Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wacky Wednesday!

I mentioned in my first post about my weekend at the UMBC Open about my second round game that was worthy of Wacky Wednesday status. As promised (threatened?) is the story of my second round.

I have been known to resign prematurely on occasion. Sometimes it's been done in haste without seeing what is really happening. Sometimes it's just simply not being in the mood to fight on in a position that is most likely lost, but has a little fight left. No matter how you look at it, you'll never win by resigning. As Yogi Berra would say, "It ain't over til it's over." But it's over if somebody resigns.

In round two I'm paired against an 1854. I've actually played this guy two times in Philadelphia at the National Chess Congress and Liberty Bell Open. I have a 1-1 record against him. It's unusual for me to play somebody from a different state in several different tournaments. Like the first round, I was not in synch with the slow time control. I was playing too fast and had dropped a pawn. We reached this position after I played 34. Re2 in response to 33...g5.

I had only used a little over an hour, and he had used closer to an hour and a half. I was disgusted with my position, and my mind was off on one of its "looking ahead to next round pairing scenerio" ramblings. This is the sort of thing that happens when I start spending too much time looking at the pairings, requested bye lists and results. I had noticed that 1 player had taken a 1/2 point bye for round 2 so there had been an even number for the round. I knew he was going to play round three which meant there would be an odd number. I then looked to see how many players were taking byes in round 3. Four players were taking byes. I did the math. 1 player is returning making it odd, and 4 are taking byes, keeping it odd.

I'm sitting at the board staring at this miserable position while my opponent is thinking. I know he's going to play 34...Qh8. I will have to trade rooks and then move my knight away. I'm down a pawn, and I'll probably lose the isolated a pawn or backward d pawn. A normal chess player would probably be trying to come up with plans on how to hold on in such a position. What am I thinking about here? "Damn, the two players lower rated then me scored points this round. I'm going to end out getting the freaking bye. There probabbly won't be anyone around to be a house player since so many people are taking requested byes. Also the kids aren't playing in the evening so there won't be any parents or coaches hanging around who might want to play. What am I going to do this evening? My host is at a party, and my friends are away." Yada, yada.

While my mind is off on this rant I happen to notice that my opponent's body language is changing. He's squirming in his seat, and shaking his head as if to say, "I'm toast." I'm thinking to myself, "Am I missing something here? Can't he simply play Qh8?" I start looking closer at the position. Nope, there's nothing there. There is no skewer on the e8 rook. Qh8 holds everything. Is there some combination I'm missing after Qh8? He suddenly stops the clock, shakes hands and leaves the board. I'm totally stunned. I continue to stare at the position to see what I missed. After 35. Rxe8 Qxe8, 36. Nd5 I'm threatening a fork, but it's easy enough to stop.

That certainly resolved the bye issue. When I saw Ron on Sunday I asked him if he had not seen that he had Rh8. He thought his king was on h8. I showed him the position on my Mon Roi with the king on h7. He asked me if that position was right. I assured him it was. I think he was kind of shocked that he had missed that. I probably didn't make his morning with that bit of news. To make matters worse for him, his opponent was a no show.


Rocky said...

Polly, tonight (Mar 12) at 9:30 Eastern should be OK. I may be a tad bit late getting back from a prior engagement, but I will be on FICS around 9:30 your time.

Polly said...

That's fine. I'm a bit of a night owl, so starting after 9:30 is not a big deal. See you later.

Tom Panelas said...

It's reassuraing to us fish that even a Class A player can suffer such a lapse in board vision. Whenever I get one diagaonal confused with the adjacent one, even though they're of opposite colors, I think -- Duh! -- I must be the worst chess player on earth.

Games like this let me think there may be hope, even though I do stuff like this.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it wonderful to have luck on your side once in a while? (Luck really comes out even mostly, but it's easier to notice the bad stuff.)

Anonymous said...

Tom: Derek Slater has a saying: "Experts are fish."

Which may be true, but that makes the rest of us plankton or something.

Polly said...

LEP: One of the guys in my college chess club referred to us as plankton since we were what the fish ate. We were all rated drom 1100 to 1400. I haven't heard anyone use the plankton term in a long time.