Robert (gurdonark) wrote,


After a day of hearings and the work that follows in the afternoon after a hearing, I felt well-pleased with myself. Please pardon me if I fail to give any blow-by-blow accounts, as client matters are always more a matter for clients than weblogs. I tend to work cases which do not lend themselves to dinner party conversations in any event. I can glaze one's eyes in ten minute or less, just putting in place the set-up to the kinds of issues I work. The punchline to the joke is inevitably something along the lines of "interpret sub-issue x in section jkl of the _________state insurance code as applied to the priority of creditor bb who holds a claim which is jj". Suffice it to say that by 7 something I was free of my work, until tomorrow dawns here in Austin.

I know that the form-book says I should be three blocks away on 6th Street, absorbing
some nu-jazz or the latest Emmylou or oh-so-earnest-pop shoegaze or trip-hop with the certain recently-immigrated-from-Latvia swing. It's still before midnight, so maybe I still will go. But I found myself instead in half-priced books among the chess openings, in Boston Market among the roast turkey, and in a store called Sports Authority buying heavily discounted walking shoes. I will never make the grade as a hipster, which is fine, as, at 47, I feel as if I had 30something years to aim for hip, and probably can scratch that right off the dance card. I have been in love with the community radio music I've heard the past two days--reminders of how vibrant and fun spirited pop-rock can be.

It's fun, these times when the stress of a project abates, and everything is something to savor--the phone home, to trade accounts of the day, the anticipation of a trip to see my dad and his wife, the thrill of a good book on the Four Knights opening.

I played in my first rated chess tournament when I was 17 years old and just out of high school. I won 3 1/2 out of 5, finishing 7th in the state championship, and won a trophy as the top unrated player. I played white in a four knights game opening in game 4, beating a nice fellow named Charles Davis who later improved from C level to chess expert level. It was a thrilling game, which I won in what became my only real way to win any chess game then or now, by seizing a pawn and holding on to it for dear life until the endgame. I also had the heady experience in game 3 of holding a draw against a much stronger player's Alekhine's Defense, using a book system I had memorized from my only real chess book on how to play the opening. I.A. Horowitz' How to Win in the Chess Opening.

I thought I had real promise than as a chess player, especially when my first rating came in respectably at 1434. Then I spent years getting to 1600, and I realized I was neither a wizard nor a true star. When I finished law school, I was 1797, and playing my best chess ever, but I gave it up for a few years because it was tiring to play weekend tournaments while working a full-time job. Finally, ten years ago, I ascended to 1820, an A player, a respectable rating just one below expert. Now, though, for a few years, I have been descending, and my rating is back to 1675, as low as it has been since I was in my 20s.

If I do not gain two pounds by Sunday, I will achieve lifetime status at Weight Watchers. Perhaps my next goal will be to regain 1800 status as a chess player. I must admit that I would really enjoy being 2000 status, a chess "expert". Master status, at 2200, may be beyond my talent set.

Goals! They're good to have. They're good to dwell upon. They're good to think about
on hotel evenings after long hard work days in cities away from home. I'm dwelling and thinking and playing chess in my mind, in every sense, and perhaps it's all as hip and thrilling as the downtempo my mp3 player will play tonight as I drft into the blissful checkmate of sleep.
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