Sunday, February 17, 2008

USATE Rd. 2: Board 1.....In the Small Ballroom

Quarter pairings are a pain in the butt. We get paired way up in round one. I told the guys we would probably get paired down against a team rated mid 1300s who won in the first round, and that we probably get booted out of the main ballroom. Sure enough our opponent's average rating was 1347. Our opponents were four high school kids who got paired way down in round one. We played on board 81. Boards 1-80 are in the main ballroom.

Playing in one of the side rooms is like being in regular weekend swiss. You don't get to be part of the funny give aways that Steve Doyle does, and you don't get to see who is the best dressed for Saturday evening. In fact we could hear the goings on from the main room as we had started our games for round two. It could be worse. We could be in the conference center wing with all the little kiddie teams. Years ago when I played board one on a team with little kids we would spend the entire tournament there. I used to call it playing in outer Mongolia. Our big moment would come if we made it into one of the rooms across from the small ballroom.

Our first board won in about 15 minutes. That's always nice to get a quick point early on. Later our fouth board would draw his lower rated opponent. I was having a totally boring game, so I spent a lot of time watching board three. At one point my teammate Alan had sac'ed a rook and his opponent had a passed pawn that looked unstoppable. Alan could have forced a draw. I'm thinking to myself, "Take the damn perpetual! What the hell are you looking at? I can probably draw and we'll win the match!" He doesn't do that. Now I'm thinking to myself that we're going to end out drawing the match and be banished to outer Mongolia with the Munchkins. He played beautifully and won his game. I offered my opponent a draw in a totally boring locked up position so we won 3-1. Phew!

No comments: