After playing 7(!) tournaments in a row and having a 3 months break during which I held a couple of wedding dinners and pretended to be a trainer in Shenzhen,I am now ready to commence on World Tour part 2 which begins tomorrow:
1) 4 - 10 Sept: DYTM Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Invitational Masters, KL, Malaysia
2) 21 Sept - 1 Oct: Campomanes Memorial GM Tournament, Yangon, Myanmar
3) 15 - 24 Oct: Caissa GM Tournament, Kecskemet, Hungary
4) 5 - 15 Nov: First Saturday GM Tournament, Budapest, Hungary
5) 26 - 31 Dec: 2nd Asean Open Championship, Singapore
Hence if nothing goes wrong, I would have played a total of 12 tournaments and a staggering 109 games in 2011.
When I first began this sabbatical, I initally thought that it is imperative that I make my 3 GM norms in this period. Chess is not easy to achieve mastery and I do not think it is possible to train intensely while I'm back in my audit career and achieve excellence in both areas. As a result, I unknowingly put an incredible amount of pressure on myself during each tournament and I'm constantly worrying over my results.
After giving the game far more attention than I have ever given, it is easy for me to realise that Chess should not be played with such a mentality and that it is simply impractical to expect to make a norm at every tournament. True, making my first GM norm in March had raised my personal expectations but I cannot deny the fact that fortune played a amazingly large part in Kecskemet and that in these GM tournaments, a lot of luck (not just skill) is required to fulfill the criteria.
I am trying to approach each tournament not just with the aim of making a norm, but also to obtain fresh positions, study other facets of chess and ultimately enjoy each game. I've realised that there is simply no point in stressing myself up and forgetting that I'm doing this not just because I want to be a GM but also because ultimately, chess is what I do, and I plan to be around for a very long time.
The tournaments are coming thick and fast and whatever happens, it promises to be an extremely interesting and challenging period from now till the end of the year. Wish me luck, I'll need loads of it!