Friday, October 23, 2009
Ruth Haring - New USCF Executive Board Member
Ruth Haring (website) was elected to the Executive Board of the U.S. Chess Federation in July, 2009. From ChicoER.com 'In the zone': InnerView, Ruth Haring loves the people, competition, challenge of chess By MARY NUGENT - Staff Writer Posted: 10/22/2009 12:00:00 AM PDT CHICO — Ruth Haring has been reading a book detailing a state of consciousness described as "in the zone." She knows that particular condition of increased focus and attention. "It happens with artists, athletes. It's a mental state. It's when you're very involved with something, concentrating. It's good, psychologically. You don't notice anything else going on around you. It means you want to be there and you are learning something," said Haring. When Haring is playing chess, she is in the zone. This year —the same year she moved to Chico — she was elected vice president of the United State Chess Federation, of which she is a life member. She is an International Woman Master, and was recently named head of the U.S. delegation to the International Chess Federation. Earlier this month, she went to Greece for a federation meeting. Every country in the world is part of it, she said. Haring's love for chess started with her childhood in Fairbanks, Alaska. The cold, snowy winters with limited daylight made an indoor atmosphere of playing games a given for most children. "It was the '60s and '70s. We had no TV, there were no video games. We had a university pool, sledding and skating. But everybody spent a lot of time with indoor games," she said. "I liked chess right away. When I played in a tournament, I was hooked." At 14, she joined the United States Chess Federation, and remembers first playing competitive chess in Fayetteville, Ark. Since then, she has traveled the world playing chess. "It's fun to travel and talk to people. People can be any race, sex or religion, and they can still sit across from each other and play chess." Haring is good — really good. She is ranked among the top 1 percent of tournament players in the country. Through the years, she has taught thousands of people to play chess, including children. "Chess is good for kids — they're learning to learn. Chess is great for study skills. "There are rules in chess. There is a winner and a loser. If you study, you'll get better. "Some people do have a natural talent for chess, but if they also apply themselves, they could become masters. In that way, it's like music and math prodigies." So what does it take to be a good chess player? "Patience and discipline. It's fun. You want to capture your opponent's men, outsmart him — and win." The only time in her life when she wasn't seriously playing chess was when her three children were growing up. "They all play, but my son teaches chess in the Bay Area and plays in tournaments. It's nice to have this in common with him." She and her son have traveled in the U.S. and Europe together for chess tournaments and events. Only recently has she played in a senior tournament. "I could have played in U.S. Women or U.S. Senior. I chose the senior. It was for people over 50 in Tulsa, Okla. It was so much fun — I met a lot of people I knew 30 years ago." She has spent years studying books and other players. She hopes to write a book and teach children in Chico. She plays chess with people who gather Wednesdays and Saturdays at Augie's Fine Coffee & Tea. After living in Silicon Valley for years, Haring decided to move to Chico a year ago. "Chico and Davis remind me of other small college towns where I've lived. I lived in Los Gatos and it felt similar. I like the atmosphere, that feel of a university town." ———— In a nutshell Name: Ruth Haring Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska Age: 54 Education: bachelor's degree in psychology from Univeristy of Central Arkansas, studied computer science at San Jose State University, project manager course through George Washington Universtiy at IBM. Work experience: Management background, experience at eBay, IBM and other companies in Silicon Valley since 1983; moved to Chico a year ago and is vice president of the United States Chess Federation, a full-time job, she said. Years ago: "I met Bobby Fischer. I had to set limits — I told him I would not talk about any conspiracy theories. I told him I had a degree in psychology and we talked about the psychology of chess ... He gave me advice. He said I am a good player and should try to be more optimistic. "I used what he said at other times in my life. I was working as a progam manager in the Silicon Valley, and I tried to think about how to make something a win-win. I adopted a can-do/go-getter attitude in management."