Parallel 2: Track every cent you earn/spend//Bishop, King, Pawn… Where art thou?

I remember playing with Kajani K. years ago and there were times when I got tired of waiting for him to play his move. It was not because he was “slow” because when a Chess clock was introduced, he would play at lightning speed! It was almost never possible to beat Kajani when playing a game that was timed (with a chess clock). One time, out of boredom, I decided to study his face! I looked at his nose, hair, … and finally eyes. There! All over the place. Then they would stop for a while… and I would stop looking at him to “see” what he was looking at. The eyes would start looking all over the board again… It took me a long time to realize that Kajani was not just wasting time. He was searching, hunting, quizzing moves out. I can say that of all amateurs that I have played with, he was the most professional. The person who tried to find the soul of Chess – the best move or moves at any one time. I later adopted this approach. I think I am a fairly quick player, but I try to look at everything before I make my move – most of the time!

What does this have to do with life – more specifically, money? I realized later on, that not knowing where every bit of my money went was like not knowing where my pieces were when playing Chess. What’s the point of playing the game in the first place? How can you win if you don’t know where every piece on the board is, and if it is not on the board, what happened to it?! Similarly, I told myself to track every cent I earned or spent. For me, money is Chess. Tracking everything helped me see patterns in my expenditure. Oh, I just gave up my queen for nothing! (That’s how I think when I make an unnecessary expenditure – of course, sometimes it’s a pawn, and I don’t sweat it too much – until I miss the pawn…)

My two pawns! How do you think when you play chess or spend money? (What a loaded question!)

With Chesslove,



Parallel #11: Goal Setting

I assume that everybody knows the importance of goal setting in life- if not in life (outside Chess), then at least in Chess. Way back when I used to play in (local) tournaments regularly, I would decide in advance what my goals were. My goal would either be to win the tournament (almost invariably the goal), or be in the top x, to be guaranteed prize money, or just to have fun. The last one almost meant I would watch, help with organizing and play casual games. The goals helped me to focus when I was playing. Every move I made was driving me towards my goal of winning the tournament. A time came when the money didn’t matter, but the reputation did. In life, I set goals, even though I don’t always follow through. That is the one thing I am changing. That every goal is written down for a reason and it has to be attained if I can help it. Below is my list of 101 goals to be accomplished in the next 1001 days.

This is not an original idea. I believe I first saw it at Get Rich Slowly. Actually, I started my list several weeks ago. I haven’t decided what I will do for every goal that I don’t attain at the end of the 1001 days. I guess as I become more technically sophisticated, I will add a counter to see how much time is remaining, and something against each goal to show whether the goal has been attained or not. I do not believe I will write about why I/you need to have goals. I will probably include links in the near future:

These goals are meaningful to ME. Some of them are not original at all.

Here come my goals:

1. Change so that MKX and I are happier… (no details here!)

2. Call family at least once a week.

3. Forgive and forget past hurts.

4. Pass CPA exams within the next year.

5. Read the Bible cover to cover.

6. Get married.

7. Speed up my reading (need to come up with wpm here…)

8. Speed up my typing (need to come up with wpm here…)

9. Keep in touch with all my friends at least once a month. Will do a list and check mark when done.

10. Save $AE,000.00 (Strive for $E00.00/month – I have the figures!) 🙂

11. Drink water as the only beverage for 52 weeks.

12. Devote 1 month to each of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”

13. Get up (Out of Bed) at 6am or earlier at least 5 days a week.

14. Get rid of physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual clutter in my life. I will start with the physical, and then move to the other aspects.

15. Get FICO score >=GE0 (I know the credit score I am shooting for…)

16. Buy a house.

17. Visit family.

18. Spend a day at an aquarium.

19. Go to Las Vegas.

20. Go to Grand Canyon.

21. Go to Yellowstone National Park(?).

22. Write my Mission Statement.

23. Dance (Slow Dance) once a month.

24. Cook for more than 10 people.

25. Go on a “family trip” with my friends.

26. Be/Live Clean (physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally.)

27. Help 10 people reach their goals.

28. Work as volunteer.

29. Play blindfold simultaneous Chess.

30. Learn about meditation and meditate for 15 minutes every day for 30 days.

31. Do 75 sit-ups in one go. (Believe it or not, I am not even close here!)

32. Read an Economics book from cover to cover.

33. Read a Statistics book from cover to cover.

34. Practice keyboarding (music) once a week for 52 weeks – one hour per session.

35. Spend one week without watching TV.

36. Read world news at BBC everyday.

37. Say the rosary for 60 days straight.

38. Get to work by 7 a.m. every day for one month.

39. Clean up dishes before going to bed for 60 days straight.

40. Use only 1 light bulb at a time for 1 month. (Only light that’s on will be the one in the room/area I am working in.)

