Dandom: If You Ain’t First…You’re Second

Posted: September 10, 2008 by danjohns in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

It turns out that Ricky Bobby was wrong: If you’re not first, there’s always second. After competing for the last 3 weeks in the Florence Chess Club Championship Tournament, yours truly walked away with only 1 loss, and the second place trophy. (My only loss was to the newly crowned champion, John Zeimetz)
A year ago, I had just started frequenting Styles R Us Barbershop, trying to get my chess game up to a respectable level. My friend and chess mentor Joe wasn’t taking it easy on me, as he wanted to help me get better, since he could tell that I didn’t like being the doormat for any player that came through the shop.
After buying a handful of books, playing countless games against anyone that would sit across the board from me, and watching the moves/tendencies of others, I started to see improvement. Early on, I found encouragement in moral victories, such as making it to the endgame, or 50 moves into a game against tough competition. As time passed, that was not acceptable.
As I settled into 4 openings that I found to fit my style, it became easier for me to work on my tactical play, which some would say is the strongest part of my game. My vision has improved from maybe 2 moves ahead to sometimes 4 to 5 under certain certain circumstances.
The most fulfilling part about finishing second in the tournament was that it validated the confidence that my friends and family have placed in me. Even though some of you didn’t understand why I have been pushing so hard to improve, you still supported me, and listened to my rambling. I truly thank you all for that.
The bittersweet part of finishing second was having to defeat my good friend Cato on the final night of the tourney. The winner of our game would claim 2nd place. Cato is a very crafty player, and is in the top tier of players that I battle with on a daily basis at the shop. He’s also a registered member of the United States Chess Federation (a requirement to enter the tournament), and I see him winning more than his share of tournaments.
Special thanks to everyone from the Florence Chess Club (www.florencechess.com) and Styles R Us Barbershop

  1. zillz says:

    and now you have a nemesis!!! that’s the BEST part of being number 1. knowing that there is somebody to beat.

  2. ME!! says:

    I think that I’ve already said congratulations, but I needed you to know how proud I am of you. If you would’ve seen your face when walked in with your trophy!! Priceless!! Congrats! Another accomplishment to add to the neverending list!!

  3. Mallz says:

    The man. I’ve tried to learn how to play chess like two or three times…never stuck tho.

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