enjoyed my couple experiences in the round robin stages of the couple tournaments I had entered, so I decided to join another. I looked around the different tournaments that were going to start and figured I would join a few.


Which brings me to my latest discovery about chess.com. And a warning.


Do NOT join five tournaments at the same time. (That is the warning.)


I did not mean to play in five tournaments at the same time. I just figured that joining them meant I would play in one and wait for the others to start. After all, I did not want to play too many games at the same time. I figured playing five or six three-day matches would be plenty. But all the tournaments started the day after I joined them.


The way it happened was innocent enough.


Tournaments on chess.com are ranked. That is players have numeric ranks based on how many times they win and against whom they win. If you beat a player with a high rank, your rank goes up more than if you beat a player with a low rank. The same thing goes for when you lose, but your rank goes down accord to whether your rank indicates you should win or lose (less if you should probably lose, more if you should probably win). You can choose tournaments where people are limited from entry by rank or in open tournaments where people of any rank can play. It is good to choose chess tournaments where people are ranked about the same as you. (Which is what I do. I choose tournaments where only people below a certain rank or between certain ranks are allowed to play.)


The other thing about chess.com tournaments is that they have a limit to the number of players who will be in the tournament. I suppose they also have a start date, but when I was looking for tournaments to join, I never saw one. Instead, I just looked for how many of the maximum number of people had already joined the tournament. That was my mistake. (And my discovery.)


When I was cruising the site for tournaments (I actually usually use a mobile app to play), I found a bunch that did not have nearly the number of players they were looking for. I would have been the one hundredth player out of five hundred (100/500) for instance. I figured it would take time to fill all the spots, so I joined the tournament since it fit my criteria (one to three days per move and I was around the middle of the ranking range). I joined a couple where I was almost the last player needed and I joined a few where they were still looking for a lot more people.


I was content to play my usual three to five or so games and wait for the tournaments to start. Little did I realize that those tournaments were not waiting until all the seats were filled. They all started the day after I signed up. Well, all but two did. The other two started the next two days. (It sounds more exciting and ominous if they all started the same day.) I was shocked and amazed when I got on my device and saw all those games. Forty! It was amazing. And disconcerting.


I am still in shock as I look at all those games. The unfortunate part is that they are all in the same stages too. We are playing in the opening stages of the games. Which makes things go fairly quickly, but I know my brain is going to misfire a bunch as the games go on. Still, it will be fun. Whether I win any games at all, I will have fun playing. And who knows? Maybe I will get another regular playing partner out of the deal.


One thing I do know. I will not join that many tournaments at the same time again. I will only join tournaments that I am ready to play right now. After all, I never really intended to play forty games at the same time. I still cannot believe it. Forty.


[The count actually reached forty-two. At the time of this writing, I have won eight tournament matches, but I am soon to lose a few.]

© 2018 Michael T. Miyoshi

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