Perhaps I should be like some energetic bloggers who maintain more than one blog (although I must confess to kept a separate blog, Rambling and Roving, on Wordpress for our trip to Vancouver last year). Trips aside, in everyday life I suppose I could use one blog for photos, another for thoughts, and yet another for memoirs. But that's too much more my feeble brain to manage, so I just maintain this one where everything gets jumbled up together, and I get gaps between blogs which really should run consecutively. I had been blogging about tennis, bowling, chess and trophies and such, but got sidetracked by music festivals and baby pictures, but I have another thought or two from my chess mentoring days to add before dis here dog is willing to let go of dis here bone.
As I've mentioned previously, I've had all sorts of types of students in my chess club, from very bright kids, which is what one might expect, to pretty regular guys and gals. There was one genius or someone pretty close to that level who played with us for several years. I first knew that something special was up when I looked up from my desk one lunch hour when the club was in session and saw PJ helping Sandra with her homework. The thing is that Sandra was a honour student and a year older than PJ.
So, you'd think that PJ would be an incredible chess player, and he was, in point of fact, very good. If memory serves, he was the top player in the league for at least one year and possibly two. But he wasn't as good as he could have been because he played so fast. I suppose that he was used to things coming so easily that he did his mental calculations quickly and probably didn't bother double-check his conclusions. I, however, was always a slow and deliberate player to the point where if the kids wanted to be sure to win against me they'd just challenge me to a game of speed chess. They'd get their win and be happy, but it never bothered me because I didn't consider it to be real chess.
I guess PJ played a form a speed chess even when it wasn't called for, and he was certainly very good at it. But when I played him, I'd just take my sweet time and win more than I lost. Although he was undoubtedly the brightest student that I ever played, he was not the one who gave me the most difficulty. Perhaps it was because my slow play drove him to distraction; I don't know.
There's a lesson a sorts in my experience with PJ. For me, it has to do with attitude and perseverance. We're not all gifted, but with hard work we can still accomplish a lot. Someone has said that "success is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration," and I think there's a lot of truth in that. While we have no control over the gifts that we have been given, we do have everything to say about how we use what we have. It's called character, I believe. While I can surely appreciate giftedness, it is dedication, application and perseverance that I admire more deeply.