Thursday, 24 May 2012

Driving while chessed

A number of years ago I had a strange experience while driving back to Canberra after a weekends chess in Sydney. I had a couple of junior players travelling with me, and to pass the time we decided to play some blindfold chess. The game was going along quite nicely until I realised I was travelling down an unfamiliar part of the highway. I was so engrossed in the game that I missed the turn off to Canberra just past Goulburn, and was no heading on the road to Melbourne. Fortunately there was a turn off further on, and extra fortunately, by taking the alternate route, we avoided long delays caused by an accident on the Federal Highway.
The obvious conclusion to draw was that while I was still able to pilot the car safely, I wasn't able to make higher level decisions, such as working out where I was going. Apparently this is similar to trying to drive with alcohol in your system.
Every now and then a similar kind of behaviour re-appears, although not connected with blindfold chess. If I have had a particularly exciting or difficult game at the club, I often find myself analysing the game as I drive home. A couple of times I've had to stop myself from doing it, in case I do something stupid like drive through a red light.
It happened again last evening after I managed to save a dead lost position at the ANU club. My opponent Adrian de Noskoswki found a nice tactic which won material, and running short of time I began to play some suspect moves. We then both missed a rook check which would have won the house for him, and in my time trouble he began to go astray. When he put his rook offside I began to create saving chances, and as it turned it I had just enough tempi to salvage half a point (with 20 seconds left I was happy enough with that btw).
Not a perfect game, but one with enough twists and turns to put me over the limit if the police decided to test how much of my brain was being used to control my car!

Press,Shaun - de Noskowski,Adrian [B26]
ANU Autumn Swiss, 23.05.2012

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