Saturday, December 01, 2012

Winning feels great; some stuff about chess, swimming, medical monitoring, bodies, and even hospitality


Donald Trump used to say on “The Apprentice” that there’s nothing worse than losing. Or better than winning.

Last night (Nov. 30) I finally consummated my return to USCF rated chess with my first rated win since 2000, this time in the ladder at the Arlington VA Chess Club. 

I have been studying Larry Kaufman’s book (Book reviews blog July 3, 2012), and won the White side of a Nimzo-Indian, playing the dogmatic “4 Qc2” on move 4 to get the Twi Bishops without doubled pawn.  In the middle game, there appeared a position where I had two double pawns on adjacent files, reinforcing one another as battering ram or smart  bomb, blasting open Black’s position and setting up a mate.  I don’t think I’ve had a position like that my whole life.  With two bishops you need to get pawns moving.

My hand knicked another piece as I was castling last night, I thank the opponent for not calling a frivolous "touch move".  It's rather like instant replay on a home run that touches the top of an outfield wall.  
   
I had reported a horrific loss (resigning in the opening) on my first game, Sept. 28.  Trump would have fired me for losing.

My previous win in 2000 had occurred in Sr. Paul, MN in the last round of an action tournament, right at time control.  I was playing Black in the Exchange French and had the advantage the whole game, but barely squeaked in a mate as the flag fell.

Let’s move on to other mundane fare.  There was a small story in the Washington Post this week about colleges requiring swimming as part of their P.E. for freshmen.   There are stories that people are not learning to swim as kids, particularly African Americans.  I was afraid of the water and didn’t learn as a boy.  In college (at GWU) a semester was required.  I somehow got so I could dogpaddle across the width of a pool and passed the course. 

I see that on Oct. 9, 2007 I had blogged about my swimming issue here (n a company kayaking party in 1997), and that led to a moral discussion that spilled over to another posting about helping out after Katrina on the TV Blog on August 29, 2007, invoking t “reverse radical hospitality” (and a challenging comment). 

I recall that a female friend who went to Duke in the 1960s (now an English professor herself) told me that everyone had to pass a survival test and stay in the water for one hour. 

Eventually, long after I graduated, my high school (Washington-Lee in Arlington VA) put in a school and made it mandatory.  The pool has been upgraded and rebuilt since the school got a new building in 2009.  What would have happened when I was subbing if I had been asked to do P.E. and the class was swimming?

At least, nobody shaves, unless they compete.

There’s another little story this week, about newer heart pacemakers, the wireless routers and capability to monitor the patient from home.  I suppose my mother could have needed one when she was alive; could my own wireless network have somehow interfered?  My own doctor said a month ago I might need one some day.  What would that mean about my setup at home?  The article (in the WSJ) was mainly concerned about new privacy concerns (and HIPAA).

At age 69, I’ve kept going mainly with momentum.  I do have some arrhythmia, and I haven’t done much yet in the way of medical monitoring.  I find the prospect of it intrusive, potentially humiliating (think about the Holter device), and problematic.  I haven’t even done the colonoscopy yet.  But, given the “moral” issues that I have raised about being different (and I will return to this again at a high level very soon), I may need to agree to a covert period of monitoring to figure out just why I got behind “physically” (in a developmental sense) when I was a boy.  No one has ever found anything. But modern diagnostic tools might unravel a moral mystery. 

Oh, one other thing -- I am following the Nationals' signing negotiations off-season.  My advice: don't give any sluggers away (LaRoche, Morse).  Next year, I want 100 wins.  I'll do my part on the chess board.  

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