Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Disney's Frozen recently broke the record for the highest grossing animated feature film this year. The theme song, "Let It Go" has served as an anthem for girls or anyone else who wishes to throw off past misfortunes or restrictions and start anew. As often, Disney's cast is full of royalty which makes it somewhat suitable for chess analogies. I have to take a few liberties here and there to shoehorn a character into a chess role, but here is my cast for a recent game that imitates Frozen somewhat. WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
White QueenPrincess Anna
White KingPrincess/Queen Elsa
White King KnightSven the Reindeer
White Queen RookKristoff the Mountain Man
White King BishopIce Monster
White Queen KnightOlaf the Snowman
White g-PawnKing and Queen of Arendelle
Black KingDuke of Weselton
Black QueenHans, Prince of the Southern Isles
Black King Rook & Black King KnightCrossbow Assasins of Weselton

My difficulty liking chess prompted me to say to a couple of masters at the Western States Open last October that I was considering quitting chess. Sometimes it was frustration that age was only making my game worse. Sometimes it was an internal revulsion or even indifference to the inner workings of a chess position that repelled me. Sometimes I hated the manic-depressive insomnia and self-recrimination that comes from wins and losses. But a friend who had been experiencing some chess success persuaded me to meet weekly to discuss games. This led to our going to the 2014 Golden State Open over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend in Concord, California where I went 4.0/7 and rediscovered many of the things I liked about chess. For that weekend, I developed a mantra that I often recite to keep the important things in perspective: Stay healthy, positive, courageous, and especially fun. I'm now on pace to play more tournament games in 2014 than the past 4 years put together. Another factor has been the discovery of Chess Position Trainer as a memory tool to help with my repertoire. Years of studying lines in the Dragon with nothing sticking had frustrated me that my memory was just not good enough to improve. Now the repetition helps to solidify lines before I use them. So a friend and some technology helped thaw my frozen heart toward chess again.