41. Take stuff that I don’t use to Salvation Army or the Red Cross.

42. Buy a new DVD player for my family.

43. Send money to cousins.

44. Eat healthier//Buy food from Trader Joe’s or Global Foods or Farmer’s Markets.

45. Go through VCR’s to see what’s on them and get rid of what I will never watch again//Related to clutter goal.

46. Run for 30 minutes every day for 1 month.

47. Shoot and make 25 straight free-throws (basketball).

48. Spend no more than 10 minutes per day doing personal stuff at work.

49. Stay 15 days straight without complaining or saying something negative.

50. Memorize the beatitudes.

51. Memorize the Apostle’s Creed and 5 other Catholic Prayers.

52. Go to church every Sunday for 6 months.

53. Clear desk at work. Only work should be what’s in my in-basket.

54. Don’t carry work home for 3 months.

55. Take food to work for 1 month.

56. Watch over 25 movies from the library.

57. Go to the library at least once a week.

58. Buy a new computer (preferably laptop) from non-work sources or non-emergency fund sources.

59. Track every cent that I spend/earn for 3 months.

60. Balance check book at least once a week.

61. Get a nice gift for friends/family who are getting married.

62. Avoid late fees (Library, Bank, etc.) and tickets (traffic) for 1 year.

63. Review my goals at least once a day.

64. Keep learning about going green (saving the Earth). Keep a list of things I can do and adopt what I can.

65. Learn about 401K, Index Funds, Vanguard 500, etc. Keep learning about financial stuff.

66. Repair seal for my car’s windshield.

67. Remove stains on car seats… May be buy seat covers.

68. Get car window fixed (power button not working… NOW YOU KNOW WHAT SHAPE MY CAR IS IN!!)

69. Get a license plate put at the rear of the car.

70. Invest in some fund/Vanguard 500 per simple dollar. Need to read how this works first.

71. Find real wage rate//Life Energy spend on items etc. per “Your Life or Your Money”.

72. Think/Act positively.

73. Sell items on ebay.

74. Find mentors (Trent is one of them).

75. Blog my life so far.

76. Review daily goals:

a) Leave Clean

b) Pray

c) Balance check book

d) Track expenses

e) Speed read self-development book (1 chapter)

f) CPA test prep

g) CPA study

h) CPA Audio

i) Clean/Organize home for at least 15 minutes

j) Meditate

k) Evaluate day

l) Plan next day

m) Thou hast to write for blog

77. Eliminate procrastination

78. Reflect on what it means to be made in the image of God. How do I reflect the character of God in life. (idea from 101 ways to make a difference today.)

79. Analyze Bobby Fischer’s games. (Fischer move by move).

80. Start a blog /// Get my own domain.

81. Learn HTML and other stuff in order to better manage my website and writing.

More to come 🙂

Do you have goals to share? How are you doing? What has been your motivating factor/factors?

Parallel 1: Make more than you spend//Play with stronger players

I love(d) Chess dearly and one of the things that helped my strength rise exponentially was playing with stronger players. I had faith in my ability to learn how my opponents were playing and changes to make in order to adjust and fare better. What do you gain from strong players? It depends. They may be strong because they have played the game for a long time and they just “know” what to do to win. By playing with them frequently, you have the advantage of seeing “things” that they keep doing. Sound opening, eyes darting all over the board looking for opportunities to create something or see weak areas to attack, taking a second to see an opponent’s move etc. That is just one of the reasons an opponent may be strong. That is not my reason for writing these thoughts. I think the weaker player benefits from the net (positive) difference between him and his opponent. This net difference reminded me of another important factor when playing chess for a living and for living to play chess. The former, you play chess to be able to pay your bills. The latter you work somewhere to be able to pay your expenses including Chess. Anyway, can you create a net positive difference in the way you spend the money you make either way? Personal financial advisers recommend that you spend less than you make. (I said, make more than you spend… it is not quite the same thing, but you end up with the net positive difference either way.) That is the way to improve your life, at least financially.

Some of the things that are obvious to us on the Chessboard are not that obvious in life.

With Chesslove,


How did you learn to manage your finances better? What was your route to improving at Chess? What do you agree/disagree with in this piece?