July 21st, 2010

abstract butterfly

chess clocks and freedom

Saturday I realized that I tire of hassling with my chess clock. I bought my current clock, an Excalibur Game Time II, on Memorial Day 2005, at a chess tournament in Los Angeles. It was my first digital clock. I had played for years with a simple analog chess clock that I bought at age 17. This windup model was well-nigh indestructible, though it was only a plastic wind-up clock. Technology changed, though, and the world of wind-up analog clocks gave way to the world of digital clocks. I would not use a digital clock, except that some tournaments feature a factor called time delay. In a time delay tournament, one gets a fixed number of seconds (often 30) to make one's move before one's clock begins running in earnest. This serves the salutary purpose of helping players avoid losing on time, but analog clocks, as far as I know, are not set up to provide that delay factor. I therefore joined the digital revolution.

My digital clock, though, suffers from some simple analog problems. Its batteries never seem to stay in its battery case. Ultiamtely, I had to resort to scotch tape to hold this in. This proved very annoying. Saturday I realized I am no longer willing to be annoyed in this way. Early this morning, I read a product review that
stated that exactly the problems I have had are common to this clock. I decided it is time for a new clock. I felt comforted that I was not alone in my issues.

Fortunately, chess clocks are not expensive--a low-end is about 35 and a high end not much more than 100. I believe that the United States Chess Federation recently sent me a five dollars off coupon, so that my purchase price will be reduced. Now I have to decide on brand. I'm in the mood to run some tournaments, so I may pick up a couple of inexpensive extra clocks to have on hand when needed at small tourneys.

The tournament I won last week was rated by the United States Chess Federation. I see that my rating for quick-paced games rose from 1671 to 1695. I had hoped to cross 1700, but the increase just about matched the prediction I had made doing the math in my head. I hope to play in another tournament in August, and to play in more regular tournaments.

I am down to one postal chess game on schemingmind.com. I am within 8 moves or so of winning that one. I am a bit surprised my opponent has not resigned. He seems to be playing for a stalemate that is very unlikely to occur. I signed up for a USCF postal tournament a couple of weeks ago, but have not heard anything back about my pairings.

Soon I will start scouting out locations for a Fall tournament for my recently reactivated little chess club.
I am inclined to find a very inexpensive room, and host a free chess tournament. The world needs a little less
of this and a little less of that and a lot more free.