maandag 22 augustus 2011

My Old club

My Old club.

The new chess season is knocking on the door. In less than 4 weeks I’ll be playing OTB at the club again. This year I intend to end higher on the ranking list and to achieve this, I’ve been doing some home preparation and training. My repertoire stands already but it has to be tweaked a little bit to find out the holes in my preparation and knowledge.
Thinking of how to do this the best way possible I realised that I have a good sparring partner at home.

My Old chess club!

In the early nineties I went to the Netherlands to study, leaving my beautiful island of Aruba where I was born and spend 18 years of my young life. Leiden is where I settled. The first year in Holland I didn’t spent much time to chess, there were other new experiences in my life at that time. A new environment, new friends, medical school, etc.

After a year I came across an old friend from Aruba, I knew he was in Leiden too, and the chess flame was ignited again. We used to play chess at high school in the free hours between lessons and at the Aruban chess club. In Leiden we, his brother too, spend many hours playing chess, talking chess and dreaming about our own club that we would found after finishing our studies.

In the late eighties and early nineties chess computers made their entrance into the chess world. We didn’t stay behind!
GK 20000, Conquistador, Cavalier, Travel mate (All Saitek chess computers) were participating in our own chess competitions. It was fun and we saw them as “real human players”. R. Dijkhoff had it’s own club (some of the above mentioned computers) and so did his brother M. Dijkhoff. I didn’t have a chess computer at that time. On a students budget I had to save some money first before buying my second club member. I had already seen a Cavalier chess computer at a local store (Kijkshop) and at that time it was priced at f150, - Dutch guilders. To give you an impression, my students budget was a f850, - guilders a month. After a couple of months I bought my club member. My club consisted now of two players! And I was looking forward to acquire my 3rd member. Simultano, at that time a very strong chess computer, but also very expensive f600, - Dutch guilders. I saved some money again and the day came. It was 1995 and at the Bijenkorf (The Hague) they had “drie dwaze dagen” three days that everything was at half price, so I was there very early on the first day and bought a Simultano. My club consisted now of 3 players.

Old pic. :-)

We had many hours of chess fun, my two friends finished their study and went back to Aruba.
They founded the club we dreamed of, that later merged with the Aruban chess foundation. They are still very active in the chess scene over there and are training our young prospects. They are doing a great job in their spare time and deserve a medal for that!

Ok, back to the main story.
Now days I can afford chess programs such as Fritz etc. But the mystique, the good old memories and the playing style of Simultano are much more worth to me. My Simultano is still a strong opponent, still seeing it as a human player though, and he is really putting it’s finger on the weak spots in my preparation. He plays like a strong club player and that is exactly what I need. An important factor is that it looks and feels like playing a game against a real human opponent. I find a chess program running on a computer a bit distant. The score is now 4-1 for Simultano. Two draws and three losses. But the difference is that he is not beating me like he used to do in the opening and middle game, but in the transition from middle to endgame. At the end I will be prepared to start the club competition on a good pace.

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