Monday, February 18, 2008

USATE Rd 4: Worse Seat In The House Part 2

Reassembler has a post on his blog about playing on Board 39 in the ballroom. It's noisy there with the doors banging closed and the constant chatter from the foyer. "Chess Nuts Boasting in an Open Foyer". Playing second board at Board 37 sucked big time. Board 37 is nowhere near 39. It took me awhile to find the board. The number sequence is totally wacked out and it's actually on the other side of the room by the podium. It's actually fairly quiet there, but I felt like I was playing on a major fault line. Our board is sitting on two tables and they're slightly split apart as you can see from the picture.

A round like this begs the question. What's so great about playing in the main ballroom? It's crowded, noisy, and people always bumping your chair as they squeeze through. It's even worse when people are trying to get past my chair because I usually have the chaired pushed way back because I'm either kneeling on the chair or standing over it.

This picture doesn't really show how cramped we were because board three was done when I took it. Alan kept putting his captured pieces near me. I was tempted to ask him if I could drop them on my board in place of a move. Oh right! The Bughouse tournament was later. Alert viewers might notice that black is missing a bishop. Unfortunately it's not on the h file which got cut out of the picture. It was not a good night for us. 1/2 - 3 1/2 was the final score.

When one plays as many one time control tournaments as I do, 40/2 G/60 can seem like an eternity. There were a number of moves where my opponent spent 10 to 15 minutes on it. Those are the times I go wandering around the room, get a drink of water or just go out and contribute to the noise in the foyer. When we hit 40 moves he had less then 2 minutes left. I had over 45 minutes. Perhaps if I had used as much time as he had maybe my position would not have been so ugly.

If had not been a team tournament I would have resigned much sooner then I did. I played on until I was going to lose my final pawn and he'd be up a piece and two pawns. At that point I knew there would be no sudden death implosions. At this point I was ready to be sociable and catch up with some friends.

Jerry Hanken made the trip east. He would normally be playing in the USATW in Los Angeles. I was quite surprised to see him out here. He's playing on a team with other chess journalists. They did a 50's related costume of the old style fedoras and suspenders. I look pretty happy despite losing in 4 1/2 hours.

Jerry talked about the differences between the USATE and USATW.

1. 200 more teams in the East.

2. Old or slow moving people get trampled by the hoards.

3. The team names and costumes are more clever and thought out in the East.

The winning team name was "Not Searching For Bobby Fischer Anymore." I'm not sure I have it exactly right. I have no idea who won best chess gimmick. Our team missed the festivities in the ballroom because we were enjoying our dessert and coffee at Ruth Cris, and paying the bill. The restaurant review will follow in a later post.

Gotta stop now. Next round is in 7.5 hours. I need my sleep.


transformation said...

this is great literature!
thank you Polly. Best of luck in day(s?) ahead. Warmly, dk

Phaedrus said...

Hi Polly,

I see a PDA on the table with the same position as the board. Is it allowed to use a pocketcomputer with a chessprogramm to record your moves, or is this photo taken during the post mortem?

Temposchlucker said...

Fischer is not dead! It seems you have found him (looking at the picture)

Polly said...

paedrus: That's a Mon Roi. It's dedicated scorekeeping device. It has no engine in it, and it's the only such device cerified for use in lieu of keeping a written score. I love it, but it's very expensive. Their website is

Polly said...

Tempo: OMG he does look a bit like Bobby in taht shot.

Phaedrus said...

Hi Polly,

This looks like a wonderfull gadget. So far I had not seen anybody use something similar.

Because I might want to buy it myself (I love gadgets) I checked the fide laws of chess to see if anyone could object to me using it in official events.

This is what the laws say about scorekeeping (notation):
8.1 In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent in the correct manner, move after move, as clearly and legibly as possible, in the algebraic notation (Appendix E), on the ‘scoresheet’ prescribed for the competition.

The partabout precribed for the competition worries me a bit.

Polly said...

phaedrus. It is certified for use in FIDE tournaments. The devices are used at a lot of the big tournaments because they can feed games to the Mon Roi website if the organizer has the hub. Check out their website. You'll see a lot of the tournaments they do coverage of. They recently did Gibalter