Sunday, 5 September 2010

Work, Work, Work!

The life has been very busy in the past month, mainly because I've gone back to work and have been working a lot!  Although I'm working in the same department as before my sabbatical, I have a new manager and a different job. I always find that first few weeks in a new job demand more effort than usual as I need to learn who my stakeholders are, establish relationships, learn new working practices and processes and convince people that I can make a positive difference. It's important to make a good first impression, especially with directors as they tend to have a very limited attention span! In my job I'm pretty much left to myself to decide what needs to be done and how to do it, so while I've been getting my head around complexities of work I didn't feel like playing any serious chess recently.

I did try to play a bit of chess in August in the Golders Green rapidplay. Unfortunately I had such a bad headache ever since I got up that morning that I had to withdraw from the tournament before the end. I can't remember ever withdrawing from a tournament before! I'm still hoping to play in France at Cap D'Agde at the end of October although I haven't booked it yet. It would be useful to play in some weekend tournament before that but at the moment I can't be sure when I'd feel energetic enough to spend a whole weekend playing chess.

September ratings have come out and I'm up again at 2071 due to my US performance. It would be a shame to lose momentum now as I've been going up in rating all the time since April. One interesting fact is that I haven't lost any slow-play games to anyone lower than IM or GM since the beginning of April (that's when I lost a completely winning game in the London League). Anyway, I'm pretty clear about my new job now so it would be interesting to see if I can dedicate some of my brain power to chess during September. There's one other thing that I haven't quite figured out yet - when is the best time of the day to spend on chess. Should I get up earlier and spend some time on chess before work or should I do some chess after work? I'm certainly not a morning person and it takes me a while to wake up, but doing serious mental activity like chess after a full day of work is quite difficult as concentration is nowhere near perfect.

One great thing which happened in August is that my partner IM Simon Ansell won Dun Laoughaire IM-norm round-robin tournament in Ireland. Although he was the second seed it was still  a nice achievement since he ended up 1.5 points ahead of the field with 7 points out of 9. And the other great thing which happened is that an article was published about my chess achievements in the Intranet-based BT Today news. Unfortunately, only BT employees can access it, but it's a reasonable-sized audience since there are over 100 000 employees in BT! And I got some nice e-mails of encouragement from strangers after the article was published.

I won't be able to publish on this blog as much as I did during my sabbatical as my free time is now very limited, but I will make sure to keep you updated about my performance after every chess tournament.