Monday, January 25, 2010

When to Play Your Best Chess

I just read Scott Adams' post "Like a Night Watchman" in which he talks about how he feels words and how he needs to be in the right frame of mind before he can write.

He wrote, "People often ask how I get into the writing frame of mind. To me, it feels like being the night watchman in a museum. My job is to make sure all the doors are locked, and the blinds are pulled, and the lights are out. As a writer, you need to shut out all of the distractions from your other senses. I make sure I'm not hungry, tired, uncomfortable, or listening to anything. Then, like the night watchman, I go room by room with my flashlight until something scares me, surprises me, or makes me laugh. I have to feel something. And when I do, that's the part I keep. Then I wrap up the inspiring words in ordinary words, to form sentences. That part is more craft than art.

"Writers tend to work early in the morning, or late at night, when brains are naturally able to focus deeply on one thought. In the middle of the day, distractions are unavoidable. I wonder if anything worthwhile has ever been written in the afternoon."

Although I don't want it to be that way, I admit that I am this way when it comes to chess ... I have to be in the right frame of mind before I can play really good chess.  If I'm too distracted or have something else on my mind (work, family, other pressing needs) then good chess play takes a back seat.  I'd rather be able to play good chess anytime, anywhere ... that's where I'd like to be.  But as it stands, my best chess is played at night with the kids in bed and my wife watching American Idol or whatever it is she likes to watch on TV and me sitting at the computer in a quiet room.


  1. nice to see you again. warmly, dk

  2. I think that goes for most chess players (if not all).