The new issue of New in Chess magazine arrived in my mailbox this weekend. It contains an article by British grandmaster Daniel Gormally about what it is like to be addicted to the Internet Chess Club. I know the feeling well, and can affirm that this is only a small exaggeration:
Wake up around 2 pm. Blearily switch on your computer. Check your e-mails, no new e-mails. Open ICC. Check who’s online. Immediately experience frustrsation as when you type ‘1’ (the comand to enter the one-minute pairing pool) you are left waiting for a game. Experience withdraweal symptoms (sweaty palms, high blood presure) whilst keep typing ‘1’ over and over again, only to be met with the same irritating message ‘You are already in the pool of players waiting to be paired.’ Eventually get a game. Throw the mouse at the screen in a fit of anger after your opponent flags you in a totally drawn endgame. Throw some insults in his general direction, which makes you feel somewhat calmer, temporarily.
Realize it is now four o’clock in the afternoon, it is getting dark outside, and you still haven’t got out of bed. Resolve to do something about the situation. Your stomach is revolting against the lack of food (and even ICC addicts need sustenance occasionally), so you wolf down two slices of toast before quickly resuming ICC, exasperated that normal bodily functions like eating should get in the way of your addiction. There is probably and interesting tournament on, Wijk aan Zee or Linares. You fearlessly mock these overrated superstars (while secretly harboring jealousy that they are doing something constructive with their lives.)
Go down to the corner shop to buy a chocolate bar (your first excursion outside your front door in over a week) to provide some much needed fuel for the hard night’s blitz ahead. Along the way you remember there is a Champions League game on tonight, and you decide to make a diversion to the local boozer to watch it. However, at half-time you are struggling to stay awake as the scoreboard reads Bayern Munich 0, Roma 0 andyou are quickly getting withdrawal symptoms again. QUickly you rush back to the house and log on to ICC,a pleasant calm feeling once again descends, as you are back in your favorite place.
I’ve been blogging for about thirty minutes now. Before I do anything else, I will bang out a few games of blitz over on ICC…