The Year in Review

Chess Notes

The year started off poorly, but it picked up in the last few months. My FIDE rating went from 2492 to 2540. Along the way, though, I dropped to 2464(!) after the Reykjavik Open in March.  At 2540, I’m now #23 amongst active US players (not all of whom actually live or ever play in the US) and #482 in the world.

Although I’m no longer at the GM House in Richmond anymore, the other members have all made some improvements: Josh Friedel moved up from 2511 to 2549, Jesse Kraai moved up from 2506 to 2509, and Sam Shankland (the newest member of the house) moved up from 2453 to 2491.

Now that they include FIDE-rated events for USCF rating calculations, my USCF rating went from 2523 to 2606 (though I had dropped to 2490 after the Reykjavik Open in March). It seems a bit silly to me rate these events for USCF purposes when there are no other USCF-rated players in them, but it makes more sense than being able to pay to selectively rate those events abroad in which you did well. Strange as that sounds, that was actually the old policy. If I play in the USCL this next season, though, the team can still use my old rating of 2499 if they choose to go with the September or October supplements.

With those ups and downs, I managed to notch two tournament wins (both were shared), the first in San Sebastian (Spain) and the second at the SPICE Cup (the B Group, in Texas).

Travel Notes

I visited 5 countries (India, France, Iceland, Spain, and Canada) this year. Most of that travel was for chess purposes, but I did some sightseeing along the way. I’ll visit a few more countries on my upcoming trip in 2010, as I’ll be going to Spain, Morocco, Gibraltar, England, France, and Belgium.

The only repeat tournament I had was the World Open (that is, it was the only tournament I had ever played before, and my last World Open appearance was in 1997). That was in stark contrast to my chess travel when I was at Cornerstone, when I would pretty much only play during the summer, and it’d be the same 2 or 3 tournaments on the Catalan circuit in Spain.

I spent 175 days outside the Bay Area this year, or about 48% of the year. Most of that travel was on airplanes, where I logged about 91,000 miles! That’s now quite Up in the Air territory (an excellent movie, for what it’s worth), but it might put me in the same ballpark. On the plus side, I’ve got Premier Status.

Sports Notes

None of the teams I was rooting for (mostly just the SF Giants) did anything notable in the sporting arena. I still have some hope for the SJ Sharks, but their history of playoff “runs” doesn’t necessarily bode well for this season. Hopefully that’s a reverse jinx.

In fantasy sports, though, it was a banner year. I played in one baseball and one football league, and I won both! Both were mostly composed of current and former Cornerstone Research employees. I had won the baseball league before (in 2007, when I was still working there), but this was my first football win. Booyah!

Best wishes to everybody for 2010!

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