Friday, September 10, 2010

What's Your Greatest Skill?

I've been putting off posting because I was hoping to get more readers for my last post, which was the first real action excerpt I have posted from The Shard. Yeah, I know many readers don't have time to read longer posts, but those who have read it seemed to enjoy it!

I leave on Monday for Rochester, Minnesota in case anyone I 'know' online is from that area. I'm having some testing done at the Mayo Clinic for some digestion issues I have had. No big deal, but it will be nice to have them diagnosed properly so I can take care of them.

World Champion Garry Kasparov in the process of beating me in 35 moves
Okay, so how about a non-writing topic for a change? Greatest non-writing skill? For me it is chess. I started chess late, at around age 16, but I really got into it pretty heavily. I've now played chess all over the world, gained a correspondence master title, tied for 1st in the US Amateur Championship in 2001, and played against five world champions. I wonder if there are any other amateur players out there who have played against Kasparov, Karpov, Kramnik and Anand?
Me playing World Champion Anatoly Karpov
 How about you? What's your greatest non-writing skill?


  1. That's impressive, Ted. My 5-year-old beats me at chess. >.<

    That's actually a really tough question... teaching, maybe. I know that sounds kind of weird, but it's the one thing I've really excelled at (or did, when I was in a classroom and had a personal connection to my students, the online format is a lot harder). Hmm... worth pondering.

    Have a great weekend and best of luck at the Mayo Clinic.

  2. I'm really, really good at making stupid comments....

    Other than that, I'm an excellent student, and I'm damn good at installing lightning protection. *shrugs*

  3. Thanks, Alison.

    Simon, you have a really impressive ability to be funny! I really wish some of that would rub off on me.

  4. Wow, I didn't know you were an expert chess player. That's not a big skill of mine, so I won't challenge you to a game.
    Music is one of my greatest skills. And anything to do with a computer.

  5. This is so cool. I've nowhere near the experience (or skill, I'm sure) that you do but I've always been fascinated by chess. Imagine if you could have played against Bobby Fisher?

    How's your King's Indian Defense?

  6. That's awesome Ted. Very impressed. I got second place in a third grade chess tournament. Now, I just beat my nine-year-old and rub it in his face. I'll be regretting it in a couple years. Sorry I missed your excerpt. I'll have to go back and check it out.

  7. I love numbers and math related things.


  8. Sad as it may sound. I don't know that I have any real skill or talent. I can do a lot of things okay, but am not particularly good at any one thing.

  9. I've always wanted to learn to play chess, but don't know if I'd be very good at it.

    My greatest skill would have to be knitting. I can knit anywhere. In fact I was knitting while I was reading your post, I only put down my knitting to type. I'm trying to knit 50 pairs of house slippers to give to nursing homes for Christmas gifts, but alas my writing doesn't allow me to do as much knitting as say reading or watching movies. I still hope to get at least 40 pairs done. ( 15 pairs down 15 to go)

  10. Melissa, it's really awesome to be doing things for others.

    Budd, everyone has talent at something. You have to keep searching!

    Alex, I love music, too. I played guitar until I busted my hand really badly. I can still play as long as the song only needs three fingers.

  11. Art criticism. Yes, it's very useful and comes in handy several times per day. ;)

  12. I stink at Chess, Ted, completely.

    Sorry to hear about your need for the tests (hope that they get you a good plan to take care of the trouble!) and sorry too I missed the action sequence from The Shard- I've been really sick and offline for the past few weeks, just catching up. I'll go back and look for it soon and comment.


  13. No problem, Bru. I know that even when I really like a post, if it is long I can't expect most to want to read that much. The blogosphere is tough to wade through!

  14. Wow, that's one hell of a skill!
    I'd say mine would be history and languages (especially historical languages).

    Sorry to hear about your problems, hopefully after your trip you'll be right as rain :D

  15. Wow. I'm impressed with the chess thing! My greatest non-writing skill is singing, which also brings me great joy and satisfaction.

