Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pre-Round 3 USATE Random Thoughts

I got up to check our pairing for this morning's round. I messed up on my pairing prognostication skills. I thought we'd get paired up. I was wrong. We get paired down against a team with a 1226 average. In the second round they beat up on some team of most likely little kids. Hopefully we can dispatch this team with ease so that we can end our exile from the main ballroom.

Tonight is the team name and costume contest so it's definitely a round that one wants to be playing in the ballroom to watch the action. Unlike reassembler, I haven't come up with my team name guesses. Maybe I'll take a closer look at some of the names and add them to this post. I can't believe there's a team with 3 grandmasters and 200 on board four. I think that really sucks. Hopefully they'll reinstate the 1000 point rule. I have no problems with grandmasters playing in the event. I think it's exciting for the players who get to play them, and exciting for spectators when they start facing each other in later rounds. However I think it's grossly unfair to stack the team with 3 grandmasters. I like it better when teams have to work hard to put together a balanced line up to stay under 2200. Also I feel bad for 4th board on the opposing team that has to play someone with a 200 rating. What a waste of time.

One of the great things about this tournament is seeing old friends. Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see Shirley Ben-Dak. She was just visiting for a few hours and then would be heading back to Israel where she is attending college. She just dropped in to surprise all her friends. She played on my all girls team "The Vera Menchik Brigade" back in 1996. She was in second grade and played board two. Board three was Alanna Katz, and fourth board was Amanda Clare. Amanda is not playing chess at the moment, but Alanna is here so we did 12 year reunion picture.

The picture we're pointing at is the back view of our team shirts that we wore and modeled for the costume contest. We look like we're all the same height, but actually they were on the stage and I wasn't. Now they're my height and if we played as a team now, I'd be board three.

Another tradition at this tournament is getting together after the second round and playing hearts until late into the night. Here's the hearts gang.

We've been playing hearts back since the days of the tournament being in Somerset. We play some goofy variations such as hitting 100 on the nose drops the player back to zero. Nobody did that, but I shot the moon and took 26 off my score. Probably not a good idea since it made the game last another hour. My hearts handle for online hearts is Lunaqueen. (Moon queen.) I love to shoot.

Enough for now. Time to think about chess. 30 minutes to round three.


tanc(happyhippo) said...

hi polly,

i agree with you. i think it is horrible that there is a team of 3 GMs and a 200 player.

the photos that you posted are wonderful. it must have brought back lots of memories.

best of luck for round 3!

liquideggproduct said...

When chessloser gets on one of his "I suck" rants, now we can point to the 200 and say "at least you're not him".

Incidentally, unless the 200's a kid or just learned the game...don't you have to almost try to get your rating that low?

Polly said...

A 200 beat a 1200 for the biggest upset in round 1. LOL I have the moves. I can't wait to let Fritz tear it apart.

boldandblazing said...

On the contrary, Polly! I think there should be a whole separate and simultaneously run tournament with teams comprised solely of three GM’s and an absolute beginner. It would give chess moms like me something to do.

For instance, if Rene Arnold and I were to face each other on the throw-away board four, we would make six moves before becoming nervous and confused. That calls for a glass of wine at Ruth’s Chris. It really wouldn’t matter whose clock was running. Our angst soothed, we’d order dinner, then return to our game and bullet through a few more moves before the restaurant calls (phones on vibrate, of course!), and we leave to enjoy our awaiting dinner while our team mates ponder deeply over move eleven. After crème brulee, we can saunter back to our game. Maybe Board Three has just drawn. We would push a few more pieces around until we become too preoccupied with wondering what our teenagers are doing running amuck in the hotel. In reality, they would be playing bughouse in the lobby, but under the guise of responsible parenting, we agree amicably to a draw (I would not have studied the mate-in-one worksheets that Linda keeps pushing on me anyway). We spot check them them via text message on the way to the bar, enjoy another glass of Ponot Grigio, and congratulate ourselves on a battle well fought.

I’m not sure, but I think for this to work, the rules about talking to your opponent during the round need to be suspended. But that would be on par with the logic of the other guidelines, and indeed the premise of such a tournament, so that won’t be an issue.

On a serious note, though, I don’t think that having actual pre-existing scholastic teams is in keeping with the spirit of the event. This is the one tournament where my daughter gets to play on the same team with friends from other schools, and play against school buddies! Being made to play with your own school eliminates that and makes this just another tournament. Part of the fun is also “coaching” each other and hanging out between rounds, which won’t happen if you have to run back to the team “room” and analyze your game. There is ample opportunity to bring scholastic teams to tournaments all year long.. they should experience this one for its uniquess.