My new perspective on games… and life in general
Aug 9th by Peter Hallberg
The summer has kicked into overdrive here in Denmark. It is not often staying inside is preferred to spending the day outside in the sun with your beverage of choice. Today is such a day. It feels like I haven’t written a blog in years but it probably feels that way because of all the things that has been going on the last few months. To sum up: Everything has changed.
It took me the better part of half a year to reach the conclusion that I’m getting too old, and lost too much motivation and love for playing games, to continue trying to make a living based on that. I came to a point where I got physically ill from playing poker and I took that dead seriously. All the joy from playing poker and backgammon had been missing for some years and I wanted that feeling back.
I rediscovered chess that I had been playing very casually 20 years ago. Suddenly chess gave me the missing joy of playing games and sparked the drive to discover, learn and improve. I put up a challenge for myself where the goal is to reach 1900 in national chess rating before the next Chess Olympics in Tromsø 2014. At the time of writing there are only 356 days left.
New work and a new apartment
Now obviously I was in need of a new job. It’s not easy to get one after being away from regular work for about 9 years. My bachelor degree in computer science and 7 years of work experience has close to no value due to my recent ‘break’ from ordinary work. I decided to apply for a job in a large Danish IT company where the possibility of advancing fast is good, if you are ambitious and competent. The problem was that I more or less had to start from scratch. With relatively few alternatives I decided to go with it and about two month ago I started working in the IT support team handling Arla Foods. With 190 work hours a month there has been little time to pursue hobbies alongside looking for an apartment and securing my job situation. I have just ended my trial period and gotten my contract renewed. That’s one problem solved.
Over the last year I have moved three times. Now I found a small apartment where I plan to be staying for some time. It is close to work and fairly close to the center of Copenhagen. There’s no more than 20-30 minutes to anywhere (I want to go) when take my bike.
I must say that the situation I’m finding myself in today is pretty far from what I expected just one year ago. A divorce, a regular IT-job, a new apartment and no time for hobbies simply didn’t strike me as a likely course of events. Now I’m here and I feel that things are somewhat under control again. To be honest I’m still not sure how I’m doing but the indication that I step by step is able to find time for other activities than holding my life together is a really good sign.
All this totally changed my view on games. Backgammon, poker and chess are ’only’ hobbies to me now and it should be fun to play them and work with them. If playing games feels like work I’ll rather take some overtime at my day job.
When I wrote the last blog I was in the middle of a 5-round chess tournament. Between round 2 and 3 I started on my new job and moved. In hindsight the best decision had been to resign from the tournament but I felt I had to finish what I started. In the 3rd round I missed a two move combination to win a piece but that was the only huge mistake in all 5 rounds. Usually I get in time trouble but now I had trouble spending more than half of my time – just wanted to get the games over with. I ended up losing a tiny bit rating so basically nothing happened.
I miss working with chess and I will very soon take up my own training program once more. More updates will be coming on the progress here on my blog and also on twitter (@PeterHallberg).
Soon the team tournament will begin and this year I’m actually looking forward to play some matches. My break from backgammon has officially ended. Last year our team Nemesis kind of struggled to stay in the top division and unfortunately we lost one of our very best players for the new season. We all decided that we need to raise our playing level to stay in the top division. Personally I haven’t started working on my game but I look forward to it. This will also be a good way to get back into the game before the 2014 World Backgammon Championship where I have my 10th year anniversary of winning the tournament. I hope to be able to find the time and money to go and try to win back the title – just once every ten years :)