5|5 > 1000

Today for the first time, I surpassed score 1000 on playing 5|5, which means you start with a 5-minute budget, and every move you get 5 more seconds. For a while I also played 3|2 (2-second increments), but it takes me about 2 seconds to move a piece, which means I lost games in which I knew exactly what to do, but simply couldn’t move the pieces fast enough, which I found frustrating. Longer games I tried but I don’t seem to have the patience for.

I won’t reveal my id, because I feel bad about how much time I am spending losing at chess (and I think you could see all my games with my id, but I am not sure). My self-imposed limit is losing no more than one game a day, which means on average playing 2 games per day. (I had to stop and Google \sum_i i/2^i = 2; there’s a neat calculation-free proof of it which hopefully will make me remember this fact next time.)

However not being a robot, I sometimes get upset at the way I lose. Most of my games are classified as giveaway, which means I was winning according to the computer (and myself), but then because of some stupid mistake I end up losing the game. And so what the heck, I am better than this!, I break the rule and start another match — only to lose again, chess seems not to forgive hot heads.

The main reason why I play seems to be that fast-paced chess has the ability to completely absorb my mind, so it’s a good quick escape. Of course, there are also the little feel-good voices reminding me that it’s better than watching TV and that by playing I sharpen my mind.

While 1000 can of course be a ridiculously low bar by some standard, I found reaching it more difficult than I expected, and I like to think that the 5|5 format attracts stronger players, so that the competition is tougher, even though it may not be true. (But it does seem true that a certain score in a certain format does not correspond to the same score in a different format.) For one thing, I had to familiarize myself with several basic openings. I bought a little cute book Chess openings for kids which is good for people like me whose knowledge of chess openings was “e4 e5.” I don’t do anything fancy, but it was fun to read about common openings. I think I also wouldn’t mind playing random chess, but it seems harder to find opponents.

So why don’t you try and see what is your 5|5 score? And if you want to play sometimes, drop me a line.

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