Musings on Photography

Speed Chess

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on May 27, 2009


Long ago and far away, I played correspondence chess. Playing chess by mail is the opposite of playing chess with a clock. It’s not that you have unlimited time to decide on a move, it’s that you have ample time. I also enjoyed, at the same time, playing speed chess with a clock. The time control is very short – four or five minutes a side, and if your flag drops, you lose. Sometimes the time control is as short as a minute a side.

The interesting thing is that with correspondence chess, there are very few outright blunders, and the participants’ investment in the outcome of a particular game is relatively high. In speed chess, blunders are common even among very strong players, but because each game lasts such a short time, the significance of a single game is very low.

As people come to the end of their SoFoBoMo effort and begin to obsess about how the book will look and how it will be perceived, it’s important to have a little perspective.

SoFoBoMo is to producing your best effort photo book as speed chess is to correspondence chess. SoFoBoMo is fast, because fast means you don’t have time to second guess yourself. It’s somewhat crazy. It follows the same rules, but everyone understands that with the time pressure and the flag about to drop, blunders are going to be made.

And that’s ok. We learn from blunders. What we don’t learn from is doing nothing.

Strive on with diligence. But remember to relax and have fun.

4 Responses

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  1. ordinaryimages said, on May 27, 2009 at 10:57 am

    The blunders seem to be the most valuable resource : ]

  2. sojournerphoto said, on May 27, 2009 at 11:40 am

    yes, I have many blunders given I shot in 3 hous and processed in 2 – now I’ve just got got order and write in 1 and I’m done in a day!


  3. Anita Jesse said, on May 27, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    If only I could remember this lesson every day of my life. Unfortunately, I know this to be true, but “in the thick of things”, I too often forget which game I am playing.

  4. cataclog said, on May 28, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for this reminder. I’m starting to feel a bit of stress since I haven’t started to do any layout, yet. So, okay, maybe the final won’t be a masterpiece, but at least I’ll have something accomplished.

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