Friday, August 13, 2010

Would You Rather? - my answers

As promised...

1. Would you rather draw all your games or win half of them (in a tournament with even rounds & players of similar skill strength)?

I always play to win. Part of the fun of the game is searching for weaknesses, tactics, and anything else that can put you ahead in the position. I actually got criticized for not taking draws in past tournaments, which I understand can be a very reasonable strategy, but to draw all the time would get dull. Besides, you can learn a lot from losses!

2. Would you rather beat twenty IMs or one GM?

This was my most debatable question. For rating/norms/prizes/etc., beating twenty IMs is surely the better choice, but there's something special about defeating a GM. In all life goals, there are many smaller achievements, and only a few "jackpots". I tend to follow the "dream big or go home" approach, because in the end, the big things are what you'll remember most (or maybe I just have bad memory?). That doesn't mean excluding the smaller achievements, but when given the choice above, I personally lean towards defeating one GM.

3. Would you rather play in summer or winter?

This would seem to be an easy choice for me. As a student, my winter schedule gets full pretty quickly. However, keeping busy actually keeps my concentration on check and ready to go! Plus, winters are best spent indoors.

4. Would you rather play in a local tournament with friends or in a foreign tournament with strangers?

Seeing that most of my chess friends went on to other activities, it would be really great to see everyone again (and I would have chances to win some games :) because we would all be out of practice!).

5. Would you rather break a tie using 'Chess960' or 'Take Me'?

I'm so old school...

a.k.a. I would probably lose immediately in Chess960

Funny story from many years ago:

Back when I used to attend World Youth tournaments, our Canadian team would often look for something to do when we weren't formally playing/studying. One idea was to fool around with the rules of standard chess (though this was before Chess960 became really popular). We would play "candy chess" (eat the candy pieces), "human chess", double chess, ...and "random chess". Random chess involved drawing random positions for ALL pieces, so even pawns could start on the 1st/8th rank. I played this crazy game against one of my friends, Minh Ly Nguyen (she used to play a lot in Quebec). Immediately, I won some material, and like any little girl, was extremely pleased with my chances. But next move, Minh Ly moved her knight, smothering my king. Shortest game ever...but definitely a memorable part of my trip. That, and getting stuck in the elevator before one of the rounds! I hear the Worlds will be held in the same part of Greece this year...should be fine...just don't shove too many kids into hotel elevators. Good luck!

6. Would you rather win a spot on a national team or receive $5000?

At this point, $5000, because I'm really out of practice and short on cash. However, for many people, the national team would be an amazing opportunity! Don't underestimate the value of experience!

7. Would you rather attend a tournament in your pajamas or swimwear?

I'd go for the more conservative option...pajamas. Maybe a pillow too? zzzz

8. Would you rather go without chess books/software for a year or go without chess-related websites for six months?

No chess blog for six months? I don't think that's a good idea.

9. Would you rather play without knights or without bishops?

I think strategy involving knights is more interesting. Sorry bishops. Of course, playing a normal game with both minors, I wouldn't be foolish enough to trade on the basis of preference alone. Bishops are great too!

10. Would you rather live next door to Kasparov or Anand? (or any other GM of your choice!)

All my readers should know my answer by now. If I could choose a GM to live next to, it would have to be Susan Polgar!!!

In terms of Kasparov vs. Anand, I would probably choose to live next to Anand because he's likely more up-to-date with current chess knowledge. In either case, the GM would have to move here because I would rather stay CANADIAN!!! :)