While it may seem crass to mention this while Russia’s lobbing missiles at Kyiv, I have reached 800 ELO!

But that’s what we do, isn’t it. Unless it’s happening to us, we keep bad news at arm’s length. I predicted what would happen in Ukraine, but so did many others. Despite the whole civilised world sounded the alarums, it didn’t make a gods damned difference.

So instead of saving Eastern Europe, I played chess. You can see it’s been an uphill battle. Unless your a chess-masochist too, you wouldn’t appreciate how slow those gains were. Losses reduce your ELO hella faster than wins improve it!

It’s awful. I hate losing.

But because victory is so sweet, I perservere. My old strategy of “play until I lose” was abandoned after I studied the profiles of ever player who’s beaten me — they just keep playing, win or lose. Some have played tens of thousands of games!

Maybe I’m the only one with a day job…

It comes back to the idea that you only become expert after Gladwell’s stupid 10,000 hours of effort. At 10 minutes per game, I only have 9,975 hours to go. My brain is still waking up to chess, in fairness, the lightning arc of disused synapses firing back to life.

Which okay maybe makes 800 ELO chess sound sexier than it is.

It was either re-learn chess, tickle the ivories, or dust off my French. Or maybe all three! Once I’ve finished this f*!#ing graduate certificate, that is. Hey! Anybody wanna do a 1500 word strategic environmental analysis for me?


This section of the stupid course is called the “Online Intensive” module for a reason. I probs won’t play chess for a few months. But at least my global ranking has become respectable: 4,487,994th in the world!

Take that, Malcolm Gladwell!

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