  16. Most impressive - oh so talented one!

    My non-writing skills? I've got excellent social skills (provided the wine is on tap) and I make a darn good Lobster Thermidor - if I say so myself :)

    All the best by the way. Hope the doctors sort out the problem asap.

  17. :o) That photo brought back memories. My hubby was a pretty good chess player in his day. He used to play in all these big tournaments.

    Then I showed up and chess became history.

    I used to be an oil painter, so I guess that's what I'm best at.

  18. Love chess, though I think you'd take me down in seconds! That's really cool that you've competed in so many competitions.

    I would say my greatest non-writing skills are playing piano and anything with computers.

  19. I'd have to go with Naked World Domination. *nods* (seriously, I can be silly with the best of them. My best skill, outside of writing, is PLAY)

    Hope the tests give you an easy answer (I take fiber... metamucil handled those pesky digestive issues--though probably if you had the same ones, the docs there would have figured it out... maybe) Falen (Sarah) is in Minnesota--do you follow her? Nobody else is popping to mind, off hand. I think North Carolina has the greatest per capita writer density... Maybe you should be getting tests done at Duke...

  20. Naked domination and singing -- I can live with that! I sure wish I could sing. Yes, I follow Falen. Not sure which part of Minnesota she's in.

    Maria, why did chess have to disappear once he met you? It's an inexpensive hobby.

  21. Liz, I'm good with computers but only wish I could be good at piano.

    I've never liked lobster, so I'll take Wendy's word on that.

    Jamie, I love, love history; would have majored in it if I could have found a career that didn't involve teaching. I minored in it, though.

  22. Ref: Maria, why did chess have to disappear...

    Oh, it wasn't anything nefarious. He just found me :)

  23. Chess certainly isn;t one of my lonsuits. I do like to play the role of liason between warring factions, trying to find commonground and work from there for innovative solutions both sides can be happy with.

    I have your copy of Breakthrough you won for my Blog Banner Contest last month

    Send me an email at and I'll get it out to you next week. Have a great wekend.

  24. Holy cow, Ted!!! You do have some hidden talents up your sleeve. That's amazing.

    I've tried to learn chess a couple of times, but could never get into it.

    My greatest skill? Darned if I know. I dabble in a lot of things, but writing is the only one I've stuck to (more or less).

  25. That just might be a good thing, Christine. I think that focusing on just one talent can allow one the chance to really fulfill one's promise. I spread things around to too many talents, never allowing myself to master any of them.

  26. Hope everything turns out ok at the Mayo.

    I make furniture, very high end. A passion for walnut and mahogany at the moment. Love the two woods together.

  27. I can dance. Line dance, that is. Put the younglings to shame, turn a few drunken heads.

    Then I have to recover for a month or two. My hips are what they used to be :)

    When I had the time, I did Crewel stitchery. I have a wall full of Hummel pictures that are getting ugly with the years of packing and moving. I haven't had time to sit with a new project though. I have 2 sitting in my craft bag that are about 10 years old.

    Maybe when I'm fabulously rich off the sales of my trilogy I'll be able to start again. I used to enjoy it very much.

    Good luck with your testing - hope the diagnosis isn't too devastating. And its awesome that you're a chess champ. A skill to be admired. I like to watch a good chess match, but I can't think far enough ahead to get any strategy planned while I'm playing.

    Maybe you'll put a clip up sometime?

    Have a good trip Ted.


  28. Wow, Douglas, if I lived near you I would have you make me a chess table!

    Donna, I have a whole other blog devoted to chess, though sadly since I haven't had a chance to play in over a year I haven't put up any new posts.

    I just got into Rochester, MN after 24 hours of flying. Off to bed!

  29. Wow. I love learning that someone is a Renaissance Man or Woman.

    Good luck on the health front.

  30. Hmmm............ What did I do before I started writing? >.< I played World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online...I had babies (I'm not really good at "having them" - the doctors probably never saw a whiner patient, but I suppose I'm a decent caretaker once they were out)...I'm a good student...It's easy for me to learn new dances.

    I suppose my "special ability" is dancing. Ballroom, belly dance, samba - anything.