Thursday, April 3, 2008

1st New York Experts @ The Marshall Chess Club

The Marshall Chess Club has a pretty full tournament schedule. Between the club organized tournaments and the Chess Center of New York organized tournaments there's a rated event every day of the week except Tuesdays and Fridays. It's a chess junkie's paradise! Fridays is Rapids night. Once a month on Tuesday the club hosts the St. John's Masters. Yes that same tournament that I managed to win zero games out 16 for the four times that I played in it. Now that they changed the qualification process I can't sneak in any more.

Recently the Board of Governors which I am a member of, decided to add another tournament once a month on Tuesdays. This would be the New York Experts which would be open to non FIDE titled players rated under 2300. Also no unrateds would be allowed. Like any new event it will take time to get people used to seeing it on the schedule, and making plans to enter. So on this first night which interestingly enough fell on April Fools Day, drew 10 players. Fortunately there were no little under rated kids to annoy me.

A number of the Thursday night usual suspects were there. I said before the pairings went up, "How much you wanna bet I'll play Polyakin or Margulis in the first round?" Sure enough I'm paired against Polyakin in the first round. Why should this tournament be any different then Thursday's tournament? For that matter why should it be different then the other Tuesday tournaments I've played? In the St. John's Masters tournaments, I was paired against Polyakin three out of the four times. Just like I did in those three games, I lost to him again.

Just like most Thursdays and all the Tuesdays I got paired up in round two. It appeared I was well on the way to having my typical score of 0-2 after two rounds. I was down a pawn, on the verge of losing another one and had less then 10 seconds on my clock when we reached this position. My opponent has around 5 minutes.

I couldn't do a thing about his taking on f2 so I played 35. Rb7?? in the hope of getting some counter play. I totally overlooked 35...Rc1+, which is just crushing. One possible continuation is 35... Rc1+ 36. Bf1 Rxf1+ 37. Kg2 Rxf2+ 38. Kg1 Rf1+39. Kg2 Ne3+ Fortunately my opponent missed it too and played 35... e5 At that point I did see it brought the rook back. The game continued 36. Rb1 Nxf2 37. Re1 Ng4 38. Bb7 Rb2 39. Bf3. I only have 4 seconds at this point. The only reason I'm continuing to play on is because my opponent is burning his big time advantage doesn't seem to know what to do with his big edge. My 39th move is annoying since I'm threatening to remove the defender of his passed e pawn. I guess he didn't want me to double his pawns so he played 39... Ne3?? I look at this move and ask myself "Is there some trap if I take the free knight?" Before the 5 second delay elapses I say to myself "What are you thinking about? You have four seconds. You don't have time to think about this. Take!!" The game continued 40. Rxe3 f6 41.Ne4 Be6 42. Ra3 Ra2 43. Rxa2 Bxa2 44. Kf2 Bd5 45. Ke3 Bxe4. We reached this position.

I played 46. Bxe4, f5. The game continued with the g and h pawns getting traded off and me having the bishop blockading his remaining 2 pawns. We agreed to a draw. He felt I should have played 46. Kxe4. I played around with that move and like this sequence below I end out with the h pawn and the wrong color bishop.

46. Kxe4Kf7 47. Kd5 Ke7 48. Be4 g5 49. Bg6 gxh4 50. gxh4 Kd7 51. Bxh5 Ke7 52. Bg6 Kf853. Ke6 Kg8 54. Kxf6 Kh8 55. h5 e4 56. Bxe4.

So I actually salvaged a 1/2 point but that didn't prevent me from the dreaded "please wait" in round three. Fortunately my customary Tuesday night house player was there so we had another one of those Dolly vs Polly match ups. I could have wimped out and played the 1200 that was hanging around. However given the choice between a game against a 1200 or a 2000, I'll take the 2000 every time. I know I'm more likely to beat the 1200, but I'd rather take my chances and playing stronger competition. Besides the 1200 gives me fits every time I have black against him. He plays the first 12 to 15 moves like an expert, but his middle game needs serious work. I've lost to him sometimes because he has me so crushed out of the opening, and I'm at such a severe disadvantage on the clock, I implode in time pressure and lose. Knowing I had to have black against which ever house player I opted for, I didn't feel like taking my chances with the 1200.

I had a decent game against Dolly, but I blundered a pawn on the 13th move. She is one of these very solid positional players who just grinds out the pawn advantage. She doesn't take risks, and I had no counter play what so ever. For the next 43 moves she methodically traded down, created a passed pawn and marched her king into the center. The clock put me out of my misery before she could get her pawn down to my back rank. Here's the game with no notes.

The last round was really interesting. That I will I put in a separate post. It was one of those classic cases of relaxing after beating back an attack with powerful counter play. Sometimes after a long evening of chess it's hard to stay sharp to the very end. So a new tournament, but with a similiar ending to it. I guess if I see the glass as half full, I can say I score a 1/2 point more the my previous 4 Tuesdays in the Saint Johns Masters combined. I also liked the fact that there was nobody under the age of 22 in the tournament, and no unrateds!

I'd like to say that it had been one giant April Fools joke on me. Hopefully April Chess Showers will bring May Chess flowers.

Note to any horticulturists who know their flowers: Okay I cheated, and this is a February flower from Southern Spain.

1 comment:

transformation said...

nice post. thank you. warmly, dk