Monday, February 18, 2008

USATE Rd. 6: Ballroom Dancing With the Stars

The last round started a little late since a couple of matches went down to the bitter end. Trying to get at the pairings was insane. It looked like a sale at Filene's Basement. Except instead of hordes of crazed bargain hunters it was hordes of crazed chess players. I think some teams sent all four members up to find their pairings. I pushed my way through, and found our pairing. It was another one of those pairings where my team "Rook Around the Clock Tonight" was paired next to "Rook Around the Clock". We got paired way up against a team with 2038 average. We were on board 27 which seems to be in the cold section of the ballroom. I actually had my sweater on the entire time. Thanks to Deren Getz for taking this picture.

On the board next to us was Joel Benjamin's team "3:10 to Yermo". Abby Marshall was also on this team. They played the IS 318 Queens. An all girls team. I've gotten my butt kicked by a couple of those young ladies, bt they weren't able to match wins with GM Benjamin and company.

The 3 Grandmaster team of Zviad Izoria, Eugene Perelshteyn and Roman Dzindzichashvili with a 100 on board four faced off against Marc Arnold's team. Marc drew on top board, and Danny Rohde won in 7 moves on board four. Their teammates did not fair so well against the other grandmasters. So GGGg won the tournament. Personally I think it's totally unfair to allow a team like that. It takes the fun out of trying to come up with a well balanced team with the right blend of titled players and other ratings. Second of all, for the player on the opponent's fourth board it's like they didn't even get a game. It's like getting a forfeit win, except that one doesn't have to sit at the table for an hour.

The little kid on 4th board had a forfeit win and 5 losses. He'll get a clock for his trouble. I hope the Grandmasters gave him a few lessons in return for being their sacrificial lamb. They also should give him the team plaque.

Our match started out with great hopes for a good round. Our board one won his game, and our board four was actually up the exchange and pawn. I was holding my own against the 2060 I was playing. I got a crappy position out of the opening but somehow I defended pretty well and for a long time. Note to self: Next time take with the b pawn. Third board lost so it was coming down to what would happen on two and four. Unfortunately fourth board hung his rook so was now down a piece for a pawn. He played tough but eventually he lost. So now it's just me left. Unfortunately I lost a pawn, and was in a rook and pawn ending. The only thing in my favor was the clock, but even that wasn't helping.

Here is the game with no analysis. I'm too tired to go crazy with it.

Though a couple things to note. On move 28 I gave him double isolated pawns on the kingside, but they were keeping my kingside majority from doing anything unless I wanted to trash my pawn structure.

The interesting position was at move 43 when he played Ra8. I could not see any reasonable defense to Rh6. Then my move 45 of h5 was a big mistake. Somebody came by and asked me something. I don't think he realized I was still playing. The discussion was not well timed, and threw me off. I was hallucinating about possibly giving check with f5 followed by check with g5. I'm forgetting that g5 is no longer protected by the h pawn.

The game lasted almost five and half hours. I could have played all the way down to the bitter end, but I lost a second pawn and he now had 3 connected passed pawns on the queenside and I had one lonely pawn on the kingside that was going nowhere. I had a pounding headache and since only my winning would have salvaged the match I finally called it a night. It was weird being one the few games left in the ballroom. The crowds were all down in skittles room where they were giving out the awards as results came in. One thing about playing so long is there's not much noise and nobody's bumping into my chair.

Our team ended out 3 and 3. That was certainly better then last year when we kept losing to random lower averaged teams with weird board configurations. My record was slightly worse this year. 1 win, 3 losses and 2 draws. Last year was 1 win, 2 losses and 3 draws. Somehow this year was more satisfying because my losses were hard fought, and we didn't lose to any low rated players. We only got kicked out the ballroom for two rounds. And we did not end out in outer Mongolia, or worse the skittles roo. The lowest scoring teams played in there. That's as bad as the year my team got sent to another hotel to play.

Tomorrow I'm off to Seville, Spain. I missed this but Joe Ippolito said that during the speeches on Sunday night that he made mention of my delaying my trip bya few days to make the tournament. I wasn't even in the room since we took our sweet time leaving Ruth Cris.

Tomorrow I'll post some more pictures. I keep switching back and forth between my PC and my Mac to do these posts. The Chess Base stuff is easier on the PC. The pictures are mostly on the Mac.

Thanks for following along.


wang said...

I think it is ridiculous that such a team is even allowed. And what's worse it i recognize some of those names. Well you did your best and that's all that you can do.

Although your reference to a sale at Filene's Basement made me shudder...

Derek Slater said...

Polly - thanks for the update on final results. Had to start the long drive home before it all wrapped up. A pleasure meeting you!

BlunderProne said...

Was that Jorge Samour-Hasbun in one of the photos?

Polly said...

Which photo? I don´t kno who he is.

Polly said...

I guess my opinion on the GGGg team didn´t merit the same sort of comment storm that has been going on at Lizzie´s blog.